Criminal case dropped against Oregon Athletic Clubs owners
The Washington State attorney general's office on Monday dropped all charges against Oregon Athletic Clubs owner and former Seattle Seahawk Sam Adams after forensic audits found that Adams was a victim of financial fraud that caused his six clubs in Oregon and Washington to close.
The decision in King County Superior Court came after audits showed the billing company Adams hired to provide services for the six athletic clubs allegedly cheated club owners, according to Garvey Schubert Barer, the Seattle law firm representing Adams and co-owner Dana Sargent in a 2015 case.
"My wife Erika and I are relieved the truth has come out, and that our family can put this painful episode behind us," Adams said Nov. 20. "Our lives have been on hold while this cloud hung over us."
Adams and Sargent owned two fitness clubs in Washington and four in Oregon through Oregon Athletic Clubs: Riverplace Athletic Club, Hawthorne Farms Athletic Club, Bethany Athletic Club and Duniway Athletic Club. Four years ago, club owners ran into financial trouble and closed their Portland-area clubs. Angry club members in Oregon sued the company.
In February 2015, Washington's attorney general filed criminal charges in King County against Adams and Dana Sargent, owners of West Seattle Athletic Club, for stealing wages and evading taxes. Adams and Sargent were accused of engaging in theft and fraud totaling worth more than $500,000.
Adams and Sargent maintained their innocence, and a forensic audit by their defense team found alleged financial improprieties by the billing company hired to collect club dues and provide other financial services. On Monday, the case was dismissed.
"Today's dismissal reflects the truth: Sam's fitness clubs failed because they were being systematically cheated by their billing company," said Adams' attorney David Smith of Seattle. "No one on the government side took the steps needed to conduct a forensic audit, thus the obvious fraud by the billing company was not detected by government investigators. If the basic requirements of criminal investigation had been followed, Sam and his former business associate would never have been charged, employees would have received their final paychecks and Sam and his family would have been spared years of needless heartache and expense."