WARREN - The city health department's search of Sunny's Spa, 443 E. Market St., should be considered unconstitutional, and the massage parlor should not face a 90-day suspension, the spa's attorney told city officials Monday afternoon.
Attorney Harry DePietro told members of the Warren Board of Health that a March 21 inspection was actually an unconstitutional search of the business. Plus, what a health department employee found did not break the city's rules for massage parlors.
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 or any therapy. Taking a shower is not during a massage," DePietro said.
Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said, "Our position is it was an inspection, not a search of the business."
No ruling has been made by the health board.
Sunny's Spa is owned by UnSuk Cho. It is one of two massage parlors in Warren that remains open after state officials raided eight of 10 spas last year.
While the spa has been allowed to remain open while the health board reviews the allegation, DePietro said it effectively is closed because of the combination of the raid, the information getting out to the public through media reports, and the spa's one licensed therapist being afraid to return to work.
DePietro is seeking a temporary or permanent injunction to stop the city from closing the spa until after all appeals are heard.
The complaint is scheduled to be held at 11 a.m. today by Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan.
DePietro will present evidence opposing the suspension of the Spa's closing during the Warren Health Board's regular meeting during the last week of April.