Miami officials argued Wednesday whether to shut down an alleged Internet sex house operating in a residential neighborhood near downtown Miami.

The house is run by Flavaworks’ owner Phillip Bleicher and the business inside the house in Edgewater is said to operate live sex acts viewed on cameras linked to the Internet, among other things.

Phillip Bleicher, had moved the business from Chicago, where authorities had shut it down.

The video was eventually admitted as evidence.

No vote was taken Wednesday on whether to permanently shut down the business.

I’ll keep you posted.

Click here to see the original NBC 6 television investigation w/ reporter Jeff Burnside.

About Phillip Bleicher and Flavaworks

Flavaworks operates the porn sites, Cocoboyz, Thugboy and PapiCock, and the magazines Flavamen and FlavaLife that feature young Black and Latino men.

The Chicago Department of Public Health recently released a report on the latest rate of syphilis and HIV infections in that city in its Winter 2006 report.

In their findings, they detailed a follow-up to an investigation they conducted into the unsafe sexual practices conducted by FlavaWorks, where young gay Black and Latin men engage in sexual acts for the enjoyment of viewers who pay a membership fee to watch.

As a result of the CDPH investigation last year, Flavaworks closed their operation in Chicago and relocated to Miami, Florida. The business’s owner, Phillip Bleicher, had also been charged by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan with operating a fraudulent charity that bilked schools nationwide out of millions of dollars but later dropped the charges.

In a past post, a colleague Bernie Tarver, who is also being sued, detailed how The Chicago Free Press reported that Department of Health officials in Chicago slapped a cease and desist order on the owners of FlavaWorks.com because business has knowingly allowed the spread of HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases.

Christopher Brown, assistant commissioner for HIV/AIDS/STD programs at CDPH, said health officials acted after uncovering “credible” evidence that models at FlavaWorks.com, which also operated CocoBoyz Dorm Room online, were HIV-positive, were engaging in unsafe sex practices and were spreading HIV, syphilis and gonorrhea through contact with individuals outside the business.

Brown said CDPH’s initial involvement came in late December after HIV service providers called CDPH to express “concerns that some of their clients could be seen on the website engaging in unsafe sex.”

“We also became aware of cases of HIV linked to some of the models,” Brown said.
While the models are Black and Latino, the owner of the company, Phillip Bleicher, is White.

Brown said the business owner had been “less than cooperative” with city officials’ efforts to stop the spread of HIV and other diseases and get CocoBoyz models in for counseling, treatment and testing.

“Our main concern was the dorm,” Brown said. “Our goal is to immediately look at the models, screen them and address their needs.”

“We had evidence and reports from what I would consider credible sources that there was HIV and STDs among the models at CocoBoyz dorm room, and unsafe sex could be viewed right there on the website,” Brown said.

Equally distressing are reports centering around the conditions under which the young men worked. Most of them are reportedly at-risk youths, runaways, homeless and easily manipulated.

There are also allegations that the business used unusual labor contracts with its models, which, according to one source, “at least bordered on illegal servitude.” The 30-day contracts allegedly required the models to perform a certain number of sexual acts in exchange for a stipend. But, when the models tried to collect the stipends, they were told they were being charged for such things as food and bed linens, leaving them, in some cases, in debt rather than collecting money. They were then pressured to sign new contracts.

After fleeing to Miami, Bleicher became the subject of a NBC 6 investigation in May that revealed he was operating an adult business in the middle of a Miami residential neighborhood.  NBC 6 discovered they were operating a hardcore live internet sex business with cameras installed in rooms where customers around the world can pay to watch the men who live there have sex with each other.

“It’s the city’s position that the activity that is happening at that location should not be happening,” said Miami Assistant City Attorney Victoria Mendez. “It’s a single-family residence and there are children in the vicinity, and the city feels that this should be stopped immediately.”

Flavaworks says they promote safe sex “100 percent” and what they’re doing is legal.

But the attorney for Flavaworks said the business is legal.

“I assure you that all of the allegations take place in a private area, behind a locked door, in a house that goes over out of cyberspace on the Internet,” attorney James Benjamin said. “No child near there or anywhere outside the house has any idea what happens inside, just like nobody knows what happens in your house, sir.”

Additional Links: