The owner of two of D.C.'s most popular music venues said he is now "stepping aside from the businesses" after being accused of asking a massage therapist to perform sex acts for money.
Seth Hurwitz, 60, of Bethesda, Maryland, is charged with solicitation of prostitution, Montgomery County police announced last week. Hurwitz owns the 9:30 Club and the Anthem and is chairman of I.M.P., a concert promotion and production company that books Merriweather Post Pavilion and Lincoln Theatre.
"As anyone who knows our concert and venue businesses well is aware, I don't have much to do with actually running them these days, but to eliminate distraction, I'm stepping aside for the time being until the matter is resolved," Hurwitz wrote in a message to employees. A 9:30 Club spokeswoman shared the message with News4 on Sunday.
Hurwitz said Chief Operating Officer Donna Westmoreland will continue to lead the businesses.
In the message, he also apologized to employees for "any embarassment and stress that my situation is causing all of you."
Hurwitz was arrested Aug. 21. Police say a woman told detectives that Hurwitz made inappropriate sexual comments and motions during a massage at her workplace on the afternoon of Aug. 15 and implied she would get a bigger tip for performing sexual acts, police said. She said he also left a roll of cash in view on the floor of the massage room.
Hurwitz twice asked the victim if she would go to his home to give him a massage in the future and she declined, police said. She told detectives she ended the massage 10 minutes early because of his behavior.
Hurwitz texted the massage therapist later that day and again the following day, Aug. 16, police said.
The victim reported him to police Aug. 16, and in a phone call and series of texts witnessed by detectives, Hurwitz offered her cash for sexual acts, police said. He made an appointment for the morning of Aug. 21 and was arrested when he showed up at the business. Police said he was carrying 10 $100 bills outside of his wallet.
During his contact with the victim, Hurwitz mentioned having similar arrangements with other women, police said, so detectives are looking for other possible victims.
Hurwitz's attorney said late last week that it was still too early to comment on the allegation. "The facts will come out in due course," the attorney said in a statement. "In the meantime, we ask that you give consideration to Seth and his family. Seth is presumed innocent under our laws. We look forward to a prompt resolution of this case."