You couldn’t ask for a better location to put a massage parlor.
It was in an Essington Road strip mall along with a vitamin store and a vape shop. So right after you got a massage you could walk over and stock up on supplements and e-juice. It’s too bad Sonny’s Delite is gone from down the street or you could grab an ice cream too. But there is a dog services business, a salon and an exercise place, so that’s good.
Not that it matters anymore. Even though the city council voted to give the massage parlor a special use permit, the place won’t get a business license.
Which is a shame. Yan Jiang, who is the woman who had hoped to open Y Massage in the strip mall, got past the zoning board of appeals and then went before the city council, and for a moment, things took a dicey turn.
The council was at 4-2 against when Jiang got the last two votes for a tie. And then Mayor O’Dekirk, who proclaimed when he took office that he would only vote in the case of ties, did just that and broke it in favor of Jiang and Y Massage.
So it looked good for Jiang. At least until it turned out she had been arrested a few years ago for “offering to perform a sexual act on an undercover detective for money” at a massage parlor in Fox Lake, according to a news release from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Now, a massage parlor might fit in with a strip mall where you also have a vitamin store and a vape shop. But a place run by someone who offered to perform a sexual act for money? That doesn’t sound good at all.
Jiang, 54, was found guilty of illegal massage practice, fined and sentenced to court supervision. But that’s only if she’s the same Yan Jiang. The Yan Jiang of Plainfield who wanted to open Y Massage says she is not the same Yan Jiang of Plainfield who got arrested in Fox Lake. She says she knows her, but they are in fact two different people.
Acting City Attorney Chris Regis, however, disagreed, saying, “We got the fingerprints from Fox Lake and the booking photo, and it’s all the same.”
The application to open up Y Massage mentioned that “Jiang has another location," and she was at that other location, U Massage in Plainfield, the other day. She insisted she was also at the Plainfield massage parlor when someone was supposedly offering to perform a sexual act on a detective for money up in Fox Lake. That someone was a “friend” who was using her license, Jiang said.
“I only follow,” she said, adding, “I’m a good person.”
Jiang’s attorney, Pengtian Ma of Chicago, was adamant that his client was not the one who offered to perform a sex act on a detective for money.
“We had many witnesses to say our lady was not there at the time,” Ma said.
“I believe her," he said. "It was not her. It was a different person. The person could not be found.”
Ma said he was so convinced of Jiang's innocence that he called out to the judge after she was found guilty.
“At the end of the hearing, I shouted to the judge it was a miscarriage of justice,” he recalled, telling how that didn’t seem to have much of an impact.
“He just laughed at me,” Ma said.
Whether Jiang was actually arrested in Fox Lake or not, denying the business license for a massage parlor on Essington Road might not be the worst idea, even if the mayor was OK with it at first.
In her application, Jiang assured the city her business would provide “only moral healthy massage.” But Essington Road’s probably not the place for it. She’d be better off somewhere like a truck stop, maybe even at the new Love’s they want to build on Briggs Street.
Love’s would be the perfect spot for Jiang’s spa. They already have video gambling at truck stops, so drivers can pull over and play while they wind down and relax. And what’s more relaxing than a moral, healthy massage?
With all the trucks the Love’s will draw the area, Jiang could make a mint. They have to let her open up in the new Love’s. And if she’s not interested, maybe her friend they can’t find would want to do it instead.
• Joe Hosey is the editor of The Herald-News. You can reach him at 815-280-4094, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JoeHosey.