Club Madonna Reopens After Agreement With City of Miami Beach

Club must meet numerous conditions, including adopting measures to guard against human trafficking

Club Madonna reopened Monday after Miami Beach’s city manager issued a stay on his order revoking its business license.

Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy L. Morales pulled the club’s license Jan. 10 after authorities said earlier this month that three people had been arrested on human trafficking charges after they forced a 13-year-old runaway girl to dance at the all-nude strip club. A fourth person was later arrested in the case.

Now, Club Madonna and the city have agreed that the establishment will develop and implement a compliance program to prevent such situations from occurring, Morales wrote in his new order Monday.

"We didn't believe that the club should have been shut down to begin with,” said Club Madonna’s lead attorney, Daniel Aaronson, Monday night.

He said the club has already met one of Morales’ conditions – hiring a compliance officer.

Aaronson said “that he is going to seminars and he is going to be learning from Homeland Security and everything that’s necessary to make sure that there's no human trafficking, no underaged performers.”

Morales said he agreed to stay his revocation order if the club met numerous conditions. Among them, it must not employ, hire, contract or allow to perform nude dancers or performers who are escorted by someone else that speaks for them or takes money on their behalf, or are escorted by anyone who appears to have control over them.

The club must also “adopt measures to guard against and combat human trafficking and the exploitation of minors, including training for managers and other workers at Club Madonna to recognize, report and rescue victims of such conduct,” Morales wrote.

In addition, the club must put in place a procedure to ensure that its performers or workers are at least 18 years old, and is being forced to perform of their own accord.

When the city manager revoked the business license, he cited the gravity of the allegations and the owner’s admission that he did not know about the illegal activity, saying the activity posed a threat to public health, welfare and safety.

There was a threat in particular to minors and their families, Morales wrote Monday.

Club Madonna had filed a lawsuit four days after its license was revoked, seeking an immediate injunction to get the strip club reopened, as well as monetary damages based on its out-of-pocket losses.

Aaronson said the business already fulfills many of the requirements imposed by the city.

But it is implementing a system of new checks and balances in which one person will be in charge of identifying the dancers, he said.

"No dancer will be allowed on the premises without first having a file that has her IDs in it, a picture ID, federal or state issued ID,” Aaronson said. “And then when she shows up on an individual day, she must show that same ID.”

Criminal and civil investigations remain ongoing, Morales said.

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