Key West, Fla.
(AP) Key West has long been known as a “beauty capital of the world,” but now, it has also become a “mess” with its “dirty, ugly” reputation, according to an investigative report published Tuesday.
The story, titled “A Billionaire’s World: The Art of Destroying the Beauty Industry,” follows the story of the owner of a Florida salon who was sued for violating anti-discrimination laws.
The report also details a pattern of sexual harassment and discrimination by Key West owner, Charles Epps, who was also the owner and manager of the popular Key West Beach Club.
Epps is accused of assaulting at least one woman and sexually harassing another, according the report.
Key West, known for its beaches and palm trees, was founded in 1885 by the same family who founded the Palm Beach Post.
It is considered a tourist destination for its beautiful tropical islands, and its beaches are a favorite among beach goers, especially among those who live in the United States.
But as the city grew in population and economic growth, its reputation for corruption and rampant crime increased.
In 2013, the Florida legislature passed a law to combat what it called “the ugly and violent reputation of Key West,” and a key focus of the law was to punish Epps for the abuses he committed.
Epps had faced several criminal charges, including assault, battery, burglary and aggravated battery, but the most serious charge, which would have resulted in up to a year in jail time, was dropped.
Epps attorney said the case would not be dropped because the evidence was too strong.
But the investigation by The Miami Herald and the Florida Attorney General’s Office found that Epps and the other owners of the Key West beach clubs violated Florida law and discriminated against people because of their race, gender and religion.
The law, called “fair housing,” was passed in response to the housing crisis and was used to punish people for perceived racial discrimination.
The state attorney general’s office also investigated Epps’ alleged role in a $200,000 bribery scheme, but it concluded the charges were too weak to bring charges against him.
“There was a lack of proof to prove it, so we didn’t bring charges,” said attorney Brian Azzopardi.
“But it’s not that there wasn’t any evidence to support the allegations.”
The report notes that Epps admitted to paying the bribe to a Miami casino owner in exchange for a favorable report in the Palm Bay County paper.
Epp’s lawyer, Andrew Nieder, said the allegations against Epps are “absurd” and that Eppy was innocent.
The law was never enforced, and Epps was never prosecuted.
Eagles quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL player, has taken to Twitter to voice his opposition to the law, calling the law “disgraceful” and “un-American.”
The law is so poorly written and enforced that it has never resulted in a conviction, according one lawyer who represented the plaintiffs in the case.
Epsett and his wife, Susan, were also accused of taking bribes from a local casino to allow their businesses to remain open.
The Palm Beach County Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the case, and the Palm Beaches Council of Governments and the local sheriff’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.