You may remember the other day, an article I wrote about Fuel Fitness in Butte and Helena.

They suddenly closed their doors this past weekend, leaving their customers AND employees high and dry, seemingly with no response coming. However, yesterday, all media outlets in the state that wrote on this received a FOUR PAGE statement from the CEO himself. Let's dive into it. (If you want the direct PDF of his complete response, you'll find a button at the bottom of this article.)

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Michael Burks Hates Butte and Helena

Starting out, Mr. Burks pointed out he has read "enough of your comments to realize that I have made the right decision to close both down and run like Forrest (Gump) from both of your communities, so thank you in advance for that". Real nice guy.

He continued saying "I hear your "demands" as to why I legally closed 2 of my businesses without consulting one of you beforehand. I cannot wait until the last member is paid their refund so I can close this chapter and never look back...."

From those two statements alone, you can see what kind of guy Mr. Burks is. Greedy, self-serving, and certainly devoid of Montana Values. But wait, there's more!

"Here is the explanation that I have absolutely no obligation to share with you, but
will to shut you all up once and for all"

Isn't that nice?

Mr. Burks says a staff member at the Butte Location was overseeing all insurance billing for his 7 locations. He claims that the employee "duped" Fuel Fitness by retaining income from his most profitable source, and proceeded to give "unearned bonuses and raises" to themself. Also, Burks claims that the employee was artificially inflating the books at the Butte Location.

Thank you, all mighty Mr. Burks, for allowing us plebians to know WHY you closed your seemingly successful locations suddenly.

However, that was somewhat hard to discern from his rant. The following is a direct copy & paste from his release, where I got the information from.

Unearned bonuses and raises have been generated and accepted by the employee in question as well as duping me into believing that the Butte location was doing much better financially than it really was. In fact, after backing out said revenue as well as the fact that I own (and for all of those that have contacted me, I do appreciate the incredible support, but cannot sell as I have just found out that I have a very large sum of money to make up that I was not aware of just one week ago) both the Butte and Helena buildings, only charged both locations a little more than half of the current market rate of monthly lease ($12,500 charged, $24,000 potential) …The actual potential revenue would have been close to $2M over the past 5 years. For those members in Helena that are wondering what this has to do with your club, the Helena Fuel Fitness was losing close to twice as much as the Butte club and was only allowed to be open as I was under the impression that Butte was making just enough to allow me to absorb the never-ending losses coming from 3336 N Helena. The employee in question, who just experienced a full expense paid, 5-star resort vacation (other than alcohol) to Hawaii, paid personally by me, along with 9 other Fuel Fitness employees and their +1 for a total of 20 fully comped for a total travel expense of $150,000.00 I was not able to attend as luck would have it, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was exposed to Covid the day before we were all to leave. The employee in question, along with a member of Fuel’s Helena staff, abused my credit card like a couple of pissed off teenagers, booking every excursion that they could fit in, while the rest of my team, spent about half that amount. Ironically, these two employees came from the worst two performing Fuel Fitness locations, never coming close to breaking even now that we have found out that sales were fraudulently inflated

Have a headache yet? I sure do. Maybe Mr. Burks would have been better off spending some money on a PR Team.

Anyway, after the rant above about all the things wrong in Mr. Burks world, he continued to explain about the closures.

The Closure of Butte and Helena

Mr. Burks claims on Friday, September 30th, these issues were brought to his attention, at which point he closed both locations immediately to stop the "massive carnal bleeding". He claims both locations have lost "millions over the past 5 years from these horrifically ran operations" before going onto another rant about his past GM, lease revenue losses, and how you can leave the buildings if you want to.

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Is there more?

Oh, yeah there is. That was only pages 1 and 2. If you want to read his complete, barn-burner of a rant, that is surely going to secure him a spot in the 2022 Jerks Hall of Fame, you certainly can. He goes on to complain about investing "close to $500k in the Butte community", to discuss his ownership of various sports organizations, calling the Butte Community Ice Center a very ugly pig, US Hockey association articles, dumping the Butte team and washing his hands of it, and SO... So.... so.... much more.

If you want to read his "press release", click the button below. Maybe pour a cold one first.

One More Thing

Now, Mr. Burks, I'm talking directly to you. So sit down, and listen up. In your rant, you took care to call out the media across Montana directly. Complaining about past articles from the Missoulian, and the "mistrust" of the media.

It's not our job to report on how glorious Michael Burks is. It is our job to report on what comes from the things you do. Just because you do one nice thing, that does not outweigh past transgressions.

As for media mistrust, complaining that you did not allow for a single interview during your 2022 HD97 run and then proceeding to complain that you lost... is just sad.

Not to mention, you going out of your way to target pronouns that people choose to use (which, is funny to me, considering you claim yourself that Lyn Hellegaard is endorsed by "Jesse Ramos' ran, extreme right-wing group, Americans for Prosperity". Pretty sure right-wing groups tend to stick with He and She. But hey, what do I know? You're the "politician".)

Here at Townsquare, I truly wanted to know what the deal was, and to PROTECT our listeners from any issues that may come to them here at the Billings location. All that has come from your multi-page rant and rave, is a stronger desire to educate the listeners and community members not only in Billings, but EVERYWHERE we have a Townsquare Station.

And, never fear Mr. Burks... I will certainly "leave you alone so that I can focus on converting 4 our of the remaining Fuel Fitness & Nutrition's into FUEL, a functional fitness center that will rival any in this country.". Though, I'll make sure people read your rant and rave before they spend money with you ever again.

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