Maple Grove to suspend spa license due to prostitution

A Maple Grove business, Hawaii Spa, was the subject of a possible business license suspension at the Tuesday, Jan. 21 Maple Grove City Council meeting. 

This newspaper went to press prior to the council meeting.

Owner and operator Edwin Berrios holds a commercial business certificate for Hawaii Spa, 7382 Kirkwood Court in Maple Grove. According to city staff, the application for licensure described the by business as “massage” with hours of operation from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

On Jan. 2, the Maple Grove Police Department investigated a report that Hawaii Spa was operating outside of permissible business hours. That day an undercover officer visited the business at 10:20 p.m., outside lawful business hours, for a scheduled massage. During this investigation, an employee of Hawaii Spa accepted cash from the undercover officer for the purposes of sexual activity.

Maple Grove Police charged the employee with prostitution, in violation of state statute, and performing massage services without a license, in violation of city code. Berrios was also charged with aiding an offender in violation of city code.

“Mr. Berrios, the licensee, is responsible for the conduct of himself, his business and his employees,” staff said.

City code states the City Council may suspend any business license,without notice, pending a hearing on revocation within the subsequent 30 days following the suspension. The suspension should be made known to the licensee. A suspension can be approved for several reasons: 1). failure to comply with any of the ordinances of the city, rules promulgated thereunder or statutes of the state or 2). presence of the massage business being found to be detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the citizens of the city. The council may suspend Hawaii Spa under both provisions.

First, Berrios failed to comply with provisions of the city code which includes no engaging in sexual activity and conducting lewd conduct in granted business licenses.

Secondly, Hawaii Spa operated outside of the normal business hours. Third, the massage employee was not currently licensed.

Finally, city code requires the licensee engage in practices designed to ensure cleanliness and health and which are designed to resist anything detrimental to the public’s health, safety and welfare. The unlicensed Hawaii Spa employee was charged with prostitution, which “may be viewed as endangering the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Maple Grove and constitute an independent grounds for suspending the business license” under city code.

The council’s recommended action would be to suspend the business license of Hawaii Spa based on the mentioned comments from city staff and police, and to direct the clerk to send the notice of suspension and schedule a license revocation hearing before the council for Feb. 3, at 7 p.m.