February 28, 2001 09:37am
Tampa Police Raid DudeDorm.com Residence
Source: Entertainment Network, Inc.
by: Company Press Release
(TAMPA, FL) -- Tampa City Police today raided DudeDorm.com without a warrant and threatened the residents of the on-line voyeur house with arrest unless they turned off Web cameras that broadcast their daily activities over the Internet.
"This was basically a storm trooper action that is totally unconstitutional and unwarranted," said David Marshlack, President of Entertainment Network, Inc., which operates the dorm and its sister site VoyeurDorm.com. "This location is the home of these men and the police should not have ordered them to leave their residence or face arrest." He said the company will continue Webcasting from the dorm in North Tampa (at 330 Fowler Ave.) while its lawyers prepare to file suit against the City of Tampa.
The raid took place at about 10:15 a.m. today. Two uniformed Tampa city policemen and three men who said they were from the city's permit bureau entered the unlocked dormitory that is located in the same building as the XTC Adult Superstore. They rapped on dormitory rooms, awakening two men who were asleep at the time, and ordered them to shut down all cameras in the residence, to leave promptly or face arrest. The cameras are normally on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, broadcasting the lives of students who receive free college tuition from ENI. in return for living their lives on the Internet.
Luke Lirot, an attorney who represents ENI, said: "This raid violates three very basic constitutional rights: freedom of speech, unreasonable search and seizure, and a violation of due process rights in an action conducted without any court order or mandate. If the city had asked, we could have provided documentation to show that everything in DudeDorm.com is perfectly legal and above board. The city of Tampa is known for authorizing precipitous police tactics against anything its leaders deem to be contrary to their own narrow moral code. In fact, the dorm is not adult entertainment, there is no exchange of money, and the public is never allowed on the premises. We expect that the courts will authorize us to continue Webcasting from the location. In any event, we intend to sue the city for damages."
It is not the first time ENI has battled the city of Tampa, which tried to shut down its VoyeurDorm.com residence, where six college coeds live their lives before Web cameras. The VoyeurDorm remains open while ENI appeals a Federal Court ruling to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
Tampa-based Entertainment Network, Inc. is a leading supplier of content for the Internet. In addition to Websites that reach consumers directly, ENI operates Web hosting and development companies including CandidCam.com and CandidHosting.com.