Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

This city manager was fired for protecting an illegal strip club

Ed Brown, the Opa-locka city manager who was fired on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Ed Brown, the Opa-locka city manager who was fired on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. Miami Herald File Photo

Getting fired as a city manager is an occupational hazard when your bosses are politicians.

But perhaps no city manager in South Florida has lost his job for protecting a strip club that was operating illegally.

It happened Wednesday to Opa-locka City Manager Ed Brown, when he got the ax for refusing to revoke the occupational license of Klub 24, the all-hours nudie lounge that opened in January after obtaining zoning and other permits by mistake.

The city attorney said the cabaret was an illegal business in Opa-locka and advised the five-member commission to have Brown shut it down. Brown, who was hired last July in the tumultuous aftermath of another Opa-locka manager going to prison, said the city would be sued by the Klub 24 operators. The lounge is owned by Booby Trap, which runs a chain of flashy strip clubs in South Florida.

On Wednesday, the same three commissioners who ordered him to close the club — Matthew Pigatt, Timothy Holmes and Joseph Kelley — moved to fire Brown from his $115,000-a-year job. The two commissioners who supported Brown to keep the club open — Mayor Myra Taylor and John Riley — wanted him to stay on the job as manager.

The three commissioners who ousted Brown said he not only bungled the Klub 24 matter, but he had accomplished nothing and was insubordinate as the city manager.

His interim replacement will be a familiar face in Opa-locka government: Newall Daughtrey, a former city manager.

Meanwhile, the long-running FBI public corruption investigation into Opa-locka is heating up.

Over the past two years, a former commissioner, city manager, public works official and the mayor’s son have pleaded guilty to bribery charges, and last week federal prosecutors charged a towing contractor and his son with paying kickbacks. More charges are expected against other targets.