This story is nothing to do with fitness center, gym, or health club marketing, except to tell my mistakes for all to learn from.
**Warning** before you buy an existing club, hear my story.
I was approached about purchasing the equipment from a gym that i was a member of in 2003. i was told they had 400 members and were bringing in $12,000 per month.
I took a witness to one of the owners house to discuss the deal with one owner, I didn’t know the other owner wasn’t going to be there because he was in drug rehab at the time. That was the first lie of many.
Here’s the rest of a terrible 5 years of court dates and harassment.
The guy told me he would get me a contract and papers such as, taxes for the last 3 years, membership contracts, and loan amounts for the equipment. But the problem was they had to be out of their building in 30 days, and my father had a new shopping center that he had just built and i could move in there.
So, i told the guy i would take over the payments when i got open in 30 days. so i sat out to do the build out and got it complete in time to open by November 2003. All the time he was putting me off about the paperwork he promised. I really wasn’t worried that much because i knew they couldn’t hold me to a verbal agreement when i had a witness and they were breaking the agreement first.
Well, after the gym was opened and we moved the equipment in, we finally got the contract. It said they owed over $170,000 on the equipment alone, and it was only worth about $20,000. They also came in and told me that i had to get another account started up because they were in trouble with the IRS, then they came in and did the draft while i was out one day and my secretary told me it was only $3,500 for a month instead of the $12,000 per month they said.
Then the IRS came by and said that they were coming to take the equipment because they hadn’t file in 5 years since they were opened.
So i called the owners, by this time both owners were there because the one had gotten out of rehab. they came to my office and i told them they lied about everything and that they could get all there equipment out by 15 days and i had already ordered my own stuff. needless to say, they were mad and threatened to sue me. I said go ahead because i didn’t sign anything and they broke the agreement first.
Then they said the one owners father was rich and he would be supplying the money to sue me.
Well, I sat their equipment out after 30 days because they wouldn’t come get it even after i sent them certified letters warning them it was outside in the elements.
They finally came and got it 2 months later.
Then the lawsuit finally came up a year later after i asked numerous times for the judge to order them to give me all the paper work such as taxes and contracts which they still didn’t have. So i didn’t worry about taking my attorney after the fourth time going to court because they hadn’t given me the paperwork yet and by law i wasn’t suppose to have to have court until they complied.
So they went and found a crooked judge to go around all that. He told me he was tired of waiting and told them to give me whatever they had, which was some madeup papers.
When court started, the judge wouldn’t allow any of my evidence at all because, and i quote, “it was irrerevant to the case”. But he allowed all their evidence that was actually nothing to do with the case. That’s when i knew he was paid off.
The same jusge is under investigation for other cases and the state is trying to force him to retire now.
So i appealed, but was told by my attorney, the court system was not wanting to open a can of worms because the judge had a really big case he was under investigaton for and the state couldn’t afford to have other cases come out about that judge.
He found in the other gyms favor for the sum of $190,000
All this to say, DON’T EVER MAKE A VERBAL AGREEMENT WITHOUT ATTORNEYS AND ALL IS LEGAL AND RECORDED!!!