MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — Is the shutdown of Club Madonna protecting the public or political payback? Both sides are making their case this weekend after the shut down of Club Madonna Friday night.
For the second night in a row- the world-famous South Beach strip is closed and not by choice. For the first time in decades Club Madonna. was ordered to shut down. Miami Beach’s City Manager temporarily stripped the business of its license after allegations that a 13-year-old girl was performing as an exotic dancer and prostituting herself.
Armando Hernandez, an advocate, said, “I think they need to have tighter rules on how they bring in women to work there.”
Investigators and advocates like Hernandez with the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking said the forced prostitution of the teenage girl is the same as modern-day slavery, but the lawyer for Club Madonna questions the reason behind the shut down.
Leroy Griffith, the owner of the club said, “We’re suing the City of Miami Beach. Now I think it had a lot to do with that.”
Saturday Griffith’s attorneys, Richard Wolfe, elaborated with CBS4’s Jamie Guirola by phone. Wolfe said the club’s license being suspended has nothing to do with public safety and is retaliation because of a $30,000 bribe and a liquor license dispute with the city. City Manager Jimmy Morales denies that’s why he made the decision and said without question the club poses a danger to public health
Regardless of the back and forth advocates say what allegedly happened at Club Madonna is just the tip of the iceberg on an issue that needs a lot more attention.
Saturday is also National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Events were held all over the state to raise awareness. Club Madonna’s attorney plans to fight the license suspension aggressively and calls the incident a mistake but not a danger to the public.