Truth Social Backer Furious the Luxury Gym He Owns Smells Like Poop

Michael Ostuni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Michael Ostuni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

A tony Manhattan gym owned by an investor who bankrolled Donald Trump’s Truth Social platform has lost “hundreds” of members who grew tired of the stench of raw sewage filling their nostrils while they worked out and frigid showers when they were done.

That’s according to a $30 million lawsuit filed Wednesday by TMPL Clubs, a self-described “boutique luxury fitness experience unlike any other owned by Patrick Walsh, the third-largest backer of the former president’s beleaguered social media venture.

TMPL’s customers “expect first-class service and utmost cleanliness,” the lawsuit states. However, those unfortunates who joined the chain’s Hell’s Kitchen location have allegedly been forced to endure a spate of nauseating—and potentially hazardous—conditions while paying upward of $2,000 a year for the privilege.

Frequent flooding over the past three years has not only caused “extensive damage” to the 40,000-square-foot subterranean space, the state-of-the-art facility “smells of waste and feces after each flooding incident,” according to the suit, which blames TMPL’s landlord for skimping on necessary building maintenance and upkeep. The “ongoing health hazard” has so far ruined the gym’s flooring and sound system, led to at least one injury, and has claimed unknown quantities of personal property, “including iPhones,” that fell into the contaminated muck, the lawsuit claims.

Attorney Massimo D’Angelo, who is representing TMPL in the suit, told The Daily Beast he was unable to comment without permission from his firm.

A 2015 Forbes profile called Walsh “the do-it-yourself hedge fund activist you’ve never heard of.” After jumping from real-estate private equity to Wall Street to a hedge fund he founded PW Partners in 2012. He is also the former CEO of Town Sports International, which once managed 158 sports clubs nationwide. Currently, Walsh is the CEO and owner of Empire Holdings Investments, which oversees luxury brands like TMPL, Palm Beach Sports Club, and LIV. Reuters reported that Walsh also invested approximately $6.2 million in Trump’s Truth Social between December 2021 and February 2022.

The issues listed in Walsh’s new lawsuit allegedly popped up immediately upon TMPL moving into the West 50th St. property in June 2021. After investing some $7 million to build out the gym, on top of a $125,000 monthly rent, TMPL management realized they had “severe problems” on their hands, the suit says.

For starters, the water supplied by the building’s cooling tower for TMPL’s air conditioning system was far too hot for the condensers to handle, according to the lawsuit. This caused the A/Cs to repeatedly shut down during the sweltering summer months, leading to widespread customer complaints, the suit goes on.

“From June 2021 until June 2023, Landlord and its agents failed to resolve the condenser water and air conditioning issues,” it says. “Landlord’s failure to resolve the condenser water and air conditioning issues over the course of two years caused many of Tenant’s customers to cancel their memberships. Tenant’s customers and former customers wrote many negative reviews referencing the air conditioning issue on various online platforms.”

In September 2021, following a long, hot summer, TMPL suddenly had a sewage emergency on its hands.

Because TMPL’s Hell’s Kitchen gym is located on the building’s cellar level, a so-called ejector pit is used to pump wastewater from the lower plumbing fixtures up to sewer lines above, the lawsuit explains. But, according to TMPL, the landlord “had utterly neglected the Ejector Pit, which was extremely dirty and thus caused the pumps to malfunction.”

“From 2021 through 2024, wastewater has continued to flood into the Premises from the Ejector Pit,” the suit alleges. “The flooding from the Ejector Pit endangers the health and safety of Tenant’s staff and customers. The flooding from the Ejector Pit could potentially cause a severe injury if one of Tenant’s staff or members is electrocuted.”

A snippet from TMPL’s lawsuit against its landlord, showing gym floors flooded with sewage water.
New York State Supreme Court

TMPL has been forced to “repeatedly” hire a cleaning service to sanitize the space, which was soaked in “dangerous contaminants,” the suit continues, claiming the stomach-turning situation has “destroyed Tenant’s business and reputation as an operator of a first-class fitness center.” Consequently, irate gym members posted blistering online reviews about this, as well, according to the suit.

In March 2022, conditions took another turn for the worse.

That’s when a plumber working for TMPL discovered that residents living in the condos above the gym, as well as neighboring restaurants were “diverting hot water from [TMPL] for their own use,” according to the lawsuit.

An “energy management system” installed by the landlord only made matters worse, and TMPL “was completely without hot water for showers and sinks” for hours each day.

“As a result, Tenant’s members were forced to take ice-cold showers,” the lawsuit states. “Landlord’s failure to resolve the hot water issues caused many of Tenant’s customers to cancel their memberships. Tenant’s customers and former customers wrote negative reviews referencing the hot water issues on various online platforms. Landlord’s failure to resolve the hot water issues has caused significant damage to Tenant’s business, brand, and reputation.”

TMPL lost “over 500 members as a result of Landlord’s cumulative failures (including with respect to the improperly hot condenser water, lack of hot water, and flooding from the Ejector Pit),” the lawsuit contends.

This is not the first time that TMPL has made headlines. As previously reported by The Daily Beast, two women filed lawsuits against Walsh and his companies. Both women, who have since left the gym, told The Daily Beast they experienced mistreatment at TMPL, were not properly paid for their work, and did not feel safe at the company.

“I didn’t work this hard in my life to be burned by a guy that uses his privilege and power to victimize women,” said Megan Lange, a former TMPL employee who sued last September over alleged financial manipulation and retaliation by Walsh.

Taryn Baldwin, a former personal trainer at TMPL, alleged in her own lawsuit that Walsh touched her inappropriately during sessions and sent her daily text messages that included dinner invitations. She said that seven months into the job, Walsh forcefully kissed her and groped her at his brother’s apartment while they were watching the Ethan Hawke movie, The Black Phone.

“I was scared and embarrassed that I put myself in that position,” Baldwin told The Daily Beast. “It was horrifying.”

Walsh’s lawyer in those cases previously told The Daily Beast that while they did not want to “try this case in the media” they were “confident that these claims will be dismissed and the allegations proven false.”

In the TMPL Hell’s Kitchen suit, Walsh’s company is demanding $10 million for breach of lease, $10 million for breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and $10 million for negligence. It is also asking for a judge to bar the building’s landlord from “diverting” its hot water, to fix the A/C system, and to properly maintain the ejector pit.

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