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Monday, June 17, 2024 | Back issues
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Oprah’s Being Unreasonable Say Two Fitness Trainers

(CN) - Two fitness trainers claim Oprah Winfrey's production company hired them to design a fitness program for the "O Fitness Challenge," but ended their contract owing them $63,000.

Dina Castillo and Frank Nunez started their fitness instruction company UNICUS in 2003 and created such programs as "Wedding Boot Camp" and "The Corporate Fitness Challenge."

They say Winfrey's company, Harpo, asked them in 2008 to create a program for Harpo employees similar to "The Corporate Fitness Challenge," to be called the "O Fitness Challenge."

They say Harpo discussed the trainers' role in developing a segment for the Oprah Winfrey Show, agreed to appoint UNICUS its sole fitness vendor for the "O Fitness Challenge", and gave UNICUS the right to issue two press releases attesting to it.

The plaintiffs say that in March 2009, "Harpo asked Castillo and Nunez to participate in an Oprah Radio XM program hosted by Oprah Winfrey's former personal trainer, Bob Green. UNICUS agreed."

Castillo and Nunez say they sent an email to clients and customers telling them about the show. Shortly after it aired, Harpo terminated their contract, accusing them of violating a confidentiality agreement by promoting the appearance on the show, the trainers say.

The trainers say they still haven't been paid, though they asked for only $63,000 rather than the $100,000 to $130,000 they usually charge for corporate services. They say that now Harpo Vice President William Becker denied that Harpo and UNICUS ever had a business relationship.

UNICUS demands the $63,000 and damages for breach of contract and unjust enrichment. It is represented in Federal Court by William Niro with Niro Scavone.

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