It's been a long week for Booby Trap's strip-club chain.
Friday night, Miami-Dade police raided Booby Trap's nude-bar venue near Doral and arrested dancers and employees suspected of dealing cocaine and marijuana to undercover investigators for more than a year.
Thursday morning, a judge refused to let Booby Trap reopen its new adult-entertainment lounge, Klub 24 in Opa-locka, which was shut down after city officials deemed it was operating illegally without proper permits.
The police raid at the popular Booby Trap and LaBare strip clubs featuring female and male dancers came as a surprise. The judge's ruling on Klub 24's fate was expected after Booby Trap's lawyer dashed to court to undo the city's closure of the X-rated lounge earlier this month.
An Opa-locka politician who has led the charge against Klub 24 since it opened in mid-January said the judge's ruling bolstered the city's stand to shutter the gentlemen's club, which gets its name from offering up nude dancers and booze literally around-the-clock..
"This decision weighs heavily on me because it's unfortunate that people lost their jobs and the business lost money, but we have to follow the rules and regulations of this city," said Opa-locka Commissioner Matthew Pigatt.
Pigatt called the city's Miami-Dade court victory "a new day in Opa-locka."
Klub 24's lawyer, Raven Liberty, tried to persuade Circuit Judge Reemberto Diaz that its owner, Booby Trap, obtained the proper zoning, building and occupancy licenses to open the adult-entertainment lounge in a renovated warehouse once occupied by Crabby's restaurant. She also said city officials wrongly shut it down without a full "due-process" review and appeal.
But Opa-locka's city attorney, Vincent Brown, countered those licenses were not properly issued and that the strip club was not allowed in the industrial zone without exemptions from the City Commission and Planning Council. Booby Trap's operators never obtained them, he said.
Diaz, the judge, sided with the city, setting the stage for a likely lawsuit seeking damages to be filed by Booby Trap's owners. Klub 24 sank $1.5 million into the renovation of the warehouse space on Opa-locka Boulevard after obtaining permits from the city last year.
Police and code enforcement officers shuttered Klub 24 in mid-April after the City Commission voted 3-2 to close the adult-entertainment venue. When City Manager Ed Brown refused to follow the commission's order, saying he did not have the authority to shut it down, the same majority fired him.
His interim replacement as city manager, Newall Daughtrey, then signed off on the club's closure, leading to the legal fight with Booby Trap.
Klub 24 "is ordered to cease and desist all operations until a business license is properly obtained," read the city's order posted April 13 on the lounge's gold-colored front door. The city's closure notice also accused its operators of obtaining an occupancy license by "misrepresentation of material facts."
In a recent interview with the Miami Herald, the club's lawyer said "there were no misrepresentations."
"What do they mean by that?" Liberty asked, adding that she could not get an answer from the city attorney.