EVERETT — It didn’t take long for an undercover Everett police detective to suspect that prostitution was occurring at a newly opened massage parlor in February.
A woman wearing blue lingerie greeted him. There were beds with night stands, but no massage tables. The detective had received professional massages over the years, and he quickly sensed that the woman had little training in massage.
There also had been suspicious references about the business on Backpage.com, a classified ad website that has been used to promote prostitution.
The city of Everett has revoked the massage parlor license for Happy Spa in the 11600 block of Highway 99. After an 80-minute hearing last week, the Everett City Council rejected an appeal from the business owner to have the license reinstated.
Records show that Everett police made four undercover visits between February and August and received a court-approved warrant to search the business. On each visit, detectives allegedly were offered sex for money. They reported that two workers at the massage parlor improperly touched them on three separate occasions.
City officials say two of the offers of sex for money and some of the improper touching occurred while Happy Spa was appealing a June notice of the city’s intent to revoke its license.
Two massage parlor employees were booked into the Snohomish County Jail last month for investigation of prostitution-related allegations.
In legal papers, attorneys for Sun Chon, 61, the out-of-state owner of Happy Spa, told city officials she did not know illegal activity was occurring at the massage parlor and that such activity was not allowed. She said she fired the employees involved. She also said she should have been given notice before the license was revoked, according to documents obtained by The Daily Herald through a public records request.
The city argued that a massage parlor license can be revoked without the owner’s knowledge of any illegal activity.
City attorneys are preparing an order for the council to sign. Once it is signed, the business will have 15 days to decide whether to appeal that decision in court.
“The city hasn’t received any indication one way or another whether they’ll choose to or not,” said Meghan Pembroke, a city spokeswoman.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org