Gold’s Gym spokesman: Rowling doesn’t see any profits and San Francisco franchisees are lying

This morning we put a call in to Gold’s Gym’s gayest location in Dallas, at 2425 McKinney Ave. in Uptown, to find out whether management there had any thoughts on the controversy over Robert Rowling’s $2 million in contributions to American Crossroads, the Karl Rove co-founded group that is working to help elect several anti-gay candidates across the country this election cycle.

Rowling, a Highland Park billionaire, is the CEO for TRT Holdings, which is the ownership group for both Gold’s Gym and Omni Hotels. And his contributions have led to a petition calling for Gold’s Gym to stop supporting anti-gay candidates.

We ended up talking with Brad Bean, who happens to be the district manager for Gold’s Gym’s four corporate-owned locations in Dallas. The company’s other six locations in Dallas are franchises, Bean said.

“From a corporate perspective, diversity is a core part of our organization, and we don’t discriminate,” Bean said. “We have zero tolerance. We’re not a political organization, and we don’t use our revenue source to fund political organizations.”

Bean’s statement is essentially a shortened version of the one released by Gold’s Gym International on Monday, which we’ve posted below. A copy of the statement was sent over this morning by Dave Reiseman, vice president of communications for Gold’s Gym International, which happens to be headquartered at 125 E. John Carpenter Freeway in Irving.

We also spoke with Reiseman briefly this morning, and he stressed that Rowling is not the CEO for Gold’s Gym; he is the CEO for TRT Holdings, which is the ownership group.

“Not a nickel of Gold’s Gym’s money, from our members or our franchisees or our employees, went to American Crossroads or any other political organization,” Reiseman told Instant Tea. “Gold’s Gym is an apolitical organization, and we do not donate to political causes or candidates of any kind.”

But doesn’t the company generate a profit for Rowling, who could then have given that money to American Crossroads?

“I think one day if the company is ever sold, he may make a profit there, but right now they just re-invest all the profits back into the business,” Reiseman said. “Needless to say, the LGBT community is hugely important to us. We’re proud to have a strong membership base. A lot of our employees are part of the LGBT community, and so are a lot of our employees here at the corporate office and our franchisees.”

And speaking of franchisees, Reiseman says two of them in San Francisco were flat out lying when they announced Monday that they’re leaving the brand over Rowling’s American Crossroads contributions. Rather, discussions about termination of their franchise agreements for unrelated reasons began months ago, Reiseman said. This statement is below as well.

—  John Wright

Attacks on gays decried in northern Ky. city

Associated Press

COVINGTON, Ky. — Police have boosted patrols in a bar district in this northern Kentucky city following attacks that appeared to target gays.

Two people suffered slash wounds and two others had minor injuries in an Aug. 14 knife attack at a gas station in which anti-gay epithets were yelled at the victims, police said.

Police said they will start tracking incidents of ethnic and anti-gay slurs and hate speech, The Kentucky Enquirer reported. Also, a group of residents has formed “Zero Tolerance for Hate Crimes in Covington” and will host an event at six bars in MainStrasse on Saturday, Aug. 28 to raise money for an anti-hate campaign.

“We have had three incidents in the last several months and it has got to stop now,” said Mayor Denny Bowman.

Recent crimes spurred the Covington City Commission and more than 80 people to gather Tuesday, Aug. 24 at city hall to denounce hate crimes and reaffirm support for the human rights ordinance passed in 2003. The ordinance prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

City Commissioner Shawn Masters said he moved to Covington partly because of its diversity and is proud that the city has a human rights ordinance.

“I’m not proud of the fact we are here because of a certain incident that happened recently, but I think it is a good opportunity to reaffirm where this city stands,” Masters said.

Police Chief Lee Russo said two additional officers recently were assigned to the MainStrasse beat during peak hours. Also, the two patrol officers who roam throughout the city are focusing on MainStrasse, Russo said.

The police also want people to report slurs and hate speech to police so it can be tracked, Russo said.

—  John Wright