DETROIT LAKES, Minnesota – April Imholte, owner of now virtual “Livin ‘Fit Training & The Iron Shed Gym”, investigated for potentially violating a cease and desist order .
Imholte opened her own gym in January 2019, teaching and empowering women of all ages and backgrounds.
âI wanted them to have a place where they feel supported and encouraged,â Imholte said.
The city found
building code violations, like needing to install bathrooms and put parking spaces at one’s own expense.
After extensions, the city’s construction official, Nathan Weber, issued a cease-and-desist order in November 2020. Imholte tried to comply, but decided to cut his losses.
“We said you know what, we are waving the white flag, we are closing our doors, we will comply with this order,” Imholte said.
Imholte has found success in switching to virtual-only training with statewide COVID-19 business closures still in place in Minnesota.
Five months later and to her surprise, she received a phone call on Thursday April 22. A friend and former gym enthusiast in person received a call from the Detroit Lakes Investigation Department asking about the gym.
“If I ever paid for her under the table, where did you guys park it, did you go on good terms?” Said Imholte, who listed the issues. Two other friends called the same day.
“(Another) said I felt so uncomfortable that I didn’t feel comfortable answering any of your questions unless you wanted to tell me what it was,” Imholte said.
Imholte learned through her friends that the Detroit Lakes Police Department had opened a criminal investigation to determine whether she had violated the cease and desist order. Friends said his investigators were prompted by a Facebook post.
Imholte took to Facebook, where she expressed her concerns in a video that has been viewed more than 20,000 times. She has received support from several people and even business owners who say the city has put them in similar situations.
Detroit Lakes City administrator Kelcey Klemm confirmed an investigation was underway, but did not provide further details.
Imholte said she still had not heard from officials or investigators on the matter. She said that because Detroit Lakes is a small town and most people know each other – including city officials who have her husband’s cell phone number – she is upset about the lack of communication.
âWith just a phone call and a conversation, I could have easily explained all of their questions to them,â she said.
âOnce they opened the criminal investigation, I felt they were so irrelevant it was absolutely unwarranted,â she said. “I feel like they wanted to have me from the start, that’s the only reason I think about it.”
In an email, Klemm said it was “absolutely not” a personal issue and that the city had been working with Imholte for years to bring the building up to code.
Imholte wants city officials to be held accountable for their actions.
“The way city leaders treat their citizens is absolutely horrible,” she said.
Imholte and his family decide what to do next.