By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
Padula melted into rage. According to a competing restraining order Avidor filed, Padula grabbed a nearby glass and warned, "I'm going to cut your throat." The incensed Italian pressed the glass against Avidor's nose, until witnesses wrenched him free. "I'm going to kill you," he told Avidor. Minutes later, Padula, screaming, again thrust the glass into Avidor's face.
The next day, Avidor claimed he thought Padula might attack him with a gun, and he feared for his life. "I did not do anything to provoke" Padula, he said.
This climactic confrontation had seeds deep in the past. Avidor, 45, who speaks in a low guttural growl still flecked with his Israeli upbringing, grew up in Haifa, northern Israel's largest city. There, he told New Times in a brief chat, he met his future business partner A.J. Yaari "when we were boys." The men, who declined formal interviews, landed in Fort Lauderdale with an adroit sense of what it takes to conquer a beachside, tourist-driven economy: sex, alcohol, and aggression. They opened their first shops in the mid-1990s, each carrying a name that's almost a caricature of ocean-side existence. First came L&A on the Beach in 1993. Next was See the Sun. Finally, in 1995, they opened Sex Appeal Swimwear.
229 S. Atlantic Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Category: Bars and Clubs
Region: Fort Lauderdale
In 2001, Avidor met Padula, who had come to local prominence through his stewardship of Il Tartufo and Café Europa, successful Las Olas spots. Padula knew Avidor and Yaari only as two guys "selling T-shirts and screwing tourists," he recalls, when they hatched an ambitious plan that would enact a near-monopoly of the hottest strip of real estate in Broward County.
In 2004, after the businessmen opened Cafe del Mar, they inked another contract to open Spazio. Padula sank $350,000 into that restaurant and became a 50 percent shareholder, with Yaari and Avidor splitting the rest. Then, over the next three years, the men widened their sprawl: Rock Bar, Sangrias Café, Dirty Blondes, Exit 66 — all under the agreement that Padula act as "operating manager," according to a 2008 lawsuit Padula filed against his partners.
"Padula was a restaurateur," explains a person familiar with the agreement, who requested anonymity. "And [Yaari and Avidor] were not. As long as they had the agreement of Padula managing, they were fine."
But on November 12, 2008, Yaari and Avidor changed the locks on all of the restaurants, banned Padula from the establishments he once managed, and froze his pay, according to Padula's lawsuit, which alleged, among other claims, minority oppression and freeze-out.
One week later, on November 19, the men and their attorneys huddled in a conference room at a mirrored office building on Corporate Drive in Fort Lauderdale. During that conversation, like something out of a Rocky movie, Avidor stood up and, in an outburst of anger, announced he planned to "break [Padula] in two," according to a deposition of Avidor's attorney, Craig Sherman. Avidor, who was "animated, angry, loud," then said, "We're leaving," and he and Yaari stormed out. Afterward, in a civil lawsuit Avidor filed against Padula, he claimed the smaller man had attacked and threatened to kill him during that meeting.
The next day at Cafe del Mar, Padula alleged in a restraining order that Yaari "jumped on me and punched me in the face, saying [he wanted] to take my liver out."
Soon after, the partners split. They eventually signed a nondisclosure agreement and dismissed the lawsuits. Padula, who declined in a brief interview to specify what spurred the sudden fallout, got Cafe del Mar, and the Israelis netted the rest. In the chaotic aftermath, some staff were swept out under the new managers in what one former employee described as a "coup."
One afternoon in 2009 during those chaotic weeks, staff members filed into a conference room at Exit 66 and found a seat, according to two separate managers who were present. Seated before the confused employees were Yaari and Avidor. "They had time sheets for what everyone was owed," one manager remembers. "And they said, 'We're not paying you this.' One by one, we all had to negotiate what we were rightfully owed. It had been weeks since any of us had been paid."
John Guerrero, a floor manager at Exit 66 at the time, recalls that meeting vividly. "I said, 'Where's my check?' And they gave me this whole story. And it was pretty much, 'Either you take what we give you and still work for us. Or if not, goodbye.' When I came on, it was actually a functioning situation, but everything turned. It became a bunch of jacked-up dudes getting into fights, other guys getting sucker-punched for talking back to bouncers, and slutty girls getting wasted and doing drugs."
Also around this time, there was one more change. Avidor and Yaari began hiring off-duty cops to work security.
That Fort Lauderdale Police once again face criticism over their undefined off-duty detail policy shouldn't come as a surprise — least of all to the cops themselves.
They've known it poses problems since at least July 15, 2005. On that day, a New York-based investigative firm called Safir Rosetti castigated the policy in a report obtained by New Times.
investigate the owners with criminal connections,and sale of extasy that is controlled by the israeli-russian mafia,and yes the local fbi office needs internal investigation.
Ok, Mr. Mayor you cant hide on this one! What are your plans for this corrupt activity ! Maybe just lose the City is an option
This is one of the things that killed Baja Beach Club in the Grove as well. As a former bouncer I can tell you with some validity that there is really no need to be douchebags like the ones at Dirty Blondes to do the job. Sure you have to deal with drunk assholes, so you get them yank them out of the club and goodbye. I never got paid enough money to exert myself that much in dealing with an asshole.
So why hasn't someone gone to that club and murdered those bouncers? That is what I would do. Nut up or shut up, is what I say!
...........................i would also offer that since "boys will be boys" and that alcohol and bath saltz and who knows what other mind and mood altering substances are injested by patrons and bouncers and bar owners operators................LET THESE places simply go somewhere else - GET THEM OFF THE BEACH = period - let the animals and savages and neaderthals have at each other under a bridge or down a dark alley SOMEWHERE ELSE in ft liquordale - then they could kill each other altogether and the CIVILIZED society can enjoy the beach without fear
URBAN WEEK got out of hand and police shot 106 bullets into a car two years ago - MORE POLICE are not the answer, bringing in the National Guard is not the answer, having the SWAT TEAM on the roof of the ELBO ROOM is NOT the answer, putting a police sub-station in the lobby of the RITZ CARLTON is not the answer = the answer is sweeping away these "stages" of insanity to some other location where they can pursue their savage and uncivlized clashes of the mental mindless and egotistical steroid-fuel physical combatants
Count me in. Constantly looking over my shoulder for uneducated meat-head hooliganism is not really my vibe when I'm trying to chill with a few drinks and a few friends. I will never enter into one of these establishments again. There's only one reason people become "bouncers" instead of joining any reputable security establishment (PD, Brinks, etc), and that is: prior arrest records. They are basically just thugs trying to eke out a living by doing what they do best: acting aggressively and without any type of tact or thought.
................................well now we have become ground zero for all the neanderthals to come here and challenge the status quo with upcomming SMACKDOWNs and HOULIGANISM from the savages from all parts of the globe
why the FT LAUDERDALA POLICE department bungled the initial investigation and took over a week to "change their tune" when the video came to light is a disgrace to the department which has no other reason than COVER-UP to explain its action - WHICH we should ALL hope is not the case
Off-duty policy. All you need to know. Essentially no police reports will be filed because they threaten you (victim) with arrest for trespassing, disorderly conduct and public intoxication. Protects the bar against lawsuits because there will be no police records of the incident. Only you the victim being told to leave.
@JohnnySwift Only in the movies, but it's a movie I'd watch and I suspect so would a lot of other people.
@MrGumsandals - Only in the movies?!? That kind of stuff happens all the time. Some dude gets kicked out a club, gets mad, and comes back with a gun and shoots the place up. If I was ever treated like that I would shoot those guys dead. I ain't afraid of jail. been there, done that. I ain't about to get punked by dudes like that, though.