Spa owner charged with bribery

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The owner of a Niles massage parlor was charged Friday with trying to bribe a fire inspector.

The owner of Susi Kims Spa, Chong Suk Williams, 70, of Mercer, Pa., was charged Friday with two counts of third-degree felony bribery. She entered no plea at her initial appearance Monday in Niles Municipal Court. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 6.

Reports say Niles Fire Inspector Andrew Bickerstaff inspected the spa July 10 and found extension cords and plug adapters in some of the room that are prohibited.

An employee of County Fire Protection approached Bickerstaff and said the owner wanted to give him money.

Bickerstaff reported he couldn’t take money for an inspection, took a picture of the $230 offered to him and told the man to return the money to Williams.

Two days later Bickerstaff reported he returned to Susi Kims for a follow-up inspection at Williams’ request.

He noted the extension cords in the sleeping rooms were gone and all other violations were fixed. Williams, reports say, left the room and returned with money in her hand.

She handed Bickestaff the money in front of a police officer and called it “lunch money,” the reports say. Bickerstaff said he told the woman he could not accept money for an inspection, but Williams again tried to give him the money. Bickerstaff reported he put the money on a dryer.

He then alerted superiors at the fire department.

The spa was closed earlier this year after the spa failed several inspection.

“We commend the fire department and the firefighter for doing the right thing,” said Niles police Capt. Ken Criswell. “It really could have been (easy for him to accept the money) because it was a substantial amount of money and she increased it on the second visit. So it does show we have good employees in the city of Niles.”

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