Miami-Dade County

Badge-flash at strip club gets freeloader prosecutor canned

 

aviglucci@MiamiHerald.com

Flashing your prosecutor’s badge to get in free to a strip club? Bad.

Doing it again? Worse.

Lying about it to your prosecutor bosses? Hopeless.

That’s what got Miami-Dade assistant state attorney Ari Pregen fired.

Pregen was dismissed earlier this month after the manager of Goldrush, in Miami’s Park West club district, filed a complaint alleging the young County Court prosecutor had twice used his badge to get in free and “bully” his employees, public records show.

The cheapskate prosecutor also displayed his badge to avoid a posted surcharge on a private dance, said Goldrush manager Jeff Levy.

When state attorney’s supervisors twice confronted Pregen, he denied the allegations, the records show.

But Levy had the goods on Pregen: Security-camera still photos that show the prosecutor displaying his badge to club employees, and numerous witnesses.

Guilty as charged, state attorney higher-ups concluded.

“Because we had proof that Mr. Pregen’s assertions were false and we found his statements not to be credible, Mr. Pregen was terminated,” wrote the office’s senior employment counsel, Lorna Salomon, in a Feb. 8 dismissal memo.

Pregen then wrote an apology letter, but it was too late. The firing was effective immediately.

The incident was first reported in the Justice Building blog.

In his complaint, Levy said he allowed an insistent Pregen in without charge along with two friends about 11:30 p.m. Jan. 26 to avoid a “scene” in front of employees and club patrons. Pregen also became “belligerent” and again flashed his badge when the club tried to collect the 15 percent surcharge for a private dance, Levy complained.

The club manager said he asked Pregen not to return to the club, but the prosecutor again showed up at the door on Feb. 2, demanding to be allowed in free. That’s when he decided to file a complaint, Levy wrote to the state attorney’s office.

Pregen’s prosecutorial career was brief. He was hired March 19, 2012, at a salary of $40,000.08, the state attorney’s office said.

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