Is Club Cinema a Public Nuisance? Court Hearing Tomorrow
There's a hurricane of bass pounding inside Club Cinema, which, close to midnight on a recent weekend, is a sweaty blender of 2,500 teens dancing as Canadian producer Exicison's set hits lift off. Green lasers stab through the dark in the Pompano Beach club. Shirtless kids grind against girls tricked out in bikinis, furry boots, and beaded facemasks. Glow sticks fly through the air.
Photo by Alex Markow
While the sold-out Saturday-night crowd shakes the walls, Sam Frontera, the guy calling the shots at the club, is holed up in a back kitchen area, tightly wound and waiting for something to pop off.
Then comes word that a security guard upfront is holding up the line at the door.
"He's holding up my fucking money!" Frontera shouts as he bolts from the backroom. The skinny, middle-aged guy with long hair pulled back behind a baseball hat hustles past an employee counting out stacks of $20s on the counter, through the tangle of sweaty teens, to the front door.
There, he gets in the face of the guard, yells, then disappears again. Across Club Cinema's parking lot, anyone can clearly spot the true source of Frontera's agitation: two unmarked Broward Sheriff Office vehicles, just waiting.
For the past year, Frontera's club has been in the hot seat with the City of Pompano Beach and BSO. Citing the rowdy EDM shows featured at the club, the city claims Club Cinema is a loud public nuisance where kids go to recklessly down drugs like MDMA and indulge in other illegal behaviors.
But Frontera, a former cocaine smuggler who did five years in federal prison in the '90s, argues that both he and the club are just easy targets. He says he runs a legitimate business where teens come to do what teens do. The problems have been exaggerated. He's been vilified.
"They think I'm going to take over city hall -- the drug kingpin will take over city hall," he says. "Maybe the drug kingpin needs to take over city hall so they can function and make some money."
Frontera gets his day in court Wednesday, when a Broward judge is expected to rule on whether the club is a public nuisance and also whether BSO can enter the property without warrants.