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North Miami Beach councilman: Black Diamonds strip club staying open too late

New North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis Sr.takes the oath of office from Mayor George Vallejo.
New North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis Sr.takes the oath of office from Mayor George Vallejo.

A North Miami Beach council member says a strip club that recently asked to stay open later is already operating past its legal closing time without city approval.

Councilman Anthony DeFillipo said Black Diamonds is advertising that it’s open until 6 a.m. even though city rules require it to close at 4 a.m. He also pointed to at least one case in which police responded to a disturbance at the club at 4:30 a.m.

But Benedict Kuehne, an attorney for the club, said the club closes at 4 a.m., and any contrary advertising is an unintentional mistake. The 4:30 a.m. incident took place in the club’s parking lot after closing, he added.

The club recently withdrew a request to stay open later.

"They clearly, in my vision have no respect for their customers, our city and our laws," Councilman Anthony DeFillipo said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. "What would it take, to revoke their extended hours business tax receipt?"

City Attorney Darcee Siegel said the council had the right to revoke the license of any business as long as it was found to be operating in manner harmful to public health and safety or violated any ordinances.

"Bottom line, you need to have a full hearing. It has to be noticed, has to be advertised,” said Siegel.

City Clerk Pamela Latimore said the council could not legally vote on the discussion item.

" I don’t want the public to think that there are no voting items that will come out of this discussion. You can discuss something and make a motion to second it but this can’t be done only because of the notice requirement," she said.

Also on Tuesday, the council chamber was packed with law-enforcement and local officials from all over Miami Dade county who showed up for the swearing in of North Miami Beach’s new police chief, J. Scott Dennis Sr.

Ana Garcia, on the job for three months as North Miami Beach’s city manager, was instrumental in recruiting Dennis.

"I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years and had the pleasure to work with five outstanding municipalities and I am truly honored to reunite with someone I admire very much and had an opportunity to serve with," said Garcia.

In other action on Tuesday, the City Council gave final approval to two ordinances changing the retirement plan for firefighters and police. The amended plans will cut benefits and increase eligibility requirements for accruing benefits. The city says the changes will save taxpayers more than $838,000 in the 2014 budget year.

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