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Employees may reopen health club

The health club on Madison Avenue remained closed this week, but apparently will reopen this week under the management of two employees.

Several sources said the reopening is planned for Saturday, but the Review could not reach either of the employees, or the court-appointed receiver with control over operations.

Until last week, the club operated under the name Human Performance Center.

The facility closed last Thursday after federal judge Marsha Pechman appointed a receiver to take control of Health Maintenance Centers, Inc. and Znetix, two operations related to HPC.

Those businesses and founder Kevin Lawrence have been sued by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission with the sale of some $74 million in unregistered securities.

The SEC obtained a temporary restraining order in January that froze all HMC and Znetix bank accounts, which prevented paying employees or any other bills incurred in the ordinary course of business.

Judge Pechman extended that order last week, along with appointing Michael Grassmueck of Portland, Oregon as receiver to take possession of the operations and begin marshalling assets.

Since Thursday evening’s closing, the principal source of information to gym members has been notes posted on the outside door.

On Friday, a note said that the facility would be closed until at least Saturday, and that further information would be posted later. A Saturday note said that the closure would extend until at least Wednesday while the receiver examined the books.

This week, a note appeared from “Brian and Justin,” two former employees, saying that they were engaged in talks with the receiver aimed at reopening the facility as soon as possible.

Pavilion co-owner Jeff Brein said that the receiver’s representatives appeared over the holiday weekend and changed the locks on the second-floor Pavilion space that HMC had rented.

“That space is empty,” Brein said, “but I understand the receiver was told to take possession of company assets, and changing the locks may be part of that.”

No one was visibly present at the Madison Avenue facility Tuesday morning, and there was no response to a knock on the door. Grassmueck did not return telephone calls prior to the newspaper deadline.

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