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Police raid massage center

The Stress Reduction Clinic on East Dania Beach Boulevard promised its clients _ the mayor of Davie among them _ relief through soothing massage, authorities said.

Trouble was, the clinic's "therapists" often were doing more than just giving back rubs, authorities said.

Sheriff's deputies raided the center and a sister clinic in Delray Beach on Thursday, arresting 10 prostitution suspects and their accused madam.

Though the women are accused of selling sex, they are charged not only with prostitution, but racketeering, a first-degree state felony.

Investigators built a case on the sworn statements of numerous "johns," who paid for sex, but were not charged with any crime.

Authorities think accused madam Teresa Wozniak Chiappe and her employees were laundering prostitution proceeds under the guise the money was being earned through a legitimate business.

In raids conducted simultaneously in Dania, Delray Beach and Miami, authorities seized $240,000 in cash and 10 automobiles, said Rick Frey, a Broward Sheriff's Office district chief. More arrests are expected.

Davie Mayor Harry Venis said he went to the Stress Reduction Clinic at 356 E. Dania Beach Blvd. about a month ago to get a back massage.

"I wrestle quite a bit. I'm always in pain. It's a licensed place," said Venis, who often wrestles in charity matches under the name "Dirty Harry" to raise money for the Police Athletic League and other organizations.

"I was never, ever a john," he said.

Venis, who is up for re-election in March, said he was pulled over by a Broward sheriff's deputy after leaving the clinic that night.

"I cooperated because I had nothing to hide," Venis said. "I told them I'll cooperate fully as a witness."