Ten Seconds to Eternity | Tailpipe | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Ten Seconds to Eternity

Page 3 of 4

Some law enforcement folks do too. In Pasadena, for example, a California city that's a lot closer in size to West Palm Beach than Los Angeles is, Chief Bernard Melekian has enjoyed years of effective control of gangs, and he hates gang injunctions.

"They're short-term solutions. A band aid... I don't believe in them," says the chief, even after gang violence flared up in his town recently after years of record low levels. But he admits that they're popular with politicians.

"It's become the rage now that gang violence is flaring up again," he says. But even if an injunction allows West Palm police to round up all 40 named gang members, "You just create 40 opportunities for promotion" in the gang, Melekian says.

West Palm Beach police Capt. Daniel Sargent says he's aware of the criticisms of gang injunctions, like making it illegal for family members to be seen together in public. And he says that, with only 40 problem gang members in the Ace Click gang that they're looking at, the department should be able to avoid some of the pitfalls. West Palm's is a small problem that he doesn't want to grow into a big problem. "We don't have any national gangs operating in our city, knock on wood," Sargent says. "Some L.A. gangs have actually reached Miami. We don't want them to come up here."

And, Tailpipe has to admit, Sargent sounds like the kind of guy who has his eyes wide open about the problems police face in West Palm.

But should South Florida cities really be taking after the town with the worst gang problem in the nation?

An old friend, Malcolm Klein, a retired USC professor who is renowned for his expertise on gangs, was doubtful. When the 'Pipe told him what was happening here, he said, "Anyone in South Florida who thinks that injunctions are going to solve gang problems is whistling 'Dixie. '"

Nikki's Bust

You've heard of the six degrees of separation? Well, in South Florida, we've got two or three degrees. All roads lead to... Dan Marino, who, when it comes to pitching and schmoozing, makes Donald Trump look like the corner deli man.

Check this out. NFL Hall of Famer Marino and hip-hop star Kanye West hosted Beach Bowl Weekend at the Miami beach club/restaurant/nightclub Nikki Beach as part of the Super Bowl XLI festivities. It was supposed to be the kind of high-glam, weekend-long event that celebs and rich football fans would hunger to attend. Invited celebrities included Ludacris, Nelly, and Jermaine Dupree, with wannabe plutocrats shelling out $750 a ticket for evening events and $200 for daytime barbecues.

When the party was over, the hosts were supposed to settle up with the management. But the little black tray came back to the cash register $628,000 short.

Brothers Jack and Lucia Penrod, Nikki's owners, are understandably steamed.

According to court docs, filed two weeks ago in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, the sponsors of the event were the retired Dolphins' former agent and longtime business manager, Ralph Stringer, and sports marketer David Samuels, who has brokered deals that put Marino's face on boxes of Nabisco Wheat Thins and in commercials for Kraft Cheese. Also named as a defendant is mattress magnate and Marino pal Michael Fux, a backer of the affair. None of them could be reached for comment.

The Penrods claim that they gave the party sponsors the discounted rate of $956,000, because they guaranteed that 2,500 people would attend. It's unclear how many people did show up — one of the things the Penrod brothers asked a judge to order is a full accounting on attendance and door receipts — but apparently it wasn't enough to cover expenses.

Stringer and Samuels did pay a required $200,000 deposit in four installments but asked the Penrods for an extension a few days before the first event on February 2, because, they said, they'd "had difficulties selling event tickets." The Penrods agreed but only on the condition that they got half of the cash made at the door on both days at the end of the night. On the Monday after the Colts beat the Bears, Marino's crew gave the Penrods $78,696. Then the bucks stopped.

All of this leaves Tailpipe in a state of anxiety. So it's come to that, has it? Is Marino (who is not named as a defendant) so overexposed that he can't even draw a respectable crowd of celebrity-hound Super Bowl fans?

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.

Latest Stories