WARREN - An attorney for one of eight Warren massage parlors raided last month by law enforcement officials said Wednesday he and his client never made a deal with the city to shut down with the other seven spas.
Attorney Jeff Goodman, who represents Gemini Health Spa, 2414 Youngstown Road S.E., said he never settled with the city, and both he and Warren Law Director Greg Hicks said a dismissal would be filed with Trumbull Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay Friday. A hearing on the matter, if necessary, is set for 10 a.m. Monday in Common Pleas Judge John Stuard's courtroom.
Gemini, along with the seven other health spas, officially had their licenses revoked for one year during a meeting Wednesday with the city health department. The board unanimously voted to rescind the licenses for all eight spas and said no one has appealed the earlier decision to revoke the license.
After the year is up, they may reapply.
"None of the eight in question said they would object or in any way find fault with our methodology," Hicks told the board. "Some voluntarily handed over their licenses and some said they simply would not object if the board rescinded their license."
Mayor Doug Franklin said he will sign an executive order today to put a moratorium on licensing any new recreational, nontherapeutic spas and massage parlors until a judge decides whether the ordinance passed by City Council restricting massage parlors is constitutional.
"Given the status of our litigation, we do not want to issue any license while the issue of the status of the city ordinance is unresolved," Franklin said after Wednesday's council meeting. "We do not want to take any actions that would endanger us in any of the legal actions."
Hicks said that several spas have already taken down signage and advertisements. Attorney Gary Rich, who represents the Ocean Spa, Hot Sun Spa and Hong Kong Spa, said those three businesses either have already or planned to forfeit their license. He also said they've taken down all signage, as have other spas.
Hicks also said during the hearing that four women are still living inside the Ocean Spa in an attached apartment in the back of the spa that was licensed by the department. He also said law enforcement is monitoring Websites to ensure spas remain inoperable.
Goodman, who negotiated with city attorneys for about 45 minutes longer than attorneys for the seven other spas, said they have not agreed to any settlement.
"We are not going to enter a settlement, and we're prepared to go forward - we have motions pending," Goodman said. "Let's go. At some point, someone from the city wisely determined that it was probably not a wise move to go forward against my client. They agreed to dismiss the case."
Hicks previously had said all eight spas would let the city revoke their licenses for one year and take down any signs. Any business that complies with the settlement can then immediately rent out the building, as long as it isn't a massage parlor.
The massage parlors have until Sept. 7 to fully comply with the terms of the settlement, which have not yet been finalized, or a permanent injunction hearing will be held.
Two spas in Warren and two others in Niles and Braceville remain open, but officials said they still are investigating the parlors.