Warren massage parlor moves

WARREN – Sunny Spa, one of two Warren spas allowed to remain open after a joint operation of raids that took place in May 2012, has moved from 443 E. Market St. to 2819 W. Market St. – the location of the former Hot Sun Spa.

On Dec. 13, spa owner Unsuk Cho applied for a license to move from the city’s downtown, according to city health department records. The city awarded a change of occupancy to its new location earlier this month.

The new location passed all required inspections and the owner has all the proper licenses to operate the massage parlor, according to Deputy Health Director Bob Pinti.

“The spa’s owner followed all of its legal requirements,” Pinti said.

The city reduced the number of available massage parlor licenses from 10 to two in January 2013. The other spa allowed to remain open in the city is the Tiger Spa, 420 W. Market St., which was closed on the day the raids took place.

Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa said the city will remain vigilant in monitoring the massage parlors to ensure they are following all of the city’s laws.

During 2013, Sunny Spa’s license was suspended on two occasions.

In January 2013, the license was suspended for 30 days because the spa had an employee in it without having the proper certifications.

Its license was suspended for 90 days beginning April 1, 2013, when a Warren Health Department sanitarian walked in and found a bikini-clad worker helping a naked male.

Defense attorney Harry DePietro, who represented Cho, at the time said a naked customer did not prove prostitution was taking place.

According to the city’s complaint, employee Min Hoppy, dressed in a bathing suit, was in the shower area with a naked customer.

”In the massage parlor regulations, it notes no genitalia should be exposed during a massage. Taking a shower is not during a massage,” DePietro said.

Isabel Seavey of Northeast Ohio Coalition on Rescue and Restore, said the members are disappointed to see Sunny Spa open again.

”We do understand that Sunny was not one of the spas closed after the raids in May of 2012. The owner of the spa has a constitutional right to own a business as long as no illegal activity occurs there,” she said.

”NEOCORR’s goal has never been to force the spas to close. Our only goal was to insure that there is no human trafficking occurring in any of them,” Seavey said.

Councilman Eddie Colbert, D-7th Ward, where the Sunny Spa is moving, on Thursday said he is disappointed the city was not able to shut down the remaining two spas.

“I’m hopeful the police and health departments will keep a watchful eye on these two establishments and if the activities that took place in the eight spas that were closed down takes place in either of these two establishments, they will be closed down,” Colbert said.

The councilman expressed surprise that the building in which Sunny’s Spa is moving was not purchased and taken over by a different business because it is less than three years old.

Marlin Bartholomew, an inspector with the Warren Health Department, said the department goes unannounced into the local spas several times a year to conduct inspections.