MADISON, Wis. – So much for snuggling in Wisconsin.
The owner of Madison’s new Snuggle House has decided to shut it down just three weeks after it opened, choosing to pack up his pillows and beds under intense scrutiny from city officials who questioned whether the place was a front for a brothel.
The business announced its closure on Facebook late Friday evening. Timothy Casper, the owner’s attorney, confirmed the closure to The Associated Press on Monday, saying Matthew Hurtado was sick of the city harassing him and the notoriety.
He’s tired of people taking potshots at him, Casper said. He doesn’t need that.
The Snuggle House, part of a growing trend of touch therapy establishments and cuddle parties around the country, was located above a bar about a block from the state Capitol. It offered customers an hour of cuddling in a bed with a professional snuggler for $60.
The business’s original October opening got pushed back to mid-November after city officials raised concerns about whether it was really a front for prostitution and the potential for sexual assaults.
Hurtado forbade sex during snuggle sessions, installed security cameras and a panic button in each snuggle room, and promised to perform background checks on clients, city attorney Jennifer Zilavy said.
Meanwhile, police said they planned to run a sting operation at the business, sending in an officer posing as a customer to test the establishment’s boundaries, and Zilavy began work on a new ordinance regulating the business.
Casper said the place had two or three dozen customers in the three weeks it was open, but that Hurtado had had enough.
All of this is so slanted and incorrect, Casper said.