Bobhouse trouble

01-13 bobhouse trouble

This bobhouse on Meredith Bay went for a dip on Friday at the lauching ramp. It was eventually brought back on top of the ice. (Courtesy RC Greenwood)

From ashes of Workout World comes Fitness Focus at downtown garage

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Brandon Borghi, right, son of Fit Focus owner Steve Borghi, will be managing the business when it opens. With him are conner Dever, left, and Tristan Comb. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)



LACONIA — Steve Borghi will play a mulligan by opening Fit Focus, which he describes as a "full-blown fitness club," in the same downtown space where his similar venture — Work Out World —foundered on a broken partnership, unpaid debts and tangled litigation before it opened for business in 2009.

Borghi, a resident of Alton Bay, said Monday that work is underway renovating and equipping the 30,000-square-foot space attached to the downtown parking garage last occupied by the Grace Capital Church. He expects Fit Focus to open in between six and eight weeks. He said he is leasing the space with an option to purchase it from its owner, Daniel Di Sangro of Roslindale, Massachusetts, and has invested approximately $2 million in renovations and equipment.

Last June, when Borghi first announced his plans, he indicated that he intended to purchase the property. However, he said that because of the uncertainly surrounding the future of the downtown parking garage, which is structurally entwined with the six commercial units attached to it, he decided to lease the largest of the units. He said that the club will provide 100 pieces of cardiovascular equipment as well as strength machines and free weights while offering both scheduled fitness classes and personal training sessions. He anticipates that the center will employ some 30 people either full or part time. Memberships will range between about $20 and $50 per month.

"I'd like finish what I was trying to do before," Borghi said in June. In September 2008, Borghi, who then owned more than 30 Work Out World fitness centers, most of them in New England, purchased the Laconia property in partnership with DiSangro and his wife Joanne and Gabrielle Susi of Canton, Massachusetts; together doing business as Downtown Crossing LLC and Downtown Fitness LLC.

Borghi began advertising for memberships for Work Out World Laconia in November 2008 in advance of a scheduled opening in January. However, when the fitness center failed to open, the New Hampshire Attorney General began receiving complaints from those who paid for memberships. In May 2009, Borghi was charged with two misdemeanor and two felony violations of the Consumer Protection Act. Borghi pleaded guilty in August and was given a 30-day suspended sentence and ordered to refund 240 memberships while Downtown Fitness LLC was fined $15,000.
Meanwhile, Borghi's partners, the DiSangros and Susi, filed suit against him, alleging he misappropriated funds for his personal use. Downtown Crossing LLC and Downtown Fitness LLC were placed in receivership in July and a month later creditors were informed that since Work Out World Laconia had outstanding debts of more than $100,000 and no source of income they would not be paid what they were owed.
In February 2010, the partners reached a settlement of the lawsuit resting on what Borghi called at the time an "exchange of assets." Borghi left the partnership and paid an undisclosed of money. The DiSangros ultimately acquired the property, which they have now leased to Borghi.

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Ready to settle

Gilford man was suing over recordings made on school buses


CONCORD — For the second time in as many months, a Gilford man who filed a federal lawsuit claiming his children were illegally recorded as they rode the bus to school has told a judge a settlement is being discussed.

William Baer, who sued the Gilford School District, the superintendent of schools and First Student, the company that holds the busing contract, filed notice in U.S. District Court on Jan. 12 that "the parties are currently involved in discussions which may result in the resolution of this matter."

Attorney Jared Bedrick of Rochester, who represents Baer, asked that the Jan. 17 deadline for submission of motions for summary judgment by both sides be extended 30 days to allow the parties "to fully explore the possibility of settlement."

Early last month, Bedrick wrote in a joint mediation statement that should efforts to negotiate an out-of-court settlement fail, the parties were planning to hiring a mediator after the key witnesses in the case had been questioned under oath.

The request for an extension of the summary judgment deadline was jointly signed by Bedrick and by attorney Daniel Deschenes of Concord, who represents now retired SAU 72 Superintendent Kent Hemingway and First Student Inc.

A motion for summary judgment, if granted, can bring a quick end to a civil case. It represents a final decision by a judge that no factual issues remain unresolved to be heard at trial, and that the case can be decided based on rulings of law.

Baer filed suit last December 2015, on behalf of his two minor children, charging that state and federal wiretapping laws were broken when they were recorded without warning, as no signs were posted, as they rode on a school bus en route to class.

The suit seeks both statutory and punitive damages as well as the award of attorney's fees and legal costs. The plaintiffs have requested a jury trial and are also asking the court to order the defendants to bring the current fleet of buses into compliance with state and federal law.

It was sparked after one of the Baer children was summoned to the principal's office and questioned about an incident that had occurred on the bus. During the conversation, the principal referenced an audio recording of the student made during his bus trip.

In response, Baer's son cited the school handbook, which detailed that state law requires that any bus using recording equipment must post a sign warnings riders that they might be recorded. That bus did not have a warning sign, nor did the majority of other buses that transport Gilford students, the suit charges.

Jury selection and the trial which is estimated to last two to four days is now scheduled to occur during a two-week period beginning in mid-May. Judge Landya B. McCafferty has been assigned to preside.

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