Facts Questioned in Powerhouse Story

When a story involves a death and a murder charge, a lot of people tend to jump to conclusions.

Such was the case Thursday when news spread of the arrest and eventual arraignment of 24-year-old Peter Dabish, the son of one of the founders of Powerhouse Gyms International. Dabish was charged with first-degree murder and torture of a young woman, Diana DeMayo, who was found dead March 11 in a downtown Detroit apartment.

The story went national, even becoming the lead story on Fox News' Web site Thursday. The headline of the story on the Web site today is "Millionaire Charged with Murder in Friend's Death." It's an eye-catching headline. But some of what was reported by this and other media outlets is not true or sensationalizes the past, according to Powerhouse Gyms International.

Peter Dabish could be a rich man, given that he is the son of a well-known health club company founder. But according to a chief source in the company with whom I spoke on Thursday, Peter Dabish is not a millionaire.

At least two TV stations in Detroit reported that Peter Dabish owns 20 percent of Powerhouse Gyms. The company told Club Industry that he has no ownership and has nothing to do with the operations of the company.

The company took particular issue with the reporting by one media outlet, WJBK Fox 2 in Detroit, which reported an incident from more than 30 years ago alleging that Dabish's father, Norman Dabish, beat a man for selling competing supplements. Norman Dabish founded Powerhouse Gyms with his brother, William. Norman Dabish died of a heart attack in 2005.

"Fox 2 News' attempt to sensationalize the story with information regarding Norman Dabish's past as a 20-year-old youth is extremely misplaced and in poor taste," the company said in an e-mail to Club Industry.

More than once, Fox 2 used the word "murdered" in reporting the story. However, despite Peter Dabish being charged with murder, we won't know if in fact DeMayo's death will be ruled a murder until there's a trial and a verdict.

Again, it's easy to jump to conclusions and to sensationalize, but all we really know right now is that a young woman is dead, her family is grieving and a member of a fitness industry family has been charged in her death.

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