Wynwood bar owners claim police persecution

Villa 221

Bar owners in Miami’s booming Wynwood neighborhood say recent busts show the police are in league with downtown club owners to temper the popularity of the arty enclave, the Miami New Times reported.

Notorious for its all-night parties, at least a dozen bar owners or employees in Wynwood have been arrested since February for serving alcohol past the legal last call of 3 a.m., some during a police raid called Operation Dry Hour, the New Times reported.

“This whole operation isn’t about safety; it’s about pursuing certain clubs,” Aaron Goldstein, whose club, Villa 221, was shut down by police, told New Times.

There could be weight behind those words: Downtown club owners have paid $500,000 in bribes to off-duty officers for security in the past two years, the paper said.

Wynwood has become one of Miami’s hippest haunts since South Beach developer Tony Goldman started buying up empty warehouses and paying for artists’ housing nearly a decade ago, as The Real Deal reported in 2010. [Miami New Times]Emily Schmall

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