AG’s Office sues Powerhouse Gym, owners

The state Attorney General’s Office is suing the failed Powerhouse Gym on South Sherwood Forest Boulevard and its owners, alleging fraud and deceptive practices.

The lawsuit seeks restitution for customers who bought memberships in what was advertised as a state-of-the-art fitness center. It was supposed to open in January 2012, but only a small, temporary part of the gym opened a year later.

The owners of the gym, Ronnie and Connie Olah, were evicted from the building at 2084 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd. through a court order last month.

The Olahs could not be reached for comment at their home Friday. A listed telephone number for Powerhouse Gym has been disconnected or is no longer in service.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in state district court in Baton Rouge, says the Attorney General’s Office has received complaints from numerous consumers. “The defendants charged the victims’ credit cards for a monthly fee before opening the physical fitness center even though members had already paid a deposit for membership fees at the time of signing the contract,” the suit alleges. “In addition, the defendants charged the victims’ credit cards for a monthly fee after customers requested to cancel their membership contracts,” in violation of state law.

The lawsuit also claims the defendants “advertised, offered to sell and sold membership services for the physical fitness center without having a valid bond or certificate of deposit on file with the state treasurer,” in violation of state law.

The defendants did not allow customers the chance to cancel their contracts nor agree to refund the deposits made at the time the membership contracts were signed, the lawsuit contends.

“The defendants abandoned their duties under the contracts, failed to finish construction of the physical fitness center, and delayed the opening of the center for more than one year,” in violation of state law, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit says the defendants “misrepresented” the services and amenities that would be provided at the gym, and “misrepresented” the construction time frame and opening date.

The Attorney General’s Office said Friday that customers of Powerhouse Gym can file complaints with the Attorney General’s Office by calling (800) 351-4889.

The suit has been assigned to state District Judge Tim Kelley.