Los Angeles

LA Looks to Shut Down Massage Business for Alleged Prostitution Ring

A massage business with two locations in the San Fernando Valley was sued Tuesday by the Los Angeles city attorney's office for allegedly running prostitution services out of both sites.

City Attorney Mike Feuer said the two locations of Blue Moon Relax Spa, operated by Kendi Enterprises Inc. and Topeka Plaza, LLC, are "well-known" to law enforcement and local community members for allegedly illicit activity.

One of the massage parlors is located near several schools.

"We want these properties to be shut down," Feuer said. "We want them to be ... the source of legitimate businesses in these locations."

Xiaoxi Ding and Hongshan Wang are named in the lawsuit as CEO and manager, respectively, of Kedi Enterprises.

Balowen LLC is also named as the owner and operator of the strip malls where the Blue Moon spas are located at 6817 Balboa Blvd. in Van Nuys, and 18959 Ventura Blvd. in Tarzana. The manager of those strip mall corporations is Dr. Isaac Hakim, a dentist in Beverly Hills, according to the City Attorney's Office.

Calls to the defendants for comment were not immediately returned.

"The lawsuit alleges the defendants have operated a sophisticated prostitution ring at both locations under the guise of massage therapy businesses," according to a city attorney's release.

The complaint asks the court to allow the city to shut down the businesses by granting injunctions and to prohibit the owners and managers from operating another massage business and several other alternative medicine businesses within the city limits unless given written permission by the court, and to fine the owners $2,500 for each violation the court finds.

Since 2012, the Los Angeles Police Department has conducted multiple "vice investigations" of the businesses, resulting in 14 "prostitution-related" arrests, according to the complaint.

The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking is partnering with the City Attorney's Office, and Feuer said the organization has contacted workers at Blue Moon to get them help, but so far none of them have accepted it.

The city attorney described encounters customers have allegedly had at Blue Moon locations, include finding women with little clothing on and seeing them presented in a lineup for selections.

Multiple reviews on the business opinion site Yelp for Blue Moon echo the allegations of the City Attorney's Office.

"It's never OK for children to pass by ... any of these kinds of businesses on their way home or on their way to school," said Councilwoman Nury Martinez, whose district includes Lake Balboa and part of Van Nuys.

Martinez said schools are about 50 feet from one of the Blue Moon locations, "all behind the shadows of a brothel operating with immunity, and that is completely unacceptable."

As no judgment has been rendered, the Blue Moon is still able to operate, Feuer said.

"These are allegations at this point," Feuer said. "We haven't proven anything in court, but as you can tell we take the allegations very seriously."

Feuer said since he was elected in 2013, his office has sought nearly 240 injunctions against properties and successfully closed some of them, which were typically involved in narcotic trafficking.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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