Attorney for local massage business says claims are false and a political hit piece

La Crosse Attorney representing Asian Sunny Massage says falsehoods are hurting a legitimate business

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Following claims made by local Republican Derrik Van Orden, La Crosse attorney Joe Veenstra of Johns, Flaherty & Collins released a statement just after six o’clock Wednesday night defending his client, the owner of Asian Sunny Massage in downtown La Crosse.

Van Orden, who is running for the 3rd District Congressional seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Ron Kind, claimed Wednesday that the massage business located in a downtown La Crosse building owned by Kind, “has a history of posting on websites advertising illicit sex.”

In a statement, Veenstra said, “Recent news articles and stories have included defamatory implications regarding the operation of Asian Sunny Massage. These stories are a sad attempt to use politics in its worst way and, in doing so, to hurt an Asian-American-operated business in the process. Asian Sunny Massage runs a perfectly legitimate business. It operates in accordance with all state and local regulations. Any statements or implications to the contrary are defamatory and anyone in the press or politics saying otherwise is risking serious legal action. Again, these stories are political hit pieces hurting an Asian-American-run business and the people seeking to benefit from it should be ashamed. In today’s political climate in which Asians and Asian-run businesses have been the subject of bullying, harassment, and mass shootings, targeting an Asian business with these false assertions in a weak attempt to make some political point is really despicable.”

In addition, Veenstra also pointed out that Asian Sunny Massage has been at its location since May of 2018 and employs licensed therapists.

Kind responded to Van Orden’s claims in a statement Wednesday, saying in part, “This is a baseless smear rooted in racism and insinuations… Because of Derrick Van Orden and his allies pushing lies, local police are increasing patrols to ensure the safety of this Asian-owned small business. In light of what has happened across the country and especially in Atlanta last month, it is irresponsible, dangerous, and despicable of Derrick Van Orden to slander this local business owner and put law enforcement in harm’s way.”