COUNTY PRESS RELEASE
A second illegal massage parlor has been shut down after court action initiated by Rockland County to rid communities of prostitution and other illegal activities, Rockland County announced last Thursday.
Rockland County sought and received an order of eviction against Keum Tree Spa, 255 South Little Tor Road, New City. The eviction was carried out Thursday by deputies of the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department.
“This is a very clear message that we will not tolerate illegal activities in our county,” County Executive Ed Day said. “We will use every means available to shut them down.”
Clarkstown Justice Howard Gerber issued the warrant of eviction Sept. 23 after county attorneys demonstrated that the tenant had repeatedly broken the law.
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe was the petitioner along with the county requesting the eviction because the owner of the strip mall where the massage parlor was located did not cooperate with officials.
He said the collaboration between the county and the district attorney’s office breaks new ground and opens a new front in the battle against such enterprises.
“We will use all the tools at our disposal to halt this type of criminal conduct, especially in cases that are fertile breeding grounds for human trafficking,” Zugibe said.
Workers at Keum Tree Spa have been charged repeatedly with prostitution and performing massages without licenses following police raids on the business.
“Unfortunately, these women are replaced by unscrupulous business owners just as soon as they are arrested,” Day said. “The illegal business continues. That is why the county stepped in.”
In a separate action still pending in state Supreme Court against Keum Tree Spa, Rockland County is seeking fines of $1,000 per day for violations of the county’s public nuisance code.
Rockland County in August won a precedent-setting legal case that establishes the ability of municipalities to use civil penalties against illegal massage parlors and places of prostitution.
That case involved New City Spa, a business at 55-71 S. Main St., where workers had been repeatedly arrested and charged with prostitution. That business was also closed down.
The decision by Rockland Supreme Court Judge Gerald Loehr found that the owners of the business violated a statute in the Rockland County Code that prohibits a public nuisance.