Fifty Shades of Pompano? Posters of “scantily clad” men in leather creates disturbance at Plaza at Oceanside

At issue is the pending arrival of Leather and Beyond Boutique

Plaza at Oceanside (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Plaza at Oceanside (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Images of buff men in provocative leather attire are apparently too much to handle for residents of a Pompano Beach condominium near the ocean, according to a recently filed lawsuit.

The Plaza at Oceanside Property Owners Association last month sued Pompano Oceanside Investments in Broward County Circuit Court over seven provocative posters displayed on the windows of the building’s ground floor commercial unit that announce the pending arrival of Leather and Beyond Boutique.

The posters depict “men wearing scantily clad leather clothing of a sexually suggestive nature” and were put up without the association’s permission, the group alleges. The association is demanding a judge force Pompano Oceanside Investments, the commercial unit’s owner, to take down the posters and pay close to $30,000 in fines the company has been accruing since the end of August, plus attorney fees.

Alex Alonso, the association’s attorney, and Ori Tal, a Cocoa Beach-based commercial real estate investor who owns Pompano Oceanside, did not immediately return phone messages requesting comment. Plaza at Oceanside is a 186-unit residential building that was completed in 2009 at 1 North Ocean Boulevard in Pompano Beach.

According to the suit, the association notified Tal on Aug. 27 that the posters had to come down due to the content and because he had not sought approval from the condo’s board. “Children reside in some of the units and frequently pass by the defendant’s commercial unit,” the lawsuit claims. Furthermore, Tal informed the association that Leather and Beyond Boutique was a leather goods retailer and not a sexual attire store.

Pompano Oceanside and Tal did not remove the posters, so a month later the association sent him letters that stated he would was being fined $100 a day beginning on Aug. 31. He was also requested to appear before the Plaza at Oceanside’s grievance committee on Oct. 9. Tal did not show, the lawsuit alleges.

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“Still the defendant has refused to remove the posters,” the complaint states. “The continued display of these posters serves no business purpose.”

Leather and Beyond also ran into trouble with the city of Pompano Beach, according to documents attached to the lawsuit. On Nov. 28, special magistrate Eugene Steinfeld revoked its zoning use certificate after determining Leather and Beyond’s owner (who is not identified in the lawsuit or other documents) made misrepresentations on the store’s business tax receipt application.

Steinfeld’s order states that Leather and Beyond listed retail clothing as its primary business activity, yet city officials believed that “gruesome masks with leather suits and suggestive skimpy leather items are not clothes, but items used for masochism, bondage and sexual activity.”

David Recor, Pompano Beach’s director of development services, testified that the items are prohibited from being sold in the Plaza at Oceanside’s commercial unit.

“Based on the facts herein and my 68-and-a-half years on this earth, I would, after viewing the graphic exhibits, agree with the city’s position,” Steinfeld wrote. “While the word clothes generally describes apparel or items worn on an individual, it is certainly inaccurate and unsatisfactory to describe hideous masks with blades hanging from them with tight leather collars and chains as such.”

Laura Hanrahan contributed reporting.