The law firm representing a seedy massage parlor, that both advertises on websites known by the government to illicit sex and pays tens-of-thousands of dollars in rent to vulnerable Democrat Rep. Ron Kind (WI), also has deep ties with Ron Kind.
Since last week, Kind has come under intense scrutiny for receiving tens-of-thousands of dollars from renting one of the buildings he owns to a seedy massage parlor. The business, known as “Asian Sunny Massage,” opened in 2018 and was previously named “Impression Spa.” The same day the spa opened, reports show advertisements to court customers to the spa showed up on “various illicit websites that are known as avenues for illicit sex.”
Joe Veenstra, a La Crosse, Wisconsin, attorney who works for Johns, Flaherty & Collins, which represents the massage parlor in question, released a statement last week on behalf of the business owner. “These stories are a sad attempt to use politics in its worst way and in doing so hurt an Asian-American-operated business in the process,” Veenstra said, adding that the parlor “runs a perfectly legitimate business. It operates in accordance with all state and local regulations.”
A recent report by the Washington Free Beacon claims the lawyer and law firm are looking out for their own political ties with the vulnerable Democrat. The report says, “the law firm’s interest in clearing Asian Sunny Massage’s name may go beyond its role as counsel for the establishment.”
The report also noted that Brent Smith, who currently serves as the firm’s managing partner, has been the treasurer for Kind’s campaign since last August. In addition to Kind’s campaign website listing Smith as treasurer, the statements for the campaign also list his law firm’s address. Since Kind’s first run in 1997, the Beacon’s report shows Smith has contributed roughly $7,600 to his campaigns.
The connection goes deeper. The attorney for the seedy massage parlor, Veenstra, “has also donated repeatedly to Democratic candidates over the last decade, including $250 to Kind, his single largest contribution.” The law firm’s other lawyers have combined to contribute $900 to Kind’s campaign since 1999, according to the report.
Veenstra, Smith, and Kind did not respond to the Beacon’s requests for comment to find out if Kind had directed Asian Sunny Massage to utilize Johns, Flaherty & Collins for their services.
Kind in a recent interview has blamed the advertisements on various illicit websites on Google and their algorithms. Kind said, “because of Google’s algorithms, [the ads] get attached to various sites that the small business has no control over.”
Previously, Jie Yang, owner of Asian Sunny Massage, told Fox News, “the parlor only gives massages and does not provide any other ‘services.'” When Yang was pressed on why the business appears to have placed advertisements on illicit websites, he replied that the parlor “only uses Google.” Yang did say the manager is in charge of advertising but refused to share the contact information for the manager.
The Beacon reached out to a spokesman from Google regarding Kind’s claim that “algorithms” are what caused the ads to be on the website. The spokesman said the ads “are not Google-placed ads.” The spokesman added, Google “specifically ‘does not run Google ads’ on any of the illicit massage sites in question and said its publisher policies ‘prohibit content that promotes compensated sex acts.'”
Mike Berg, a National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) spokesman, said in a statement about the latest reports, “Ron Kind must immediately stop lying and come clean about what went on at this massage parlor. Attempting to cover it up is a disservice to Wisconsin voters.”
The NRCC recently released an ad targeting Kind for hiding the truth and not standing up to sex trafficking.
The initial report showed Kind made tens-of-thousands from renting a property he owns to a seedy massage parlor that has been advertised multiple times on websites known for soliciting sex since the business opened. The report indicated the business known as “Asian Sunny Massage,” which was previously named “Impression Spa,” opened in 2018. The same day the spa opened, reports show the advertisements on the “various illicit websites that are known as avenues for illicit sex” started. Some of these websites appeared to be RubMaps, AssortList, and BodyRubsMap.
BodyRubsMap has been advertised as the “best alternative to Backpage,” a now-seized website known as “the largest online U.S. marketplace for sex trafficking,” according to the report. AssortList is a site similar to Craigslist and Backpage — which reportedly lets users choose categories, like dating and massages, in addition to “adult” services which include phone sex, escorts, strippers, and strip clubs. Fox News cites a 2019 USA Today report describing RubMaps as a review site for illicit spas, like “Yelp.”
Kind refused to respond to the initial reports from Fox News.
Instead, the Democrat spoke to a local news organization in his district and claimed racism is behind the questions and latest attacks on him. Kind claimed the reports were false and are racist for questioning an Asian-owned business.
Retired Navy SEAL Derrick Van Orden, who was Kind’s opponent in last year’s general election, and running against Kind in the midterms, appeared on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Saturday this weekend to say that Kind “as a special prosecutor, for him to say that he has no idea of the potentiality of this type of establishment, a massage parlor that has been advertising on websites known by law enforcement to encourage illicit sex to say that he didn’t understand that is just really hard to believe.” Van Orden continued to say that Kind should stop trying to blame others instead of trying to figure out what is happening at the business he rents to. This “is about a sitting United States Democrat congressmen renting office space to a massage parlor that has been advertising on websites known by law enforcement to encourage illicit sex, that’s the beginning and the end of the story.”
A follow-up report from a local network, WKBT, uncovered there had been seven police calls to the massage parlor in less than three years of being in business — including several times in the middle of the night.
The report from Fox News also indicated that the spa posted screenshots of their advertisements from one of the alleged websites, AssortList, onto their Facebook profile, which have since been deleted. The Beacon obtained screenshots of the Facebook posts.
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