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Professor in Prostitution Case Resigns From College

August 19, 1988|RON RUSSELL | Times Staff Writer

A business law professor who pleaded no contest in May to conspiracy to maintain a house of prostitution and two counts of state income tax evasion has resigned from East Los Angeles College, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Community College District said Thursday.

Hal Mintz, 57, who taught at the college for 19 years and was chairman of its business department, resigned effective Aug. 3, college district spokesman Norm Schneider said.

The professor's massage parlor on Santa Monica Boulevard, across from City Hall in West Hollywood, was closed in February after authorities said it was being used as a house of prostitution.

The tax evasion charges stemmed from his failure to file a return with the state Franchise Tax Board for 1985 and 1986. Records seized at Mintz's home in San Marino indicated that he earned at least $200,000 in 1986, prosecutors said.

Mintz, who agreed to plead no contest to the three felonies as part of a plea bargain with the district attorney's office, is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 26 in Santa Monica Superior Court.

As part of the deal, prosecutors agreed not to charge him with pimping and pandering, which carry mandatory three-year prison sentences. They also agreed to recommend a sentence of no more than one year in County Jail and five years of formal probation, in addition to whatever fines a judge may impose.

Neither Schneider nor other college district officials were willing to comment publicly on the resignation Thursday other than to confirm that it had occurred. Mintz could not be located for comment.

But a college district official who did not want to be identified expressed relief that the professor had chosen "to go quietly" in the wake of what had proved to be an embarrassment for the district.

Faced with criticism from faculty and students who said that Mintz had disgraced the college and should be removed, district officials let it be known that they were eager to find a way to get rid of the educator after his involvement with the massage parlor became public.

But district officials earlier expressed displeasure that the plea bargain left room for Mintz to fight any effort to fire him. Without a pimping or pandering charge, they said, they might not be able to suspend Mintz from his $45,000-a-year teaching post under a provision of the state education code that provides for automatic suspension for people convicted of certain crimes of moral turpitude.

Mintz had argued that he operated "the cleanest massage parlor in California." But sheriff's vice officers painted a different picture, noting that at least 10 women were arrested for sex-related offenses there since 1984.

Four former masseuses and two former managers of the establishment had agreed to testify against Mintz in return for immunity from prosecution, prosecutors said.

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