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Avella backs spa developer despite prostitution scandal

Photo by Joe Anuta
By Joe Anuta

A man whose hotel was raided in a prostitution sting still has the support of a state lawmaker to open a business in College Point.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said he is backing Kwang Nam Park’s vision of a spa at the College Point Corporate Park, even after Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced in March that Park’s Kew Motor Inn was raided and several employees arrested and charged with crimes related to prostitution.

“Until there is some connection, I’m not backing off of my support,” Avella said in an interview.

Avella conferred with Brown to confirm that Park himself had not been implicated in any wrongdoing and said it would be unfair to assume that Park was privy to the daily goings-on of the hot sheets destination, which was described by the DA’s office as an alleged haven for pimps and prostitutes and a source of arrests for prostitution-related crimes — including one involving an underage girl.

Park is listed as the chief executive officer of Delta Kew Holding Corp., at 139-01 Grand Central Pkwy. — the same address as the Kew Motor Inn, according to the state Division of Corporations database.

Neither Park nor his son Irving, who is listed as an executive officer in the company, responded to a request for comment.

But Avella said Park made several improvements to the motel after it was padlocked by law enforcement, and it is now open for business once again.

Undercover NYPD officers observed that employees accepted bribes, allowed prostitution and sometimes even helped coordinate it, the DA said.

Five employees were charged with prostitution-related offenses.

Avella initially said he was concerned with the DA’s announcement, but after checking with Brown’s office and meeting with Park again, he was back on board.

The senator had been a vocal supporter of Park’s spa plans after both Community Board 7 and Borough President Helen Marshall recommended the application be axed.

In early April, he said, “I do not agree with the community board’s report nor do I agree with the borough president’s report.”

Avella said he opposed the construction of a different spa on 11th Avenue in a residential neighborhood, but this spa in a corporate park is in a more appropriate area that would not have as much of an adverse impact on residents.

Last week, the proposal was set to go the city Board of Standards and Appeals, the agency that will make the final determination on whether or not to grant Park a special permit to build his two-story business, complete with a rooftop pool.

There is no set schedule of when the board will make up its mind.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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