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Members Want Answers, Refunds From Area Gym

Members of Dunlap Fitness met with authorities at a meeting Thursday night to discuss the sudden closing of the facility.
PEORIA – Dozens of people gathered Thursday night in Princeville. They said they’ve been wronged and they’re owed money.

It all stems from the closing of a gym known as Dunlap Fitness. Several members told WMBD 31 News they went to the gym one day and it appeared to be abandoned. Now they’re speaking out and they believe they’re victims of fraud.

Member Carol Sollenberger said, “I want answers or my money back.”

She is just one of many members of Dunlap Fitness who said they’ve been betrayed. Dozens of people said they’ve paid for memberships they said they won’t get to finish using.

Members said the owner Ashley Kitterman and her partner Ben Lavallier have just up and left.

The co-owner of the gym’s neighboring business Trimco said he’s losing money too. He was leasing the building to them. Gary Blevins said, “They say they were moving here to be close to family and signed a five year lease and were there approximately 10 months.”

Blevins said they owe him somewhere between $130,000 and $140,000.

The Peoria County Sheriff’s Department is helping members file criminal complaints. Some people said they’ve lost nearly $1,000.

But they said it’s about more than the money. Sollenberger said, “It's my getaway, It's a lot for a single mom while I still have one child in college so I'd like to know what's next, what's going on and I'd like to have some answers.”

They’re speaking out in hopes that no one else will be a victim. Blevins said, “Nobody likes to lose the money but I’m more concerned about them turning around or doing this to others. They took people's trust and they were good at what they did.”

We’ve tried contacting who members said owned Dunlap Fitness, but their cell phones appeared to be disconnected.

The Peoria County Sheriff’s Department is investing the case.

At WMBD 31 News, we want to make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

The Better Business Bureau said it receives more than 9,000 complains every year about gyms.

It suggests taking the time to do research before joining a gym, and not to give in to high pressure sales pitches.

It suggests checking to make sure your gym is certified by the BBB and read the contract carefully and make sure all promises are in print.
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