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Massage parlor is apparently out of touch

Owners skip hearing and close up shop following allegations

Jan. 15, 2010

West Allis — The owners of Beijing Foot & Body Massage went down without a fight.

Tong and Michael Sherman and their attorney did not show up at a public hearing Thursday to speak to the Safety and Development Committee about alleged prostitution acts at the business, 2727 S. 108th St.

The committee unanimously recommended the business' operating permit be revoked. The Common Council was scheduled to take up the matter Tuesday.

A plea, then silence

Attorney Mark Pecora previously entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of the business owners, whom he said did not know about alleged sex acts. He also had said that both female employees accused of propositioning undercover West Allis police officers at the business were fired.

But Assistant City Attorney Jeff Warchol, representing the committee, said Pecora told him earlier in the week the clients moved out of the building and would voluntarily surrender the permit.

The city received nothing in writing, however, so the hearing was still held. No residents spoke at the meeting.

The employees, Yuping Xu, 46, of Milwaukee, Yan Ling Liu, 44, of Elmhurst, Ill., have been charged in Milwaukee County Circuit Court with misdemeanor prostitution.

What started it all

According to a complaint filed by the city:

A male citizen told West Allis police in May he was propositioned by an employee of Beijing Foot & Body Massage in May.

About a week later, a woman told police said she scheduled a massage for 6 p.m. and was told it would cost $100. When she arrived, she was told she would have to come back tomorrow.

However, when her husband called, an employee said a massage would cost $30 and he could come any time he wanted.

Police involvement

The West Allis Police Department then commenced an undercover operation.

On three different occasions, undercover officers entered the massage parlor, prepaid for a foot massage, and during the massage were told they could pay $60 for "manual stimulation."

The Police Department executed a search warrant on Oct. 28 and arrested Liu and Xu for prostitution.

Both have pleaded not guilty. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for Feb. 23.

The owners have not been charged.

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