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Trainers Sue Oprah’s Company

CHICAGO -- A husband-and-wife team of fitness trainers is suing Oprah Winfrey’s company, Harpo Inc., for breach of contract.

Dina Castillo and Frank Nunez, who own Unicus Fitness, Chicago, claim they are owed $63,000 for their services in creating a customized fitness program for employees of Harpo Inc., called the O Fitness Challenge, according to media reports. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court.

When they were asked to appear on a program hosted by Winfrey’s former trainer, Bob Greene, on Winfrey’s XM Radio channel in March 2009, Castillo and Nunez sent e-mails to their other clients about their upcoming appearance. Harpo officials told the couple that the e-mails violated a confidentiality agreement and ended the O Fitness Challenge program, according to reports. (Castillo and Nunez say they were assured by Harpo that they had the right to issue two press releases.)

After Castillo and Nunez requested payment following the termination of the program, they claim Harpo refused to pay them for their months of training work. Harpo attorneys say that the trainers provided their services voluntarily and that there was no formal business arrangement, according to claims made by Castillo and Nunez in the lawsuit.

A Harpo attorney could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

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