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FlavaWorks Ordered to Shut Down CocoDorm Location

FlavaWorks Ordered to Shut Down CocoDorm Location
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XBIZ 360 - Jan. 14-16, Los Angeles
Wednesday, Aug 15, 2007    Text size: 
MIAMI, Fla. -- Late Monday, gay multimedia company FlavaWorks was ordered by the Miami Code Enforcement Board to cease operation of its online adult business, CocoDorm.com from its current location.

After listening to ten hours of arguments and evidence, the board cited that FlavaWorks was illegally operating the webcam site out of a single-family dwelling located in a residential Miami neighborhood.

CocoDorm. com is an online webcam pay site that offers users live streaming content, live webcam chat, photos, videos and various other adult content. The performers on the site live in a dormitory-style setting and are paid for the services, as well as receiving room-and-board in exchange for employment.

"I think the city has met its burden of showing a link between the house on 27th Street and the website," board member Oscar Rodriguez Fonts said.

Rodriguez Fonts then denied a motion by FlavaWorks Attorney James Benjamin to dismiss citations posted by city code inspectors in May.

Assistant City Attorney Victoria Mendez argued that FlavaWorks owner/president Phillip Bleicher also was running an illegal rooming house, but the violation was dismissed.

Citing a case in which the city of Tampa was unable to close down VoyeurDorm.com, also an online webcam operation, Benjamin argued that all business transactions relating to CocoDorm took place at the FlavaWorks corporate office and not at the web dorm location.

'"No member of the public came to the location to view, buy, trade or obtain any adult entertainment," Benjamin said.

However, his argument was dismissed after Miami's Director of Code Enforcement Mariano Loret de Mola said that he had observed one of the website's performers walk up to the house and use a gate code to allow himself access to the premises.

That incident, combined with differences between adult entertainment laws in Tampa and Miami disallowed Benjamin's arguments, according to Rodriguez Fonts.

Assistant City Attorney Mendez said that the board's decision would not be enforced immediately and that FlavaWorks would be allowed two weeks to "get their business affairs in order."

When contacted by XBIZ, Bleicher declined to be quoted but said that he will not stop operating CocoDorm from its present location, preferring instead to pay fines and pursue the matter in federal court.

He also stated that he had posted an official statement on the CocoDorm site. The statement read:

"Miami is wasting tax dollars to prosecute the legal CocoDorm residence, while drug dealers and prostitutes reign free on the streets of this neighborhood, which is known for it's infamous 'hoe stroll,' but we suppose [TV network] NBC and the city don't care about real problems.

"Customers do not visit the CocoDorm property and neighbors didn't know about CocoDorm (until NBC knocked on their door after they received an anonymous packet mailed by a competitor). What happens inside of CocoDorm is no different than what happens behind the closed door of any other house; people live, interact and have sex. This is our and your 1st Amendment right, and we will fight for these rights.

"By the way, no one from the neighborhood was present at any of the three hearings. In fact we have a petition of neighbors in support of CocoDorm. We will not close the CocoDorm. "

Amidst various allegations in the statement, Bleicher refers to an article posted on Miami's NBC6.net that first called attention to the CocoDorm operation in May.

The cease-and-desist order follows several weeks after the death of FlavaWorks vice president Dekenric Wiley, who passed away from pneumonia complicated by sickle cell anemia.

Prior to relocating to Miami in May 2006, FlavaWorks was the subject of controversy.

In a report issued by the Chicago Department of Health for Winter 2006, the department outlined an investigation into an alleged outbreak of HIV and syphilis at the CocoDorm facility in Chicago.

FlavaWorks attorney Benjamin told XBIZ that the findings of the Chicago report were "skewed" because the individuals profiled in the study that tested positive for STDs were never allowed to work for FlavaWorks or the CocoDorm website.

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