Owner blames employee theft as gyms close

There are 81 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Sep 5, 2007, titled Owner blames employee theft as gyms close. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Cheetah Gym, a small chain of workout locations on Chicago's North Side, abruptly shut its doors today due to "employee theft and graft," according to a message from the owner on the company's Web site.

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SMO

Chicago, IL

#2 Sep 5, 2007
I've been a member of the Andersonville gym for about six years now, and will sorely miss the people and facility should it close. I've always been impressed by the responsiveness I've been shown whenever I have expressed a thought or concern. My fingers are crossed that the business will survive this.
Sean

Chicago, IL

#3 Sep 5, 2007
Ultimately, if a place has to close because of employee theft, that means there was poor management. And are you sure it's got nothing to do with the fact that your rates were absurdly expensive? That's why I dumped my membership.
former member

Oak Park, IL

#4 Sep 5, 2007
That's unforunate to hear about Cheetah Gym. As a former member of the Andersonville location, it remains one of the best gyms I have ever belonged to. I think the owner did a great job creating a real sense of community and making the gym feel like some place where you were treated like a person and not a number. I hope this situation is resolved and the owner is able to get back on his feet.
andersonville resident

Chicago, IL

#5 Sep 5, 2007
Okay, it's a gym. An expensive gym. A gym that most likely has its members send in their dues by check to some place that's not on the premises.

I'm assuming the only money that's actually at the stores are what they make from the juice bar.

So how would stealing that bring a company down to its knees? And seriously, any RESPONSIBLE business owner would not allow THAT much theft to go on. Seriously.

This thing just screams of suspicion and embezzlement. It'll be hilarious when they jail the guy.
concerned patron

Chicago, IL

#6 Sep 5, 2007
Hey, we all just paid our dues, didn't we? Convient time to close down your stores. I hope we get our money refunded, but I'm really doubting it.
Hmmm

Chicago, IL

#9 Sep 5, 2007
I've been with Edgewater Cheetah for about 8 months, and the classes, front desk staff, cleaning staff, trainers, clients...everything was wonderful...but a few weeks ago, the owner posted some hasty, unprofessional, taped-up "flyers" around the gym, ragging the members to stop crabbing about the "towel service", going so far as to imply that we were lucky to have towel service at all, and that "most gyms don't even have a towel service". Should've known something crazy was going to happen after reading about all the negativity and instability surronding this guy. But crazy or not, he's in some trouble now. Just charged everyone for Sept., and abruptly decides to close all the clubs? Will "try to refund" unused but paid for sessions w/trainers? I hope he has a good lawyer, and-seriously-GRAFT? By the Employees? Who would EMPLOYEES have to pay-off? He is responsible, no matter what. There is NO excuse, save three seperate fires or floods, to abruptly shut your doors like this. Again, I hope he has a good lawyer.
andersonville guy

Chicago, IL

#10 Sep 5, 2007
I'm not surprised. This guy is a supreme jerk. I've had unfortunate dealings with him in the past. Don't feel sorry for him, he's not a good guy.
Hmmm

Chicago, IL

#11 Sep 5, 2007
Leroy, greed affects EVERY generation.
Scot

Skokie, IL

#12 Sep 5, 2007
There is something funny going on here!!
meat

Chicago, IL

#13 Sep 5, 2007
I'm a little saddened and annoyed to see the gym go...the Bucktown facility was very convenient, clean, and a nice local place to work out.

"The scams ran the gamut but it looks like I was the sole victim of theft."

Based on the crazed posting on the Cheetah website this morning, I doubt I'll be getting my refund back either. I'll be VERY interested in seeing what develops.
andersonville guy

Chicago, IL

#15 Sep 5, 2007
Hmmm wrote:
Leroy, greed affects EVERY generation.
If I were you though, I'd get a decent lawyer.
wind protector

Chicago, IL

#16 Sep 5, 2007
Did anyone notice that he didn't even pay his employees? No one's getting their money back on this one.
Seth Adams

Niles, IL

#17 Sep 5, 2007
This guy doesn't deserve to run a business. We're all on our own, as he states on his website, have to check our credit, cancel our credit cards, cancel charges. If he was a decent businessman, this wouldn't have happened in the first place. Between him posting his fight with Farraguts on his door and wanting to remove gym equipment in favor of washer and dryers, should have known he was a few marbles short.
New member

Chicago, IL

#18 Sep 5, 2007
We just joined last week. On another board, people who paid dues with credit cards or check cards have had some success getting their money back from the bank. It's one thing to have a bunch of individuals going after the money. It's something totally different when it's Chase trying to collect for many members.

We have spoken to our bank and expect to have our initiation and dues refunded. This place didn't even last a week after we joined. Clearly, this guy is shady, closing the place right after all the members were debited for their monthly dues. How convenient.
andersonville guy

Chicago, IL

#20 Sep 5, 2007
soulinwonder wrote:
I fully and completely endorse Andersonville Guy's post. The guy is a first class a-hole... I don't wish ill on anyone, but this couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
I can't say that a smile didn't appear on my face after seeing this on the news. Does that make me bad?:)
hmmm

Chicago, IL

#21 Sep 5, 2007
You can say that again, andersonville guy! I'm covering my butt...this guy and this whole situation reeks of bs. I just don't like getting lumped in w/yuppies!
andersonville guy

Chicago, IL

#22 Sep 5, 2007
Seth Adams wrote:
This guy doesn't deserve to run a business. We're all on our own, as he states on his website, have to check our credit, cancel our credit cards, cancel charges. If he was a decent businessman, this wouldn't have happened in the first place. Between him posting his fight with Farraguts on his door and wanting to remove gym equipment in favor of washer and dryers, should have known he was a few marbles short.
He was fighting with Farragut's? For what? Thatsounds typical, but what was the fight all about?
andersonville guy

Chicago, IL

#23 Sep 5, 2007
Seth Adams wrote:
This guy doesn't deserve to run a business. We're all on our own, as he states on his website, have to check our credit, cancel our credit cards, cancel charges. If he was a decent businessman, this wouldn't have happened in the first place. Between him posting his fight with Farraguts on his door and wanting to remove gym equipment in favor of washer and dryers, should have known he was a few marbles short.
What was his beef with Farragut's? Did they not submit to his will?:)
former employee

Chicago, IL

#24 Sep 5, 2007
I was an employee up until today. It is disgraceful what he did to all of us, and to top it off it is unlikely that any of the trainers will be getting paid for the last month we worked. When he closed the gym, he didn't even bother to tell us. I actually found out from one of my clients.

So here's to personal training on my own. Wish me luck....
Ryan in Andersonville

Chicago, IL

#25 Sep 5, 2007
I've been a Cheetah Member in Andersonville for almost two years and loved the space, instructors and equipment, even if I paid a premium over other Chicago gyms. The only problem I ever saw was the owner, David Wiltshire. I'm frankly, not surprised at all that the gym closed suddenly... I've been waiting for something like that to happen for some time. This man had no idea how to run a business, or air his dirty laundry (as he did MANY times to gym members in a very inappropriate way). What he saw as "transparency" was merely inappropriate behavior to his members and the public. It really is a shame - because this was a great place to workout. If he ever does re-open, I, for one, will not be back.

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