Wallingford massage business reopens after closure by state

Wallingford massage business reopens after closure by state

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WALLINGFORD — A local massage business reopened Tuesday after being shuttered by state officials over payroll violations.

Exquisite Massage, 1209 S. Broad St., was closed for more than a week after state Department of Labor officials issued a stop-work order on Jan. 30 for failing to pay into workers’ compensation by misrepresenting employees as independent contractors and materially understating or concealing payroll.

A woman who identified herself as the manager of Exquisite on Jan. 30 declined to comment Thursday, saying she was too busy, when the Record-Journal visited the business.

After a stop-work order is issued, a business is allowed to reopen once it rectifies its deficiencies.

Steve Jensen, DOL spokesman, said via email that Exquisite was released from the stop-work order Monday “after submitting paperwork that they did have appropriate workers’ compensation coverage as required for employees, as opposed to independent contractors for which such coverage is not required.”

“At this point it appears there is only one employee,” he said. “We also informed the business that we would be closely monitoring their activities, with a re-inspection likely in the future.”

Two Wallingford police detectives assisted with the DOL action on Jan. 30. Wallingford Police Chief William Wright said Thursday that police are ready to assist with any future actions.

The DOL action at Exquisite occurred four weeks after a local resident filed a complaint of suspicious activity with the state Department of Consumer Protection based in part on its reportedly all-male clientele.

DCP referred the Jan. 3 complaint to three agencies — the labor department, the state Department of Public Health, which licenses massage therapists, and Wallingford police.

The Record-Journal obtained the complaint through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Exquisite was one of several massage businesses in Meriden and Wallingford listed on a website featuring user-generated reviews of sexual services. 

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