The Sex Empire Strikes Back

Adult businesses in Broward put the heat on the heat by investigating local vice cops, but their evidence is slim

VanMoor says he's going after Margolis "because he's the biggest liar of them all. Daughenbaugh is next, and maybe more," he claims. VanMoor sees Margolis as being at the heart of a great law-enforcement conspiracy against him. He accuses the detective of destroying evidence, lying about evidence, and attempting to have him evicted from his home, among otherthings.

According to the NAAB, the only difference between VanMoor and countless other adult-business owners is that he has the nerve -- and the money -- to fight back. "This vice unit is used to operating by using a certain methodology," claims Kay, "and that methodology is to pressure adult-business owners out of business."

In the case of Margolis, however, the NAAB seems to be guilty of using its own questionable methods -- namely premature character assassination. The group's charges against Margolis are spotty atbest.

For instance, the NAAB's allegation that Margolis never worked for the Montgomery County Fire Department as he claimed on job applications is technically true -- but also misleading. A countywide fire department does not exist in Montgomery County. Margolis did, however, work in the '60s and '70s for a fire department in Kensington, Maryland, according to officials there. His paychecks came from the county government.

Another accusation levied by the NAAB is that Margolis perjured himself in a 1998 civil deposition by claiming that he held a college degree from the University of Maryland. Margolis testified that he had a "degree in fire engineering" from the University of Maryland. When pressed on the matter during a later deposition taken by the State Attorney's Office, Margolis acknowledged that he never received a degree from the University. In the deposition Margolis claims it was an honest mistake caused by the stress of the testimony. "I was… I was very agitated while I gave that deposition," he told the State Attorney's Office earlier thisyear.

Broward County assistant state attorney John Hanlon examined all of the perjury evidence compiled by VanMoor and the NAAB earlier this year -- a several-inch-thick, fuchsia-colored tome -- and concluded that no charge would be pressed. Hanlon concluded that "the discrepancies as pointed out by defense counsel are either not material to the issues in dispute, are not clearly false, are not perjurious, are mere expressions of opinion and/or typographical errors." A grand jury in Broward County is now examining the allegations.

Other accusations made by the NAAB, whether true or not, are just plain petty. The NAAB, for example, claims that Margolis was merely a busboy, or perhaps a host, when he worked at the Flaming Pit Restaurant in Pompano Beach 20 years ago rather than the assistant manager that his job applications advertised. The group also accuses Margolis of lying on job applications because he sometimes gives two different reasons for leaving a previousjob.

(Margolis, Sergeant Daughenbaugh, and internal affairs investigator Wigand all said they could not comment for this article, citing ongoing investigations.)

Kay is not deterred by discrepancies between his depiction of the allegations against Margolis and the facts -- and he clings to his belief that the vice squad is a threat to society. "We don't have a problem with them doing their jobs," Kay says unconvincingly, "but we're gonna make sure they're doing their jobs right. We're gonna let them know that we can investigate themtoo."

Contact Paul Demko at his e-mail address: Paul_Demko@newtimesbpb.com

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