Three months after it opened with bubbly and limos, the city of Opa-locka has shut down a flashy strip joint that gets its name from offering up nude dancers and booze literally around-the-clock.
Police and code enforcement officers shuttered Klub 24 on Friday after the City Commission recently voted to close the adult entertainment venue, arguing it does not have a proper zoning license and other required permits.
Klub 24 "is ordered to cease and desist all operations until a business license is properly obtained," read the city's order posted on the lounge's gold-colored front door.
In late March, three commissioners made the move to have the city manager close the cabaret, located in a renovated warehouse once occupied by Crabby’s restaurant on Opa-locka Boulevard. They pushed to have the manager revoke the lounge's temporary certificate of occupancy because the city attorney advised the commission that it was operating illegally.
The lounge, complete with leopard-skin bar chairs, chrome stripper poles and flat screen TVs, has become the latest controversy in the troubled city — praised as a bit of economic progress by some but condemned by others offended by its X-rated entertainment.
Longtime community activist Natasha Ervin rejoiced over the club's closure. "Our city is no longer for sale!" she said. "The proof is in the Klub."
City Manager Ed Brown sparred so much with the three commissioners — Matthew Pigatt, Joseph Kelley and Timothy Holmes — over his authority to close the adult entertainment business that they prevailed in firing the manager on Wednesday. Mayor Myra Taylor and John Riley supported keeping the club open and Brown in his job.
The city manager insisted that he did not have the authority to shut down Klub 24 after it had received its zoning license and other permits from Opa-locka officials over the past year. He went so far as to say the city’s code “does permit nudity” — completely contradicting the city attorney’s opinion that a strip club is not allowed without an exemption from the commission and planning council.
City Attorney Vincent Brown concluded Opa-locka’s issuance of a prior zoning permit to Klub 24 was “in error” and that the adult venue was "illegal." He declared the commission and planning council needed to approve the operation before it could open. That had not happened before Klub 24 opened in mid-January.
Klub 24, which underwent a $1.5 million renovation by the Booby Trap chain of strip clubs, was going through a “due process” review before interim city manager, Newall Daughtrey, revoked its operating license.
The club's lawyer, Raven Liberty, criticized the city's action as "drastic" — "without proper notice or any due process."
"This is especially frustrating because we wanted to resolve any pending issues amicably and met with city officials for that specific purpose," Liberty said in a statement. "Based on this surprising development, it does not appear that the city was acting in good faith. Klub 24 has at all times proceeded legally and [has] the utmost faith this matter will be resolved expeditiously. Rest assured Klub 24 will be reopened for operation."