Arrests at concert spur Wellington to consider new nightclub ordinance


A raucous concert where a handful of people were arrested is prompting village officials to consider new rules for nightclubs.

Two juveniles and three adults were arrested on six charges in the Suri West parking lot in Wellington during an Aug. 24 concert headlined by rapper GlokkNine, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office confirmed. Five guns and a stolen car were confiscated, and deputies recovered crack cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

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The concert was one of a series of special events, including banquets, put on by groups that have rented Suri West since the restaurant closed for the summer, owner Maureen Pata said. She didn’t know about the arrests at the concert until the next day, when PBSO contacted her.

“We had no problems as far as any of the kids inside,” she said. The venue had several security officers and all concertgoers were scanned with a magnetic wand. Some also were patted down, she said.

In the wake of the arrests, Village Manager Paul Schofield met to discuss possible solutions with PBSO District 8 Capt. Rolando Silva, Chief of Law Enforcement Frank DeMario and Department of Uniform Operations Col. Antonio Araujo. They recommended a possible ordinance, Schofield said, and provided a copy of Palm Beach County’s nightclubs rules which were adopted in 2008.

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“Basically, it requires having security at these events and has to be sworn law enforcement officers, not somebody you pay could could look the other way,” Schofield said. The idea behind the ordinance would be to provide better security for events “without having to become really overt with police presence,” he said.

The county’s ordinance also provides a definition of “nightclub.” It might include charging a cover or door charge, having a minimum drink count, offering a dance floor along with live entertainment, and being open between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. Pata said Suri West did not serve alcohol during the Aug. 24 concert.

The ordinance will need two hearings before the Village Council, Schofield said. The first hearing is likely to happen in late October, after the council approves the coming year’s budget this month.

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Schofield feels the rules are a “reasonable” request from PBSO. “It’s not our intention that people who are running businesses and doing it well feel like we’re doing things to undermine their businesses,” he said.

Pata said she would support the ordinance. “That would be wonderful. We had done that in the past,” she said, referring to previous concerts where Suri West hired off-duty PBSO deputies for security.

The goal of having popular acts perform during the off-season is to “give the local kids something to look forward to” in a safe environment, Pata said. An upcoming concert has been canceled until the best way to increase safety is determined, she added.

Suri West is allowed to have indoor concerts, Planning, Zoning and Building Director Bob Basehart. If the venue wanted to have an event outdoors, it would need to apply for a special-use permit.



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