A Macon city councilman wants police to examine whether some Macon massage parlors are violating a city ordinance.
Councilman Larry Schlesinger, a member of the Public Safety Committee, said Wednesday it's about time to revisit the issue.
His comments came two years after city officials enacted an ordinance that, among other things, required masseuses to have state licenses and that the businesses operate between six a.m. and 11 p.m.
Schlesinger is co-author of the ordinance. It was enacted in 2010 after police raided several massage parlors and charged employees with sex offenses.
A viewer told 13WMAZ that some of the businesses stay open after 11 p.m. So, station mangers sent reporters Brittiny Barber and Randall Savage to see if that's true.
It was raining outside with little traffic on the streets when the two reporters left the WMAZ parking lot shortly after 11 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11.
They stopped by 11 businesses that have have the licenses required to perform massages. Two of the 11 were open for business.
A woman, identifying herself as Charlie Echo, greeted the reporters when they arrived at the Sauna House on Pio Nono Avenue. She told them she closed when she wants to close. She also explained her services.
"We do a... you know sauna, honey," Echo said.
"Do you do body rubs?" Savage asked.
"No. Uh-uh," said Echo who offered a $20 sauna treatment and said that's all the business had. But she led the reporters into the rear area, passing two separate single bed rooms on the way the sauna booth.
"What do you use these rooms for?" Savage asked.
"I sleep here," Echo said.
"You sleep here and how about this one?" Savage asked.
"I do too," Echo said.
"You sleep in both rooms?" Savage asked.
"Sometimes," Echo said.
Across town on Riverside Drive, the open sign was brightly lit and prominently displayed at Sedona Tanning Salon.
The reporters opened the unlocked door and went into the reception area.
"Are you open? We're with 13 WMAZ News," Savage said.
An unidentified woman closed the window that shielded the reception area from the salon's business area.
"Are you open for business?" Savage asked.
Shaking her head "no", the woman ordered the reporters to leave. She turned off the open sign as the reporters drove away.
After learning about the reporters' visit, Schlesinger said it's about time for city officials to revisit the issue.
"I think that will probably come sooner rather than later, especially with reports like you've shared with us," Schlesinger said.
The councilman said he plans to discuss the situation with the police department's command staff during its regular meeting Thursday.
"The fact that they were open at midnight would indicate to me that there may be an effort to just circumvent the rules and play by their own rules which are not the community rules," Schlesinger said.
He acknowledged that the ordinance may not have cured the problem of prostitution at massage parlors 100 percent. But he said police could determine if any illegal activity is going on at those establishments.
In the past, law enforcement officials conducted raids at both places the reporters visited and filed sex-related charges against employees.
Two years ago, officials raided the Sedona Training Salon and charged an employee with sexual battery and keeping a house of prostitution.
Four years ago, officers raided the VIP Spa at 3266 Pio Nono Ave., charging employees with prostitution, masturbation for hire and keeping a house of prostitution.
The Sauna House is now at 3266 Pio Nono, the same location as the former VIP Spa.