Eviction closes athletic club near Tacoma Mall

An eviction notice stood taped to the entrance door of the Lincoln Plaza Athletic Club on Tuesday.

A representative of the building lender stood in front, offering the bad news to club members who wanted to work out, and to members who wanted a refund on their dues, and to former employees who wondered about their paychecks.

No representative of the fitness club owner, former NFL player Sam Adams, was present.

Neither was Adams, who did not return a reporter’s call to his cellphone Tuesday afternoon.

“It came to the end, and the sheriff shut the building down,” said the building lender representative, who chose not to be identified.

Tuesday’s events followed months of Adams’ company not paying rent, according to documents filed with Pierce County Superior Court. Other records show unpaid taxes, and both current and former employees have had problems for weeks cashing their paychecks.

The News Tribune reported in November that paychecks given to employees had bounced and that Adams, under the umbrella of a firm known as Oregon Athletic Clubs, had faced problems at at least one other facility.

The Lincoln Plaza club owed the state some $73,000 in unpaid taxes and nearly $23,000 to Pierce County in back taxes, records show.

According to court records filed last month, building owner MS Kearny CT 1 LLC had been charging $75,000 for the monthly rental of the facility, which includes a large swimming pool, rock-climbing wall, sauna, plus workout, shower and locker areas.

Through a Seattle law firm, the owner claimed that Hollystone Holdings Inc., a limited liability company, owed $160,500. The owner had served Hollystone with an order to pay its back rent or move out. The owner also alleged that a check from Hollystone bounced.

The Washington Secretary of State website lists Adams as holding “all officers” positions at Hollystone Holdings, which is an active, for-profit corporation registered in Washington. Adams signed, and is listed as owner, on the lease signed with Kearny.

A website specializing in the fitness business recently quoted a Portland television news report saying the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has opened an investigation “after it received 10 complaints from employees” at an Oregon fitness club. The Oregon Department of Justice, the report said, has also opened cases.

Adams played for several NFL teams, including the Seattle Seahawks in the 1990s. A defensive tackle, he was named to Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams.

This is not the first set of disappointments facing people who sought to get fit at the center near Tacoma Mall.

In February 2012, Kearney demanded that the then-occupant – AllStar Fitness – pay $1.3 million that Kearney said the company owed. AllStar disputed the figure and the validity of its lease. Competing lawsuits were later settled.

In summer 2012, AllStar was replaced at the site by Gold’s Gym Tacoma. Before becoming a fitness center under any name, the building housed the Lincoln Plaza multiplex theater, which shuttered in 2000.

On Tuesday, others were also present at the fitness center, including a salesman with a competing fitness club who was offering memberships to former Lincoln Plaza clients. People inside the lobby included workmen repossessing various pieces of leased fitness and other equipment.

“Right now, it’s just an eviction,” said the lender’s representative. “We’re changing the locks on the building.”

He noted that “people who were employed here have come looking for their checks. At the end of the day, the building is going to be closed and the door locked.”