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Westerly spa applicant has prostitution record in N.Y.

WESTERLY — A woman with a criminal history of promoting prostitution at massage parlors in New York, and whose license to work as a massage therapist in Connecticut was revoked, is proposing a spa and massage facility for Ocean Plaza on Franklin Street.

Nan Suk Clark, of Uncasville, Conn., has applied to the Zoning Board of Review for a special use permit to open Crystal Spa in Unit 13 at the plaza at 62 Franklin St. Current tenants in the plaza include Guytanno’s Cafe and a Subway shop.

The 67-year-old Clark, who most recently owned Showgun Spa in Uncasville, was convicted in New York in 2006 for promoting prostitution, a felony, and filing a false report. The conviction followed an investigation, conducted by the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, of two massage parlors in White Plains, N.Y.

Clark is represented by lawyer Steven Surdot for her application to the zoning board. When asked whether he was aware of Clark’s record, Surdot, who practices law with George Comolli, said, “I’m not commenting on any criminal background.”

Ocean Plaza is owned by D’Amato Investments LLC, a company with offices in Stonington and Milford, Conn. John D’Amato, a member of the company, wrote in a letter, included in Clark’s zoning application, that the company has an agreement with Clark for her to lease Unit 13 at the plaza.

The unit was once leased by the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles. D’Amato did not respond to a message seeking comment for this article.

Surdot, in the application to the zoning board, notes that the town’s zoning regulations do not delineate “spa/massage” as a specific land use. He requested that the use be classified under a section of the zoning regulations described as “personal services not herein specified.” Because the proposed use is not in the town’s zoning use table, a special use permit is required.

A floor plan accompanying Clark’s application shows six massage rooms, two shower rooms, and a dry sauna area in a 4,800-square-foot building in the plaza.

The Zoning Board is scheduled to conduct a pre-application review of Clark’s application during a meeting scheduled for tonight at 7 in the Municipal Courtroom at Town Hall. The pre-application review is generally informal and quick. A public hearing will eventually be required for the application.

Jason Parker, Westerly zoning officer, said he was not aware of Clark’s criminal history.

Clark’s license to work as a massage therapist in Connecticut was revoked in April after a Connecticut Department of Public Health investigation determined she had falsely answered “no” when asked on her Connecticut license renewal form whether she had any disciplinary actions taken against her license in another state, despite having surrendered her New York license.

“The department has asked for revocation of massage therapist license based on prior misconduct in New York; and, ostensibly, to prevent the promotion of prostitution where massage therapy is being performed. While there is sufficient evidence in the record concerning (Clark’s) prior misconduct in New York and her lack of credibility, there is no evidence in the record that (she) is promoting prostitution in her Connecticut spa,” the Connecticut Department of Public Health memorandum of decision reads.

Although the Connecticut department reported no evidence of prostitution at Clark’s Showgun Spa at 1031 Norwich-New London Turnpike, Uncasville, a routine Internet search revealed reviews of the facility describing a variety of sex services that were available at the facility. Showgun Spa has been replaced by a new establishment, Healing Day Spa, at the same address in Uncasville.

A woman who answered the phone there said the facility is under new ownership and is not connected to Clark.

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