MIAMI (CBS4) – Fresh out of jail, Miami Beach hotel owner Rod Eisenberg said he will fight his battle against the city until the end.
Friday, police arrested him as they kicked out dozens of artist who were displaying their artwork and staying at the Sadigo Court Hotel during Art Basel.
“I’m still in shock,” said Eisenberg. “I still cannot believe I was hauled away to jail under a false charge because they wanted to get me out of the way.”
The city posted red cease and desist orders on the front doors of the hotel that said hotel guests were in “imminent life safety danger.” The order also said Eisenberg did not have the proper license to run a hotel.
“We’re standing right now in an RM2 district in the city of Miami Beach and what that means, under the city code and what that means you can be either an apartment building or a hotel or sell short term rentals,” he said. “It’s as simple and easy as that.”
But the city maintains that is not accurate, and adds Eisenberg has failed to update his property with sprinkler systems so that he can obtain a hotel license.
“The fire marshal is required to enforce the state and local fire safety code at the end of the day, which she can not permit is anything that endangers the life and safety of anyone in any facility in our city,” said Hilda Fernandez, Assistant City Manager in Miami Beach.
Fernandez continued, “It came down to an issue where we have a location being illegally operated as a hotel and not having as a result the proper life safety equipment to ensure the safety of the people there. The owner of that property has known for many many many months what is necessary to legalize that property from an apartment building to a hotel.”
Eisenberg said the million dollar update is unnecessary. He said he has filed a request for an emergency hearing in court.
In the interim, he said he will not operate as a hotel until the issue is figured out and he wants it to be straightened out for those displaced on Friday.
“I am sorry that you got caught up in the middle of this,” Eisenberg said he hoped to tell his hotel guests. “We are doing everything in our power to rectify the situation, make everyone whole including any unpaid artwork because the show was so beautiful. It was so successful that every single art work was going to be sold.”