King of Diamonds loses its throne

Court-appointed receiver evicts strip club from its longtime home in Miami Gardens for not paying more than $305k in rent

Nov.November 08, 2018 05:00 PM

Photo inside King of Diamonds (Credit: Getty Images)

King of Diamonds has vacated its castle near Miami Gardens.

The strip club — once a famous hangout for hip-hop stars, NFL athletes and undefeated boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. — was evicted last week from the 60,622-square-foot converted warehouse at 17800 State Road 9 that King of Diamonds has called home since it opened a decade ago. The strip club only occupied a little more than half the building.

John Arrastia, a partner with Genovese Joblove and Battista who represents the receiver appointed to oversee the King of Diamonds commercial space, said life safety code violations and nonpayment of rent doomed the strip club. “The owners and tenants weren’t taking care of the property,” Arrastia said. “They basically let it go. They certainly didn’t comply with any of the court orders to maintain the property and that was it.”

King of Diamonds, which is owned by AK “N” Eli LLC, has been shuttered since Oct. 4 when Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Peter Lopez ordered it closed because of life safety issues. For instance, fire sprinklers had been covered up with drop ceilings in some areas and railings on the second floor were defective, Arrastia said.

Meanwhile, receiver Kenneth A. Welt had filed an eviction lawsuit against AK “N” Eli in July because the strip club allegedly failed to make its monthly rent payment of $85,000 plus $40,000 in profit participation, per its lease agreement. Arrastia said AK “N” Eli claimed it was only supposed to pay $10,000 a month in rent. “We had another evidentiary hearing that did not go well for them,” he said.

On October 18, Lopez ordered King of Diamonds to pay the receiver by the end of the month a lump sum of $305,000, plus additional payments of $85,000 the first of every month thereafter. AK “N” Eli LLC failed to comply and Lopez granted Welt’s request for a default judgment.

“We filed a motion for court to determine what the rent is and my client choose not to pay it for whatever reason,” said Douglas Stratton, the attorney for AK “N” Eli.

On Monday, the receiver took possession of the strip club space. “It was a hollow shell,” Arrastia said. “All that was left was cleaning supplies, the ATM machines and some desks.”

Lopez appointed Welt as receiver in June as a result of a long-running legal battle between King of Diamonds’ previous landlord, Kodrenyc, LLC and its lender. In 2017, 17800 State Road 9 Lender LLC sued Kodrenyc for foreclosure.  The landlord allegedly defaulted on a $5.3 million mortgage after missing monthly payments.

Before it fell on hard times, King of Diamonds held the crown for most popular strip club catering to a predominantly black clientele. Lil Wayne, Drake and Meek Mill are among a cadre of celebrity rappers who name-dropped King of Diamonds in songs over the last 10 years. In 2013, at the height of King of Diamonds’ popularity, Mayweather spent $100,000 on lap dances in just one night.

Arrastia said Kodrenyc is exploring its options as to what to do with the warehouse. “It is a big, valuable piece of real estate,” he said.

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