A Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge has ruled in favor of the defendant in one round of a lawsuit over ownership of the parking lot at a well-known Miami-Dade strip club.
Judge Bronwyn C. Miller denied former NFL player Antonio Bryant’s request for an injunction against fellow football alum Charles “Chuck” Sanders, his organization The Rock Entertainment, and corporate defendant DDT North, who are seeking possession of the parking lot outside G5ive Gentleman’s Club in North Miami Beach.
Bryant, who was born in Miami, resides in the city and was wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2008-2009 season. His opponent in the litigation, Sanders, played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1980s.
The case stems from Bryant’s complaint accusing Sanders of fraud. According to the complaint, Bryant is seeking to have the trial court “enter an order invalidating and voiding the fraudulent deed, transferring ownership of the property back to [Bryant] as the rightful title holder.” The filing also holds that since the property was being held as collateral for a $200,000 loan given to Bryant by Sanders, the defendant did not have “legal title” to sell the property to DDT.
Bryant became G5ive’s principal owner and manager in June 2011. But his suit alleges Sanders forged a 2012 deed to claim ownership of the strip club’s parking lot. Then, according to Bryant, Sanders used the doctored document to sell the property to DDT in February 2018. DDT also owns two lots on either side of the club’s parking area.
Bryant contended that the loss of the parking lot has cost G5ive lost revenue and profits.
Sanders responded to the charges with a motion to dismiss on several grounds, including an assertion that Bryant allegedly failed to state a cause of action for tortious interference with a business relationship. He also filed a 249-page motion for sanctions against Bryant, accusing the former Buccaneer of filing his claims of forgery in bad faith. He claimed Bryant’s submitted verification of Sanders’ alleged forgery was itself fraudulent, giving rise to allegations of perjury.
On Aug. 2, Miller ruled against Bryant, denying his motion for an injunction. Instead, the judge held that there was insufficient evidence to suggest DDT was anything but a legitimate buyer, unaware of any possible fraud.
“Without demonstrating that DTT was either on notice, or was not a bona fide purchaser for value, petitioners have not proved a clear legal right, or a likelihood of success on the merits, as required for issuance of an injunction,” the order read.
Miller also noted Bryant’s testimony that he had arranged for alternative parking options for G5ive customers with nearby property owners and found Bryant had failed to provide evidence to the court that DTT’s ownership of the lot had adversely affected the club’s operation.
“As the business is established and business losses can be calculated, and the lack of parking has caused inconvenience but does not require the strip club to close, petitioners have failed to demonstrate an inadequate remedy at law or irreparable harm,” Miller wrote.
DTT’s attorney, Barbara J. Riesberg of RiesbergLaw in Miami, declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.
Sanders’ counsel, Michael D. Ehrenstein and Brett Sager, partners at Ehrenstein|Sager in Miami, anticipates more legal wrangling ahead. But according to Sager, his side feels “vindicated by the court’s order.”
“Based on the court’s references to DTT as a bona fide purchase, we don’t predict that Bryant … will receive this property back,” Sager said. “We look forward to asserting our own authoritative claims going forward.”
Bryant’s counsel, Noel F. Johnson of Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith in Coral Gables, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Read the ruling: