The federal investigation into the area's largest massage parlor network is probing alleged links between the parlors and public officials, the FBI agent in charge of the inquiry said yesterday.
Nick Stames, head of the FBI's Washington field office, specifically excluded police from those being investigated by his office and declined to say where the officials in question worked. The Alexandria-based massage parlor ring is owned by Michael Louis Parrish and has been characterized by the FBI in court papers as "the largest, most sophisticated, commercialized prostitution business" in the Washington area.
Stames and Alexandria Police Chief Charles T. Strobel held a press conference yesterday specifically to deny a report in Friday's Washington Post that FBI agents who raided Parrish's Mount Vernon area house Wednesday night found a list of Alexandria police officers with amounts of money written next to their names.
"This so-called list," Stames said, "was a handwritten list of 12 to 15 police officers from the Washington metropolitan area who were working this type of investigation . . . This was not a payoff list . . . This was an intelligence list for whoever prepared it." Names of two FBI agents were also on the list, he said.
Joe Delcampo, another official in the Washington FBI office, described the list as a "guide for the girls" containing names of D.C. police officers. Next to the names were "scribbled" some numbers that apparently referred to the police district in which the officers worked, he said.
Strobel said his office has cooperated with the FBI in the year-long Parrish probe and is conducting two separate investigations involving Alexandria massage parlors.
One investigation "near completion," he said, involves unspecified alleged violations of city and state laws at parlors in Alexandria, which last year passed an ordinance barring "cross-sexual massages. "We will be presenting evidence to a local grand jury, hopefully in the near future," Strobel said.
The other investigation concerns alleged "improprieties" committed by Alexandria police officers during off-duty hours inside local massage parlors, the chief said. The allegations involved "violations of our rules and regulations regarding offduty activity," Strobel said, and not necessarily criminal conduct.
In the midst of this probe two canine corps officers resigned from the force. Strobel said their alleged transgressions occured at Parrish-owned parlors. "But there is absolutely no connection with our investigation," Stames quickly added.
FBI agents raided a dozen Parrish-related premises this week in search of documents to present to a federal grand jury. They made no arrests and said their purpose was not to shut down the parlors.
A reporter spokesmen said, who went to several Parrish parlors yesterday, however, found none open for business. At the West End Shopping Center, 4613 Duke St., an employe of a nearby shop said the Parrish-owned "Hearts" parlor had been closed since the raid. Parrish has not been available for comment.
The raids apparently left unaffected other Alexandria parlors with different owners. The Towers Massage at 1813 Duke St. was open yesterday and offering the usual "combinations" from $35 to $100, depending on the amount of time involved, a hostess said.
But at least one Alexandria man said yesterday his life has been affected by the investigation. Michael Frederick Parrish, an Internal Revenue Service lawyer who lives in Alexandria and is - like massage parlor owner Michael Louis Parris - 33 years old, said "this has had some minor repercussions in my life. It has been hard to explain to my supervisors. Even my friends said, 'Is that you?'"
For some time, the lawyer said, he has been receiving "numerous phone calls at night from young women." A year ago when he was house-shopping, he said, the realtor asked him if he was in the massage parlor business. And late Thursday night, he said, a caller identified himself by recalling "the wild ride in the Rolls Royce last year on Pennsylvania Avenue."