City sends cease-and-desist letter to Freaknik organizer | Community Spirit
by: Doug Richards | Reporter, 11Alive News
ATLANTA -- On April 16, Grant Park would be the site of an apparently illegal party associated with an event called Freaknic. The organizer, J.K. Jones, has circulated numerous images on email and social media promoting a Greek picnic -- despite the fact that he has no permit nor has he asked the city for one.
That absence of a permit prompted city attorney Cathy Hampton to send a letter to Jones, saying "you are now willfully creating an event that is in direct violation of City law. You must immediately cease and desist your organization of the Greek Picnic and the advertisement of the event." The letter goes on to threaten Jones with prosecution and demands reimbursement for city costs. The city's concern about costs stems from its memory of Freaknik events in the 90s -- which clogged traffic and strained city law enforcement resources.
After receiving the letter, Jones began to split hairs semantically. In an email to 11 Alive News, Jones said "we are not 'hosting' an event or festival. We support law enforcement and IF people come (to) Grant Park it is on their own free will and accord."
Despite his contention he isn't "hosting" an event in Grant Park, Jones sent out a mass email April 8, stating the following:
Freaknik Fest Greek Picnic / put on your sexiest bikini - Grant Park - April 16th - It's the Atlanta party takeover!!
Jones didn't respond to requests for comment.
The letter from Hampton also demanded a response from Jones by April 5. Reese McCranie, spokesman for Mayor Kasim Reed, tells 11 Alive News that the city received no response by the deadline. "It's the same song and dance we had last year," said McCranie.
A year ago, Jones and a competitor tried to relaunch Freaknik and mostly failed. Last year, Jones promoted an event at a city park, but failed to apply for a permit.
In Atlanta, city officials and the police department are quietly putting plans together to suppress any illegal Freaknik activity the weekend of April 16. They're hoping that like last year, the event simply collapses under the weight of public indifference.