While some pretty women might hang out at Miami Velvet, the area’s largest swingers club, they’re not as pretty as the club’s online advertising suggests. So say the lawyers of 32 Miami and Los Angeles models, who claim that the club’s owners are stealing their photos and using them in promotional material, social media and the Velvet website. The sometime well-known models filed a lawsuit against the club in federal court Tuesday in Miami.
The plaintiffs include The Real Housewives of Miami’s Joanna Krupa, a supermodel and former contestant on Dancing With The Stars; former Boca Raton Police officer and Miami Dolphins cheerleader Jaime Edmondson; Deal or no Deal model Cora Skinner; TV commercial veteran Kim Cozzens, a former Old Spice spokeswoman who appeared in an Italian commercial with George Clooney; yoga instructor Jesse Golden; and a number of former Playboy centerfolds. The fact the photos were used without their permission might not even be the worst of it, says the women’s lawyer. “It makes it appear that these models who are well known in the business are endorsing or taking part in the activity at Club Velvet,” said Chris Oprison, the ladies’ lead counsel.
“There is no way in the world that my clients would agree to have their photos used by Club Velvet.” Some photos, Oprison says, even included the names of his clients. In essence, the lawsuit claims the models’ images and reputations were being used to “class up” events in a club that’s otherwise not so classy.
The activity that takes place at Velvet, if you believe the description in the 681-page lawsuit, is often “unhealthy and unsanitary.” The acts include but are not limited to group sex. “Many of the plaintiffs are on top of their game,” Oprison says. “We estimate the damage could be between $10,000 and $100,000 per incident.” Said Miami Velvet’s attorney Luke Lirot: “The photos were selected from Internet services by design artists who believed that they had the proper permission and authority to use them.”