By Gina Martinez
A controversial spa in College Point is in trouble once again.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) received a letter from the New York State Department of Labor informing him that Spa Castle, located at 31-10 11th Ave., had been fined $1,000 for violating the Child Labor Statute.
Labor Department Commissioner Roberta Reardon wrote to Avella Jan. 30 about an investigation that was completed in December 2017.
According to Reardon, investigators visited Spa Castle on various occasions and times looking for violations of state laws. “After meticulous review of Spa Castle’s wage and hour records, we substantiated a violation of Article 4, the Child Labor Statute,” she told the senator in the letter.
The statute bans minors from working late hours on school nights.
Reardon said the spa was served a notice of violation on Nov. 4 with a penalty of $1,000, which they paid in full. The investigators were not able to substantiate any allegations regarding overtime.
This is not the first time Spa Castle has made headlines.
In March 2017, the spa owners were charged by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman with 11 felony charges for their alleged theft or failure to remit over $1.5 million in sales and other taxes owed.
In April 2017, a woman was arrested for running over a Spa Castle security guard. Rev. Kevin McCall, of the National Action Network Leaders, held a press conference on behalf of the injured employee, Deion Wright, and asked that the spa be closed down until security concerns were addressed.
“They have one security guard and he’s injured,” McCall said at the press conference. “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.”
In March 2016, the CityHealth Department ordered the spa to close all of its pools after a 6-year-old girl almost drowned that February. 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.
Avella has pressured the city on multiple occasions to create a task force that would monitor spa establishments, particularly the College Point Spa Castle location.
Following the letter from Reardon, he said this latest violation came as no surprise.
“After years of expressing my concerns about Spa Castle, I am not in the least bit surprised to find out that they were in violation of yet another law or regulation,” he said. “I’m glad to hear that the state has taken action to ensure that Spa Castle follows the labor laws and hope that they maintain a close eye on this establishment.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart