MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami.com) – A scheduled art fair at the Sadigo Court Hotel has led to the arrest of the hotel owner and spawned more questions than answers.
CBS4 was first told that around 5 p.m. Friday, the doors were going to open for the Pool Art Fair 2011. But, Miami Beach Police and city officials shut down the event and the hotel.
“Drove from New York; it’s not like we can say, ‘Okay, we’re going to another hotel’,” said artist Leopold Vazquez. “We’re on the street right now.”
“I have to start driving back, cause it’s Art Basel week and there are no hotels,” said Marina Reiter.
That’s just the beginning of the story though.
According to the Miami Beach officials, the event was shut down because the event organizers didn’t have a special events permit.
In addition, according to Miami Beach officials, the owners are operating the Sadigo Court Hotel illegally and have no permit for the building to be a hotel.
The city has been issuing a cease and desist order for the hotel since September 23rd. But, according to city officials, every time the red note is put on the door; the hotel takes it down and keeps operating.
That led to the hotel’s owner, Rod Eisenberg, being arrested Friday night for obstructing the cease and desist order.
CBS4’s Gio Benitez learned that the artists who were taking part in the art fair paid thousands of dollars directly to the event organizer and have not been given any of their money back yet.
“We’ve all paid money in advance, for the venue, and now it’s like everyone’s going to be out of money,” said artist Sandy Van Iderstine, who flew in from Canada.
Another Canadian, Richard Fogarty, said artists paid $3,000 to get a spot in the fair.
The event’s organizer, Thierry Alet, said he’s going to be liable and responsible for all of the money.
“We will work it out with every artists and on a case-by-case basis and see how we can accommodate or somehow make it up to the artist, or course,” said Alet.
Still, the artists are not buying the fact that no one knew what was going on.
“That’s something that he should have known,” said Tony Peralta who drove in from New York. “He should have known about the violations. And I guess the hotel should have shared.”