Club Madonna shot into headlines earlier this week when Miami Beach police and the county's Human Trafficking Task Force alleged that a 13-year-old girl -- who went by "Peaches" -- stripped there between December 13 and January 4. The runaway, police say, moved into the home of one of Madonna's strippers, Marlene San Vincente, who soon persuaded her to begin dancing.
The allegations mark the most horrific moment in the history of Madonna, which bills itself as Miami Beach's only all-nude strip club. But the club is no stranger to bad press. Online reviewers have slammed -- and slammed repeatedly -- the club for shoddy service, flighty strippers, and sheer rudeness.
"I've never seen as much hustle as I found in this club," wrote Peter Tips, which reviews strip clubs, giving the business a zero-out-of-ten for "attitude." "If these girls have any redeeming qualities, I didn't stay long enough to find them...Overall, this club sucks. They rely on a new batch of tourists each week, and they know that a lot of those tourists will be drunk enough to allow themselves to get ripped off... It's rare that a strip club qualifies as a tourist trap, but Club Madonna certainly does."
Other members of the commentariat express outrage at Club Madonna's cost. "How can you charge $20 at the door and NOT SERVE ALCOHOL?!?!?," wrote Rob D. on Yelp. "If the Miami New Times had a WORST OF MIAMI this place would win every year."
Added C.B. on Citysearch: "Yuck. I went to club Madonna on Friday, and they charged 20 at the door. That's already more than most clubs, but its south beach, so OK. But when you walk in you're thinking, 'Amah get a drink.' Nope. What a wack club."
In fairness, this isn't Club Madonna's fault. Leroy Griffith, who's owned the club for 40 years, has filed lawsuit after lawsuit against the City of Miami Beach because it's banned alcohol sales at fully-nude clubs like his.
Meanwhile, the club's attorney, Richard Wolfe, denies allegations that a 13-year-old ever stripped at Madonna, saying "there's absolutely no proof."
As for the online comments? "Do you believe anything that anyone posts online, anonymously?" he asked. "Come on. Whenever anything is online there is no authenticity. It could be a competitor or an adversary, and if you want to do a hatchet piece go ahead and do it. But it makes no sense."
In one regard, Wolfe is absolutely correct. Many of the commenters are adversaries, and clearly have axes to grind. One woman named "Malva," claims she worked as a waitress at the club for five years. She unloaded on the club, calling it a "hell hole. The girls in this club are prostitutes who pose as exotic dancers. They all lie and scam the customers every night in that place because 90 percent of the customers that go in there are tourists [and] they don't know the difference."
Wolfe defends both the club and its owner Leroy Griffith. "Those comments are not right," he said. "Leroy Griffith has been around for 40 years and he's a good guy, and tries to do things right. He's always operated and above-board business."