Tuesday, October 19, 2004

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Attorney General Abbott Files Suit Against Five Dallas-Area Fitness Centers And Owner

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today filed a lawsuit against five Gold’s Gym affiliated locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and the owner for abruptly closing the fitness centers without notice to dues-paying members and for failing to secure the required $20,000 security to protect consumers in the event of closure.

At the same time, the Attorney General reached settlements with businesses that now operate new gyms at the former Gold’s Gym locations in the area.

“Our investigators made every effort to relocate club members to other facilities in the area despite the owner’s unwillingness to do so prior to closing,” said Attorney General Abbott. “We intend to see that the court recognizes the loss to these paid members and orders the company to refund money that is due them.”

The Attorney General sued owner Scott R. Theeringer, who allegedly fled Texas at the time of the closures, and the Gold’s Gym locations that are registered under these corporate names:

• Club Systems Inc., Garland, Dallas and Carrollton;
• Fitness Forever, Inc., Arlington;
• Fitness Forever IV, Inc., Fort Worth

Attorney General Abbott also made arrangements for former club members to use alternative gyms in each of the five cities where Theeringer controlled his Gold’s Gym franchises. Each location is either pre-existing (Fitness Evolution) or now owned and operated by new management independent of Theeringer and his entities. They are:

• Fit for Life (Fort Worth)
• Newly franchised Gold’s Gym (Arlington)
• Newly franchised Gold’s Gym (Garland)
• Fitness Evolution (Carrollton)
• Downtown Dallas membership to be absorbed by the YMCA

By law, fitness centers, health spas and related services must file a $20,000 security with the Secretary of State’s Office in order to do business in Texas. The owner and managers of the five centers being sued allegedly represented on contract forms to club members that the businesses had filed this required security, when none existed.

The Attorney General seeks civil penalties for several violations of the Texas Health Spa Act and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, including failure to file a security or bond and causing confusion among members as to the certification and licensing of the businesses.

Attorney General Abbott also requests a permanent injunction that prohibits these defendants from operating unless all requirements of the law are satisfied.

View Attorney General’s lawsuit