Business & Finance

Pine Brook Massage Parlor Shut Down After Several Failed Inspections

022c1629839ce43db105_a_Swan_Lake_Spa_in_Pine_Brook__2018_TAPinto_Montville.JPG
Swan Lake Spa in Pine Brook ©2018 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
70c1988e2f0f01846c13_a_Montville_Township_Health_Board_Chairman_Charles_J._Perry__2018_TAPinto_Montville.JPG
Montville Township Health Board Chairman Charles J. Perry ©2018 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
598e4fe2b7ab8dcd34f9_a_Montville_Township_Health_Officer_Aimee_Puluso__2018_TAPinto_Montville.JPG
Montville Township Health Officer Aimee Puluso ©2018 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
e4c92a1c1f8b0f92e5be_a_The_inner_door_with_a_doorbell_of_Swan_Lake_Spa_in_Pine_Brook__2018_TAPinto_Montville.JPG
The inner door with a doorbell of Swan Lake Spa in Pine Brook ©2018 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
71178a83052e723f1d6d_a_The_location_of_Swan_Lake_Spa__2018_TAPinto_Montville.JPG
The location of Swan Lake Spa ©2018 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
022c1629839ce43db105_a_Swan_Lake_Spa_in_Pine_Brook__2018_TAPinto_Montville.JPG

MONTVILLE, NJ – A used prophylactic in the trash, apparent “table showers,” and the implication of employees sleeping and cooking in the Swan Lake Spa massage parlor in Pine Brook resulted in the spa’s license revocation at a hearing held by the Board of Health March 12.

The spa had been in business on Route 46 since 2012 and had been subject to a revised 2012 ordinance that required periodic inspections, Montville Township Health Officer Aimee Puluso said.

Puluso read the following violations to the board which included:

Sign Up for E-News

  • In 2013, 2015, and 2016 inspections found licensing problems, both with employees and the spa itself.
  • The Sept. 2016 inspection resulted in the business being temporarily closed. During the inspection, Puluso said two practitioners fled the building, leaving the inspector alone. The inspector requested the police, health official, construction official and fire official respond to the spa, due to violations observed, which Puluso said included:
    • A used prophylactic was observed in one of the treatment rooms.
    • There were sleeping and excessive living items (bedding, pillow, clothing, toiletries, cooking items) observed.
    • A fully stocked refrigerator with more food than needed for one day was observed.
    • One employee had no license, the other employee had no license displayed, and had no photo ID.
  • Health department officials held a meeting with the owner, who expressed shock at the conduct of her employees, Puluso said, but she told owner Sun Ja Choi she is responsible for the conduct of her employees whether the owner is on the premises or not. The business was re-inspected and allowed to re-open within the same month.
  • In Nov. 2016 the spa was re-inspected and the inspector was at first refused access to the business. Puluso said sleeping quarters were observed in the establishment, such as mats, blankets, toiletries, and a fully stocked fridge. The coverings on the tables had deteriorated, which results in the inability to sanitize them. The business was issued a summons.
  • In Dec. 2016 the spa was again re-inspected. There were raw ingredients in the refrigerator, which means that cooking was happening, and equipment for cooking was observed. According to Puluso, there were personal items in the dryer mixed in with the items for the business. Choi made a guilty plea in court.
  • Multiple violations were once again observed during the Feb. 2017 inspection. This time, the spa had a locked door between the reception area and the treatment area, with a doorbell and a sign stating “ring bell.” Puluso said the vinyl coverings on the massage tables were still deteriorated and not able to be sanitized, required signage was not posted, and required intake/treatment records were not being kept.
  • In March 2017 the inner door from reception was still locked when the inspector arrived, no intake/treatment records existed, and the spa was fined $250 for repeat inspection fees and $300 for repeat violation fees, according to Puluso. The cooking equipment and more food than is needed for one day were noted too.
  • Once again the spa was rated unsatisfactory and ordered closed following its Dec. 28, 2017 inspection, and the business was fined a $250 re-inspection fee and fines of $1,050 levied. Puluso said the seven repeat violations were found and included: lock and bell on inner door, signage lacking (2 counts), no records kept, sleeping items observed, freezer and fridge overly stocked, food prep equipment, excessive personal items. Additionally, the inspector found a therapist whose physical exam was only a TB test, no disinfection plan or employee list, soap not affixed to wall/counter, no paper towels in bathroom, improper license displaying, walls in poor repair after sinks installed, creams in wide-mouth jars rather than more sanitary pump containers, and hours of operation past the ordinance-restricted 10 p.m.

Puluso said she conducted an online search of the business and found on a website that “table showers” were advertised by the business, but those are not permitted by Montville Township ordinance.

The business was re-inspected the same day, rated conditionally satisfactory, and allowed to reopen, according to Puluso.

Finally Puluso said the business was ordered closed on Feb. 6, 2018 and fined $1,050 plus a $250 re-inspection fee, because of the following violations:

  • A new violation was observed -- a plastic covered table in the shower room (this is called a “table shower”)
  • Sleeping items and excessive personal items
  • Raw, bulk food in the fridge and freezer
  • Food prep and cooking equipment observed
  • Employees could not produce the disinfection plan and were not aware of its existence
  • No list of employees
  • No intake/treatment records since Oct. 2017

Puluso said a re-inspection was conducted two days later and the problems were abated aside from a license still pending for one employee, but Puluso informed Choi and her attorney that due to the quantity of violations, the seriousness of the violations, and the repeat history of the violations, Choi would need to come to the Board of Health for a permit revocation hearing.

At the hearing, Choi’s lawyer Matthew Jeon questioned Puluso whether a microwave would be allowed on the premises rather than the rice cooker that was cited and she said yes. He seemed to object to the garbage bags holding the bedding being outside of the business being considered a violation, and he stated that it is common among Asians to sit on a blanket or comforter on the floor to eat, and this should not be considered “sleeping quarters.” Puluso stated that no matter how they’re being used, the ordinance prohibits them from being on the floor. Jeon also questioned why the permit to do business was possibly being revoked at the hearing, when the violations could be addressed, and Puluso repeated that due to the seriousness, sheer quantity and repeat nature of many of the violations, the hearing had become necessary.

Jeon asked which violations Puluso considered serious, and Puluso listed and explained them. She said refusing the inspector entry is serious, and evidence of sleeping quarters is a fire hazard. Having no intake or treatment records is not only against local but also state laws. The signage violations were not serious, she said, but the repeated violations “demonstrate a lack of willingness to comply with the ordinance.” She also called the table shower a serious violation, among others she listed.

The board went into executive session. When they returned, they unanimously voted to revoke Choi’s license. Jeon said he would be appealing the decision on Choi’s behalf.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Hanover/Florham Park

Improvements Planned for Two Busy 90 Year Old Morris County Bridges, One in Florham Park

April 19, 2018

Morris County, in coordination with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and New Jersey Department of Transportation, is conducting studies to determine improvements needed for the Columbia Turnpike Bridge in Florham Park and the Valley Road Bridge in Long Hill and Bernards Township, at the Morris and Somerset counties’ border.

Columbia Turnpike ...

Surf City Hotel's Application Rejected By the Surf City Land Use Board for Outdoor Dining

April 18, 2018

SURF CITY - There has been a lot of positive change going on at the Surf City Hotel the last two years and especially this off season. New owner Greg Gewirtz, his wife Colleen and other family members have been working hard completing renovations to improve the hotel, bar, liquor store, restaurant and night club.

The owners were hoping those improvements would include approval to set ...

Travels Update - Long Beach Island Summer Shuttle No Longer A Free Ride

BRANT BEACH - The Long Beach Island Shuttle, an extremely popular service for visitors and residents of Long Beach Island, will have a fee for the first time beginning Memorial Day weekend. 

The Long Beach Township Board of Commissioners made the announcement at their meeting on Monday, April 9. 

Here is the overview on the fees:

One-way shuttle rides from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Baby Seal Waddles Its Way onto Belmar Beach

BELMAR, NJ — A baby seal waddled its way onto the Fifth Avenue beach earlier today to enjoy one of the warmest days of spring so far.

Around noon on April 12, photographer Nancy Orlowski took these snapshots, which have also been posted on the Belmar Facebook page where it states that the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey has been notified.

This is the second known instance ...

Save This Travel Date - The Asbury Park Music and Film Festival - April 27 - 29

TAPintoTravels - Asbury Park, New Jersey will host their 4th annual Music and Film Festival on April 27 - 29.

What is better than hanging out in a beach town while listening to good music, watching great films, and all while supporting some great charities? Okay, maybe doing in mid-summer is a little better.  We imagined they tried, but what ...

Travels - Friends of Belmar Harbor: Seeking Junior Sailors and Campers for Summer Programs

BELMAR, NJ — Children can learn how to sail or discover the wonders of the Shark River during two programs to be held weekly this summer by Friends of the Belmar Harbor.

Registration now is open for FOBH’s Junior Sailing and Discovery Camp programs, which will be held from June 18 through August 30 as weekly offerings. Sign up by April 1 and receive a 15 percent discount on ...

Hop To It And Get A Jump On This Summer's Amusement Park Fun

NEW JERSEY - Easter means egg hunts, egg decorating, an overabundance of chocolate and of course Peeps, but if you're a Jersey guy or gal there is something else on the agenda for this Easter weekend; scoring discounted tickets for the Garden State's amusement attractions. Yes, pretty much all of the popular New Jersey amusement attractions offer deals on tickets for the upcoming summer ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_288b081c369525ca41be_img_0792

Fri, April 20, 5:00 PM

Madison Area YMCA - Gymnastics Center, Madison

Y Ninja For A Cause

Giving Back Other

Carousel_image_82ae67ce849a82b5418e_wine_3

Fri, April 20, 6:30 PM

New Jersey Vasa Park, Budd Lake

CEC's Wine Tasting and Silent Auction

Food & Drink Giving Back

Sat, April 21, 12:00 PM

NJ Shakespeare Theatre Support Facility, Florham Park

Backstage Tour of the NJ Shakespeare Theatre

Arts & Entertainment

Hanover Park Sends Love to Marjory Stoneman Douglas Students

April 17, 2018

EAST HANOVER, N.J.- Students at Hanover Park High School continue to show love and support to the families of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Earlier this year, students, under the supervison of Carly Marcketta and Stephanie Keat created a video  and sent to the students supporting the #MSDStrong campaign.

A few days later, the students ...

Obituaries

Beverly Jean (Charlton) Weimar, of Ship Bottom, and Florham Park, New Jersey passed away on March ...
Read more

Op-Ed: New Jersey’s Out-of-Network Bill is a huge blow to the middle-class

April 5, 2018

As Trenton currently looks to balance the budget, once again it’s our state’s hardest working citizens who will be left holding the bag. This time, though, it will be the hardworking office and ancillary staff from our small business private medical practices.  A bill called “The Out-of-Network Consumer Protection Bill” A-2039/S-485 looks poised to make ...

Let’s leave a legacy for the children and the Borough of Florham Park!

April 18, 2018

The soon-to-be-incorporated Florham Park Education Foundation is looking for individuals who are interested in serving the community as Committee Members and/or a Trustees on the Board of Directors. Specifically, we are in search of motivated individuals who have the time, talent and/or fields of expertise that would benefit the FPEF, the Florham Park School District but, primarily, the students ...