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Steve Nash’s Firm Sues|Part-Owner of NBA Kings

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) — Retired NBA star Steve Nash's company sued Sacramento Kings part-owner Mark Mastrov and others, claiming they pushed him out of a chain of fitness gyms bearing his name.

Nash owns B & L Holdings Inc., an Arizona corporation, according to the Oct. 14 notice of civil claim in British Columbia Supreme Court. Also sued are Quebec businessman Leonard Schlemm and SNFW Fitness B.C. Ltd.

Nash's company says it signed a deal with Vancouver Bay Clubs Ltd. in 2006, authorizing use of his image and endorsement of two Steve Nash Fitness Clubs, one in Vancouver, the other in Nash's hometown of Victoria, B.C., on Vancouver Island.

Shareholders in Vancouver Bay Clubs, which is not a party to the lawsuit, included Schlemm and Mastrov, who founded and later sold their 24-Hour Fitness chain.

In 2009 Schlemm and Mastrov incorporated another company in British Columbia called FWG Acquisition Ltd., which later bought the assets of Vancouver Bay Clubs. The deal substantially diluted B&L Holdings' ownership, according to the lawsuit.

In May 2013, Mastrov bought a stake in the NBA's Sacramento Kings. League rules prevent team owners from doing business with players; Nash was with the L.A. Lakers at the time.

Mastrov resigned from FWG Acquisition Ltd. in July 2014, handed over his shares to Schlemm, and "within days thereafter the defendant SNFW was incorporated," the claim states.

In October 2014, B&L Holdings says, it "did not sell its shares in FWG Acquisition Ltd. to SNFW Fitness BC Ltd. Instead, B&L Holding Inc. [sic] sold half of its shares in FWG Acquisition Ltd. to each of Leonard Schlemm and Mark Mastrov."

Since then, Nash's company "has received no compensation from SNFW Fitness BC Ltd. for the use of the name 'Steve Nash' to promote these fitness facilities. Steve Nash has not, since October 14, 2014, had any involvement with the operation of the fitness facilities," the complaint states.

Nash adds that "he has not signed an affidavit certifying that he endorses the fitness facilities in any way."

"The defendants Mastrov and Schlemm misrepresented to the plaintiff that the plaintiff was required to sell its shares," the complaint states.

The company seeks an injunction to prohibit SNFW Fitness BC Ltd. from using Nash's name and likeness in its fitness clubs, and damages for breach of contract and misrepresentation.

The defendants did not return phone calls seeking comment.

B&L Holdings is represented by Rupert Shore in Vancouver.

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