Steve Nash sues ex-partners over B.C. fitness clubs


VANCOUVER — After a falling-out with his business partners, Steve Nash is going to court seeking an order preventing his name or image from being used in relation to 21 fitness facilities around B.C.

One of those facilities is at the Uptown shopping centre in Saanich.

In a notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court, the former National Basketball Association star from Victoria alleges that there was a breach of contract between his company, B & L Holdings Ltd., and SNFW Fitness B.C. Ltd., the company currently running the facilities.

The Arizona company owned by Nash also names as defendants Nash’s business partners, Mark Mastrov, the owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, and Leonard Schlemm, a Montreal businessman.

The lawsuit came after Mastrov bought the Kings in May 2013, but was required by NBA bylaws to stop carrying on business with Nash, who was at the time a player with the Los Angeles Lakers.

In July 2014, Mastrov, without notifying Nash, resigned as an officer with a B.C. company connected to the clubs named FWG Acquisitions Ltd. Mastrov transferred all of his shares to Schlemm, according to the suit.

Within days, SNFW was incorporated.

In September 2014, B & L received notification that it was required to sell all its securities to SNFW the writ says. B & L did not sell its shares in FWG Acquisitions to SNFW, instead selling half of its shares to each of Schlemm and Mastrov, it says.

The writ says that since October 2014, SNFW has continued to operate the fitness facilities throughout B.C. under the name “Steve Nash Fitness World.”

“B & L Holdings Inc. has received no compensation from SNFW Fitness B.C. Ltd. for the use of the name “Steve Nash” to promote these fitness facilities,” it says.

“Steve Nash has not, since October 14, 2014, had any involvement with the operation of the fitness facilities. He has not been a member of the board of directors of SNFW Fitness B.C. Ltd.

“He has not signed an affidavit certifying that he endorses the fitness facilities in any way.”

In addition to the alleged breach of contract, the suit says Mastrov and Schlemm “misrepresented to the plaintiff that the plaintiff was required to sell its shares, causing damage to the plaintiff.”

Unspecified damages are being sought in addition to the injunction preventing the use of Nash’s name in connection with the clubs.

There are a total of 19 Steve Nash locations in the Lower Mainland, one in Kelowna and the one at Uptown.

Nash’s connection to the clubs dates to November 2006, when his company entered into an agreement with a firm named Vancouver Bay Clubs Ltd., which owned two fitness facilities known as Steve Nash Fitness Clubs.

Schlemm and Mastrov had, before taking shares in Vancouver Bay Clubs Ltd., developed and sold a chain of fitness facilities known as 24 Hour Fitness.

No response has yet been filed to the lawsuit, which contains allegations that have not been tested in court. The defendants could not be reached for comment.

Nash, who played for the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and the Lakers, was named as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2005 and 2006, the only Canadian to have been so honoured. In 2007 he was awarded the Order of Canada.

© Copyright Times Colonist

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