LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – In a lawsuit against Paul Fortwendel, as owner of International Sports Clubs, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office said he violated the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act after gym members said he continued to withdraw monthly payments after they canceled their contracts.
Twelve members are named as plaintiffs in the suit. Yolanda Timmons is not one of those 12, but she said the same thing happened to her. She said after having $176 in fees withdrawn after the cancellation, and back and forth phone calls with Fortwendel and his son Robbie she decided to call the gym’s billing company Affiliated Acceptance Corporation.
“Then I found out it was all a lie,” Timmons said. “They document every single phone call at AAC. Even if they pull up your account by mistake, it’s going to be documented that Yolanda Timmons’ account was pulled up, and it was a mistake. So, If Robbie would’ve called them one time it would’ve been documented, and there was no documentation.”
The suit said the contract offered a cancellation if the member proved they were moving outside a 30 mile radius from the the gym, one in The Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, the other near State Road 26 in Lafayette. Both are now under new ownership. The members would also have to pay a $75 cancellation fee, turn in their membership cards and make sure all payments are up to date.
In some cases, members said they stopped payments only to have AAC put adverse information on their credit reports.
“[AAC] kept calling me and asking me when I was going to pay the money,” Timmons said. “Finally I just told them I said ‘look this is what I’ve been through. I’m not paying you any money.’ I haven’t checked my credit since all of this has happened. I assume there is something on my credit.”
The Attorney General wants Fortwednel to pay $5,000 in civil penalties for every violation knowingly committed and another $500 for every act intentionally committed.
According to Tippecanoe County court filings, earlier this year Paul Fortwendel had an eviction hearing with the Purdue Research Foundation about the gym’s West Lafayette location. It was found Fortwendel owes more than $272,000 in rent and late fees.
Forwendel did not return News 18’s calls for comment.