City of Miami Seeks to Shutter CocoDorm

JC Adams,
MIAMI — An Aug. 13 article in the “Miami Herald” recently summarized a yearlong attempt by the City of Miami’s Code Enforcement Board to evict performers who are living and working in a home in the city’s Edgewater neighborhood.

CocoDorm has filed a countersuit in federal court alleging First Amendment violations.

The Code Enforcement Board ruled last year that CocoDorm was illegally operating an adult business in a residential district. Miami promptly ordered a closure. Adult businesses within city limits are restricted to industrial areas and require specific approval to operate.

CocoDorm’s subsequent federal lawsuit argues several points: the actual residence is not open to the public and order fulfillment is accomplished at a separate location. These facts, CocoDorm argues, disqualify the residence’s classification as an adult business.

They additionally cite a 2001 appeals court ruling in Tampa that allowed to remain in operation.

“Like Miami, Tampa tried to use its adult-business zoning laws to shut down a webcam-filled house, in this case occupied by women,” the newspaper wrote. “But the appeals court, ruling in the website’s favor, found that VoyeurDorm’s customers weren’t gathering at the Tampa home — or anywhere else in Tampa.”

A jury trial had been set for December. However, CocoDorm’s legal team filed legal documents on Thursday, Aug. 14 asking for a summary judgment in their favor.

FlavaWorks owner Phillip Bleicher expressed puzzlement over the newspaper account.

“Why the ‘Miami Herald’ ran the story now makes no sense,” he told XBIZ. “After all, we’ve just filed for a summary judgment, which we are expected to win, and then the case [will be] settled in CocoDorm’s favor.”

He said Miami has been unsuccessful in closing CocoDorm, “and when we win our judgment as we’re expecting, there will be nothing left for them to do.

“Plus, all of this media attention to the CocoDorm has been great for the site,” Bleicher added. “ Membership is way up and we’re receiving far more applications from [men] wanting to be models.”