Club Madonna Reopens After Reaching Agreement With City of Miami Beach
Club Madonna is open once again
Michael E. Miller
Pink neon? Check.
Creepy ass Crown-of-England like loveseat? Check.
Busty strippers crammed into said creepy ass loveseat? Check.
It can mean only one thing: Club Madonna has survived an underage sex scandal and is open once again.
Miami Beach's only fully nude strip joint was shut down by city officials back on January 10 after four adults -- including a Club Madonna dancer -- allegedly forced a 13-year-old to dance at the club.
At the time, City Manager Jimmy Morales deemed Club Madonna "an actual threat to the public health, welfare, and safety of the public."
The club's owner, Leroy Griffith, went to federal court days later to seek an injunction against the city's decision.
That strategy seems to have worked. On Monday, Morales stayed his order to shutter the club but also noted: "Investigations, both criminal and civil, remain ongoing."
Michael E. Miller
Spotted in a blue sweater on the sidewalk near Club Madonna, Griffith didn't gloat.
"We're happy. We're open," he said. "That's all I can say right now. But you'll hear more from me down the road."
Griffith and his employees aren't the only ones happy the club has reopened. "We have more customers already," said the man behind the counter at the Vemar Market two doors north of the strip club. "When Madonna was closed, this entire block was empty. Empty!"
By all appearances, the club seemed back to business as usual around midnight on Monday. Two busty strippers sat on the loveseat out front, flanked by beefy bouncers in vests and ties. Customers -- some of them in suits -- slipped inside the neon pleasuredome as pulsing beats spilled out over the sidewalk. Just inside the entrance, dancers ran awkwardly every which way on high heels as announcers called their names.
Barely two weeks ago, however, it seemed as if Club Madonna would be closed for six months -- if not forever -- after finding itself wrapped up in a sordid underage sex scandal.
A 13-year-old girl, identified only as D.J., ran away from home on December 10 and fell in with three men and a Club Madonna stripper named Marlene San Vincente. The four adults allegedly forced D.J. to have sex for money. When she eventually refused, San Vincente took the girl to Club Madonna and put her on stage.
One of the club's attorneys, Richard Wolfe, said there was no evidence D.J. danced at the club. But Griffith later said it was possible she snuck in and stripped without anyone realizing she was underage.
Michael E. Miller
Because Griffith has long fought with city officials over obtaining a liquor license for the club, some saw political motives behind Madonna's closing.
"We're feeling incredibly good," club attorney Daniel Aaronson told CBS, adding that the club had agreed to increase its security measures as part of the agreement to reopen. "We didn't believe that the club should have been shutdown to begin with."
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