Strip club sues City; claims discrimination
NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- An adult entertainment club is suing a South Florida city in federal court claiming discrimination.
Swinging Richards in North Miami Beach is just like many strip clubs in South Florida: there is full nudity, and there is alcohol. But instead of women baring it all on stage, it's men.
Now, the strip club says its business, which opened its doors late last year, is in jeopardy, because the City of North Miami Beach is singling it out for one reason. "I think the city's problem with this club is the fact that there's homosexual entertainment, or men providing entertainment for men," said Daniel Aaronson, attorney for Swinging Richards. "And for whatever reason, I can't get into their minds, I don't know what they're thinking, I don't know why it offends them."
Aaronson says the issue is a 1994 ordinance on the books that would restrict, among other things, full nudity in a club serving alcohol. The clubs claims it's an ordinance that has never been enforced in the 22 years the location has been used as strip clubs, under various names, but with all female dancers. "The ordinance prohibits alcohol and nudity," said Aaronson. "There are many provisions of the code that if they applied it to my clients, that in fact my clients would have to change the nature of their operation, possibly even have to move."
The club is now suing. In a lawsuit filed in federal court on Wednesday, the club claims the city is violating its right to equal protection under the law.
According to the club, the city has given a May 16 deadline for the club to comply or face enforcement of the ordinance. "We will not comply with the ordinance, we should not have to and we will not," said Aaronson. "That could lead to arrests of dancers, it could lead to arrest of management, and we are willing to fight that. Why? Because we know we will succeed. We know we will win."
7News contacted the city manager of North Miami Beach. He says he has not read the complaint and is not prepared to comment at this point.
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