The owner of a Warren massage parlor cited for a health code violation after inspectors caught an employee helping a naked customer shower last week has asked a judge to allow her business to remain operating until they can address the violation.
UnSuk Cho, the owner of Sunny Spa at 442 E. Market St., one of two remaining Warren massage parlors, filed for a temporary restraining order late Friday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court through her attorney, Harry DePietro.
DePietro asked Judge Andrew Logan, who was assigned the case, for a hearing to allow the business to keep operating until a permanent injunction hearing can be held.
Warren City Deputy Health Commissioner Bob Pinti found an employee, Min Hoppy, wearing a bikini helping a naked customer shower during a surprise inspection last week.
The violation would close the massage parlor for 90 days starting April 1.
DePietro, in his petition filed with the court, says Pinti violated Cho’s state and federal constitutional rights against an unreasonable search.
“Pinti moved about Sunny in an aggressive and rapid manner, working his way from the front to the back of Sunny,” the petition. “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, Min Hoppy) – embarrassing Sunny’s customer…”
DePietro also argued her due process rights to a hearing were violated because the health department gave DePietro a six-hour notice if he wanted a public hearing, the petition claims.
Warren Health Department meetings occur the last Wednesday of every month. DePietro sent his notice of appeal one day before the regularly scheduled meetings. DePietro wrote that failed to give him enough time to prepare to defend the violation.
DePeitro told WKBN.COM Wednesday no violation occurred because city code dictates that all customers’ genitals be covered during a massage and the employee was not giving a massage during the shower.
It’s the second time in three months Sunny Spa has been cited for a violation. Records show they were suspended Jan. 7 for 30 days because inspectors found a non-licensed masseuse giving massages.
Investigators with the state’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation raided eight of the city’s 10 massage parlors in May and the city later shuttered all eight for health code violations.
Records show spa customers from as far away as Shelby, a 120-mile trip, told investigators they paid for sex and sex acts at all eight spas raided.
BCI and the state attorney general’s office is currently reviewing evidence gathered from the spas, including computers, ledgers and DNA, to see if charges can be filed, including human trafficking, racketeering and money laundering, among others, according to court records and investigators.
About a month later, Braceville police raided the Four Seasons Spa, catching a customer and employee engaged in sex acts. The owner, Kay Owens, 62, was originally charged with promoting prostitution. Those charges were dropped and Owens eventually pleaded guilty in August to three counts of aggravated trespassing.
Court records say she forfeited more than $11,000, two cell phones, a laptop computer, four televisions, a VHS and DVD player, seven surveillance cameras and a 2007 Toyota Camry. She also agreed to close her business.
Sunny is one of three spas remaining in Trumbull County. Officials have said the other two— the Tiger Spa in Warren and Niles’ Susi Kims— are being watched by officials. No charges have been filed against them.
Investigators at the time said the Tiger Spa was not targeted in the May raids because they were closed for renovations at the time. Officials said they have since re-opened, and an advertisement in the Cleveland Scene magazine appeared in the March 20 edition touting a grand opening.
Pinti said the Tiger Spa has been open since at least January and has passed three or four health inspections since.