By Vikki Hopes
Former basketball star Steve Nash has filed a civil claim to have his name and image removed from 21 fitness clubs across the province.
In the notice filed Oct. 14 in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, Nash’s company, B & L Holdings Inc., is seeking an injunction against SNFW Fitness BC Ltd., which operates the clubs under the name “Steve Nash Fitness World.”
Also named in the lawsuit are Nash’s former business partners Mark Mastrov – an American businessman who is the CEO and founder of 24 Hour Fitness and an owner of the Sacramento Kings basketball team – and Leonard Schlemm, a businessman based in Quebec.
Nash alleges that SNFW Fitness breached their contract with him.
At the start of the business partnership, a company named Vancouver Bay Clubs Ltd. owned two fitness facilities known as Steve Nash Fitness Clubs.
The company entered into an agreement with B & L Holdings in November 2006 for the use of Nash’s name and image in exchange for shares in the business.
In 2009, the business partners announced that they had bought the Fitness World chain.
According to the court documents, the partnership changed in May 2013, when Mastrov purchased an ownership interest in the Sacramento Kings and, under National Basketball Association regulations, was prohibited from conducting business with a player.
Nash played for the Los Angeles Lakers at the time.
In July 2014, Mastrov, without notice to Nash, resigned as an officer of FWG Acquisitions Ltd. – a company that he and Schlemm formed in connection with the clubs – and transferred all of his shares to Schlemm, the court documents state.
Within days, SNFW was incorporated, the suit states, and B & L was notified that it was required to sell all of its securities to SNFW.
B & L Holdings did not sell its shares in FWG Acquisition to SNFW, but instead sold half of its shares each to Mastrov and Schlemm in October 2014.
The lawsuit states that since that time, SNFW has continued to operate its facilities under the Steve Nash name, although Nash has received no compensation and has had no involvement with the operation of the sites.
“The defendants Mastrov and Schlemm misrepresented to the plaintiff that the plaintiff was required to sell its shares, causing damage to the plaintiff,” the lawsuit states.
In addition to the injunction, Nash is seeking unspecified costs and damages.
A response to the notice of civil claim has not yet been filed, and the allegations in the suit have not yet been proved in court.
Nash, who grew up in Victoria, played basketball in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns, the Dallas Mavericks and the Lakers.
In 2005 and 2006, he was named the Most Valuable Player in the NBA, the only Canadian to be given that honour. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 2007.