|Council is asked to consider revocation of Therapeutic Massage Enterprise License issued to Ming Massage located at 11284 Robinson Drive NW.
|Ya Ming Ji, owner of Ming Massage, applied for and was granted a 2019 Massage Enterprise license in December 2018 to operate at 11284 Robinson Drive. At the time of license approval Ms. Ji was informed of the City's requirements and expectations for massage licensing as outlined in the City Code.
In February 2019, it was brought to the attention of City staff that Ming Massage was advertising for appointment availability after the allowed hours of operation. Staff made contact with the business owner and explained that they were not allowed to be open or provide appointments after 10:00 p.m. per City Code. To date, the website for Ming Massage continues to advertise the ability for after hours massage appointments (see attached screenshot of website with hours listed as 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.).
On March 10, 2019, Ms. Ji contacted the Coon Rapids Police Department and asked for assistance to get her licensed therapist employee to leave the business. Ms. Ji wanted to close Ming Massage for the day but her employee, Ya Fang Zhang, would not leave the business. Ms. Zhang left after instructed to do so by the police (see attached police report).
On March 14, 2019, the Coon Rapids Police Department was called to assist a member of the public that had entered the business and was locked inside. After an investigation, it was determined that massage staff left the business unsecured the night before which led to the door being unlocked and the business appeared to be open without anyone from the business present. The licensee was asked to fix the malfunctioning door and to ensure that the business was secure before leaving for the night. The Coon Rapids Fire Department met with the business and explained the corrective action needed on the door and the door was fixed (see attached police report).
In March 2019, City staff was made aware that Ming Massage was being advertised on the adult website www.rubmaps.com which is a website where massage customers can rate their experience as well as a format/venue to express the types of additional adult services offered by the business. The licensee was informed that advertisement on this or any similar type of adult use websites was not allowed. To date, Ming Massage is still advertised on rubmaps.com in addition to adlist24, and rubratings.com, all of which advertise adult content. These adult websites are known by law enforcement to be frequented by those who plan to solicit prostitution.
On May 22, 2019 a compliance inspection of the business was performed (see attached inspection report). The purpose of this inspection was to ensure compliance with the City's Code for Massage Enterprise licensure. During this compliance inspection, the following violations were observed:
1. 5-2904(2) Therapeutic Massage Therapist. No person may provide, offer, engage in, or carry on massage services in the City, and no therapeutic massage enterprise may employ a person to provide massage services, unless the person is licensed as a therapeutic massage therapist by the City.
During the compliance check, City inspection personnel made contact with Hong Laxiu, an employee, who was conducting a massage on a male customer. When asked for proof of licensure Ms. Laxiu indicated she had been left in charge by another employee and that she is not licensed. It is important to note that the male customer snuck out a back door while inspection personnel were calling the Coon Rapids Police Department. When asked why her customer would feel the need to leave out the back of the business Ms. Laxiu did not provide a response (see attached police report).
2. 2-401 Minnesota State Fire Code Adopted. The Minnesota State Fire Code does not allow residential occupancy in a commercial building with an occupancy definition of Business.
During the compliance check, City inspection personnel discovered that one of the treatment rooms was set up as a sleeping room as evidenced by personal items, shoes under the bed, a cabinet that contained women’s clothing, a space heater and a power strip used as temporary wiring. The Minnesota State Fire Code does not allow residential occupancy in this building.
3. 5-2912(2) General License Restrictions. Therapeutic massage therapists must have and display a current, valid license in a conspicuous place on the premises.
During the compliance check, there was no current massage therapist license properly displayed for Ya Fang Zhang as required by City Code. Ms. Zhang is the licensed therapist at this location but neither she nor her license were present during the inspection.
4. 5-2913(5) Sanitation and Health. Single-service disposable paper or clean linens must be provided to cover the table, chair, furniture other area on which a patron receives a massage.
During the compliance check, City inspection personnel determined that the linens did not appear to be clean nor were they stored in a location that would keep them clean and sanitary (linens were stacked on top of the massage beds/tables in the treatment rooms).
5. 5-2913(6) Sanitation and Health. All surfaces of tables, chairs, furniture or other areas on which a patron receives a massage must be constructed of materials impervious to moisture and must be sanitized after each use.
During the compliance check, City inspection personnel found that the massage therapy tables were of wooden 2x4 construction with OSB plywood on top and covered by egg crate type foam and fabric linens. These materials are not able to be sanitized, are not impervious to moisture, and are in violation of City Code.
During the compliance inspection personnel requested that the unlicensed employee make contact with the business owner and was informed that she had gone to California. The unlicensed employee did make contact with Ya Fang Zhang (the licensed therapist) who, after 30 minutes or more, did arrive at the business and inform staff that she had left the unlicensed employee at the location because she is trying it out to see if she wants to buy the business.
On May 24, 2019 the business owner Ya Ming Ji arrived at City Hall with a note apologizing for the situation and asking for forgiveness (see attached note). When Ms. Ji was at City Hall, City staff explained the concerns and code violations occurring at the business and served her with a letter outlining the staff recommendation for revocation (see attached letter).
Chapter 5-2900 of the City's Code was established to protect the City and its citizens by providing for the licensing of therapeutic massage enterprises and massage therapists in order to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare by minimizing the risk that massage enterprises and their employees will facilitate unlawful activities, and that persons without recognized and standardized massage training will endanger citizens by the transmission of communicable diseases, by exposing persons to unhealthy and unsanitary conditions, and by increasing the risk of personal injury.
Based on the information obtained and confirmed by staff through compliance inspection, police reports, and website searches, staff recommends revocation of the Massage Enterprise License issued to Ming Massage effective immediately.
|Staff recommends revocation of the Therapeutic Massage Enterprise license issued to Ming Massage, effective immediately based on the following:
1. Violation of City Code 5-2904(2): No therapeutic massage enterprise may employ a person to provide massage services, unless the person is licensed as a therapeutic massage therapist by the City;
2. Violation of City Code 5-2912(1): Therapeutic massage enterprises must display a current, valid license in a conspicuous place on the premises;
3. Violation of City Code 12-401 Fire Code and State Fire Code for residential occupancy in a commercial building;
4. Violation of City Code 5-2913(5): Single-service disposable paper or clean linens must be provided to cover the table, furniture and other areas on which a patron receives a massage;
5. Violation of City Code Section 5-2913(6): All surfaces of tables, chairs, furniture or other areas on which a patron receives a massage must be constructed of materials impervious to moisture and must be sanitized after each use; and
6. Advertising on adult content websites which are known sites for those who plan to solicit prostitution.