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County suspends south Forsyth massage parlor license
FCN file photo.

In a first, a Forsyth County business could likely have its license revoked after violations of the county’s new massage and spa ordinance.

At a regular meeting on Thursday, Forsyth County commissioners approved 5-0 the revocation of the business license for Healing Touch, a spa on McFarland Parkway. The business is the first to have a license revoked since the ordinance went into effect at the beginning of 2016.

Earlier that day, owner Jeoung Gyu Shin was found to have five violations by Forsyth County Magistrate Court for a total fine of $675.

“Under the Forsyth County massage and spa ordinance, once citations are issued, of course, there are two tracks,” County Attorney Ken Jarrard said. There is a track to the magistrate court with quasi-criminal track, wherein the county vindicates its interest in that regard, and then, of course, there is the administrative track, which is the track where we act in a regulatory capacity.”

Violations were for not keeping employee records on site, not having records of services provided, an employee having no employee permit, the employee not being clothed while with a client and three beds being found on premises.

Other violations for customers using rear entrances and not having a licensed massage therapist on site were dismissed.

The revocation will go into effect in 30 days unless an appeal is filed, in which case the revocation would be dependent on the decision. 

Allen Begner, the attorney representing Healing Touch, said there were plans to appeal. He also said the spa was a legitimate business and had been checked 15 times since the violation.

Begner also took issue with the license being suspended, which requires three violations, and said all three could not be given on the same day. He called the code section unconstitutionally vague.

“We suggest that progressive discipline … means that you are prohibited from revoking on a first offense and required to find three offences on three different days within a 12 month period,” he said.

The violations were found on a compliance check performed by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 23, which found an employee of Healing Touch, also called BMB Sauna, allegedly soliciting sexual acts in exchange for cash from an undercover deputy.

During Thursday’s hearing, it was announced a prostitution charge had been dropped.

In March 2016, the Forsyth County News listed BMB Sauna as one of five permanently closed spas following a sweep of unauthorized massage parlors.

In November 2015, Forsyth County commissioners approved a new ordinance to crack down on illicit activities at massage parlors and spas.

Among the changes were requiring businesses and employees not licensed by the state to obtain a county license, employee records to be kept, minors to be accompanied by an adult and setting businesses hours from 7 a.m.-10 p.m., with workers on site from 6 a.m.-11 p.m.

Licenses cost $250 for a business and $25 for unlicensed massage therapists.