Warren’s Sunny Spa can make its case in April

WARREN – Without any temporary restraining order in place to keep one of the last two existing health spas open after a March 21 inspection, legal arguments by Sunny Spa will have to wait until Warren City Board of Health members meet next month.

Legal arguments also could be heard later by Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan, who was assigned a case filed late Thursday by attorney Harry DePietro, who represents the spa.

DePietro said Friday that he was informed by the city that he would have to make his case at the April 24 health board meeting. The lawyer and the owner of the 443 E. Market St. spa are appealing a possible 90-day suspension.

The suspension notice was filed after a city Health Department sanitarian reported finding a bikini-clad employee helping a naked patron take a shower during a March 21 morning inspection.

Deputy Health Commissioner Robert Pinti said the spa was immediately notified that it was breaking the city’s ordinance. The spa’s owner, Unsuk Cho, was officially notified of the possible 90-suspension on Friday.

Pinti said Friday that the spa is allowed to remain open only until Monday, which exhausts the 10-day time period for filing an appeal. After Monday, the business will remain closed until arguments are heard.

Sunny Spa is one of two spas remaining in the city after the state raided eight of the city’s 10 spas in 2012. The other, Tiger Spa, 420 W. Market St., remains open.

In the court suit, DePietro argues that Cho’s state and federal constitutional rights were violated with an unreasonable search.

”Pinti moved about Sunny in an aggressive and rapid manner, working his way from the front to the back of Sunny. He opened doors and looked in rooms and with the sound of water running in the shower, and without announcing himself, pulled back a shower curtain while one of Sunny’s customers was taking a shower (assisted by Sunny employee Mini Hoppy) – embarrassing Sunny’s customer,” the suit states.

If the city proves that Sunny Spa violated the ordinance, it will be the second time the spa will be closed. It was closed earlier this year because one of its employees did not have the proper license.

DePietro said Friday that the arrival of licenses for employees have been deliberately delayed by the city since fingerprint records and background checks have been completed.

City council passed an ordinance in January reducing the number of spa licenses in the city from 10 to two.

Investigators with Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation raided eight of the city’s 10 spas in May, and the city later shuttered all eight for health code violations.