DULUTH -- With the new ordinances that went into effect for massage parlors within Duluth, the city moved to impose fines, suspensions and revocations of licenses in response to the new ordinance during Monday's city council meeting.
Through those, five businesses originally appealed the recommendation by the city clerk, with three withdrawing their appeal and accepting the imposed sanctions.
Then, there were two that didn't withdraw their appeal, although only one owner showed up to actually appeal the decision.
The Tai Ji Massage Parlor and was cited for client records being incomplete, no list of all business employees on site and an unlicensed therapist giving a massage during the time of inspection on April 24.
"We'd only been in business for three weeks," said owner Daniel Allen. "We were trying to follow the ordinances and misread the law. According to the law, it doesn't specify when client records should be updated. We thought we could do it after the massage, but we're supposed to do it before. The unlicensed therapist was the previous owner who was on a contract with us for four weeks to teach us the business."
With the testimony from the massage parlor owners, council member Marsha Anderson Bomar called for the suspension as requested by the city clerk to be changed from 14 days to seven days. However, that motion was struck down by a 3-2 vote. A similar motion to go by the city clerk's recommendation of a 14-day suspension carried, 4-1.
The other massage parlor appealing the city clerk's decision was Missy Retreat, which was cited for incomplete customer records as well, while later undercover investigations turned up nothing in terms of illegal activities. The records only showed customer names and email addresses, which is in violation of the city ordinance which also requires address and phone number.
Council member Billy Jones asked for a 30-day suspension of the license, which was struck down by a 3-2 vote. Instead, the council went with a seven-day suspension.
The businesses withdrawing their appeals included Tong Tong Massage Parlor, Nukoa Day Spa and Chinese Therapeutic Massage Parlor.
Tong Tong's owners accepted revocation of its license and did not appeal the recommendation by the city clerk. Nukoa Day Spa's owners showed up as well and said that they accept the 30-day suspension with the goal of dissolving the business license as well.
For Chinese Therapeutic, citations included the doors being locked during business hours, no records of patrons and an unlicensed person performing a massage. The city clerk recommended a 30-day suspension for the business, which the council accepted.
All suspensions begin today.