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Trial Set for Washington State Club Owner

The owner of a fitness club in Washington state that closed last year will be on trial for first-degree theft.

The pre-trial for Jason Sleater, owner of 509 Fitness in Kennewick, WA, is scheduled for Thursday, with the trial set for June 11. 509 Fitness, which opened in 2008, closed in March 2011.

Sleater is accused of charging several hundred members a gym enhancement fee before closing the club, TV station KNDU reported. Sleater’s attorney, Scott Johnson, said last week in a pre-trial hearing that the case is flawed, arguing that Sleater did not have access to the money generated from the enhancement fee, according to the report. The money went instead to a billing company and his business partner, Johnson argued.

Benton County (WA) Prosecuting Attorney Terry Bloor argued in the hearing that Sleater’s intent should be examined at the time the withdrawal was made, not what happened afterward, the TV station reported. Bloor added that Sleater went against the advice of the billing company and the business partner when he made the withdrawal. The judge allowed the case to go to trial.

Two months after 509 Fitness closed, employees of the club that took over the space threw out membership files that had credit card and social security information from former 509 Fitness members, TV station KVEW reported.

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