May 01, 2014

Newly single Prince Harry parties in Miami


In what was possibly the most carefully, quietly orchestrated visit to Miami outside the Witness Protection Program, a newly single Prince Harry had a night out Wednesday in Miami, supping first at Hakkasan and then partying in a skybox at LIV. The party hearty prince arrived at the restaurant at 9:25 in a signature plaid shirt with a group of about 7 conservatively dressed young men and women and was escorted to a private dining room that was conveniently (for us) located near the bathrooms and visible through the restaurant's signature open shutters. Had you not known there was a member of the British royal family sitting there with his back to the opening, you'd have thought it was possibly a convention of accountants or something similarly staid. They were definitely more Palm Beach than Miami Beach.

While we have no idea who the people in this entourage were, they are all possibly en route to a wedding Saturday in Memphis between London club owner Guy Pelly and Holiday Inn heiress Elizabeth Wilson. But this was no bachelor party. Though we saw Harry happily chatting with his tablemates and one brunette female in particular, it was all innocent, friendly and, well, civilized. Possibly the biggest shock was that we possibly detected a bit of recession in his ample head of fiery, well gelled hair.

Harry, who's no third rate American rapper with a security detail larger than a small nation, was not surrounded by bodyguards--only one massive, imposing one was placed elsewhere in the restaurant to keep an eye out. As this writer not so innocently tried to snap a picture, two staffers jumped and asked that I delete the blurry blobs. Oh well. Cue Lorde here.

Following the dinner, Harry and co. made their way to LIV where, at 1 a.m. he was seen "having the best time." Again, this was no Vegas. Harry kept his plaid shirt on and danced in the comforts of his own skybox. As for pictures of this controlled debauchery, no such luck. Neither pictures nor DJ shout outs were allowed as "per his security detail." Staffers were sworn to secrecy or else it was off with their heads--and their jobs. "I wouldn't have known he was there if it wasn't for you," said one LIV employee. A far cry from the usual attention hungry celebs who play there, that's for sure. As for Harry's whereabouts and behavior today, that's to be determined.

Update: After a brief stay at Soho House, Prince Harry departed Miami with police escort, leaving a whole lot of traffic and dozens of paparazzi in his wake. It's been a royal pleasure.

April 23, 2014

Dennis Rodman thrown out of Joe's Stone Crab


Dennis Rodman was seen holding court Wednesday night at the bar at Joe's Stone Crab, where our source tells us he was "slapping everyone on their back as hard as he could, screaming in a loud voice, totally wasted." He then walked over to the host stand to ask for a table and "made a giant scene," causing a staffer to pull him aside, quietly telling him he'd not be seated. After that, not even a North Korean dictator could command the beleaguered baller a table as he was overheard telling his group--a male friend and his parents--they'd have to leave and go to Prime 112 instead, saying he can always get a table there.  Police quietly approached and Rodman was overheard apologizing, saying he understood, whispering to the cop that he was "very sorry and respected the decision to kick him out." Was quite the scene, says our source, who says "he looked truly remorseful." Meanwhile, over at Prime 112, Rodman ended up happily nestled at an outdoor table on the restaurant's terrace and, at one point, smoking a cigar inside. "He's such a mess," said our Prime mole. And all was well again in his world. Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Pyongyang anymore.

March 31, 2014

Filmmaker Billy Corben on Miami dumping Ultra: "Getting rid of Ultra is a myopic, generationally-tone deaf solution"


With the controversy and horrific accident involving a security guard at Ultra heating up the social media airwaves over the weekend, Miami-based filmmaker Billy Corben, known for, among other things, his outspoken views on the Miami zeitgeist, couldn't help but make comparisons to the recent hip hop documentary he and partner Alfred Spellman directed and produced for VH1.
"The situation reminds me so much of 'The Tanning of America' and the general pushback on hip hop and violence at concerts," Corben told us. "My heart goes out to security guard Erica Mack, who I hope will make a complete and speedy recovery. This was a disturbing, potentially avoidable incident and calls for a thorough investigation to ensure that those responsible are held accountable and real solutions are developed to prevent it from reoccurring in the future."
So will there be an Ultra documentary in Corben's repertoire? That would be a resounding no, and not because he agrees with the Mayor and thinks it should pack up and leave town for good. Quite the opposite, in fact.
"Ultra is not for me. I've never been, nor is it likely I'll ever go. But that's what makes Miami Miami: there's something for everyone. We should not allow one tragic incident to derail the 15 year tradition and impact of an internationally recognized event.

Ultra is far more culturally relevant and economically stimulating than the soccer stadium proposal that local politicos are presently salivating over--by the way, if you're interested in reducing trampling incidents, you should probably avoid soccer stadiums. Getting rid of Ultra is a myopic, generationally-tone deaf solution. Mayor Regalado sounds a bit like John Lithgow in Footloose. And, like Rev. Moore, I hope he will someday see the light (of the glow stick).
I don't recall this kind of outrage from Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado and Commissioner Marc Sarnoff when, in 2011, Sgt. Javier Ortiz and a group of Miami Police officers beat, choked, tasered (three times) and wrongfully arrested a tourist at Ultra over a glow stick. A video revealed that the cops (two of whom were later arrested in an unrelated Federal extortion and bribery investigation and pleaded guilty) lied in their reports and allegedly committed perjury in sworn depositions. State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle took no action against the tourist or officers.
According to the tourist, as he laid bruised, battered and tasered on the ground, fearing for his life, one of the cops said, “Welcome to Miami, bitch." Isn't that just so Miami?  
Last year, during fierce negotiations over Ultra's second weekend, Commissioner Sarnoff reportedly compelled festival organizers to cover all costs associated with a federal lawsuit filed against the city by that tourist beaten by Miami cops. So, if they get rid of Ultra, who's going to pay for their police brutality cases?" 

March 29, 2014

Lawyer on Flo Rida paternity suit: "Surely he knows where babies come from"


There's some movement in the case between Natasha Georgette Williams, the model suing Flo Rida (real name Tramar Lacel Dillard) for child support of her unborn child. The Miami-based rapper has admitted to participating in the act that may have created a baby with that woman, but he's still skeptical that he's the father. Williams' lawyer Raymond Rafool told us "Shame that Flo Rida attempts such character assassination of the mother of his child all to avoid his moral and financial responsibilities to his child.  But, at least he made some progress from denying he knows Natasha to okay, we had sex - surely he knows where babies come from...."

March 24, 2014

Of Graves concern: ex Miss Sweden's plans to redo legendary architect's signature SoBe building brings bitter battle to 1500 Ocean Dr.




A former Miss Sweden is trying to get the go-ahead to redecorate three areas of the building at 1500 Ocean Drive, otherwise known as The Michael Graves Building, and according to our sources, the renowned architect is livid. "He's very unhappy," says our source. "It is his signature building!"

Designed in 1993, the building is one of Graves' most famous. So much so that he has sent the building's residents a letter expressing his unhappiness. In it, he writes, "I’m not sure any of you know, but I have been in practice now for fifty years, and this is the first time something like what is happening at 1500 Ocean Drive has occurred in my professional life. . . .  I am quite frankly, devastated by all of this, but don’t know what I can do."

That former beauty queen, Sofia Joelsson, is the owner of SoJo Design, a 13-year-old interior design business. We asked her to chime in on the situation, but so far she remains silent. As of a March 13 vote, at least 49 residents voted against Joelsson while around 48 voted for her plans. 

According to a source at the building who asked to remain anonymous, "It's a case, in my opinion, of people with too much money and too little taste." Taste or no taste, it's also a tough sell for famous lawyer Alan Dershowitz, a resident at the building. "He is also against this redecoration travesty."

Rumor has it he even threatens to sue. Especially after a volatile meeting they had last week when Kevin A. Fox, the husband of board president Camille Polimeni, allegedly told Dershowitz to shut up.

Dershowitz's wife Carolynn Ann Cohen sent a letter to residents saying, "It is worth taking more time to do research on the impact of destroying something – the Michael Graves signature - that many of us think adds value to the building.  Many of us believe that the SOJO design will make 1500 an unsuccessful imitation of what is already available in the area - apartment buildings with high ceilings and grand lobbies and a slicker, hotel style. Our building was not made for this aesthetic and imposing it will look like an unsuccessful hybrid that will not compete with these higher priced buildings. Wealthy people who want that aesthetic will chose the buildings intended for that look.  We will be considered a second best imitation that people with less money can afford.  It will not increase the value of our building, but lower it. We will have destroyed a classic Michael Graves building that makes us special.  Instead, we will get an imitation of a current popular trend that may change again in five years. We will not be able to recover what we had." 

"Good luck with the repercussions," laughs the spy, adding "Dershowitz gets even." Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here's the entire letter Graves wrote to the building's residents.


1332366456-michael-graves-438x500Sent electronically to the Residents of 1500 Ocean Drive


March 18, 2014


Dear Residents of 1500 Ocean Drive,


I’m not sure any of you know, but I have been in practice now for fifty years, and this is the first time something like what is happening at 1500 Ocean Drive has occurred in my professional life.  So, I’m new to all this and for that I am sorry.    I should tell you all that there is a different way architects approach problems like this than decorators and designers do.  Architects have a full knowledge about what things cost and the rules that govern certain changes.  For instance, the new covering that is proposed (if I am reading the SOJO drawings right) for the pool area is raised up from the present grade and therefore is not ADA compliant (ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act), in other words, this change is not lawful.  I looked at the proposed changes to the floor plan of the lobby and I don’t know whether you are all aware, but it is massive.  While I was a resident at 1500 Ocean Drive, nobody ever told me that they were dissatisfied with the way the lobby functioned, let alone its appearance. Therefore, I simply don’t understand why those changes were made.  It appears that there is an epoxy coating proposed for the floor finish in the porte-cochère, this too raises the height to a point where it will  not  be  ADA  compliant.    These  were  always  our  stumbling  blocks  in  former  conversations regarding the material in the porte-cochère.  The designers have made an addition of natural stone to one side of the porte-cochère with a large logo on its face.  This is the only place that stone would be used in the building and therefore strikes me as an anomaly and not in character with the rest of the building.  I feel the same way about the tiles that are used on the island in the porte-cochère, the only adjective that comes to mind for these changes is “glitzy”.   There are natural stones used as new flooring in the island – which will be very unwelcoming in regards to certain shoe types.  With regard to the lobby, do you all realize that upon entering the axis leads you directly to the assistant manager’s office, which has a glass façade? It seemed to me the original location for the reception area, where the assistant manager now is, is much preferred.

There was a mention of a $50,000 fee in a letter to me, I don’t know where this number came from as I gave my services pro bono.  My services had to do with the ocean room, the recovering of the furniture and drawings for the elevator cabs.  I am quite frankly, devastated by all of this, but don’t know what I can do.  It’s so strange to me to have gone through the reupholstering of the furniture throughout the public spaces and the installation of the gaming tables in the ocean room, for somebody to come along and say, “Let’s do it again”.  I am sure you are aware of the enormous cost to each of you.  I suspect, if a contractor gave you a preliminary bid, it would exceed the number you are now using.   Even the current number to me, would kill the deal for what you are getting.  Would it be more reasonable for you to take smaller steps in all of this and perhaps, do the porte-cochère first and see how that turns out, instead of the complete upheaval that would be caused by the changes to the lobby, etc. as currently proposed.  I would propose also that you make a distinction between material upgrades such as the resurfacing of the porte-cochere and what has been called “freshening”.  Freshening, I suspect is a euphemism for redesign.   That has nothing to do with material changes, but individual esthetics.

This is hard for me to say, but I noticed that the bottled water that’s given out to residents has on its logo, “The Michael Graves Building”, I was quite surprised to see that , but I’m sorry to say that it will no longer be true if the proposed changes are implemented.   There are elements of design throughout the proposal where I simply don’t understand the rationale.  For instance, there are two round columns in the lobby with a Venetian plaster finish I have always thought were quite beautiful, but the new scheme makes the round columns square.  For what reason would a designer do that? It is simply somebody’s taste, and perhaps changes for changes sake to build up the cost.

I have a fantasy that if you go ahead with all that is proposed, that in the next ten or twenty years the next well-meaning board will come along and put Humpty Dumpty back together again.  If I were still a tenant I would insist on bringing the contractor into the mix at this point to get a preliminary bid on the designs that have been proposed, as I think you will all be quite surprised, and I would hate for you all to get this bill after the renovation and have no idea what you are getting into now.  I would give this to more than one contractor as I don’t think it should be anybody that is proposed by SOJO, there is too much conflict of interest possible for that to take place.  The contractor should be made to bid on what would be ADA compliant, rather than just putting a surface on top of what’s there already with a step.

Finally, I read in one of your letters that SOJO was in contact with me relative to what they were doing. I should tell you that nobody from that firm ever talked to me.  I stand ready to help in any way I can and if there are any further questions you need answered, don’t hesitate to call me.

All my best,

Michael Graves


Update: Residents on the other side of the battle--those who wish to see the interior design spruced up--have chimed in loudly, explaining that "There are a multitude of buildings in Miami Beach, NY and other parts of the world whose structures are designed by first class world renowned architects, some even greater than Mr. Graves, and its common areas are designed by qualified INTERIOR DESIGNERS.  They seem to know the difference between the two disciplines." The battle, it seems, is over interior aesthetics. Graves, whose chairs adorn a lobby that some say is reminiscent of "an old age home," stands firm on his original decor. What follows is the first letter he sent to residents in which he expresses his ire at any interior tweaking:

February 6, 2014
Residents of 1500 Ocean Drive
1500 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
Dear Residents of 1500 Ocean Drive,
I have been sent copies of the proposed changes and I can’t imagine a worse fate for the building. I would have to characterize them (one in particular) as somewhere between a brothel and Las Vegas. I had always assumed from talking to Ines that the prices were elevated in the building because of my involvement; however the new board seems to think the opposite. From what I can tell the proposals have been made by decorators, not architects and designers like these have no clue as to the concept of domesticity. I am quite frankly devastated by all of this, but don’t know what I can do. It’s so strange to me to have gone through the reupholstering of the furniture and the installation of the gaming tables in the ocean room, for somebody to come along and say, “Let’s do it again”. Are the residents aware of the enormous cost to each of them, which would be the result of any of these schemes? The old board that I worked with was quite frugal, as they didn’t do anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary for fear of the costs.
It really comes down to a question of taste; the glitz that they might have seen in a hotel versus the domestic character that we aimed for. If they are successful in making these renovations, I am afraid not only will the character of the spaces change so dramatically, but I think the character of the inhabitants will over time reflect the glitziness of the renovation.
If there is anything that you can think of that I can do to help the situation, please let me know.
All my best,
Michael Graves

And lastly, as we leave the battle to the building, the renovation proposal from the aforementioned SoJo:

Download 1500OceanDriveProposal_finallo

March 18, 2014

LIV's David Grutman one of Rolling Stone's 50 Most Important People in EDM



Congrats to LIV's David Grutman for making number 11 on Rolling Stone's list of the 50 Most Important People in EDM (Electronic Dance Movement). "This self-made megaclub kingpin crawled his way up the nightlife ranks, starting as a South Beach bartender and eventually winding up as head of Miami Marketing Group, operators of superclub LIV. . . . Playing here is a rite of passage for any breakthrough EDM star – LIV raked in more than $40 million in 2014, according to Nightclub & Bar magazine's annual Top 100." We met Grutman when he was running the show at Tantra back in the, gasp, 90s. He's come a long way from that grassy knoll. Number one was James Barton, Live Nation's President of Electronic Music. We spoke to Grutman, who told us, "I'm so lucky to be even considered to be listed with so many of my heroes!" (Photo/

March 14, 2014

Aural Wrecks: Shahs of Sunset's Reza Farahan slaughters on stage at South Beach sing spot The Cabaret

 Shahs of Sunset's Reza Farahan was spotted making the worst karaoke singer sound like Streisand Thursday night at The Cabaret, slaughtering Blu Cantrell's Hit 'em Up Style. "We could not get him off the stage. He sang horribly and tried to be the emcee," says our source. See for yourselves, but we warn you, it's painful. 


March 06, 2014

Exclusive! Pop tort: Justin Bieber throws tantrum, runs out of court after being asked about Selena Gomez



Justin Bieber was in Miami today to answer questions regarding a civil suit filed against him by a photog who claims he was assaulted by one of the Bieb's beefy bodyguards. One could understand why the troubled singer, who turned 20 five days ago, would need a bodyguard or ten after what he pulled today in the courthouse. According to our mole, towards the end of the deposition when Bieber was asked a question about Selena Gomez, he threw a tantrum, ripping the microphone off, jumping up from his seat and running out of the room. A recess was called and, 15 minutes later, Biebs came back refusing to answer any questions about his ex. Much to the dismay of many, the petulant popster did not say he was running away because if he did, he'd have a lot of people helping him pack.


Miami Celebrity Shocker! Justin Timberlake takes his wife & crew to Cavalli and pays!


Following his Wednesday night show at the AAA, Justin Timberlake and wife Jessica Biel showed up around 12:30 a.m. to Cavalli Restaurant and Lounge with a huge, 30+ person entourage consisting of his concert crew and took over a large area of the swanky resto/lounge in which his own DJ spun and which, says our spy, was already packed with "excited models." Also excited over the models was Biel, who was said to be snapping pictures of the Brazilian dancers. "She seemed to be a huge fan," says the spy. The couple ordered a bottle of booze, sat back, watched and snapped away. The lounge stayed open for the group until 3 a.m., at which time a shocking thing happened. Unlike most visiting celebrities in Miami, Timberlake paid the bill with his own money and left a huge tip for the server. A class act indeed. 

Oprah Winfrey's former Fisher Island flat sold to billionaire Lawrence Stroll in $13.5M cash deal


Oprah Winfrey's former 6,170 square foot Fisher Island penthouse was sold once again, this time for $13.5 cash to billionaire Lawrence Stroll, best known for taking the Michael Kors brand public three years ago. Winfrey, originally represented by hot shot Fisher Island broker Mary Ann Portell, negotiated the deal to then Chairman of the Board of Campbell's Soup, George Sherman, who bought it for $6.5 million in 2001. "That was unheard of at the time," says Portell.  Sherman, who has built a mansion on La Gorce Island, still maintains a pied a terre on Gilligan', er Fisher Island.