ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Months after an Albuquerque fitness center abruptly closed its doors, former employees say they still haven’t received their final paycheck. And now the former owner has his hand in the opening of a new gym.
Back in late March, early April, Evolv Fitness on Paseo suddenly closed overnight. Members showed up to work out, only to turn around at the sight of no one around.
Many wanted the money they put toward their membership back.
And employees, like Jonathan Elder and his girlfriend, Jennifer Segura, were left without a final paycheck.
“It’s frustrating,” Elder said.
Elder and Segura say they’re owed more than $2,000 each and they aren’t receiving any payments.
“I am not alone in this,” he said. “There’s a number, as far as I know, the majority of all employees who were working there are owed some amount of money.”
Elder says he knew his former boss at Evolv Fitness, C.J. Chavez, had plans to open another gym.
That’s exactly what’s happening this Saturday – this time called Evolv Strong.
Elder says he planned to work at the new place until Chavez never came through with the owed money.
“I guess I’m still taken aback by the fact that he’s moving forward with doing so without correcting the mistakes he’s made thus far,” he said.
Unable to pay his rent, Elder and another former employee, Kirk Kapple, have opened their own business called Stone Forge Fitness.
KRQE News 13 caught up with Chavez. He doesn’t own the new business this time; he’s only an employee because he’s paying off the membership debt owed to his old customers.
But as for the missing paychecks…
“We’ve been working directly with the New Mexico Workforce Solutions labor relations division,” Chavez said. “And we’ve been working with them month to month, and paying everybody off.”
Chavez said the new fitness center is meant to help clean up the mess the last one left behind.
“It may not be within the time frame that they wanted, but they are getting something and they are getting paid off incrementally,” he said.
Elder said he didn’t call Workforce Solutions because he trusted his former boss, and once friend and mentor, would come through with the money.
He’s now reconsidering waiting around.
The new Evolv Strong is set to open this Saturday, but construction on the facility won’t be complete until into October.