Members of the Alexandria City Council, troubled that some of the city's massage parlors have reopened under the control of two reputed gambling figures, yesterday called for emergency legislation that they said would effectively close the parlors.
Mayor Frank Mann, visibly upset, interrupted a council hearing yesterday morning to call for the new controls, which he said could be enacted into law by the end of the year.
Separately City Attorney Cyril D. Calley said he was investigating whether one of the reopened parlors had changed its location without seeking a new city permit. He said he would ask police to move against the parlor immediately if a violation is discovered.
Both Mann and Calley said they were unaware that parlors, formerly owned by the reclusive Michael Louis Parrish and closed after massive midnight FBI raids six months ago, had reopened.
Calling massage parlors "the most serious source of crime in this city for the past 5 years," an angry State Sen. Wiley F. Mitchell (R-Alexandria) said yesterday he was prepared to sponsor state legislation as part of the proposed crackdown.
"I'm extremely upset," Mann said outside the City Council chambers after calling for a new ordinance that would limit the hours of parlor operations to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., require a special use permit granted by the council, a special tax, increased license fees for masseuses, require them to keep a "log book" of their customers, and the the dates and times of appointments as well as the amount of money spent.
"Those alone should be enough to drive them out of business," said City Councilman Donald C. Casey, long a critic of the city's once-flourishing massage parlor trade.
No other Northern Virginia locality has a law with such detailed requirements. In the past, Alexandria's massage parlors have been able to avoid meeting local health and other city requirements simply by declaring that they are not massage parlors and thus immune from the laws.
The Alexandria Council made no recommendations yesterday concerning the reopened "outcall" massage operations in the city that dispatch masseuses by telephone to various locations. Casey said in an interview that the outcall operations will be dealt with next.
Currently, there is no city ordinance governing the outcall operations.
"I don't know what we can do about outcall," said city lawyer Calley. "If they (the masseuses) are carefully coached, it's hard as hell to deal with." Calley said the problem was there is no law against using the telephone to call for a masseuse.
City Manager Douglas Harman said he knew the parlors had never been effectively shut down, but said he was troubled by reports that the new owners, Gerald Le Compte, 43, and Constantine (Gus) Patrides, 46, were arrested in Prince George's County Oct. 28 on gambling charges. Both men have pleaded innocent to the charges.
Harman blamed the courts for the parlors. "There is a fundamental problem with enforcement of the massage parlor ordinance" and the city's ban on cross-sexual massages, he said.
Both Harman and Calley cited the failure of an undercover Alexandria vice squad investigation in which a civilian volunteer was recruited to gather evidence against the parlors. In dismissing one of those cases, a judge said he could not decide "who was the bigger whore" - the masseuse or the civilian.
Harman said the proposed ordinance would be given "very high priority" and would be presented for a public hearing at the next City Council meeting Nov. 28. According to Mann, the ordinance should become law by Dec. 12.
Alexandria has been unable to control the massage parlors but the City Council's latest action is "hitting them in a different way," Calley said.
A federal grand jury probe into Alexandria massage parlor entrepreneur, Parrish, who, the FBI has said, ran the "largest and most sophisticated commercialized prostitution business" in the Washington area, has resulted in four former Parrish employes pleading guilty to interstate racketeering charges.
Parrish sold three of his 11 parlors and two outcall operations last month, according to law enforcement sources.
"It's amazing to me that these new guys would come in and take over Parrish's operations, knowing everything that's been going on," Calley said yesterday. "That takes guts."