According to Florida Today, within the past two years, the theater has had 40 patrons arrested and three convicted of violating county adult entertainment law, which prohibits sex acts on the premises.
Following six raids over the course of the last year, city officials instituted a 30-day suspension of the theater starting Tuesday, but because of a technical glitch in the suspension letter – the failure to mention how the owners of the theater could fight the suspension – a judge lifted the suspension until further notice.
The theater’s owner, Patrick Barbary, believes strongly that the theater's customers should be penalized for breaking the law, not him. Barbary has posted signs in the theater informing patrons it is illegal to engage in sexual activity.
"It is very difficult to expect the owner to monitor what clients are doing in the movie theater,” said Barbary’s attorney, who plans to challenge the suspension within the coming weeks.
However, if the Showboat is unable to get the suspension completely overturned by a special magistrate, it could spell the end of its more than 25 years in business.
Typically, after an initial 30-day suspension, if more violations occur within two years, the theater could be shut down for 90 days, and if violations continue after that, it is shut for 180 days, and then permanently.
The three patrons who were convicted were each jailed on a $500 bond.