Club Madonna Owner Calls Latest Ethics Commission Ruling A Victory

Last night, the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission voted 4-0 to send a letter to Miami Beach City officials with a simple message: No shady business behind closed doors in regard to local strip joint Club Madonna.

Club Madonna owner Leroy Griffith has a long-simmering feud with Miami Beach over a refusal to grant him a liquor license for his South Beach club. Last month, Griffith filed a lawsuit claiming that city officials tried to extort $30,000 from him in exchange for the license. 

The Ethics Commission split 2-2 last year in a vote over whether Miami Beach officials had in fact acted improperly, but they were unanimous last night. Griffith says the letter - which Riptide has requested, but hasn't seen yet -- warns officials to avoid the appearance of wrongdoing in any dealings Club Madonna and tells them not to talk about the club anywhere but a public forum. To Griffith, the letter is a victory.

"They voted unanimously. That shows that they think the city did something wrong," he tells Riptide. "This is exactly the kind of stuff that the governor of Illinois just got thrown out of office for."

Riptide's call to Miami Beach City Attorney Jose Smith hasn't been returned yet.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink