5 On Your Side

Wake Deputies Close Local Health Club

Posted June 15, 2006 5:58 a.m. EDT
Updated October 27, 2006 1:38 p.m. EDT

— WRAL’s 5 On Your Side has reported problems with local health-club chain Beyond Fitness for more than two years. There have been more than 60 complaints lodged by viewers. The Better Business Bureau has reported 256 of its own, and the state attorney general has been investigating the company for 1 ½ years.

The complaints involved everything from not getting promised refunds to poor gym conditions. On Thursday, a court-ordered closing of the Waverly Place location in Cary only added to the list of problems.

Doors were bolted shut by Wake County deputies early Thursday morning, then reinforced with Super Glue squeezed into the locks. That was the final step to make sure no one goes into the closed health club. Members arriving to work out were greeted by a "Do Not Enter" sign, as well as deputies.

"I guess I have to find a new place (to work out)," said one customer. "I'm kind of irritated."

Employees were caught off guard, too. Several carried out boxes, seemingly unsure of what to do next.

"All I know is that I have a client at 10:30 a.m.” said employee Karen Elliott. “I showed up to train them and I don't know what's going on."

"Basically, we just went in and told everyone they had to vacate the premises," said Wake County Deputy William Burgess.

The landlord's attorney, Michael Strickland, told WRAL that while he feels for members, the gym was shut down because owner Randall Rohm owes a "significant" amount of rent.

"The landlord has tried, has bent over backwards," said Strickland. "He doesn't want to inconvenience these people."

Randall Rohm's mother, Peggy Rohm, was one of the employees ordered to leave. She told WRAL then that she knows nothing about the situation. WRAL later went to her Cary home, where Randall Rohm was seen speeding away.

Back at the gym, employees and members were frustrated.

"Sounds like poor management to me," said one member.

Another member said, "They need to get their act together."

Stickland said members or employees who still have personal items inside the gym should call another location to coordinate a pickup. He also said the landlord and tenant are still in negotiations, but there is no resolution so far.

The state attorney general's office has suggested members who want membership refunds should pursue their individual cases in small claims court.