Las Vegas Sun

April 21, 2014

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Second closed massage parlor allowed to reopen

For the second time in a week, a Henderson massage studio closed by the city for alleged prostitution will get to reopen its doors.

District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez granted a stay Monday allowing the reopening of Henderson Oriental Massage, 1006 W. Sunset Road, pending an Oct. 17 hearing.

Gonzalez ruled that the massage studio would likely prevail during a full hearing and that the business would be irreparably harmed if kept closed until then.

A week ago, District Judge Kenneth Cory sided with Sunset Spa & Foot Massage, 4451 E. Sunset Road, which argued the Henderson City Council violated its constitutional rights when it decided May 3 to revoke the studio's operating permit.

Henderson Oriental Massage attorney Richard Schonfeld argued the city violated his client's due process rights when it revoked the permit. He said the city should have given advanced written notice of written testimony against his client and allowed him to cross examine witnesses.

The council revoked the permit based on evidence of alleged prostitution gathered during a Henderson Police Department sting. During the May council hearing, Schonfeld argued the city's codes allowed him to hear the evidence and question police officers who uncovered the violations.

"The city in my opinion had an end in site," Schonfeld said. "They had the conclusion in mind and did what they did to reach that conclusion. The means justifies the end."

Henderson Assistant City Attorney Liza Conroy said the city was justified in revoking the permits over the prostitution allegations uncovered in the investigation. She said she disagrees with Gonzalez' decision that the massage studio would be irreparably harmed, saying the city could reimburse the business for any revenue lost.

Conroy said the city didn't get a chance to argue its case in the legal briefs submitted to Gonzalez and that information could ultimately change her decision.

If Henderson Oriental Massage prevails in the October hearing, the city wouldn't be able to pursue a revocation of the license based on the allegations uncovered in the sting operation, Schonfeld said. The city spent more than two months investigating businesses that offer massage after receiving complaints that some stand-alone studios had therapists that solicited prostitution.

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