King of Diamonds: How America's Favorite Black Strip Club Won Its Crown

Click for King of Diamonds cover shoot outtakes.

A prodigious bare ass gyrates hypnotically in the face of San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, whose huge body is sprawled across a red-velvet and gold-painted chaise. A buddy enthusiastically slaps dollar bill after dollar bill onto the glistening butt of Blac Chyna, a stripper whose light-brown skin contrasts with snow-white hair and Betty Boop eyelashes. At a nearby table, NFL rookie of the year Cam Newton and his posse dump their own mountain of green stacks onto a gaggle of nude dancers.

Rick Ross's "Stay Schemin'" booms through the wide expanse of King of Diamonds, a massive strip club bordering I-95 near Miami Gardens. The acrid aroma of California medical-grade chronic mixes with the sweet scent of designer perfume, while a boisterous crowd of a thousand watches two burly African-American women pummel each other in a boxing ring. Dollars flutter to the ground everywhere, accumulating like puddles in a rainstorm. There are so many loose bills that floor hosts — nattily dressed in black slacks, white dress shirts, and bow ties — sweep up cash with push brooms. Even the ring is littered with dollars, which the winner of the amateur boxing bout gets to keep.

Behind a velvet rope in the VIP area, Disco Rick carefully watches the action. Once a hit-making Miami booty bass pioneer, the pudgy 47-year-old in gray jeans and a leather jacket stamped with KOD's crest now makes his living corralling exotic dancers.

Atlanta stripper Sunni made $6,000 in one night. More King of Diamonds photos.
Giulio Sciorio
Atlanta stripper Sunni made $6,000 in one night. More King of Diamonds photos.
Lil Wayne rains dollar bills at the club.
Johnny Nunez
Lil Wayne rains dollar bills at the club.

"This club is just one giant vending machine," Disco Rick says, grinning. "Everything in here is about money. It's more than just a strip club. It's the Super Walmart of entertainment complexes."

This indoor Colosseum of naked pleasures is frequented every week by a who's who of African-American pro athletes and rappers, from Drake to Lil Wayne to Miami's own Rick Ross and from boxer Floyd Mayweather to Denver Broncos running back Willis McGahee to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. In turn, the celebs draw throngs of real and wannabe hustlers to a place that's by all estimates the largest black strip club in America, where more than 200 dancers, bartenders, and staffers ply their trades in a 50,000-square-foot warehouse of decadence.

"It's not your typical strip club," says Lee "Q" O'Denat, founder of WorldStarHipHop.com. "It's like going to a party at LIV [at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach resort], but only bigger and with a lot of beautiful naked girls."

Behind the velvet curtains, KOD's rise to becoming a hip-hop and pro sports cultural icon is the tale of an octogenarian nightclub impresario's latest success after a career marred by accusations of mob ties, political corruption, and prostitution. It's also the story of a phoenix-like rebirth for Disco Rick, whose music career died before he found an even more profitable line of work.

But even as KOD's national fame peaks — thanks to a star turn by its most famous stripper on a cable television news program — cracks are forming in the kingdom. That stripper, an athletic marvel named Tip Drill, whose acrobatic routine inspired gasps, has quit and is threatening a lawsuit after smashing her face on the floor during a dance gone awry. Rival strip clubs, meanwhile, are cloning KOD's formula and trying to steal its hip-hop glory. And the health of its infamous owner is quickly deteriorating as he weathers numerous legal fights.

As Disco Rick watches the packed house throwing fistfuls of cash into the smoky air, though, he doesn't seem particularly worried.

"There is no recession when you're looking at naked women," he crows in a deep baritone voice. "Tonight you might see at least a couple hundred thousand dollars hit the floor."

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Disco Rick reclines on one of the black leather VIP sofas on the first floor of King of Diamonds. Seven days a week he's at the club, and between managing the strippers and shepherding the rappers and quarterbacks, he gets three hours of sleep many nights.

"If I sleep, then a bitch might get away with some money," he says.

Rick scrolls through text messages as he tries to answer a simple question: How did KOD get this big, this fast? There's one real answer, Rick explains knowingly: Jack Galardi.

"I wish I could spend some time traveling with him or hanging out with him at his ranch because I would learn a lot," he says reverentially. "My boss man has the blueprint for building successful clubs."

Galardi isn't well known in Miami, but he should be. In Las Vegas, he's been dubbed by local writers a "low-budget Hugh Hefner" and "the Buddha of the strip club industry." Galardi owns more than two dozen cabarets around the country, including Pink Pony South, Crazy Horse Saloon, and Jaguar. In Dade he owns KOD and the Pink Pony in Doral, and he's fighting the City of Marathon to expand to the Keys.

Galardi — who is notoriously media-shy and declined multiple New Times interview requests — has been dogged by controversy throughout his 50-plus years in adult entertainment. He has fought allegations of being tied to the mob, paying off politicians in Nevada, and condoning prostitution in his clubs in Tampa. But through it all, he's built an empire of strippers.

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29 comments
Ja'Mookus Shabazz
Ja'Mookus Shabazz

I love dude's leopard-skin cane! Got to get me one of those pimp sticks ASAP!

Rockkakashiboy
Rockkakashiboy

the owners, managers and people that goes to these clubs should at least support their kids before they just throw away money.most of the people that participate in these activities are deadbeat fathers.. it's ashame how they will neglect their own kids and disrespect their baby mothers and lie about having no money. but then be at the strip club spending every dime they have when they avoid childsupport

Buckames5695
Buckames5695

I guess you have to be black to find the fat chicks hot.

Lucile
Lucile

my roomate's aunt makes $60/hour on the computer. She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her pay was $13291 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site lazycash42.c()m

Lb13b
Lb13b

FANTASTIC ARTICLE THANKS! ! !

Christopher Anderson
Christopher Anderson

What I would love to know is how did Will Smith get to be code for five-o:)

Gunner
Gunner

That "stuff" looks like a grizzly bear with its' throat cut....

Davillus Hynzerelli
Davillus Hynzerelli

I'm glad the bro's have a place where they can smoke their chronic & throw bills at ho's.I just wonder why we have to read about it?? It should have been named the missing link or the jgabo junction.

Rioguy7
Rioguy7

The sad part is not the girls dancing. The sad part is that American males are so conditioned and controlled by the carrot Of possible sex that they will throw millions at a woman in a bikini to validate themselves. Its like a bunch of morons at an auction bidding on a turd. One guy bids a hundred and the other guy's ego won't let him be out bid so he bids two hundred. The real players are the guys banging these chicks for little to no money. These other guys are just followers who waste money at kod because they see Wayne doing it.

ADVISOR
ADVISOR

If these women were smart they would stash that money, and when it's all said and done they should be sitting on millions. But no REAL WOMAN would ever lower her standards to this type foolishness.

ADVISOR
ADVISOR

It's very sad that these young girls would low-rate themselves that's all these guys see a hoochie mamma they will never marry them. Frankly I say go and work hard, set your standards high and you will get a good man that will take care of you. I refuse to lower my standards for a few dollars. What these women are failing to realize they are going to get old, and stripping does not draw a pension, 401k plan, nor retirement most of them are running to get the C-230 Mercedes Benz and designer pocket books, they are not saving that money. What idiots. Thank God for Class, Morals and Dignity!!

Steve Cody
Steve Cody

Frank, you get all the toughest writing assignments. :P

Franklin
Franklin

I am not a racist, but I do harbor some resentment of black guys who seem to want all women for themselves. When I was young and in college, I had black girlfriends and was beaten up rather badly on two occasions by gangs of black men who claimed to be protecting their womenfolk from exploitation by white men. You are never fighting just one guy, but all his homies at the same time. Blacks can go to any strip club and drop all kinds of cash on white women; Hispanic women; Asian women and no one can say anything. What would happen however, if a white guy entered this King of Diamonds club and focused his attention on one or two naked black babes? He might not make it out alive. That is what I would call unfair.

Jarjar
Jarjar

he made the Bad Boyz movies with Martin Lawrence where they both played Miami Cops.

Ron
Ron

Why don't you go to KOD and suggest the name change? Oh I know why - Because you're another pathetic loser who gets cheap thrills from writing things on the internet he wouldn't dare say face-to-face. Enjoy the rest of your sad life.

ADVISOR
ADVISOR

Amen now ya talking these whores aren't getting paid. Look at the picture Lil Wayne is worth millions and he's throwing dollar bills just what these whore are worth. Dollar Bill whores.

chris n
chris n

Advisor is an a fattie that no one would pay to see naked. The REAL women I know that strip feel empowered by men throwing money at them. Clearly, you will never know what that feels like. So, you marginalize them by saying they have low standards. Just an FYI, the porn biz is a BILLION dollar industry but, I bet you hate that also. Someone please look this chick up and knock the dust off her pussy.

chris n
chris n

Myself, my girl and my friend all went to the Blue Flame outside Atlanta and left with three Black girls. We were the only Whites there, purchased rounds, had rounds purchased and had a ball. Been to plenty of "Black" bars without any trouble. The only color the strippers care about is green and all the guys are hoping to pull some ass. Ive dated more Blacks and latinas then White girls and no one is beating me up. So, your either full of crap or did something stupid.

KMAN
KMAN

Thats not true, Im white and I would roll up in there no problem. You act like an idiot ,you get treated like one. Go in there scared and acting stupid your an idiot. Walk up in there, mind your business and do your thang. No one will bother you.

Davillus Hynzerelli
Davillus Hynzerelli

I'm in S FLA u want to meet me some where I'll say some thing to your face & then I'll kn0ck your punk 4ss out. It was a joke, Chris Rock can say what ever he wants about whitey & biaaaatches like u would hoot & holler but if I say some thing your panties are in a bunch. Unlike your anonymous silhouette there's my name & pic. Get a clue m4ggot.

ADVISOR
ADVISOR

Because porn is a billion dollar business makes it ok, the richest woman in the world is Oprah Winfrey, you don't see her shaking her butt to get bucks, it's clear that you are clueless, a REAL WOMAN does not have to be validated by men throwing money at her, that's a slut, a whore, a woman with no morals and no values and certainly low self-esteem. Your mother must be on a pole you're taking such an offense. Beyonce shakes her butt but she gets paid, and has a rich man taking care of her so do your homework you idiot. Put your 5 year old daughter out there and let her strip.

Davillus Hynzerelli
Davillus Hynzerelli

Again, Any time, any where,pathetic punk.You're right I do get a cheap thrill from making smart 4ss comments just like any other comic. U really are making something out of nothing?? It was a joke kinda like u & your long convoluted diatribe. By the way just like u, New Times sent the article to my e-mail I opened it & made a dopey bigoted comment which it looks like a few folks thought was funny. No sense of accomplishment taken jack4ss(where do u come up w/ this garbage?) As for my death bed I'll be thinking about all the kick 4ss times I've had in my life growing up outside of DC & in S FLA. I won't be giving a second thought to internet commenting tomfoolery, u or the mulignans who are smokin their dope & smoozin the ho's at the titty bar.By the way it has nothing to do w/ being cowardly going there & making a racist comment it would be idiotic unless I had my thirty-aught-six w/ me & was ready to go to jail for a long time. It's funny u were so concerned u doubled back & when u were disappointed I hadn't responded u added a P.S. Hmmmm, speaking of internet trolling???U also claim u don't give a second thought to racial issues but I see u want Zimm fried even though it still isn't clear if he killed dude in cold blood or if the thug attacked him, which is called assault,so I guess we know who your voting for .Since your such a paragon of virtue judge my bad behavior all u want I don't care & piss off before I give u a bitch slap.

Ron8888
Ron8888

Davillus I think you have me confused with someone else. I never even said what race I am. I could care less about what Chris Rock has to say about "whitey" just like I could care less about what you have to say about "the blacks". I just think it's extremely pathetic for a 43-year old man to have such a loser life that his only sense of accomplishment comes from being a cowardly internet troll. I know just as well as you do that you don't have the heart to walk into KOD or anywhere else for that matter and say what you typed face-to-face so just STFU.

Unlike people such as yourself, I don't feel the need to define myself by a race that I didn't even choose. I am an individual and my sense of pride comes from what I have accomplished on my own terms. People like yourself who have pride in things they took no part in, such as race, are truly sad to me.

At the end of the day, regardless of race, you face an inevitable death like everyone else. You're not special. You're just another anonymous idiot who's going to be on your deathbed, looking back on life and wishing you could get back the time you wasted worrying about the actions of a group of people who could care less about what's going on in your own life. Believe me I have seen plenty of people like you go through this and although it may be heartbreaking, it doesn't stop the eventual flatline. Then it's over forever.

The people who you have such an issue with are enjoying life without care or concern about what you feel about it and will continue to long after you're nothing more than a skeleton in a box. And with that I again say enjoy the rest of your sad life and I'm done with this silly internet argument.

A shepherd among sheep
A shepherd among sheep

You pretty much proved the point about being a coward who gets cheap thrills from writing things on the internet. I bet your little peen got rock hard while you were angrily typing that response. Hilarious.

Bebep
Bebep

Now THAT'S rage.

ADVISOR
ADVISOR

It's not rage it's a fact. You choose to respond, you're forgetting this is a free country. If you like trash, that you Trash + Trash = Trash. Don't hate on Oprah she's rolling in the dough, it's not being throwed at her either. Like Khandi from the Housewives of the ATL she has fame & fortune and she's earned it. Keep going to see those dollar whores.You are what you feed your wasteless empty mind.

Bebep
Bebep

Oprah isn't even in the Top 20 of the richest women in the world, I'll quote you here "it's clear that you are clueless".

A real woman is allowed to do whatever she wants. You choose to rage on an internet comments section, more power to you.

 
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