'Mimosa Lady' closing Formal Elegance retail stores in Columbus

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 16, 2013 

Three years after being arrested for serving mimosas to customers, Formal Elegance owner Judy Wilkinson is closing her retail stores in Columbus.

"This decision was a hard one to make after 23 years in business, but I have come to the realization that I can no longer support the Columbus Consolidated Government with my tax dollars," Wilkinson said in a press release.

Read the full statement here.

Wilkinson operates a bridal store and a prom superstore in Columbus. She said she'll fulfill her obligations to customers and operate an online portion of the company from West Point, Ga.

In November 2009, Wilkinson was arrested for serving customers 2-ounce cocktails made of champagne and orange juice. Businesses not licensed for alcohol cannot offer clients complimentary drinks.

The arrest sparked outrage locally from people who said undercover officers should have more important crimes to tackle than free distribution of the drink commonly called a mimosa.

Wilkinson was not prosecuted. Instead, she agreed to perform community service and abide by Columbus laws.

What's next for Wilkinson? She plans to finish writing a book about the "mimosa raid" and open a public relations company, according to the aforementioned statement.

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