Update: West Seattle Athletic Club ‘eviction hearing’ called off, lease ‘reinstated’

February 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news | 34 Comments

(UPDATED with landlord’s lawyer confirming complaint has been dropped)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 1:25 PM: We’re getting inquiries, so here’s what we can tell you so far:

9 am this morning, West Seattle Athletic Club owner Sam Adams and his landlord H-P Properties were on the schedule at the Regional Justice Center in Kent for what court documents described as an “eviction hearing,” as first reported here last month. We arrived early to cover it. The updated electronic schedule scrolling in the courthouse lobby – something like those status boards at airports – listed Adams’ name and case.

For an hour, we watched King County Superior Court Commissioner Carlos Velategui run through a variety of other cases. After 10 am, the clerk announced morning recess; we asked what had happened to the case, and the clerk told us no one from either side ever checked in. Asked what that means to the case, the clerk said they usually give people a half-hour grace period, but if they don’t show, the case “just falls off the calendar.”

The newest documents in the online court file as of this writing were filed by Adams’ lawyers just yesterday, arguing that the case should be dismissed because the original December 20th eviction notice hadn’t been sent to/posted at the sites required by law. Those documents also reiterated his contention that the delinquent rent payments were ultimately the fault of the two companies he is suing, as also reported in our January story, Allstate Financial Group (which describes itself as providing billing and management services for health clubs) and Barratt Leasing. So what now? We’re trying to reach lawyers for comment, and will also continue to watch the court file.

1:45 PM: Just heard back from the landlord’s lawyer, David Tall. He says West Seattle Athletic Club “came up with a payment sufficient to reinstate the lease,” so this complaint has been dropped.

34 Comments

  1. Please note that per our update 20 minutes after the first part of this story was published, there was no hearing because rent was paid (just yesterday, the landlord’s lawyer said) and the complaint dropped. Because of the type of proceeding this was, that didn’t require advance notice to the court; at the time scheduled for the Commissioner to listen to arguments, either you check in and say you’re ready to go, or you don’t, and oh well – TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:16 pm February 11, 2014 #

  2. Phew, I can work out tomorrow!

    Comment by Amrakx — 3:16 pm February 11, 2014 #

  3. Great news. Now, let’s hope for some consistency in management, including paying staff, cleaning updating equipment (repairing spin bikes), etc. I do love that place, or at least have come to depend upon it!

    Comment by Louise — 4:50 pm February 11, 2014 #

  4. Maybe there is a divine god.

    Comment by Genesee Hill — 4:50 pm February 11, 2014 #

  5. I bet the only reason they could pay the rent was because they just collected annual maintenance dues from customers 4 days ago. Won’t last long …

    Comment by John — 5:17 pm February 11, 2014 #

  6. Awesome – glad they are all paid up – and now I can work out at the best Zumba class in West Seattle with Nicole on Mondays and Wednesdays. See you there !

    Comment by Ted — 5:36 pm February 11, 2014 #

  7. Louise, with all due respect, this is horrible news for the West Seattle community!!! This just continues the soap opera on a month to month basis. Sam Adams needs to be out of there so that somebody can come in and run an athletic club. Sam Adams has run every gym he has owned into the ground. He has a free pass for a few months but nothing will change at the gym other than “the doors will be open.”. You will still be using paper towels to clean machines with no towels to take a shower. No hot tub since he bought the Club? Are you kidding me??? Gym members need to quit, get Sam out, so that SOMEBODY can come in who WANTS to make it work for West Seattle!!! Just the fact that the doors will be open tomorrow is pretty short sighted. I want a place I can go to ten years from now, not tomorrow. Has anyone been to Sound Mind and Body in Fremont? They have been run efficiently for a long long time. That’s what we should, as a West Seattle community, expect for ourselves. My two dollars worth.

    Comment by Cupajoe — 5:56 pm February 11, 2014 #

  8. Cupajoe- I checked out Sound, Mind and Body and wasn’t that impressed. I’ve been with AllStar/WSAC for almost 20 years and I renew every year because of the class selection. Once upon a time, AllStar had the best selection of classes with the best instructors. I found SMB’s classes to be really average- no NIA, no body/mind classes, typical “gym” yoga with the lights on, etc. I hope that WSAC will beef up their class selection, but I’m afraid you’re right; Sam Adams does not have a great reputation in the industry. If he wants to keep me as a member I better see some major improvements in the next few weeks or I’m out of there.

    Comment by kate — 6:20 pm February 11, 2014 #

  9. Kate, thanks for responding. My point is that Sound Mind and Body is still there under the same ownership. Currently, there is no future for the original All Star Fitness. And I WAS with All Star since there opening, however long ago that may be, until Sam Adams “purchased” the club.

    Comment by Cupajoe — 6:42 pm February 11, 2014 #

  10. I said I would keep the faith on this clubs status but must admit it was quite a test to keep it.

    From what I hear the staff pay checks are clearing now. Front desk and sales folks got new fancy WSAC shirts–yah.

    Maybe the next step is getting the equipment repaired? Still counting about 10 treadmills that are non-functional. Small steps I guess.

    Not sure where that rent money came from but great to hear. Cheers.

    Comment by supernova72 — 8:11 pm February 11, 2014 #

  11. Just because he made a “sufficient payment” does not mean he’s all paid up. CupaJoe is right, the gym will limp along with Adams robbing Peter to pay Paul. This is obviously the way he does “business”. Disgusting.

    Comment by Former member — 8:27 pm February 11, 2014 #

  12. I’m relieved my 35+ students’ parents can know all lessons are continuing as scheduled. The pool is the right temp with balanced chemicals. Thank you loyal members for hanging in there!

    Comment by barbara — 9:00 pm February 11, 2014 #

  13. You all can just keep living in denial, but this owner is in charge of a conglomerate of gyms. this isn’t the West Seattle gym, it’s 6 I believe. He is dodging his bills and payments at all of them, and swooping in with cash occasionally only when the law shows up. I for one am glad I voted with my feet and quit. I sincerely hope that collections doesn’t come looking for me in a few months.

    Comment by sgg — 10:28 pm February 11, 2014 #

  14. It is only a matter of time before the current management loses this gym too. There were 3 clubs in Oregon and two clubs in Washington

    Oregon Athletic Club so far has lost two gyms in Oregon–turned over to the lender according to the Oregonian; the Tacoma gym at Lincoln Plaza was closed at the end of December according to the Tacoma News Tribune.

    While the management may have dodged the bullet on rent, news reports showed that taxes were owed on the clubs in both states; employees were not being paid,and rent due on the clubs that OAC was evicted from.

    I can not believe new members would join; all they need to do is look at YELP or the West Seattle Blog for the lack of management and the continued deterioration of this club.

    Comment by Cal — 10:47 pm February 11, 2014 #

  15. I really just don’t understand why so many people on this blog appear to have so much animosity towards this gym owner and the gym’s progress. Seems like if you left the gym it’s a personal validation of some kind. I get that there were some serious financial mistakes made to some people that have made some crucial impacts but those don’t even seem like the folks who are commenting. The rent was paid, repairs are being made, paychecks are fine, fun new uniforms, pool is consistently great, hot tub and steam room are scheduled to be fixed – how about the West Seattle community show our kind side and support the staff and members who are still hanging in there! Please! Bravo for the commenters above who are positive and saying nice things about a struggling community business. It doesn’t help anything to have this gym fail, even if it makes you “right”.

    Comment by Believer — 4:55 am February 12, 2014 #

  16. @Believer, I think you’re missing the point of any “negative” responses here. People are looking out for one another, and when they see a bad business taking advantage of customers, they want to warn others – THAT’S community. Sam has been evicted from 3 of his gyms! Come on.

    Comment by 206 — 7:17 am February 12, 2014 #

  17. Believer-People are frustrated because the gym has been in a steady decline for over three years! Members have invested a lot of time into that place and have created friendships with other members and instructors. So when it’s threatened people get angry, scared, and frustrated. It’s been under new ownership for almost a year with VERY little change; some change for the worst. The class schedule has been decimated with over 3/4 of classes cancelled due to unpaid instructors. I consider myself to be a half glass full kind of girl, but I’m also a realist.I swim in the pool 3-4 days a week and it is NOT consistently great. Multiple times in the last few months the water has been so cold that water aerobics classes have been cancelled. Just last week complaints were filed for sand-like sediment at the bottom of the pool. Nobody wants the gym to succeed more than I do, but I need to see more change than “fun new” uniforms.

    Comment by kate — 7:51 am February 12, 2014 #

  18. Maybe it’s a topic for another discussion, but I’m curious as to when these kinds of comments (to this and other threads about this business and owner) cross the legal line to defamation and libel?

    Comment by Eddie — 8:15 am February 12, 2014 #

  19. It’s not libel if the person making the statement believes what they’re saying is true, Eddie.
    .
    Now personally I’ve never been to this gym and have no stake in whether it stays open or not, but if a business I was paying monthly to provide a service couldn’t get it together to reliably provide that service after a YEAR, I’d be furious. And you bet I’d be talking about it to helps others avoid the same experience.

    Comment by datamuse — 9:28 am February 12, 2014 #

  20. I was really hoping this place would go under. Terrible business. I was hoping the closing would accelerate the build of la fitness or whatever is going in the pit. I would encourage people to not give wsac their business.

    Comment by Dan — 9:33 am February 12, 2014 #

  21. Dan, don’t be such a hater. You probably betted against the Seahawks as well.
    LA will continue to build clubs and pack them out by buying up the competition (IE Pure Fitness and now VQ). If you think an overcrowded club is a good business model for this community – good luck. Like other optimists on this site I will continue to show up at WSAC, work out and leave my negative opinions in a pool of sweat on the Zumba floor!

    Comment by D — 10:48 am February 12, 2014 #

  22. Today I converted my long-term membership, which is expiring, to a monthly membership. The price is very reasonable. The terms are a little complex, so I won’t go into them here. Let’s just say that as a pre-existing (and long suffering) member I’ll be paying on a month-to-month basis less than fifty dollars a month. Very reasonable, I think. I had a long discussion with the rep about the inconsistent maintenance issues and other problems the club is experiencing. Frankly, I pretty much ignored his verbal reassurances and focused on the contract. I go to the club about five days a week and HAVE seen a gradual, if uneven, improvement in the facility. I hope they can lure some of their staff back after some problems with bounced checks. My reasoning is that since I am only risking one month of dues, that are being charged to mt credit card, that I have little to lose. In the event that the club closes, or conditions decline (or fail to improve) I will simply cancel my membership. I would describe myself as hopeful, even optimistic about the future.

    Comment by yacman — 11:34 am February 12, 2014 #

  23. As a past member who bailed once I saw the writing on the wall, I am with Dan. Bring on LA Fitness. Myself and few friends, that have been to LA Fitness and are or were members of All Star can’t wait to have the nice facilities they bring. It’s not being a hater. All Star used to be good, like 4 years ago. Steady decline since, and not knowing if it will be open when you pay a membership due is no way to feel like you are part of something. Glad you like your Zumba class D, but it really isn’t that great.

    Comment by A — 11:42 am February 12, 2014 #

  24. Maybe Mr. Adams sold one of his fancy cars to come up with an acceptable rent? As to those who think that LA Fitness is going to be any better than WSAC or 24 Hour Filthness, they can’t even provide their employees with anything but minimum wage and no benefits. They are a good place to work out, but they treat their employees like cattle. I, for one, will not give monthly dues to any company that treats their employees with contempt. Sure, 24 and LA employees’ paychecks don’t bounce like WSAC’s do, but they get hammered with poor management, sweat-shop (no pun intended) wages and conditions, plus constant turnover.

    Comment by Joe — 4:48 pm February 12, 2014 #

  25. I continue to stay positive and hope the gym will work out its issues. Although some good classes have been cancelled, I am still happy with the class selection. I really doubt LA fitness or 24 hours will be better, but it depends on what you prefer. I personally prefer good instructors and good classes than all the treadmills working. I have free gym membership at my work and my husband’s work, but the classes are the reason why I attend this gym.

    Comment by Andrea — 6:46 pm February 12, 2014 #

  26. Hey – I am not trying to belittle the problems you mention about the gym. Certainly if you aren’t happy with a product or service, then by all means DON’T PATRONIZE THE BUSINESS. So you quit the gym – great! You should be thrilled with your choice. But what benefit do you get from sitting behind a computer bashing a business? YOU LEFT. Why continue to spend any time or energy – especially such negative energy – on the business? Just don’t understand! And now I’m going to be a little protective of our WSB here – many, many people tell me they stopped reading the blog because of how nasty the comments are. It seems sad that this community so eagerly spews such aggressive and angry feelings and opinions. I feel ashamed for you all. Walk away and get a new hobby. Volunteer. Do something positive.
    Maybe you just haven’t found a new gym and you have a lot of pent up energy!!
    And yes, do the research on the LA Fitness “Trainers” and tell us if you EVER see a former All Star trainer there – I’ll be shocked.
    Have a better day tomorrow everyone.

    Comment by Believer — 7:25 pm February 12, 2014 #

  27. “Believer,” I do have to challenge your declaration that “many, many” people claim they don’t read WSB because of comments. If anyone truly has, I’m sorry to hear that, especially considering:

    1. WSB comments are a hundred times more civil than any other site out there. We have tough rules. The ones that break them don’t get through. Ever read the regional news sites? Yeah, there are some crabs here, but on other sites, there are people allowed to be profane, allowed to be insulting, allowed to be racist, sexist, allowed to call each other names, etc. Not on WSB. (And we have taken a lot of heat over the years for those we choose not to publish – including harassment that has forced us to file police reports.) There are, however, some stories that evoke stronger feelings than others, and this is certainly one of them.

    2. If all the same, somehow someone doesn’t want to read comments – you can easily read WSB without ever seeing a single reader comment. Almost every story on the site is published in full on the main page, where the comments don’t show; we do very few jumps, only the really verbose stories. If you don’t want to see comments, don’t click the “x comments” link; just keep scrolling down the home page. If you come to a story from a full direct link, there’s a very clear break before the comments – including a gap and then blue shading signaling the start of the comment zone. There’s no way to accidentally stumble into the comment zone unless you have chosen to go there. I totally understand people not wanting to read comments – sometimes you just want the news. Speaking of which:

    3. Anyone who chooses not to read… and it’s certainly their choice … is doing nothing but depriving themselves of thorough, dedicated, accurate, intensive coverage of West Seattle news. Such as this story, which isn’t being covered anywhere else.

    -Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 8:48 pm February 12, 2014 #

  28. I know that you have a huge following and that many, many people love what you do. I am a daily reader myself. However, I am sticking to my claim that in numerous discussions regarding the comments on here there is a dominance of negative feedback about comments. It’s just a bit draining sometimes and people (that I’ve encountered) get tired of it. I just wanted others to know. And by the way I 100% agree with you about not reading them; in fact that is my point exactly. I guess I contradicted myself, complaining about the complainers instead of walking away! Truly sorry.
    Love the “crabs” use. Exactly! Funny. It’s just that my dad works at that gym and I go all the time and hope it stays ok so it’s hard to look at all the negativity. Walking away now. Thanks for the news part – people should know the truth!

    Comment by Believer — 10:33 pm February 12, 2014 #

  29. Tracy,

    You have done an excellent job on reporting this story! You are a credit to this community, and journalism!

    D

    Comment by Dominick Viscardi — 8:27 am February 13, 2014 #

  30. The plain fact is, this gym is in shambles.
    .
    I understand that some of you really WANT the place to succeed – but it’s doing the opposite. Machines and facilities remain broken for the better part of a year. Rent isn’t getting paid. Sometimes employees aren’t getting paid.
    .
    I joined this gym in 2000 – BEFORE it first opened. It used to be the best in the city. Now we get charged full price for broken facilities. The spa has been “a week away from reopening” for the better part of a year. Water was shut off. Weekends have gone by with no soap for the showers.
    .
    This isn’t “negativity.” It’s the FACTS.
    .
    Another fact is that Sam Adams bought the business for less than the value of its equipment, at a time when membership had (according to previous management) never been higher. Member dues should be more than enough to maintain the club. Yet all of this is happening.
    .
    Membership seems clearly down now (according to my observations) and it will only get worse. I have no idea what Sam Adams is thinking, but whatever it is, it isn’t doing anything to help improve his customers’ experience.

    Comment by Mel — 1:26 pm February 13, 2014 #

  31. Had two gyms abruptly shut down on me. Lost $$$ at a time when I could barely afford it. Fool me once… and all that. Let’s say nowadays I am well alert to when a gym starts exhibiting this kind of behavior. I’m gone before they have a chance to get me!

    .

    Looking at the big picture, it is indeed a shame this one has not improved over time as it needed to. Wish it were different.

    Comment by bolo — 10:04 pm February 13, 2014 #

  32. The gym industry is sleazy. That’s just a reality and it has been since the gym/fitness/bubble/boom started at the end of the 70′s. What Sam Adams is doing has been duplicated over and over again for decades all across the nation. Anyone who has been in the business for years (like myself) are aware of the corrupt types who get involved to prey on dedicated members and workout fanatics as an almost-guaranteed revenue stream. Many members of WSAC are on here defending the owner and continuing to hand him their money. That’s their right. But please don’t label smart consumers who have been swindled out of a lot of money (or simply don’t want to be) as “negative” or somehow disloyal. Many former members of WSAC have been ripped-off by other gyms before and this became a last straw of sorts.

    Comment by Brad — 12:55 pm February 14, 2014 #

  33. I’m surprised that anyone would defend this club, which is a failure on so many levels that I hardly know where to begin. The entire Nia staff quit in December because none of them were getting paid, and one of the spin instructors, who had been with the club since it was All-Star, broke down in tears during his last class,saying that he hated to leave but he just wasn’t able to work without getting paid. This club has driven away many of its excellent instructors, and no attempt has been made to replace them–who wants to accept a job at a club that has a reputation for not paying its instructors? I bailed from the club in late December–during that visit, the toilets were broken, and when I mentioned it to a manager, he merely nodded and said “I know.” Does anyone actually believe that the hot tub is scheduled to be fixed? Management has been saying that for months, and if you still believe that it’s the truth, I have some swampland in the desert to sell you….from what I understand, the steam room remains inoperable, as well, and there is still a towel shortage, and the cable bill wasn’t paid, so the pricey lobby televisions don’t work, and…..well, you get the idea. It is unfathomable that anyone who is distressed by these shortcomings might be be labeled as a hater by someone who is too naive to notice what is actually going on at this club. Owner Sam Adams has had three of his clubs close already, most recently his Tacoma facility, and in spite of his last-ditch effort to scrape together a bit of stave-off-the-hounds rent money, the West Seattle club will certainly be next. I’m afraid that there will still be people standing at the padlocked doors when this happens, jaws agape,wondering what the hell happened. I won’t be one of them.

    Comment by Leah — 10:19 pm February 16, 2014 #

  34. I am with you all. This is ridiculous that once again Sam is literally not taking ownership and is placing blame elsewhere. The fact that this is the #1 topic when you are at the gym is nuts.
    Not taking care of your customers, the employees and facility…only taking care of himself. I use to go to the 2 downtown facilities before they sold and Sam defaulted on paying his bills there…building took over ownership. For over 2 years I have been coming from Seattle to keep supporting ASF and now fantastic instructors are gone, place is a mess, ….everything you’ve all listed. At this my I’ve given my notice without a solid alternative but feel like this week to week is a waste of time, money and as mentioned by someone….Sam needs to feel the impact of membership leaving to get a real owner in there.

    Really wish your ethics were stronger Sam. Common knowledge this is how you do business.
    Sam hope you realize the impact your having on people’s lives, wellness, routine, careers. You should not be in business, and should be held accountable.

    Comment by Sher — 3:07 pm February 22, 2014 #

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