Tuesday, June 27, 2017

UMMC terminates management contract for former Courthouses

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is terminating a management contract with Power Wellness.  UMMC hired the Chicago company to operate the former Courthouse Racquet Clubs when it purchased them from John Black in 2014.  UMMC sent this email to Wellness Center employees:




UMMC announced in a December 2014 press release:

The University of Mississippi Medical Center will acquire the Courthouse fitness centers under an agreement approved Monday by the board of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning. The transaction, part purchase/sale and part gift, will give UMMC immediate presence in the field of medically related health and wellness programs.

Owned by Madison businessman John L. Black Jr., Courthouse Racquet and Fitness includes four fully owned fitness centers in Brandon, Byram, Flowood and north Jackson as well as leased facilities in Madison and downtown Jackson.

UMMC will spend approximately $9.2 million for the Courthouse, which is the amount of debt carried by the business. However, as part of the broader agreement, Mr. Black will make a $4.8 million gift to UMMC by year-end. He will make additional $500,000 gifts annually over the next 10 years, for a total of $5 million. ....


The board also approved UMMC’s agreement with Power Wellness Management, LLC, to manage the six facilities. In the five-year contract, UMMC will pay Power $144,000 per year as a base management fee. In addition, Power will be eligible to receive an incentive fee based on financial performance.

Current Courthouse employees will become employees of Power Wellness Management and the number of staff is expected to increase in the first year to implement the wellness model.

Power is a Chicago-area firm that partners with hospitals and health-care systems to create, develop and operate medically integrated wellness centers. Among their academic medical center clients are Loyola University and Rush University Medical Center, both in Chicago.

UMMC has closed three of the six Courthouse clubs.  Only the Madison, Brandon, and Flowood locations remain open.  JJ obtained a copy of the Power Wellness contract through a public records request several weeks ago.  Some highlights of the contract are:

*Power Wellness will operate six fitness centers for UMMC
* UMMC reserved the right to approve paying any employee more than $100,000/year
*Power Wellness will submit a business plan.
*Power Wellness has to provide a monthly financial report to UMMC (Note to UMMC: Might as well get a couple ready for the public records request).  Power Wellness also provided an annual operation budget and projections.
*Power Wellness had to clean, service, and repair equipment (breach right there)
*Manager could make purchases for under $5,000 without approval from UMMC.
*UMMC will pay Power Wellness a base management fee of $12,000 per month and 12% of monthly net operating income.  UMMC can request copies of the books and records.
*Initial term is five years with a renewal term of another five years.
*Either party can terminate upon giving the other party thirty days notice.
*Page 37 has a list of services offered by Power Wellness. Current and past members can determine for themselves how well those services were provided.

The contract is posted below.

Earlier posts
Losses grow for UMMC Wellness Centers
JJ obtains purchase agreement for Courthouses




82 comments:

Anonymous said...

How will this affect the Makos Swim Team, which operates out of the Flowood location?

Anonymous said...

12:05

We are Makos parents as well. We are very concerned. The swim team is apparently the only division at the Lakeland location that operates in the black. There has been a "promise" to begin the $1.5 MM of needed renovations to the area's only Olympic size pool once a buyer is found for the failed Northeast location. I wouldn't count on that facility finding a buyer, and I wouldn't count on UMMC Wellness delivering on their promise of renovating if they did find a buyer.

Readers of this blog know the history of these facilities. The backroom fraternity brother deal that was made with taxpayer money should result in prison time, but alas, Mississippi and her charm comes with ripe corruption at all levels.

Saving $150k a year + 12 percent of revenue (which I suspect is about another $200k or so) is going to help, but it will still not make the Lakeland facility profitable. As more and more members move to the Planet Fitness or 24 hour gyms to save money, or the fancy OrangeTheory gyms to get a better experience than the drab old Courthouse can provide, I suspect this is going to be a continued cloud over the heads of everyone involved with Makos.

Anonymous said...

Why did the Med. Center buy something whose use it clearly outside their duties? Dumb or dirty?

Anonymous said...

Additionally, The labor costs for the facilities just went up 12%. As direct employees of UMMC, the employees will be eligible for PERS, which requires a 12% contribution from the employer. That will eat up a significant portion of the savings.

I think this is a desperation heave from half court before the game is over.

anonymous said...

It is very sad. I have been a member for over 20 years. I had hoped that when UMMC bought it, things would improve. They have not. I cannot understand why Mr. Black was allowed to continue running things? No improvements have been made since UMMC took control. Only closures. I was a daily user of the Northeast (for swimming) and downtown locations. I am tired of fighting swim teams and kids for room in the pool at the filthy Lakeland location. Planet Fitness and the Club are both on the drive to and from work. Much nicer facilities. I also find it hard to believe that there are 10,000 members? Could that have been a typo? I do feel bad for the employees. There were very nice folks at Northeast and downtown.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the northeast courthouse will eventually become. Public housing? Nail salons? Dead ****** Storage? Any of these are real possibilities.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if someone (I am not sure Stacy Pickering can) would disect this "good deal" with all of the "benevolent contributors" from day one. I smelled a rat in 2014 when this surfaced the first time. Could this be part of the reason there was a change at the top of Ole Miss and a change at the top of the med. school?

Anonymous said...

UMC does some good things. They have a great medical school and many great residency and fellowship programs. They have out-kicked their coverage in many other areas (the gym issue being one of many). Their involvement in attempting to monopolize telemedicine, air care and the purchase of area hospitals have been disasters.

It's the same model over and over. They "buy" a gym or hospital with promises of greatness. Here is the dirty secret...they cannot manage what they have, why would anyone be foolish enough to believe they would manage what they acquire any better?

They have also run off many great attending physicians because the administration is dysfunctional (a former Ole Miss chancellor the chief among the dysfunction).

I feel for the families that will be negatively affected, like the Makos, but this experiment was doomed to fail before the ink dried on the contract.

I do think UMC has good intentions - they just don't know they lack capability.

Anonymous said...

Downtown location will receive open under a new name in August.

Anonymous said...

1:49 is on to something.

Anonymous said...

Am I understanding correctly? Mr. Black Jr. sells the Courthouses and their debt to UMMC (with a plan to refund most of it over 10 years) then the III gets a gig as a Sr. Director over the facilities?

Also, the Wellness Director for UMMC listed in the letter has a linkdin page showing he is currently the wellness director for UMMC and the Baptist Health System Healthplex? Wouldn't those two entities be considered competitors?

Anonymous said...

So "John Black Jr." sold them the fitness centers, and a "Johnny Black III" is the Senior Director for University Wellness Centers? I assume they are father and son. With that assumption, seems like a waste of taxpayer money to buy a failing business, and hire the son to run things... If that job was posted, I'd like to see the resumes of the other applicants who were denied the job.

Please add that to your FOIA request.

Anonymous said...

Brian and Eddie Ware, sons of Mississippi, are two of the finest people on earth. They have endured so much to make that Makos team work over the years. I'd be surprised if both of them had not been offered jobs as swim coaches in much better situations, yet they continue to work to make Mississippi swimming better.

A few families got together a few years ago and broke off from Makos and formed their own team at the Madison Healthplex. They literally took the cream of the crop - the top swimmers at Makos and formed their own team. It could have been stopped per "the rule book," but Brian and Eddie let them go and do their own thing.

Funny thing though, that swim team got kicked out of the Madison Healthplex and is struggling to make it, now swimming year round in a neighborhood pool at Cypress Lake, and pissing off the residents of that neighborhood to boot.

However, I'm afraid that this UMMC mismanagement is going to cost that Lakeland facility in the next year, and there is no where else to go for Makos.

The area needs a comprehensive swim facility. That $33 million thing that was proposed in Ridgeland is ridiculous. They need something like Tupelo has, but what Laurel has would be fine.

Anonymous said...

Go swim your asses in the Rez

Tired of reading this shit

Anonymous said...

I have a unique idea. Why don't the parents of the Mako team go together and find a location to build a swim facility dedicated for racing. It doesn't have to be an indoor facility just heated for colder days. Y daughters swam outdoors in 35 degree when they were on a swim team (different state). Seems like there are a lot of well heeled kids on the Mako team with parents who should have the organizational knowledge to make this happen. A basic facility can be had for w a y less than $33 mil.

Anonymous said...

You want competitive swimming? Then move to Florida. Stop asking others to pay for your kid's recreation.

My kids love hockey and have always wanted to play. I knew the only option would be to move out of state, not whine about others not footing the bill.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the negativity. The Mako mom didn't ask you to pay for her child's pool. She just lamented the probable loss of a good facility and a swim team with a great history and two dedicated and selfless coaches. I'm not sure how anyone stands to be around such negative people as you, but I'm glad you have a forum where you can vent and we can choose to ignore you.

Anonymous said...

Who paid for your kids soccer and baseball "complexes"? Oh, and lets not forget the high school football stadiums. Surely those aren't required for a decent education.

Anonymous said...

The MAKO parents are lamenting the loss of 'their' facility. If UMMC had not purchased this property, the facility would have been lost a few years ago. They need to quit bitching about the UMMC management and recognize all that taxpayer funded supplement did was give them a few more years - rather than they didn't get us to fund a couple million renovation for their kids.

Signed sealed delivered, I'm yours said...

Had a building been named for John Black jr at UMMC yet? It was my understanding that was part of the dump deal too

Anonymous said...

The Courthouse facilities have been substandard - by any REAL city's standards - for decades. It's so antiquated that the pool at Lakeland doesn't even have a lift for disabled people to be able to swim. a feature I've seen at moderately-priced hotels. (I mean, WTF. Is Mississippi so backwards and broke we can't offer even basic amenities to its' citizens?)

Closing NE was a real blow to those of us who live in that part of town, but I guess the economics wouldn't support it, given that there are cheaper, better facilities closeby. There's no perfidy and nothing afoot with the Blacks turning it over to UMMC. They saw a way to get rid of a failing businesses and took advantage of it. I'd have done the same thing.

Anonymous said...

As others have said, it sounds like the dated swimming pool and the swim team is the only positive asset that UMMC has in this whole pile of crap. I wonder if the swim facility has to be tied to the gym. Meaning, can UMMC close the "gym" part of the the Courthouse and operate just the Aquatic Center portion? IIRC, the Tupelo, Laurel and Biloxi pools are not tied to a gym and are profitable on their own.





Anonymous said...

"Who paid for your kids soccer and baseball "complexes"? Oh, and lets not forget the high school football stadiums. Surely those aren't required for a decent education."

First, it was parents of MAKO swimmers that were complaining about the loss of a facility that they never paid for or supported with tax money. The discussion wasn't even about public pools.

As for soccer and baseball, well those facilities serve a MUCH higher percent of youth population than swimming facilities. Swimming in Mississippi is a niche sport.

I would think it would be a great investment to have public swimming facilities. Unfortunately most cities around here can't even keep the roads from falling apart, much less manage an Olympic-sized pool.

This isn't negativity, but rather just economics. If there was a demand for a pool I'm sure there would be more interest Bub.

Anonymous said...

I am a Makos parent and my heart is broken. Three friends with UMC ties told me tonight that we would be lucky to make it in that facility past October 1. The costs are too great, and the facility is falling apart. The money just isn't there and it's a terrible investment for an outside third party. We need water and there is no water to be had. I am thankful for the few extra years we got, and I hope there is a solution. But it looks like it is final swan song for a great team.

Anonymous said...

It is so sad what has transpired of this deal that seemed once so promising. So many empty promises leaving employees and members alike empty handed and jaded. I think these locations that are left standing have ZERO hope of becoming anything worthy of gracing. The Courthouse brand will be forever one remembered as a gym where there once was community, family and a foundation of seeking to serve. That has all been 1000% turned to garbage by the current management and heartless leadership that has become the rein within the University Wellness "higher-ups." My advice to anyone still paying money to be a member at those locations? Put your money where you will find reward and promise. There are so many other facilities worth joining. Like so many many others who already have, leave them in the dust they are attempting to drag everyone through.

Anonymous said...

It's laugh out loud funny that Makos parents threw a Jurassic Park hissy fit when another Flowood team did their due diligence, put together a proposal planned ahead and moved forward on a swim facility. Maybe if the heroic walk-on-water "sons of Mississippi" had watered their own garden and stayed out of the dominant team's business, karma wouldn't have taken such a Jurassic size bite.

Anonymous said...

The Lakeland pool should have been closed years ago. It's a health hazard. I'm sorry swim team and exercise swimmers, but you'll be okay. Join the Y.

Anonymous said...

I just can't feel sorry for a bunch of swimmers when people are losing their jobs, their insurance, and their healthcare. UMC has to cut its losses and the Lakeland facility is a huge hole in an already sinking ship. There are other teams in town and you will be fine. Don't sacrifice benefits to the uninsured to keep a bunch of privileged kids swimming in Jackson. Let their parents foot that bill.

Anonymous said...

There is something off with that pool anyway. I swam some laps a couple of weeks ago and my hair is now blonde. Did I mention I am black?

Anonymous said...

UMMC is the definition of lacking focus. UMMC is part charity, part government, part private. That's a lot of competing and conflicting interests. The better question is Whether UMmC sinks or swim. Employees, patients, and the states economy depend on this cobbled together entity. Leadership at all three competing levels needs to be reevaluated. Who's best interest are they serving and why does IHL, the legislature, donors/investors continue to invest resources in something they don't fully understand? Call this sprawled out complex what it is. Follow the money... Not the purported missions.

Anonymous said...

UMMC had about as much business owning weight rooms as it would owning Church's Fried Chicken franchises.

Anonymous said...

This is not really rocket science. If the demand is there, then the current swim team can buy, maintain and manage the facility and pool. If not, then the demand wasn't there. It is simple economics. LIke soccer and baseball, your opportunities are driven by your client base, whether you are "sons of Mississippi" or Cuban immigrants.

Anonymous said...

This is not really rocket science. If the demand is there, then the current swim team can buy, maintain and manage the facility and pool. If not, then the demand wasn't there. It is simple economics. LIke soccer and baseball, your opportunities are driven by your client base, whether you are "sons of Mississippi" or Cuban immigrants.

Anonymous said...

9:57 is completely uninformed. I think you have your teams mixed up.

The "other Flowood team" swam out of the Courthouse facility for years. The initial corporate sponsorship from Brown Bottling put the "bubble" on top of the pool. When the YMCA announced they were going to build a new facility in Flowood, yes, they jumped on it and helped plan the aquatic center portion, then left the Courthouse high and dry.

Makos stepped in and filled the void by the "other Flowood team" and from what I know, has kept good relations with them. The Madison team is the one that screwed up the Central Mississippi swimming community by poaching the "elite" swimmers from both Flowood teams. If you are in the swimming community, you will notice real quickly that when either Flowood team hosts a meet, that the Madison team is never there. Its because they are not invited!!!!! The only time they can swim at a meet at either the Courthouse or the Flowood YMCA is if it is a state sponsored meet.

Sadly, the rumor mill flying through the Makos family is that the closure is inevitable. I haven't heard the "lucky to be there past October 1" comment, but its being said that UMMC's losses are so bad that they will have no choice but close in the next year. As another poster said, this takeover from Power Wellness is essentially a hail mary to see if it can be saved.

Anonymous said...

@8:41, you are misinformed. I wasn't speaking of years ago, but this year and the $33 million aquatic center that David Orr has spearheaded and worked his butt off to make happen. MAKOS flipped out because they weren't "consulted." So, good relations? Not so much. Only when there is another target to take down (third team). When it's the two of them, the gloves are off. Get your facts right before you start preaching.

Anonymous said...

You swim parents are the whiniest babies I have ever seen. You cry and malign another team because they took some of your swimmers away? Do you know how often that happens in other sports? And there are two Flowood teams and one opens in Madison and you act like the world has ended? Because of three teams in the metro area? Try 300! You probably give participation trophies to everyone, too. You are what is wrong with this world. You are not entitled to corner the market on a competitive sport. It is probably good you chose swimming because the baseball world would destroy you and your entitled little "we have to make things right for Johnny at all costs" kids.

Anonymous said...

Well all of this BS has just confirmed that I don't want one of my taxpayer dollars going to helping this situation. Apparently the swimming parents are worse than baseball. Put some water in the downtown Y and as Dory would say, just keep swimming. But stop with the crybaby stuff. Its why people don't take you seriously or want to help. You may want to look into another sport for your entitled kids. They may need to toughen up.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who picked up on the veiled racism in the "sons of Mississippi" comment.

Anonymous said...

Tupelo Aquatic Center was built for $12 million.

Anonymous said...

9:18, my apologies - I thought you were referring to the Flowood YMCA years ago. You are correct that Makos was not consulted in the planning of the new facility, but my understanding is that it would be a YMCA-managed facility, and that is David Orr's world. I don't know why Makos would expect to be consulted.

However, as presented, that $33 million facility in Ridgeland has as much chance of happening as my white conservative ass being elected mayor of Jackson. The taxpayers of Ridgeland brought out pitchforks for a Costco - what do you think they will do if Gene McGee says they are going to spend $33 million on a swimming pool almost exclusively for swim teams.

Anonymous said...

A baseball player would be lucky to swim a 50 without drowning.

Anonymous said...

and a swimmer would be lucky to round the bases without getting winded. They are different sports. So what.

Anonymous said...

Jackson owns about 8 pools...?

Anonymous said...

9:35, no dog in the fight, just curious. Can you expound your assertion about veiled racism and/or you weren't the only one who picked up on it? I'm not following or seeing anything in the comments to support the assertion.

Anonymous said...

I think they mean the Sons of Mississippi / Cuban immigrants post And "sons of MS" is exactly what we think it means.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think it was possible, but swimmers sound worse than travel ballers.

Anonymous said...

I don't think its the swimmers. It's the parents and coaches who appear to be the problem. Sounds like they want a hobby and to maintain the status quo. You can't have it both ways. "We want swimmers but only if they swim on our team." Could the sainted sons of Mississippi swim coaches have been that great if the "cream of the crop" parents and swimmers left? My son wouldn't leave his soccer coach if the field was on fire. If you want a $30+ million dollar facility then you grow the sport and welcome the competition. Do swimmers pay entry fees to these meets like we do? If they do and these teams are excluding swimmers because they are better than them and/or got their feelings hurt, then that is the most ignorant thing I have ever heard. It would be nice if these "adults" could put their egos aside and do whats best for the kids. It's not exclusive to swimming. The adults always ruin everything with their egos. They want their kids to be the best even if it means not playing against the best. So you end up having a bunch of mediocre kids who think they are the next superstar. The problem with all of this is our tax dollars. Don't ask me to fund something this dysfunctional.

Anonymous said...

My kids swam for MAKOS many moons ago and were coached by the Ware brothers. It was a good experience and I hate to hear that the pool will be closing but I am not surprised. The word in the hospital administration circle was also October to December closure. Has anyone thought about the Downtown Y (although I assume Sunkist would block that. No matter what people say, the two teams want to see the other fail and always have). Briarwood is also a possibility. I drove by there this summer and there is plenty of activity. I know the weather would be a deterrent in the winter, but plenty of other states have swim teams with outdoor pools. I sure do wish MAKOS and the Wares luck in finding a way to hang on no matter how difficult. The question is would they even want to at this point? They have been through so much.

Anonymous said...

Please don't paint all swim parents as jealous, resentful and crazy. It comes from the top (it is the coaches worried about revenue and glory, with a couple of crazy parents thrown in for good measure). Most of us just want our kids to swim against everyone, including the best, and think the rest of this is disgraceful nonsense.

Anonymous said...

12:03, Sunkist would block any use of the Downtown Y's unused pool, so that isn't an option. Quite simply, if the Lakeland facility closes, MAKOS is without a facility.

12:05 is spot on with the coaches and the glory. The pissing contest of blocking PEAQ (the Madison team aforementioned) from the local meets is despicable. All of this "The Ware brothers are excellent people" is bullshit. Makos invites teams from as far away as Shreveport and Memphis to come swim at that dump on Lakeland and PEAQ has to travel to Birmingham, New Orleans and Pensacola to see any real competition. If they truly cared about growing the sport, they would allow a team with 100 swimmers that is right up the road access.

11:53, yes swimmers pay entry fees. Usually averages around $40-$50 per meet, depending on how many events a swimmer enters. Some of the meets have 500+ swimmers. Its a good money maker, but not enough to support building a multi-million dollar facility.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you look into which UMMC Wellness employees make more than $100k? It won't be suprising when you see the names.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of Makos, but why are they owed a swimming pool? If the teary-eyed mothers of these little darlings are so upset, let them sell the Volvo and the BMW and donate the money a private pool construction. And dad, who arrives home from work after seven can cut back on the bourbon and donate as well.

Anonymous said...

Never heard of Makos? You clearly have missed the stickers on the luxury SUVs in Northeast Jackson. The Makos sticker is usually the left of the 30a sticker. The JA sticker is on the other side.

Anonymous said...

Looks to me like this really doesn't have a thing to do with any team besides Makos. It's a UMC decision not made by any of the other teams. It's economics driven by the market plain and simple. I would advise anyone wishing to save the pool to focus on that and not this other frivolous gossip and intrigue. Follow the money. Fix the problem. Focus on the future. Save your team.

Anonymous said...

I have sat around numerous conference room tables discussing the future of UMC in light of all the financial troubles lately. Believe me when I say if you are currently at a former Courthouse gym, run don't walk down the road to a new one. And if you are a mako family, build or find a pool as quickly as possible. Your facility will be closed by the Fall. Money is needed for patient care and your gyms/pool just cannot be maintained. It is impossible.

Anonymous said...

PEAQ, 100 swimmers? LMAO

Anonymous said...

I think through this jumbled mess of comments, I have the facts down.

1. A business that once was highly successful rests in its laurels and doesn't keep up with competition during a boom in its industry.
2. Said business gets into a world of financial problems as its customers leave for better options.
3. Business owner finds a willing buyer, which happens to be a state agency with no business running a gym.
4. State agency fails to update or even maintain and finds itself with the same problems as the original business owner. However, closing the gym will not have as big of a negative effect as it would had the individual having to close it.
5. A youth swim team is attached to the facility and will be an unintended casualty of this whole thing. Some swim parents think this is all about them, when its about the state losing money on a failing facility.

Anonymous said...

BINGO! We are being distracted from the real discussion with that privileged swim team. Failure obviously looks great on a state agency. All part of the woe is me elegy Mississippi government likes to sing. We can't manage what we have. Give us your handouts and leftovers Lord knows we can't manage those either. Bail out please.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree that there has been a boom in the fitness industry - quite the contrary. There may have been growth in the Jackson area with the The Club, Healthplex, etc., but there has been commoditization with gyms like Planet Fitness and other 24 hour type places that have extremely low fees. This is mainly because they don't any group fitness or instructor led classes, child care, and other perks that cost gyms a good bit of money. Also, all the various cross fit facilities have probably hurt gyms like the Courthouse, Club, etc. that cater to people who want group fitness.

As it relates to the Courthouse, there is no doubt the owner saw this was a sinking ship and found a sweetheart deal to get out of it.


Anonymous said...

Makos just sent an e-mail out to all parents with a small update.

Power Wellness will continue managing facilities until the end of 2017, then UMMC will take over the management on January 1, 2018. There is no impact to Makos at all.

Anonymous said...

7:29, it took GROSS mismanagement to bring the Courthouse down to its current state. Compounding the mistake of adding basketball courts, was the practice of allowing random non-members to just walk through the doors (not paying, not showing ID...), ostensibly to play basketball. These individuals were a scary-looking bunch, who frightened a good many women (who cancelled their memberships, and joined other gyms). At one point, people were asked to leave their car keys at the desk (in exchange for locker keys or towels - I forget). The Basketball "undocumented guests" were taking other people's car keys, and STEALING THEIR CARS. This triggered an avalanche of people rushing to join OTHER gyms.

Then, there was the time some brilliant someone contracted with an ad agency, to "boost membership". To give the gym "exposure", and bring in a "new market segment", there was a billboard campaign. And, free passes were printed on the backs of grocery store receipts. Problem was, the cheapest billboards around, were the ones the ad agency chose to rent. They were cheap, because they were in HORRIBLE PARTS OF TOWN. Well, those billboards certainly DID bring in a "new market segment" (the kind without any money). Apparently, nobody in gym management had enough presence of mind (we won't speculate on why THAT might be), to realize that flat-broke "random males" sponging off their babymommas might use the trial membership coupons printed on the backs of the grocery receipts - groceries having been paid-for with FOODSTAMPS.

So, suddenly, Courthouse members were coping with the presence of men whose primary means of support, was sponging off female welfare recipients. These "membership drives" persisted for years, and with each new "membership drive", a whole wave of legitimate members departed for other gyms (generally, after having items stolen from the locker room, by the "random males" with the trial membership passes).

I could go on...



anonymous said...

I just got an email from Mr. John Black III wishing to talk with me about making my experience at the UMMC Wellness "the best it can be." I think it is a little late.

Anonymous said...

Dear Gym Customers and Mako Parents, Look away from the realities of everything you are seeing and hearing from all walks of life. Don't trust your gut. Everything you are seeing and hearing is false! Things are great! We won't have any problems! Money is free-flowing! And you won't be affected at all! Because why would we ever be dishonest with you? Not to stop the mass exodus of everyone leaving before we shutter in the next three months. Why would we do that? We don't need every penny you could possibly give us before closure right? And, if you believe all that stop on by and purchase some oceanfront property I have for sale in Tennessee, or buy these magic beans I am selling. How gullible can you be?

Anonymous said...

Dear Gym Customers and Mako Parents, Look away from the realities of everything you are seeing and hearing from all walks of life. Don't trust your gut. Everything you are seeing and hearing is false! Things are great! We won't have any problems! Money is free-flowing! And you won't be affected at all! Because why would we ever be dishonest with you? Not to stop the mass exodus of everyone leaving before we shutter in the next three months. Why would we do that? We don't need every penny you could possibly give us before closure right? And, if you believe all that stop on by and purchase some oceanfront property I have for sale in Tennessee, or buy these magic beans I am selling. How gullible can you be?

Anonymous said...

"I just got an email from Mr. John Black III wishing to talk with me about making my experience at the UMMC Wellness "the best it can be." I think it is a little late."
June 29, 2017 at 3:49 PM

Which tells ME, the GROSS MISMANAGEMENT will continue, unchanged. Apparently, UMMC is contractually obligated to retain the two 'facets' which have been the problem since Chuck Miner left.

Anonymous said...

Some of you people are very naive.


Anonymous said...

How about taking the focus off a swim team and placing it on all the employees that have and will be losing their jobs. The Courthouse employeed some great people. The new management team (which is a laughable term, how about the unqualified stooges with enormous egos) have either fired (to save money) or run off 90% of their employees. This sudden downfall and inevitable closing is 100% the fault of four selfish individuals.

Anonymous said...

I think all you parents are a little too invested in your children's sport activities. Your presence at sporting events (swimming, baseball, soccer etc..) is a distraction and embarrassment to all the other parents around you. I had one of these parents and eventually told him he was no longer permitted to come to my events. I hope your children are wise enough to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Just walked out of a brunch meeting where this was the hot topic of conversation. Three different people in different areas all heard the same closure date of September 30th. They all said when you are trying to save departments in the hospital the last thing you are going to throw money in the direction of is a failing gym with the albatross of a 25+ year old pool that it costs more to run than you make. Rip the bandaid off and find new jobs, new gyms, new pools. It was a good run while it lasted. And the demise of all of this rests at the feet of two Mr. Blacks and the inept leadership of UMMC.

Anonymous said...

You're right @10:11, studies show time and again that parents not involved in their childrens' lives raise horrible, unsuccessful children. NOT.

Anonymous said...

"How about taking the focus off a swim team and placing it on all the employees that have and will be losing their jobs. The Courthouse employed some great people. The new management team (which is a laughable term, how about the unqualified stooges with enormous egos) have either fired (to save money) or run off 90% of their employees. This sudden downfall and inevitable closing is 100% the fault of four selfish individuals."

June 29, 2017 at 6:13 PM

The loss of Gordon Weir (run-off by a manager) happened before the new management team came aboard. Gordon was an enormous asset, and really kept the Courthouse relevant, and predominant among local gyms. He set up the main weightroom, which remains the best in the Metro (even trainers with their own facilities, still work out there).

It's the people at the top, OVER the management team - the people who've been there since Chuck Miner left - who are (and have been) the primary problem. It is THEY, who have, for twenty-some-odd years, ignored problems which would have been easily and cheaply corrected. Things like air intake vents clogged with DECADES-worth of dust (causing fan failures, increased electricity consumption, and expensive problems with moisture condensation damage), shower/steam tile whose grout never got replaced (leading to leaks, odors, and expensive re-tiling of steam rooms).

At least two of the water fountains, have had their cooling units broken (but still running - eating electricity) for at least eleven years. Weight equipment has not been routinely inspected - leading to dangerous conditions. The list is endless, and includes lack of orientation for new members and staff, who seem not to understand the basics of safely returning weights to the racks, and responsible use of the equipment. They're really lucky that someone hasn't lost an eye from a snapped cable, or had a foot crushed by an improperly-racked weight. Such an event would make some law firm very happy. From one end to the other, all the little things which would have been on a sane & sober person's checklist, add up to one gigantic mess.

Outside cleaning services seem to have been allowed to get away with sloppy work. And nobody seems to have gone behind them, periodically performing the deep-cleaning that keeps a place looking right. Would it kill somebody, to skip a couple of rock concerts, to put on some rubber gloves and scrub a few corners?

The building would not be "crumbling and hopeless", if COMPETENT 'Owner-class Persons', who CARED, had been focused more on their jobs, and less on their personal peccadilloes.

At this point, the facility could EASILY be brought up to industry standards, if an infusion of capital were coupled with COMPETENT management/design. There are plenty of prominent architects/builders/mechanical engineers/interior designers, who remain as members. Most of them would help, for free. And plenty have volunteered advice, over the years, only to be rudely rebuffed.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a lot of activity at some of the local outdoor pools in Jackson today. Those overinvolved parents in their SUVs are making the rounds looking for little Sallie Sue and Blaine to have a place to swim. Bring your guns because you may need some protection.

Anonymous said...

I have been on the pool deck and inside the Lakeland UMMC Wellness Facility all week and here is what I can tell you. What people are saying is not reality. All leadership is acting as if this is the stop-gap measure that will save the facility and the pool, yet they cannot answer simple questions about expenses, revenue streams, upgrades and short-term or long-term planning. They all look at you with blank faces and deer in the headlights eyes. What is coming out of their mouths isn't matching their actions, either. If we are so secure, why is the Makos leadership looking for an outdoor pool after spending a year talking about how detrimental and inconsistent outdoor swimming is? Why is my husband hearing at work that the facility will not make it through the Fall? The writing is on the wall. It's sad and I don't want our pool and gym to close, but I would like for people to be honest and tell us exactly what we are dealing with so that we can prepare for the worst while we hope for the best. We all know the closure is inevitable. And since I received communication from the same Johnny Black that put us in the situation, the closing will probably come faster than any of us expect. It could be tomorrow for all we know.

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of all of this. Things close all the time so people just move one and find a new gym or pool. It is not that big a deal. Join another team or form a new one. Just get off your butts and stop sitting behind a computer screen bemoaning the fact that a sub-par dilapidated structure can't make it. There are other options out there just go find them. Planet Fitness is the bomb and I bet they would give all of you a deal for hanging on as long as you did.

Anonymous said...

Makos parents please stop commenting on social media. It's team business and shouldn't be broadcast to the entire area including our competitors. Questions or concerns should be directed to the coaches.

Anonymous said...

4:44 Planet Fitness is NOT "the bomb" - nor are any of the alternatives. We LOVE the facility. It has the best weightroom in town. It has the best pool in town. We are NOT force-fed canned music full of "hooks" (the bits that turn songs into 'Ear Worms' you can't get out of your head), as we are in many facilities. And if somebody is being obnoxious, the Lakeland Courthouse is BIG AND SPRAWLING, rather than one room. So, if some loudmouth is bellowing, or some TV is blaring, you can find an alternative spot for finishing your workout. In a lot of places, you don't have much choice but to leave.

A lot of gyms feel like fishbowls. The Courthouse doesn't. It's a very relaxing place. Most of us don't mind it being a bit scruffy. The physicians, attorneys, architects, and businessmen, like working-out with cops and firemen and construction workers. Many of us have formed deep, long-lasting friendships there, which span divides of social class, income, education, and race. Honestly, there's very little that, for most of us, needs improving (except the profit picture, and the long-term prognosis).

I'd like to be able to get into the parking lots, WITHOUT DRIVING OVER CURBS. And there are a lot of little things which could be tweaked (LED lighting is overdue...). But overall, MOST of us LOVE the facility. That's why a great many of the most prominent people in the metro STILL go there.

A couple of years back, there was a nascent movement to make the Courthouse an owned-by-members sort of deal, like the legendary Multnomah Athletic Club, in Portland, Oregon. But the current 'Frat Brothers' arrangement happened, before the 'Owned-by-Members' group could make an offer.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a lot of activity at some of the local outdoor pools in Jackson today.

Which pools did you check? Be specific.

Anonymous said...

Someone asking lots of questions today about Rez Y but I don't think that's what the post above was referencing. It's not Jackson and you don't need guns.

Anonymous said...

#inside #stablepool #gosunkist

Anonymous said...

City Meet sure is going to be fun this weekend. I'm hoping the year-round swimmers will wear their gang-colors and maybe have a rumble. Of course it'd sound like one of those pathetic slap-fights on South Park.

Anonymous said...

So, if Mr. Black had a total debt of 9.2 million with the company and he knows how to "run it", then why does UMMC think they will be any more successful when they have no experience seemingly in this realm? It is kind of like allowing an astronaut to work on his own rocket engines because it is supposed to be a part of his ship.

Anonymous said...

UMMC Wellness ran with a $1 million plus loss and the good old boy deal kept John Black III and sibling Elizabeth Black as the two highest paid employees running the show. Daddy Black must have really pulled the strings to keep them in a job that previously as the Courthouse couldn't operate until the taxpayers bailed them out via UMMC. Why keep the same leadership that isn't competent in the first place other than its the result of a good old boy, backdoor deal? The financials for UMMC Wellness should be out. Rumor is that John Black III got a bonus? For what? UMMC Wellness isn't operating in the black. They've laid off employees and have been nickel and diming the rank and file employees left. That also are no closer to achieving their status as a medically integrated fitness facility. This place will cease to exist soon if they keep the same leadership. Really sad, but inevitable.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS
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