The Hard Fall

Money and glitz made Richard Bronson a South Beach luminary, a memory he now ponders in prison

A month later, insolvent and alone, Bronson reported to federal prison.

Not many places in the world do nightlife as well as South Beach. But the days of Bronson, petty mobster Chris Paciello, and their ilk seems over. A subtle yet powerful change has taken place: Big money has come to town. The Shore Club, the Ritz-Carlton, Setai, and national franchises backed by powerful corporations have set up shop on the Beach. The party promoters who've survived are the ones who work hard but keep a relatively low profile: Kelly, who just launched his new club State; Michael Capponi, who has allied himself with the Ritz-Carlton; Tommy Pooch, who quietly began a Sunday event at the Raleigh Hotel; the Milon brothers, who bought Level. Big money, the thinking goes, will not tolerate the bad press that accompanies scoundrels and scandals. And no one wants the "shatter'd visage" of the colossal statue to come crashing down on them.

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