By Gina Martinez
A Spa Castle employee is asking that his employers make some serious changes after he was the victim of a hit-and-run on the job.
The Rev. Kevin McCall, of the National Action Network Leaders, said 21-year-old Deion Wright was called in on his day off Feb. 26. His supervisor told him that an irate customer did not want to pay for services rendered and to make sure she did not leave without paying. McCall said Wright tried to grab the woman but she was nearly 300 pounds and he was unable to hold on to her. He was then told to follow her into the parking lot, where she allegedly hit him with her car, fracturing his wrist, injuring his knee and hand and giving him a mild concussion, according to his account.
McCall said Wright reached out to the National Action Network, a civil rights group.
National Action Network held a news conference Monday morning in front of Spa Castle, located at 131-10 11th Ave., asking that the spa be closed down until security concerns were addressed.
“They have one security guard and he’s injured,” McCall said. “So as we speak they have no security guard and they’re open from 8 a.m. to midnight everyday. It’s important and imperative that they have some kind of security and that safety concerns are met. For example, the one security guard they do have is not allowed in the female locker room so who know what can happen?”
Woo Kim, risk manager at Spa Castle, responded saying security guards are not instructed, trained, ordered or expected to follow or pursue a guest who leaves the premises without paying.
“The safety of our employees has always been a top priority,” she said. “Management has never instructed any security guard on staff to pursue anyone outside the facility, nor do we hold staff liable for customer theft. We specifically do not do so to prevent employees from acting outside of their scope of job duties, as was the case in last week’s unfortunate incident. Spa Castle will continue to cooperate with the local police precinct to apprehend the hit-and-run suspect.”
McCall said he has spoken to spa owner Steve Chon and received a long letter saying he will work on the security issues. But McCall said security is not the only problem that needs to be addressed at the College Point spa.
“Besides lack of security,” McCall said, “there’s the issue concerning liquor. Currently there’s a limit of serving three alcoholic drinks, but for some people only one drink can get them intoxicated. We think they should lower the maximum capacity, especially considering this is an establishment dealing with minors. Chon owns another facility on 53rd street in Manhattan and they don’t accept children. This spa should be run the same way, especially when you’re dealing with alcohol.”
Spa Castle is no stranger to controversy.
Last March, the Health Department ordered the spa to close all of its pools after a 6-year-old girl almost drowned in a hot tub. The Health Department found the facility was out of compliance with its safety plan and there was excessive suction by a water-return feature that was enough to draw the victim toward it and keep her underwater. State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) even asked for a task force made up of city agencies to keep tabs on the spa.
Police described the suspect who assaulted Wright as a black, heavyset woman with black hair. She was last seen wearing glasses and in a dark-colored sedan.
According to McCall officers have followed up with Wright and said the suspect should be found any day now.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart