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Police investigating closing of Fairview Park gym

Posted at 6:30 PM, Dec 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-11 19:56:30-05

The abrupt closure of a local gym has residents so fired up, the police department is investigating and Ohio's Attorney General's office have received several complaints. 

Residents claim the owners had plans to close Workout Anytime in Fairview Park but knowingly took their money for memberships and renewals up to the day they shut down and locked the doors, with signs on the door as the only explanation for members. 

Many paid hundreds of dollars for memberships and renewals just days and weeks before showing up to read it. 

Fairview Park resident and city council member Micheal Kilbane was among those members who had just paid to renew. 

"When they put the signs on the door they closed, they mentioned another gym opening soon. I spoke with the owner of that gym and he said he has business dealers with these two in the past, he wronged them as well, and there's no plan to transfer memberships to his gym," he said. 

Kilbane said that all of the members are now just out of the money. 

He said he heard the owners of the gym had plans to close months ago and asked an employee about that before renewing. He said he was told by a manager that there were not plans to close; "I'd heard they planned on locking the doors and moving back to where they're from, South Carolina, and that's what they did about a week after I renewed my membership."

Fairview Park Police Chief Erich Upperman told News 5 it's still too early in their investigation to get into many details. 

He said folks who have filed complaints with police also filed them with the Ohio Attorney General's Office, who are looking into this too. 

"We have taken the reports and we are sending them to our prosecutor to determine if this is going to be a civil matter or a criminal matter," Upperman said, "If they knowingly were taking renewed money or new membership money from people, knowing they were going to close, it would probably be criminal."

The Chief told News 5 they confirmed the owners were behind on their rent. 

He told News 5 the owners haven't answered the mayor of Fairview Park's calls, former members calls,  calls from the police department or social media requests from the police department.

It's not even clear where the owners are. 

"Her residence is in South Carolina, she just came up here for business, that's our understanding, but we don't know for sure where her local residence is," Upperman said. 

Members want the owners to pay up. 

"They need to reimburse our gym dues," Kilbane said, 

News 5 reached out to Workout Anytime's corporate office and media contact, requesting information on the owners, the closure and how members should proceed. We have not heard back. If we do, we'll post their response here.