I didn’t even notice the ad in the Tradewinds, until yesterday when Val, a trainer and ex manager at the gym, brought it to my attention while shopping at Dolphin Market.
I didn’t have my reading glasses, so I didn’t appreciate the total absurdity of the ad until I got home and read it more carefully.
It seems that Mark Dallas, the owner of the Gym in Paradise, took out a $240 ad in the St. John Tradewinds advertising for new members, implying that he would reopen the gym if … let me use the words in the ad:
“The Gym in Paradise can reopen if 100 people can ‘commit to health.’
That is: 100 new members need to commit to $65 a month for one year via your credit card or cash with a one-year commitment with $65 deposit. Any existing time owed will be honored upon reopening.”
So let me get this straight. One hundred St. Johnians are supposed to commit to pay $845 each to a guy who just finished using an advertised “special” of $120 for a three-month membership to collect money from trusting individuals and then closed the doors to the gym and kept the money.
Excuse me, but how stupid does he think we are here on St. John.
Personally, I can’t believe that there is one sucker out there gullible enough to fork over $845 to our buddy in the states, let alone 100 of them.
So what’s going on? In short, the Mark Dallas guy took the money and ran. He has published apologies for this, but never has offered to refund anyone’s money. For that matter Bernie Madoff apologized too, but he’s being held responsible.
By the way, what did he do with that money? Did he keep it for himself? Did he pay off debts to the big boys, who might bring him to court using that money he squeezed from the little guys that he assumes are too poor or too unsophisticated to fight back?
Well if you were a victim of the scam, there is a way to get your money back, and that is by utilizing the Small Claims Court located on the third floor of the Boulon Center. You don’t need a lawyer and the clerks are there to help you with the paperwork. (Online information about the Virgin Islands Small Claims Court)
You should have some paperwork such as a contract, canceled check or agreement and you’ll need the owner’s name and address that should be available at the Marketplace offices.
So if you care, there is an avenue to pursue. As they say, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”