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Ohio Steroids Bust Affects YMCA, LA Fitness, Urban Active

Several fitness facilities in Ohio have been thrown into the spotlight as a result of steroid-related arrests, and one Ohio YMCA is trying to repair its reputation after a series of miscommunications about the extent of its involvement in the steroid sales investigation.

On Oct. 31, police in Warren County, OH, announced that they had busted a large-scale steroid ring following an investigation that started at the Countryside YMCA in Lebanon, OH.

Mike Carroll, the CEO and president of Countryside Y told the Cincinnati Enquirer that media reports of the investigation incorrectly stated or implied that sales of the illegal drugs had taken place within the facility, and that the nonprofit immediately was “inundated” by calls from people wanting to cancel their memberships.

Carroll said no sales took place within the facility and that it was actually the Y that tipped off police, in early 2010, after it became concerned that a member had attempted to sell steroids on the premises. He added that no employees of the nonprofit had been implicated or indicted in the investigation.

In an email sent to staff and members explaining the situation, Carroll wrote: “Our mission is to put Christian principles into practice and build healthy spirit, mind and body for all, and we have a zero tolerance for drug activities. Alerting police to this illegal activity was one example of how we live up to our mission. I am happy to report that the county, community and YMCA are all safer places as a result of this investigation.”

Three for-profit fitness facilities also have been mentioned in reports of the investigation. Among those indicted in the sting, according to the newspaper, were Michael Dorazio, a manager at an LA Fitness in West Chester, OH; Joseph Lochard, operator of Ultimate Fitness in Liberty Township, OH; and Joshua Haberstroh, a bodybuilder who is accused of buying steroids in an Urban Active in Deerfield Township, OH.

John Burke, commander of the Warren County Drug Task Force, said that Urban Active was the only gym in which an undercover agent bought drugs in a fitness facility, the newspaper reported.

A spokesperson for Urban Active, Lexington, KY, confirmed to Club Industry that one of its members—Haberstroh—had engaged in a steroids transaction at the club and has had his membership revoked.

“Our Urban Active membership agreement specifically prohibits steroids and any other controlled substances in our fitness facilities, and we want to make it clear that the recent steroid ring bust did NOT involve Urban Active or any of our employees,” Coby DeVary, COO of Urban Active, said in a statement. “The member that violated this provision has been indicted and his Urban Active membership has been terminated, consistent with our membership agreement.”

LA Fitness, Irvine, CA, told Club Industry that the club had no comment at this time.

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