Representative of business tells Sarasota County Code Enforcement staff that loud music will be halted after 10 p.m., but complaints continue
A Code Enforcement Special Magistrate in Sarasota County has imposed a $4,000 penalty on the company that owns the Crescent Club on south Siesta Key, as a result of repeated violations of the county’s noise ordinance.
Formally, the owner of the club is CCSK Land Holdings LLC whose principal is Siesta Key businessman and chiropractor Dr. Gary Kompothecras. He bought the Crescent Club on Jan. 4, 2019 for $3.4 million, Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office records show. Last year, the market value of the parcel, plus the building, was $1,260,100, the Property Appraiser’s Office records note.
The club stands at 6519 Midnight Pass Road.
That penalty was imposed on June 3, Code Enforcement Division records show.
In February 2019, the County Commission unanimously approved a fine up to $5,000 for Code Enforcement violations that are found “to be irreparable or irreversible in nature.”
The June 3 penalty order also pointed out that CCSK Land Holdings LLC, had been “duly served with a notice” for the June 3 hearing. However, no one appeared at that event on behalf of the company, the order added.
Because the Crescent Club failed to comply with an April 22 order of the Special Magistrate “to correct the violation,” the Special Magistrate imposed the fine, “plus interest at the legal rate of 4.25% per annum and a $10.00 recording fee,” the resulting document stated, with emphasis.
Section 2-351 of the Sarasota County Code of Ordinances says, “Any compliance or penalty order of the Special Magistrate shall be final,” though it can be appealed to the Circuit Court within 30 days of the Special Magistrate’s Decision.
A Sarasota News Leader check of 12th Judicial Circuit Court records found that CCSK Land Holdings did file a Notice of Appeal on June 29. Sarasota attorney Robert Lincoln is representing the company.
The notice references sections of the Florida Statutes and the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure that provide for such action.
A note in the docket says the notice was forwarded on June 30 to the judicial assistant for Circuit Judge Andrea McHugh “and court counsel for review.”
Rick Russ, the county Code Enforcement officer assigned to Siesta Key, told members of the Siesta Key Association (SKA) during their June 2 meeting that the initial complaint about the Crescent Club was filed by an SKA member last fall. The problem, he explained, was that the live music at the club continued after 10 p.m., contrary to the provisions of the county’s noise ordinance. The club would have to obtain a Special Exception from the county to be able to provide entertainment after 10 p.m., he pointed out.
Working to resolve the problems
In response to a public records request, the News Leader obtained copies of emails regarding the Crescent Club case in the aftermath of the Special Magistrate’s imposition of the penalty.
In a June 17 email exchange, a representative of the Crescent Club, Keith Green, wrote Russ the following: “I am confirming in writing that we have stopped live music after 10:00 PM.” Green added, “I am also confirming that all management and staff have been fully [briefed] on this as well.”
Further, Green indicated that, by working with Russ, he hoped to see the fine dismissed.
The same day, Russ responded via email: “For clarification, let me add that any reduction or cancellation of fines would require filing of an appeal … Total compliance would surely be recognized as acceptable change in the [club’s] behavior.”
Green also pointed out in his June 17 email to Russ, “I have discussed this with Dr. Gary, and he is willing to meet with you and Joe Medred (who is also working on this with us) at any time to share his commitment to no bands after 10 PM.”
Medred and his father, Robert “Bo” Medred, are the principals of the Bradenton firm Genesis Planning and Development. Bo Medred has worked for Kompothecras on numerous issues in the past when county approval was needed for initiatives that Kompothecras was pursuing.
Finally, in that June 17 email, Green noted that, “down the road,” the Crescent Club may seek a Special Exception from the county to present live entertainment after 10 p.m.
Green had opened the correspondence by thanking Russ “for the productive series of phone calls we had …”
Yet, on June 18, an email from Code Enforcement Officer George Ospina to Russ said that Ospina had re-inspected the Crescent Club that night “and observed a D.J. and a drummer playing very loud music till 10 [p.m.] D.J. and drummer left but the music continued past 10 pm but not as loud.”
On Monday, June 20, Kevin Burns, a Code Enforcement officer who has been trained in taking noise measurements, responded to Ospina, writing that he would check the situation again.
During the June 3 SKA meeting, Russ explained that, because of Burns’ expertise, Burns had been assisting with the Crescent Club case.
Further, just after 6:30 p.m. on June 20, a Siesta resident who lives near the bar emailed Russ, noting, “Crescent Club continues to be out of compliance on Friday and Sat. nights regarding ending [live entertainment after 10 p.m.].”
“Additionally,” the woman pointed out, “the decibel level is unacceptable 5 out of 7 nights.
“The owner & management of Crescent Club [do] not care.
“Fine from Special Magistrate had no impact on their compliance.
“What would next course of action be to regulate their compliance?” the woman asked Russ, and then thanked him of his “ongoing effort and surveillance.”
An email exchange between Russ and that resident earlier on June 20 indicated that she has been one of the persons who has filed complaints about the late-night live entertainment at the Crescent Club.
In his reply to her, Russ let her know that Code Enforcement Officer Burns was “working the sound case. He will make a sound inspection soon. I will keep you posted and informed.” Russ also wrote, “Thank you for your patience while [we are] working to obtain complete compliance.”
Then, on June 21, Code Enforcement Officer Susan Stahley emailed Russ and other members of that division’s staff with a list of open cases. At the top, she noted that the Crescent Club situation was a high priority.
The chain of events
A News Leader online permitting search for the Crescent Club’s address found that, on Oct. 29, 2021, a complaint was lodged about “loud music” indoors and outdoors, after 10 p.m.
The form indicated that the investigation into the complaint began on Nov. 9, 2021.
On Nov. 3, the county’s Code Enforcement staff issued a Notice of Violation and Order to Correct Violation. It directed CCSK Land Holdings to “[c]ease the use of live music outdoors by November 4, 2021, and apply for a Special Exception for outdoor entertainment (live music)” no later than Nov. 4, 2021.
That notice also pointed out that if violations continued, a Special Magistrate could impose a penalty of up to $250 per day “for each day the violation exists …” The notice added that penalties up to $500 per day could be imposed for each repeat violation.
Russ signed that document.
However, on Dec. 6, 2021, another complaint was filed about “loud music” after 10 p.m., Friday through Sunday, at the Crescent Club, Permitting Division records show. That document noted that the complaint was a duplicate, so the investigation was closed on Dec. 9, 2021.
Yet another complaint was lodged on Feb. 28, county Permitting Division records say. “Caller reported noise on property from music. Caller stated this happens nightly,” that report said, adding, “Caller would like to discuss.”
Again, county staff marked the complaint as a duplicate and closed it on March 8.
On March 3, Russ issued an Affidavit of Violation, which pointed out that the Crescent Club had been served with the Notice of Violation and an Order to Correct Violation.
The March document again pointed out that live entertainment could not be provided after 10 p.m. without approval of a Special Exception. It added, “All entertainment shall be governed by [the] Air and Sound Pollution and Noise [ordinance]” in Chapter 54 of the County Code.
Attached to that document was a copy of a U.S. Postal Service Certified Mail receipt to prove delivery of the Notice of Violation. The receipt was signed by a representative of CCSK Land Holdings, whose Sarasota address in Florida Division of Corporations records is 4054 Sawyer Road in Sarasota.
Further, the notice included information about a Special Magistrate hearing that would be conducted on April 22 in the County Commission Chambers of the County Administration Center in downtown Sarasota. That was dated March 23.
On April 12, another Permitting Division record indicated a problem with the decibel level at the Crescent Club. That investigation was closed on May 24, the form said.
On April 22, following the hearing before the Special Magistrate, the Findings of Fact the magistrate issued said that the Crescent Club had allowed outdoor entertainment after 10 p.m. “without obtaining a special exception.”
The document ordered the Crescent Club to comply with the county noise ordinance as of April 22. Otherwise, penalties could be imposed.
That document added that the Special Magistrate could issue a fine up to $5,000 “if the Special Magistrate finds the violation is irreparable or irreversible in nature.”
Moreover, it explained, “Any order to pay a fine shall constitute a lien against any and all land or personal property owned by you, until paid, all of which may be enforced in the same manner as a court judgment.”
Nonetheless, Permitting records show that, just four days later — on April 26 — another noise violation was reported at the club.