Following a morning of what Mokai attorney Louis Terminello described as “tense negotiations”, Miami Beach and Mokai lounge agreed to a settlement allowing the club to reopen this Wednesday. The City revoked Mokai’s business license on March 9 after a video of a horse in the nightclub went viral.
After news of the settlement, more than a dozen employees in bright orange Save Our Jobs t-shirts cheered and hugged outside City Hall.
The agreement was reached on the same day the two were to present evidence before Miami Beach Chief Special Master Enrique Zamora at 10:30. Close to 11 am, Terminello and Deputy City Attorney Steve Rothstein told Zamora they had been in discussions since 9 am and had one issue left to resolve. Zamora recessed the hearing until noon when both sides returned with agreement in hand.
Under the settlement Mokai admits to five violations and to pay fines totaling $12,150 and to make a donation of $10,000 to Peaceful Ridge Rescue for horses.
Terminello said, “We’re very happy.” Regarding the donation to the horse farm, he said, “We’re trying to show our good faith.”
In response to a reporter’s question about using animals again, he responded emphatically, “We’re not bringing any more animals at all other than the service animals required by law. No more animal acts.”
In fact, the settlement reads, “Petitioner is further ordered to cease and desist the use of, or allowing any animals, other than those” allowed by law. Mokai also dismisses all claims against the City for the emergency shutdown as part of the agreement.
After saying the City would not comment, later in the day a statement was released from City Manager Jimmy Morales. Throughout the day there had been numerous comments on social media regarding the small size of the fines. Morales addressed the overall cost to Mokai in his statement. Excerpts of that statement:
Then on Wednesday, Roman Jones, Mokai owner, posted this on Instagram apologizing and saying he purchased the horse involved in the stunt:
Only in Miami Beach.