State oversight of spa questions
State licensed suspected spa madam despite prior accusations
The woman accused of running a prostitution ring in local spas was granted state licenses for those establishments even though she surrendered a similar state license in 2006 in the face of similar accusations, records show.
A former employee of spa owner Terry Mussari tells FOX Undercover that Mussari was able to evade scrutiny from state licensing inspectors by apparently getting tipped off in advance about what were supposed to be surprise inspections.
After police raided Terry Mussari’s Spine Stop chiropractor’s office in Easton in 2003, the state board that licenses chiropractors wrote that Mussari “…encouraged, facilitated, and accepted remuneration for the sexual acts that (her) unlicensed employees performed on male clients".
After that report, Mussari voluntarily surrendered her chiropractor’s license in 2006, but that hasn’t stopped the state from licensing her as a massage therapist and licensing three of her spas.
Those spas, prosecutors now say, provided cover for a prostitution ring they say she was running. Mussari was arrested and charged late last month with deriving support from prostitution.
A woman who worked for Mussari as a massage therapist and admits taking money from customers for sex said she couldn’t understand how the state let Mussari open the spas in the first place.
“I don’t know if people just chose to turn a blind eye, whether they didn’t want to do their job. I don’t know what it is,” said the woman, who spoke to FOX Undercover on the condition she not be identified.
In the earlier case, Mussari agreed to give up her chiropractor’s license in 2006, but the agreement she signed with the state made no mention of the sex-for-money allegations.
When Mussari later applied for new licenses, she made no mention of those allegations either. In an application for a license to open her third Massachusetts spa, she disclosed that she had surrendered an earlier license but said it was because of improper documentation, billing problems and to avoid a “very costly trial.”
Her former employee, who spoke exclusively to FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet, says neither she nor most of the other women working at Mussari’s spas were licensed as massage therapists, but the state never caught on.
In fact, she says it seems like someone would tip off Mussari before state inspectors visited.
“She would know that the state was coming in at 10 o’clock. She would make a phone call to all the girls that were working or sitting out back, and she would tell all the girls to go around the corner to Dunkin’ Donuts and she would call you when the woman’s done doing her inspection,” the former employee said.
A spokesman for the state Board of Cosmetology says state licensing boards “…do not give advance notice to licensees of regular inspections, and there is no indication that establishments owned by Terry Mussari were warned of upcoming inspections by Board personnel."
As for why the state kept licensing Mussari’s spas, the spokesman, Jason Lefferts, says Mussari gave up her chiropractor’s license because of billing issues so the new licenses were approved.
Lefferts added, “"Certainly, anyone convicted of prostitution charges would not get a license from the Board.”