Blast's Borghi Brings Baggage to Bally


If you haven't heard about Steve Borghi, the CEO of Blast Fitness, which is purchasing 39 Bally Total Fitness clubs, then you haven't been reading one of our colleagues in the industry.

Late last year, Club Insider's Norm Cates, a watchdog of sorts for bad club owner behavior, detailed in paragraph after paragraph some of the legal troubles that Borghi has encountered in recent years. We touched on a few of those troubles in our report Tuesday, but suffice it to say, Borghi brings some baggage with him.

There's the lawsuit filed by Borghi's business partners in 2009 in which they claimed Borghi took money from the business's account without their knowledge. That lawsuit coincided with criminal charges against Borghi, who was accused of violating the state's Consumer Protection Act by taking members' money for an unopened club. Borghi pled guilty to the violations and received a suspended 30-day jail sentence, which he wasn't happy about.

"All of this was politically driven by the attorney general. It was a witch hunt," Borghi told reporters in 2009. "There was a clear rush to judgment here. I did not do these things intentionally. I was caught on a technicality."

Then there's the issue in Rhode Island, where again, Borghi was accused of taking memberships for a club that had yet to open. Borghi hadn't even registered the club with the state.

We can examine Bally at a later time. In short, it's becoming more apparent that Bally is trying to sell off its remaining clubs. The company will have about 60 left after May 1.

But for the time being, this will give Bally employees and members in Houston, Dallas, Boston, Milwaukee and other cities where Bally has sold clubs to Blast a glimpse of the man who is taking over their clubs.

I can't wait to read what Norm thinks about Borghi and Bally now.

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

on Mar 7, 2014

Crazy since blast bought Ballys the quality of the gyms declined so much. The managers look like they eat at Burger King or just came out the welfare line. There is a Blast located in west Hartford connecticut. By far this is the worst one I've seen so far.

on Sep 14, 2015

I've belonged to a Wisconsin club when it was Ballys and now Blast. Moved to a brand new location with brand new equipment. Usage was good for the first year, but has gone down by at least 2/3. Why? Equipment is not maintained. Example: 15 Elliptical machines; 4-5 always down; of the rest 3-4 are in top condition and the rest vibrate, make horrible noises, or barely run. That's just one example of many items. There a shower that's been shut down for 2 months with no visible repairs being done. There's the curling machine with threadbare elbow rest for 6 months. The managers don't seem to care that the club is falling apart and no one from corporate is monitoring. I give this club 6 more months and it will be shut down. These stories help it all make sense. I may need to vote with my feet like others. Its a shame because it's a great location and they had great equipment to start with.

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