UPDATE: Landlord speaks out about sudden closure of Fl3x for Life
The owner of an East Windsor gym that suddenly closed this week said members would not be left out in the cold.
The doors at the Fl3x Life Fitness’s location on Tecumseh Road East were locked at midnight Sunday for failure to pay rent, but Carlos Puckerin, the owner of the business, disputed the allegation.
In a video on his Facebook page, Puckerin said he had paid his monthly rent of $18,000 up to the end of April and had held back half of the payment for May because he was in talks with the landlord to buy the building. He said he had planned to roll the second payment into the purchase of the building and had met with the landlord recently.
However, early Monday morning, he got a call from the Baliff.
“What I found out from the lawyer was, they were behind a certain amount of the mortgage, and now the bank was coming down on them saying that if they did not pay then the building would be repossessed,” Puckerin said.
The owner of the building, Richard Milne, has strongly disputed Puckerin’s telling of the events. Milne said while there were plans for Puckerin to buy the Tecumseh Road East building, Puckerin never made an offer, and to his knowledge never sought pre-approval for a mortgage.
“He’s been telling us that for the last year. He was supposed to buy it within the first six or eight months. We put it in his contract, but that all lapsed,” he said. “He has no first right of refusal. If he wanted to buy the building, we’d let him buy the building.”
Milne told BlackburnNews.com Puckerin was often behind on his rent and in mid-May stopped paying.
“We couldn’t take it anymore,” said Milne. “He does have receipts for what he did pay. Those receipts that he’s showing online have the arrears all broken down for what he owes. I put that on the bottom of every receipt.”
Milne and Castella said the mortgage on the building is paid up, and there is no second mortgage. They said Puckerin owes them $91,000.
Now Puckerin has decided to focus instead on a new location in the Dorwin Plaza on Dougall Avenue.
“You have the opportunity to be referred to Dougall,” Puckerin told his members in the video. “And, we have other options for those people who want to opt out of their memberships.”
In the meantime, Puckerin said members would not have to pay their dues for this month.
“I’ve already called my merchant, and I made sure that all the payments for all the people who are members at Fl3x Life Fitness will immediately be stopped,” he said.
Milne’s wife, Sarah Castella, said calling a locksmith Sunday night was the last resort.
“Carlos did run a great business under that roof, he just didn’t pay his rent,” said Castella. “We feel very bad for the members. We feel very bad for the staff. Our hands were tied at this point.”