GRANDVILLE, MI – The auto shop owner who posted on Facebook that he would refuse to serve openly gay customers does not have a city business license, according to Grandville administrators.
Brian Klawiter earlier this year told the City Council that requiring a license violates his constitutional rights because it authorizes city inspectors to enter his property without a warrant.
“This is a blatant and intentioned violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution,” Klawiter told the council on Jan. 26. “I dispute your lawful ability to do what you claim. I will not sign the application. I cannot and will not give up my civil rights, especially when requested by a government entity for which the Constitution was designed to limit the power of.
“Would you sign something giving me the right to search your home as I pleased?”
It came to the city’s attention last year that Dieseltec lacks a city business license, City Clerk Mary Meines said. Grandville requires businesses to pay a $100 licensing fee, with no cost for annual renewals.
The licensing process requires applicants to share contact information and details about the business premises, such as alarm system information. A city licensing ordinance states that inspectors have the right to enter a licensed building without a warrant.
Grandville notified Dieseltec that it needs to get licensed, prompting Klawiter to attend the meeting at which he objected to the licensing.
“We don’t usually run into this,” Meines said. “Usually they’re cooperative and do it.
“We’ve sent him all the paperwork and all the forms. It’s really in his court to come in and take it out. We’ll have to decide what way to go if he doesn’t.”
The fine for not complying with the city’s licensing ordinance is $50. Grandville has not pursued enforcement against Dieseltec, said Matt Butts, assistant city manager.
Mayor Steve Maas said the city likes to get compliance without enforcement, if possible. He said it might be awkward to enforce compliance now, amid a social media firestorm surrounding statements made by Klawiter.
Klawiter earlier this week posted on Facebook that he wouldn’t hesitate to refuse to do business with openly gay customers, prompting threats of death and damage to his business and home. At least one attempt to egg the building at 2875 Ottawa Ave. SW was thwarted.
Matt Vande Bunte covers government for MLive/Grand Rapids Press. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
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