BUTTE — Employees and members of Fuel Fitness were left with more questions than answers when the facility was boarded up without warning on Sunday.
"What really hurts is we gave our time to a business that just decided to throw us out onto the street and not give us any care," said Breken Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick worked for Fuel Fitness since May. He was a front desk attendant with eight others and two new hires. When he received a text message from the general manager that the facility had been boarded up, he thought it was for the renovations that were supposed to take place around November to December.
"It obviously wasn’t. I know we were doing a rebrand and everything like that too, but evidently, Butte and Helena got thrown to the side," said Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick was blindsided by the sudden closure and members were left confused about what would happen with their membership payments.
In a four-page statement, Michael Burks, the owner, and CEO of Fuel fitness writes that the facilities had to close due to financial losses. Burks alleges the Butte and Helena facilities were underperforming in numbers and money was being stolen by a Butte employee. Burks writes that the closures would have been done years ago if not for the numbers being allegedly manipulated.
Fitzpatrick says he will miss his job and the people he met along the way.
"It’s just hard; like, I loved my job, I loved meeting new people, I loved meeting everybody and hearing their stories. It’s just crazy," said Fitzpatrick.
Fuel Fitness centers in Kalispell, Missoula, Billings, and Bozeman are still operating.
Below is the full letter provided by Michel Burks via a third party to the media. MTN is unable to verify or disprove many of the allegations in the letter but believe due to its nature, it is important that our readers are able to read the full letter themselves: