The rocket ship that was Jackson Padgett has come to rest. One of Wilton Manors most noted nightclub owners passed away last weekend.
Padgett owned the Alibi for many years, before moving on to short tenures with B. Bar and the Tropics Grille on the Drive, the last bar he owned before retiring to his hometown, Charleston, South Carolina.
As a bar owner for the Alibi, Padgett generously sponsored and prominently hosted many community and charitable events, raising funds for multiple causes.
“I love to give back to the community,” he told Hotspots Magazine at the time. He even moved his business offices for the bar to a second floor venue at the Pride Center at Equality Park.
On his way there one evening from the Alibi, in 2016, he crashed his vehicle into another car. Manors police stopped and arrested him for a DUI, but eventually found cocaine on his person as well. He successfully completed a short probationary sentence.
In one of his last Facebook posts, on Dec. 8, 2019, Padgett posted a picture with a quote that seemed to reflect his journey: “Life has knocked me down a few times. It has shown me things I never wanted to see. I have experienced sadness and failures. But one thing for sure… I always get up.
Before becoming involved with the LGBT community, Padgett had a background as a hotelier for 30 years. From 2004 to 2008, he had served as the Director of Operations for the Seminole Hard Rock Hotels, helping build their operation and brand.
Eventually he acquired the Alibi, with his then partner Mark Negrete, and a few sports bars and restaurants of his own. He retired a few years ago to Charleston, South Carolina, where he had grown up and been raised.
Changing his focus of life, in December of 2018, his love for animals induced him to become the Executive Director of the “Second Chance Animal Shelter.” He remained out of the South Florida spotlight. Turmoil may have followed Padgett, but he rose from the ashes each time.
"The Alibi Angels are deeply saddened," said Tim Martin, coach of the Angels softball team. "Jackson was a longtime supporter of gay softball and other charities. He deserves recognition for his generosity."
Posted Bobby Blair, the former publisher of the Florida Agenda, now residing in Southern California, “I am heartbroken. Jackson supported everything we ever did in South Florida. His passion and enthusiasm will be dearly missed. He and his partner helped so many people and donated so much money and resources to help our community.”
“It’s sad,” said Johnnie, the new Alibi owner, who acquired the bar from Padgett a few years ago. “It’s always sad when a community loses a neighbor and friend. He was a vivacious person.”