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Sting at Diamond’s Cabaret nets 19 arrests

Miami Beach- North Miami Beach officials are threatening to temporarily shut down a strip club after an undercover police investigation netted 19 arrests for raunchy behavior.

But the owner of Diamond’s Cabaret says an independent promoter is to blame, and has representatives negotiating with the city to reduce the penalty in exchange for reimbursement of the city’s undercover investigation costs.

The club’s problems started last month when North Miami Beach Mayor Mayor Jeffrey Mishcon received an anonymous envelope that contained a postcard advertising Diamond’s Cabaret, located at 337 NW 170th St., and directions to a website.

Mishcon said he visited the website and was shocked by what he saw: depictions of sex acts and instructions that people who wanted to see them live should visit Diamond’s.

”It was completely disgusting,” Mishcon said.

On Feb. 26, after a two-week undercover investigation, North Miami Beach and Miami-Dade police raided the club and arrested 19 workers for lewd and lascivious behavior.

North Miami Beach Deputy Police Chief Linda Loizzo said undercover officers witnessed dancers performing sexual acts on stage.

”We have reports of a female worker simulating masturbation and workers using different objects in their orifices on stage,” she explained.

She said customers were also involved in some of the stage antics.

Following the raid, the club was not shut down. But LLS Entertainment Holding Co., which owns the Diamond’s Cabaret, was cited with five violations by the city code enforcement board: erotic touching of human genitals, exposing sexual organs on stage, simulating sexual activity, oral sex on stage and allowing these violations to occur.

The club now faces a 150-day suspension of its occupational license, because each citation brings a 30-day suspension. The suspension is scheduled to begin March 29.

The issue came to light at Tuesday’s meeting of the city council. The club had previously asked to be on the agenda to request an extension of a license that allows it to stay open until 6 a.m., rather than 4 a.m.

But instead, after commissioners discussed the possibility of an even earlier closing time, Diamond’s attorney Barbara Howard asked for a deferral, which was granted.

”We want an opportunity to bring the operation into total compliance, so that they can operate in a way that would be conducive the city,” she told The Herald. “We are hoping to find an amicable solution.”

Howard said that LLS Entertainment CEO Wesley Johnson is out of the country, and leased the club to a promoter who was responsible for the website and activities at the club.

”I saw the material, and I would have had the same reaction the city is having,” Howard said, “but, the materials that were used are not indicative of the ownership. That promoter is no longer working for the club.”

Howard said she did not know the name of the promoter, but said Johnson was not aware of what was going on.

Howard says she is hoping to reduce the penalty.

”A 150-day penalty could very well put them out of business,” she said.

Mishcon said the suspension may be negotiable, if the company is willing to not only clean up its act, but reimburse the city for the cost of the undercover investigation. Mishcon estimated the cost to be well above $20,000.

Howard said that may be an option.

”We have a meeting on Monday, and are hoping that once we sit down, a settlement will be reached,” she said.

Mishcon said the city may be amenable, since adult entertainment is permitted in northwestern North Miami Beach, where the club is located.

”Even though this whole thing is disgusting,” he said, “I believe that it is the best resolution for the city.”
 

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