Lincolnton gym closes; owner says he paid all bills

by: Ken Lemon Updated:

LINCOLNTON, N.C. —

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People coming to work out Thursday found the doors bolted shut from the outside at Cruz Fitness.

"I think it terrible," said customer Valerie Moore.

Moore is one of the more than 800 customers at Cruz Fitness paying as much as $30 a month.

"It was taken out of my debit card," she said.

Customers are learning about financial problems, but they are not the only ones shut out.

Owner Salvador Cruz was also locked out.

"They have ruined my business, and I have been doing nothing but working hard," Cruz said.

He said he has paid a billing company to pay for leased equipment and the rent on the building. Three weeks ago, the property owner said, he was three months behind on rent even though he made all the payments.

"I just don't want nobody thinking it was me taking advantage of anybody," Cruz said.

He is telling customers to stop the bank drafts. He even put up a sign inviting customers to call the Attorney General's Office.

Eyewitness News called and learned late Thursday that ZX Fitness owns the building.

A press release shows the billing company is a partner of ZX.

The Attorney General's Office has had repeated run-ins with ZX because of numerous consumer complaints.

It has been investigating ZX for two years and is now looking into the sudden shutdown in Lincolnton.

"I have been in touch with my attorney," Cruz said. "You know, I'm trying to fix this for everyone."

Cruz added he hopes this incident doesn't completely ruin his reputation. He said he loves helping people get fit, and he wants to have the opportunity to open another gym in the future.