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Apply the law equally

Re the Feb. 20 article Club Madonna picks new fight with Miami Beach: BYOB policy
called illicit, the article gives a fairly accurate report of my involvement in the adult
entertainment industry during the past 50 years.

However, your reporter missed the real story, which focuses on the two-faced politics
I’ve confronted on Miami Beach in the past seven years in trying to obtain a liquor
license.

I am just trying to remain competitive on the Beach where almost every other club is
offering some sort of burlesque-style night with one form of nudity or another. And
they do not have an adult entertainment license. I just want the city to apply the law
equally.

Remember how the city recently wanted to fine resort hotel beach bars for selling
alcohol? That ordinance and issue seems to have disappeared from sight, hasn’t it?

The real issue is how the city turned bitter against me and made this a personal
vendetta because I sued a former commissioner’s wife for slander. My proposal
passed in 2004, 5-2 and then failed in 2005 at the second reading, 4-3 because of
an e-mail and slander campaign. Then the mayor and commissioners wanted me to
drop my personal lawsuit against Jane Gross and my lawsuit against the city in order
to bring the issue back. I agreed to do so.

However, that wasn’t the end. They also tried to have me pay $30,000 for Gross’s
legal fees or they would not even allow me to appear before the commission. I
refused to pay and as a result, they refused to hear my amendment.

Is that extortion or not?

In 2009, I was promised a “fair” hearing. None of the audio visual equipment
was working and when I raised the question directly to then-Commissioner Saul
Gross, “Did you or did you not try to extort $30,000 from me?” City Attorney Jose
Smith and Mayor Matti Bower instructed him to not answer that question and I was
reprimanded for asking the question.

If you get an answer as to whether the city tried to extort me of $30,000, please let
me know — I have been waiting seven years for one.

Leroy Griffith, owner,

Club Madonna, Miami Beach

Jul 22, 2012
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