New Milford Sports Club owners face eviction
NEW MILFORD — The owner of New Milford Sports Club said the fitness center is “back on target” after being closed over the weekend and the landlord’s filing of eviction papers in state Superior Court in Litchfield in March.
Donofrio said there was “nothing firm” regarding the summary process complaint filed March 21 by building owner Rose-Wein, LLC. A notice to quit was filed by Rose-Wein on March 13, citing several lease violations.
Jeffrey Tinley, the attorney representing Rose-Wein, disputed Donofrio’s claim and said the original complaint is still valid. He is waiting for attorneys representing New Milford Sports Club to respond to the complaint.
“We wish this would move faster,” said Tinley, a partner at the Waterbury firm Tinley, Renehan & Dost. “They (Rose-Wein) have owned the building for many years and have developed a good reputation and following. That is being harmed at present.”
New Milford Sports Club is represented by Danbury firm Cohen & Wolf.
Donofrio said the fitness center was closed Saturday because of staffing issues, but several sources said employees did not show up for work because they had not been paid.
New Milford Police said they received a call at 8:48 a.m. on Saturday from a “concerned patron” regarding a lack of staff at the facility. Police responded and closed down the center for the “safety of the public,” citing an open pool hazard.
The Connecticut Department of Labor confirmed there were more than 20 complaints filed recently for non-payment from New Milford Sports Club employees. Each of the cases has since been paid, a department spokesman said. New Milford Sports Club employs about 60 people.
Club member Lorraine Ostrubak drove to the fitness center on Saturday and found that the doors were closed. She was relieved to see the business open this week.
“It’s a wonderful place,” she said. “I’d hate to see it closed down.”
The club’s website does not mention the weekend closure and its Facebook page was unavailable.
New Milford Sports Club signed a 10-year lease with Rose-Wein last summer.
The complaint accuses New Milford Sports Club of several lease violations, including failure to pay rent, late charges, sewer fees and real estate taxes. It further says New Milford threatened to sell the property at public auction due to the lack of real estate tax payment.
New Milford Sports Club also made alterations to the property that were not equal in quality to the building’s original construction, the complaint reads.
Attorneys for New Milford Sports Club could not be reached for comment.
Donofrio, along with his father Dominick Donofrio Sr., took over the 40,000-square-foot fitness center on Grove Street last summer. Donofrio hoped to upgrade with new exercise machines, the pool area with no-slip floor and patio, and the children’s workout room and rooftop spinning area.
Barry Lytton contributed to this story.