South Beach business owner suing Miami Beach over liquor store curfew

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – As the City of Miami gears up for Ultra and the event’s projected $200 million economic impact, the City of Miami Beach is being hit with a lawsuit.

Jorge Zubigaray is the owner of Gulf Liquors on Alton Road in Miami Beach.

He is suing his city for the recently passed curfew on liquor stores.

“They’re just picking on the liquor stores,” Zubigaray said.

The curfew is in response to the wave of deadly violence on South Beach last weekend.

City commissioners voted on a curfew for people, requested by the police chief and the city manager, but it did not pass.

Most commissioners argued it would unfairly punish businesses on a profitable Ultra weekend.

But commissioners did pass a measure going into effect Thursday and lasting through Sunday, ordering liquor stores to shut down by 6 p.m.

“This is unjustifiable, this is unfair, and quite frankly, we believe that it’s illegal,” said attorney Jennifer Pratt.

Pratt claims commissioners are using small business liquor stores as scape goats, hurting people’s livelihoods instead of finding real solutions.

“These employees that are hourly wage employees (will not be able to work) because the city just wanted to do something,” said Pratt.

“This is the time that I make the money to cover up when I don’t make any money,” said Zubigaray. “So this is my little cushion and they’re taking my cushion from me.”

City Attorney Rafael Paz released the following statement to Local 10 News Thursday: “We haven’t been served with any lawsuit, but if and when we are, we will defend the emergency order and the City’s right to impose measures intended to protect residents and visitors by curbing package liquor sales that fuel the unruly chaos on the streets. Last year, the circuit court upheld a much more restrictive emergency order under almost identical circumstances and we are confident that the court will rule in our favor here, too.”

As the legal battle brews, over in Miami, the chief of police said the expected 165,000 Ultra concertgoers will be met by a massive presence of law enforcement.

“We will have plenty of officers on hand, and that includes undercover officers inside,” said Miami Police Chief Manuel Morales.

About the Author:

Christian De La Rosa joined Local 10 News in April 2017 after spending time as a reporter and anchor in Atlanta, San Diego, Orlando and Panama City Beach.