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Bridgeville building owner aids in spa investigation

A South Fayette tax collector owns this Bridgeville building, which was raided for suspected prostitution. Kevin Biber gave police rental and financial records on the 88 Spa and filed papers seeking to evict the business, Bridgeville police Chief Chad King said on Thursday. File photo
Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 11:40 p.m.
 

The South Fayette tax collector who owns a Bridgeville building raided for suspected prostitution gave police rental and financial records on the 88 Spa and filed papers seeking to evict the business, Bridgeville police Chief Chad King said Thursday.

Kevin Biber, the owner of the building at 600 Washington Ave., continues to cooperate with the investigation and has not been charged in connection with the operation, police said.

Officers raided the spa on Tuesday after a 14-month undercover investigation on suspicions that it served as a front for prostitution, King said. Police arrested three women in their 50s at the spa, in the first-floor rear of the building in Bridgeville's main business district. Court records show West View-based attorney James Herb represents the women, but he did not return a call for comment.

Biber, who owns the two-story building in Bridgeville's main business district and runs Greentree Investment Services from the rear of the second floor, was not at his office Thursday. He did not respond to phone calls.

As the elected real estate tax collector for next-door South Fayette, he draws a $10,000 annual salary.

King said Biber could receive a municipal citation for “keeping a disorderly house” because even if he didn't know what was happening under his roof, he bears some responsibility.

Neighbors and police said 88 Spa rented space since late 2011. Other tenants in the building said the business appeared to have put considerable time and money into improving the space. The spa could be entered only through a metal door at the rear of the building off Taylor Way.

Tenants said they saw only men patronize the spa. Sometimes the men would mistakenly enter the front of the building looking for it, they said.

On Tuesday, Bridgeville police and the FBI — which is investigating whether the spa also served as a front for human trafficking — raided the business and arrested Ok Ja Ko, 52; Chong Hee Kil, 57; and Heemae Jeong, 58, on charges of prostitution and conspiracy.

The women were bailed out of Allegheny County Jail on Wednesday for $5,000 each. Their preliminary hearings are scheduled for March 25.

State records show 88 Spa was incorporated last February as a “non-stock corporation,” listing no officers or owners. The only name on the articles of incorporation was the attorney who filed the papers, Lynn Emerson of Oakdale-based BusinessLegal, PC, a firm that helps small-business owners set up under state law.

“They seemed very straightforward,” said Emerson, who declined to discuss more about the people who came to her to incorporate the spa. “We have a lot of people coming through, and I don't really get that involved in what they're doing.”

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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