Two months after a 24-hour strip club set up shop in Opa-locka, city officials still do not know how it got there and who is to blame.
Meanwhile the finger-pointing contest among several officials continues.
The latest in the war of words are two memos – each trying to debunk the other. The writers: City Attorney Vincent T. Brown and City Manager Ed Brown, who are not related.
Both Browns point fingers away from themselves. In their memos, they blame numerous departments and personnel for Klub 24 opening its doors in the city Jan. 17. The owner had been seeking to open the business since December 2015.
Here are the players:
Klub 24 owner Eddie Dean: After investing more than $1million in Klub 24, Dean was issued a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy for a restaurant, lounge and cabaret. The business is located at 3699 NW 135th St. Klub 24’s occupancy certificate is set to expire on April 20.
Director of Community Development and Planning Gregory Gay: He sent memos to Dean and City Manager Ed Brown telling them that in order to have an adult business in Opa-locka, the business needs to be approved by the Planning and Zoning Board and approved by the city commission.
Commissioner Matthew Pigatt: He says the club violates Opa-locka’s code and wants to know how it got a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy.
City Attorney Vincent Brown: Vincent Brown agrees with Gay. He also said Klub 24 is in violation of the city’s nudity, theatrical and nightclub hours of operation laws, and it should be closed.
City Manager Ed Brown: In a recent memo, Ed Brown said the business should remain open. He warned that closing it would lead to litigation. He also says the adult entertainment business is allowed and so is the sale of alcohol 24 hours a day.
Pigatt said the City Commission may vote at its next meeting on a resolution to close Klub 24, which was on the March 14 agenda. That meeting was canceled.
Ed Brown places the blame on the string of top-level city officials who corresponded with the business owner, Eddie Dean.
The city manager called out the Community Development director, Zoning officials, Building/License director and the city attorney in the memo for allowing the business to slip through the cracks.
“They had some degree of knowledge and involvement in the chain of events that led to this business obtaining a license to operate and certificate of use…,” Ed Brown said.
A week later, City Attorney Vincent Brown sent a 75-page memo in response to the city manager’s report.
The attorney does not dispute the city’s manager statements about alcohol and nudity, but he does state that special exemption for nudity is still required in the zoning district and the Temporary Certificate of Occupancy issued in January was for a “cabaret” and not an “adult business.”
Neither one of the Browns can pinpoint who allowed the grand opening error to happen.
“Again I must reiterate whose responsibility was it to assure that this process was followed and who gave permission to issue the license and certificate of use?” Ed Brown wrote.
This story was originally published in The Miami Times March 22, 2018.