Oakland Park Forces Wilton Social Club Closure

  • Updated on May 17 at 7:45 am: The original story did not include a statement from the City of Oakland Park, which can now be found at the end of the article

An image of Wilton Social Club. Courtesy: Dominic A. Santarelli III.

Is the city of Oakland Park targeting LGBTQ adult businesses? That’s what many are asking after the abrupt closure of Wilton Social Club (WSC), an adult sauna similar to Club Fort Lauderdale.

After opening in August, they were cited for code violations in January and then again in April. Last week, they were hauled into a hearing where they were told to cease operations immediately. But it didn’t stop there.

WSC owner Dominic Santarelli says they were ordered to clear out the space. With no imminent structural failures looming, this is an unusual step. Even more bizarre is the judge was able to order them to take down their social media accounts.

“Out of the blue we got these violations, and there was an abundance of them,” Santarelli told OutSFL.

January Violations:

-Operating a 24-hour business (required for establishments open between midnight and 5 a.m.)

-Insufficient parking

-Changing the use of the property

-Not licensed as a Sexually Oriented Business (SOB)

-Adding a spa and outside lounge area

April Violations:

-Operating a 24-hour business (required for establishments open between midnight and 5 a.m.)

-Changing the use of the property

-Not licensed as a Sexually Oriented Business (SOB)

The code enforcement officer who wrote the citations confirmed their involvement and referred OutSFL to the city’s public information office.

Santarelli addressed the issues in an interview with OutSFL. He says insufficient parking was created because code enforcement said WSC was using a second floor, an accusation he denies.

He says a spa and outdoor shower were added, then promptly removed after the January round of citations.

All April violations were “repeat” violations from January. Santarelli says they were in the process of applying for a 24-hour license and adjusted hours accordingly.

As for operating a sexually oriented business, he says an “undercover” officer visited WSC and saw adult videos playing. Santarelli says they stopped playing the videos. However, he says the city was well aware of the nature of the business throughout the permitting process and was never told he would need an SOB license.

As for changing the use of the property, he’s not sure exactly what it means but says it could be related to accusations of alcohol being on the premises, something he also vehemently denies. “Ninety-nine percent of these are bogus violations,” Santarelli said. “Like we served alcohol. We never served alcohol. Never used the second floor.”

He says it took years of working with the city to find a location that wasn’t near parks, schools, etc. Oakland Park, according to Santarelli, was well aware of the type of business he was opening.

“Maybe Zoning and Code don’t speak to each other and know what’s going on."

He says they went to court on May 9, and says the judge and court staff thought it was overkill, but went ahead anyway. But, Santarelli says, the fix was in.

“They were targeting us, they were out to get us. I believed at the first set of violations, we [WSC and Oakland Park] were all working together. But no, I was wrong. They were out to get us.”

For now, WSC remains closed and empty, with just some wall art to hint at what used to be.

OutSFL will continue to follow this story and will pursue Oakland Park for a response.

After publication the City of Oakland Park sent OutSFL this statement.

Oakland Park is a welcoming and inclusive city for small business.  As with any government, there are rules and procedures that apply equally to all, and all are held accountable.  Lies and misrepresentations are punishable under our code.

In July 2022, Dominic Santarelli filed an application with the Building and Permitting Department to open a membership-based health club catering to the gay community at 1061 West Oakland Park Boulevard. The application was approved. On January 17, 2024, the business was cited for non-compliance with the city code. Subsequently, the city received credible information that the business was operating after midnight, permitting members to engage in sexual activity and displaying adult X-rated videos on televisions in the club. On May 7, 2024, the Special Magistrate determined there was sufficient evidence of a repeat violation of the city code. As a consequence, the Special Magistrate issued an Order of Enforcement that indicated the business should cease operations by 5 p.m. on May 10, 2024.

Staff did not receive requests for information prior to the story’s publication and has since tried unsuccessfully to reach the reporter. It is unfortunate that this publication did not return our communication and provide the opportunity to include this background in the original report.

Shannon Vezina, Public Information Officer, City of Oakland Park


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


Corrections: editorial@outsfl.com

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Wilton Manors, FL 33305



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