Late Breaking News...
  Lord’s Knightclub Busted!!!

Dateline Fort Lauderdale... Nine people were arrested on Friday, February 11, 2000, at the gay dance club Lord’s  ‘Knightclub’, which advertised only last week in HotSpots! that they were adding ‘chicken’ to their ‘beef’. “Young Dancers,” their ad read, “Wanted.”  Apparently, law enforcement thought so too.

The club, located at 4200 North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale had only opened in December of 1999, in the same location where Moby Dick’s and Russell’s had failed.  On Friday, six male dancers, two patrons, and one bartender were hauled off in handcuffs and booked into the Broward County jail on charges of indecent exposure, lewd and lascivious acts, and serving alcohol to minors.

The customers were charged with fondling and masturbating dancers, the bartender with serving a minor, and the dancers with committing lewd acts.  If history is a pattern, like 825 and the Haymarket before it, the club faces charges against its liquor license for allowing a series of illegal acts to occur within its doors. The state agency responsible for supervising alcoholic beverage licenses is the Department of Alcohol, Beverage, and Tobacco.

While nominal fines are generally imposed for first time violators who serve alcohol to minors, more serious sanctions can be imposed for knowingly allowing illegal activity. In most undercover operations, police observe thealleged  illegal activity for a number of weeks before actually conducting a raid.

The undercover officers apparently entered Lord’s Knightclub after witnessing illegal activities occurring in their presence.  Fort Lauderdale has an extremely strict law that bars dancers from touching customers, exposing themselves, specified sexual areas, or coming into contact with patrons.  Additionally, all dancing must be on a specially constructed stage set aside for that purpose, with dimensional requirements to prevent direct contact with patrons.

Upon raiding the bar, police ordered the music shut off, the lights raised, and had all the dancers line up on stage. All but two of the patrons were asked to leave. 

The officers advised the owner, Skylar McGee that his dancers were breaking the law.  He reportedly stated that : “We are running a cleaner show than most clubs.  A lot of our dancers just did not know all the rules.  This seems wholly unfair.” Police officials scoffed at the remark. : “This is a licensed alcoholic beverage establishment and the rules are well known to them as they have been to others.  Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

Male strip clubs in Fort Lauderdale have been met with strong opposition from the gay community and law enforcement.  In June of 1999, the Haymarket on Federal Highway was raided and shut down permanently, with a score of arrests that included drug dealing.  Before that, the once popular 825 on  East Sunrise Blvd. was raided and charged with health code violations, fire violations, and numerous illegal acts by dancers.  Its owner, Ed Cosman, was convicted of allowing lewd activity on the premises, and ordered to pay a fine.  The club never reopened. In both instances, various  gay leaders of local civic associations supported the law enforcement activity.

“We have not had any problems at Lord’s with our neighbors,” Skylar reportedly told the police.  But law enforcement officials pointed out that Lord’s borders residential properties and would have to follow the law, “just like any straight club. They just flaunted the law. ” Officers involved in the raid in fact pointed out that neighbors had complained frequently about loud music and noises at the club.

As the Express went to press,   names  of the arrestees were unavailable.  The club, however, was not shut down by Alcohol, Beverage and Tobacco agents.  After the raid, it remained open as customers gathered at the piano bar, comisserating together about the law enforcement activity.  “It was scary, scary, scary,” said one patron, who refused to be identified. “We came to watch young men strip, not be strip-searched,” he joked. 

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