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Smithfield kickboxing gym abruptly closes

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SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — Dozens of members of a gym that abruptly closed want their money back, according to a court-appointed receiver who’s handling the case, but it’s unclear if the customers will ever be made whole.

The ilovekickboxing gym in Smithfield was ordered to shut down late last month by Peter Furness, the temporary receiver.

A sign on the door says “We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to have served you over the years.”

Furness told Eyewitness News at least 50 former gym members and potential creditors have contacted him with claims for refunds.

The owner, Walter Rowe, has a $10,000 bond on the kickboxing studio, according to Furness, but he said it is unclear if that money will cover all of the claims.

Rowe’s attorney, Everett Petronio, Jr., said declining membership and waning interest in kickboxing led to the closure of the Smithfield studio.

“He [Rowe] truly cared,” Petronio said. “This is the last thing he wanted.”

Rowe was a co-owner of the ilovekickboxing location in Cranston, which also closed. As Call 12 for Action reported in February, members like Kristen Hill demanded refunds.

“I showed up for class, and I was like, ‘Ok, there’s nobody here,'” Hill recalled. “I never received an email, a letter, a phone call, nothing.”

The Cranston kickboxing studio was never registered with the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office, as required by state law, so members’ contracts were null and void.

Members of the Smithfield location who have questions or claims can contact the receiver via email or at (401) 273-9600.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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