Club Madonna in Miami Beach could face shutdown again, this time for not paying resort taxes the city says its owed.
The fully-nude strip joint was forced to close its doors earlier this month after police said a 13-year old danced there. The clubs owner and the city came to an agreement Monday to reopen, as long as a series of conditions were met -- such as hiring a chief compliance officer who would check dancers IDs.
But on the same day Madonna reopened, City Manager Jimmy Morales wrote to club owner Leroy Griffith that the business had violated city code by failing to pay resort taxes. Unlike most cities, Miami Beach collects its own tourism taxes.
In the case of Club Madonna, the city argues that the clubs sale of beverages triggers the need to pay resort taxes. The venue is only allowed to sell non-alcoholic drinks because Miami Beachs laws prohibit the sale of alcohol at fully-nude establishments -- a point of contention between city leaders and Griffith, who has sued the city multiple times to try to overturn the ban.
Morales told the Miami Herald the club doesnt appear to have ever paid the tax.
Richard Wolfe, an attorney for Club Madonna, said thats because Madonna doesnt have to.
I can only say its ridiculous and it shows how punitive the city is acting. Resort taxes only have to be paid by restaurants. We have a written opinion letter from the city confirming that Club Madonna is not a restaurant and its not liable to pay the taxes, Wolfe said.
Wolfe could not immediately produce the letter, saying he was working on digging it up.
According to the city managers letter, Miami Beach cant determine how much its owed because the Department of Revenue wont disclose tax information to non-authorized parties.
As a result, the city has asked for an accounting of all revenue generated by beverage sales from 2011- 2013, written consent to view state tax records and the remittance of all resort taxes deemed owed to the city, according to Morales letter.
The city originally gave Club Madonna until Friday to correct the issues, but has extended the deadline by two weeks, Morales said.
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