The owner of a Cranston, Rhode Island, business is challenging the city's denial of a massage therapy license, arguing it is overstepping its authority and wrongly demonizing the business as sexual in nature and morally questionable.
Gina Ruggieri calls the city's massage ordinance a "witch-hunt" against lawful businesses that comply with state law. She is seeking a restraining order barring its enforcement.
Her lawyer tells the Providence Journal that "all the allegations against massage parlors don't always hold true."
The city says it based its decision on a police report that found that Ruggieri had links to three other establishments authorities suspected of prostitution, and Ruggieri's own criminal past.
Ruggieri says in her suit that only the state Department of Health is empowered to regulate massage enterprises under state law.