GAGE In the News

Posted: October 21, 2010 by thetrooth in Uncategorized

  1. Anonymous says:

    That’s an interesting article. I hope for the sake of the children they find a new “home” and “family” if it is with or without this coach. I’m curious on what the future holds. Do people think investors will step up? He had an “investor” that he simply ran out on this time around. Why wouldn’t he do it again? Maybe the parents of these kids training to become elite should pay him more. And leave the children that go to have fun out of his mess. The crazy stage parents can take out loans on their childrens future and put it in the hands of the unknown.

  2. karma says:

    Al should really just keep his mouth shut.

  3. stan says:

    I just got word that the Missouri State Committe has Taken away the Level 4 State Meet and the Level 4 qualifier that GAGE was hosting this year. They would have been very fair and listened to Al’s opinion. I can only assume that Al did not convince them that a new facility was a “for sure” go. I would like to hear a reply from a GAGE Employee regarding this matter. Thanks.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Still no real answers

    • kharma says:

      wait didnt he sign the contract fulling knowing these things ? and stop playing the daddy card the baby doesnt have anything to do with it- he had to of agreed to those contingencies or they would have never been in that contract to begin with. running out at this point was sheer panic…if he says its been above market and hard for awhile then WHY HAS THERE BEEN NO ALTERNATE PLAN MADE ??? things that make you go HMMMMMMM???????

      • Rainydydayfun says:

        Al was in negotiations with Jake for some time over the lease. But a few days before Al had to sign the lease or lose it all, Jake threw a bunch of NEW conditions at him, including ownership of 51% of the business, which gives him that much of the profits. Al signed under duress and because of the new stipulations he was unable to pay off his debt. Jake is a tyrant and a bully.

        The baby isn’t a card Al’s playing; she’s what made him take such drastic measures. He’s a parent now, and like all of the parents that bring their children to Gage, he’s thinking differently now. I commend him for doing what he thinks is best for his family unselfishly and for standing up for himself and his business.

    • Upset Mommy says:

      And there never will be

    • Laura says:

      Ok, in this news story at the very end the reported says that Jake says that he never once raised the rent on Al… Um, that’s not what this same news channel reported when all of this first started being in the news. Just another case of inaccuracies being reported…

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am glad that Al is doing what is best for his family, i think a family should come before a business, yes there are a lot of people involved but i think he is doing his best to get things worked out, if you could say you wouldn’t do this for your child, then I am not sure what kind of parent you are! I wish GAGE the best

    • Insideout says:

      Wait really you would teach your child to lie ,cheat ,and steal and that you do not have to be held accountable?? That at anytime you do not like what is happening you can just screw everybody?? I think not. That is not good parenting or good anything.Wow

  6. kharma says:

    in the Examiner he states he will NOT “COACH” he will “ADVISE” due to a non compete or something…i guess he did not consult a thesaurus….
    please enjoy the reading….(note the 11th related word to advise….coach)

    advise: verb
    Definition of ADVISE
    1. to give advice to

    Synonyms adjure, admonish, counsel
    Related Words alert, caution, forewarn, warn; brief, clue (in), fill in, inform, tell, wise (up); coach, direct, guide, instruct, lead, mentor, shepherd, show, teach, tutor; direct, pilot, steer; acquaint, apprise, familiarize; convince, encourage, induce, persuade, talk (into); beg, exhort, implore, prevail (upon), urge; propose, recommend, suggest

    2. to put (something) forward as one’s choice for a wise or proper course of action

    Synonyms counsel, recommend, suggest
    Related Words advocate, back, champion, espouse, favor, support; exhort, urge; advance, offer, propose, submit

    3. to exchange viewpoints or seek advice for the purpose of finding a solution to a problem

    Synonyms, confab, confabulate, consult, counsel, parley, powwow, treat
    Related Words argue, bandy, bat (around), chew over, debate, deliberate, discuss, dispute, hash (over), kick around, moot, palaver, talk, talk over, ventilate; rehash; coach, guide, tutor; recommend, suggest; direct, refer (to)

    4. to give information to

    Synonyms acquaint, advise, apprise, brief, catch up, clear, clue (in), familiarize, fill in, hip, inform, instruct, tell, verse, wise (up)
    Related Words advertise, alert, notify; announce (to), disclose (to); assure, certify, convince, reassure, warrant; educate, lecture, school, teach, tutor; disabuse, disenchant, disillusion, undeceive
    Near Antonyms misinform, mislead
    5to give notice to beforehand especially of danger or risk
    Synonyms advise, alert, caution, forewarn, wake
    Related Words augur, forecast, foretell, harbinger, predict, presage, prognosticate, prophesy; apprise, inform, notify, tip (off); admonish; bode, forebode (also forbode), foreshadow, foretoken, portend
    Near Antonyms imperil, risk

  7. Insideout says:

    And thank you for doing so!!

    • JustaNote says:

      A website like this can be put up in minutes and takes very little time to moderate. If you don’t like it, consider starting an I LOVE GAGE website. Though I doubt you’ll get much traffic.

  8. Insideout says:

    Also if you look at the video they added new windows. Hardly suggests Al was hurting for money or worried about a budget for anyones future. Maybe he saved enough on the light bill, ya think?

    • Rainydydayfun says:

      The building isn’t owned by Al.

      • robertd says:

        dipsh look at the video it says TUMBLECHEER right on the wall – that is a gym in riverside that was nice enought to let the gymnasts work out –
        see if all of the nice people in the world help each other out then things work out much better. as far as the I love gage web site its been running for years on facebook for those who belong to the group not dipsh who have diarrhea of the mouth (keyboard) who have to write 10 pages

      • karma says:

        There is also a “GAGE is a BITCH!” Facebook group started by a former long time student of Al and Armine. I’m just saying…….
        maybe you can post link to the “I love GAGE” Facebook page because I looked and there is nothing.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Check your facts. This video was taken in another gym. GAGE has added no new windows.

    • for sure says:

      Gage practiced at Dave’s Gym on Monday, but Al was mad at what Dave charged him….what a surprise! They are now at Edge Riverside being pampered by John Laudie. Wonder what they expect to get out of this?

  10. Who's at fault says:

    Also note in the video he is coaching… LOL. Guess that he did not realize that now he has documented his non-compete violation. 😉

    • for sure says:

      So True!

      • confused says:

        So, am I understanding correctly?
        Gage has opened up a rec, cheer, preschool, boys gym in Blue springs and are still looking for a TEAM Location?

      • robertd says:

        well since it hasnt gone to court nothing has been breached and as far as MO goes non competes dont hold up

      • neutral party says:

        I am a coach somewhere in a 100 mile radius and I can say all gymnastics, dance, and cheer coaches in the area are keeping their eyes on this story…

        It is a devastating story for all involved. It’s a terrible shame for the kids and families but it also is sad for anybody trying to make it in the business. Now most families will be leery of any gym or facility or anyone in our genre. But Im rambling…

        The point to this post is something I read from a parent about why the gymnastics team doesn’t have a place or why the cheer team got a place before the gymnastics team. As a program you need to produce revenue for there to be a program. A cheer program needs only one major piece of equipment…A floor. You can run many tumbling and cheer classes and start to rejuvenate the business that way. Putting in gymnastics equipment requires planning or more to anchor some of the equipment. It takes time and or money to have a gymnastics facility completely ready! You cannot just throw together a gym for liability reasons.

        I’m just playing devil’s advocate. I would also like to say that we coaches in the community support the coaches that are affected by this and hope that you come through this. Keep fighting for the kids and your livelihoods.

    • Insideout says:

      Thats what I thought. He is soooo :O

  11. GAGEemployee says:

    Everyone needs to stop bad mouthing and get a life. this is all ridiculous. if you don’t know the whole story, then you probably should stay out of it and be mature and stop spreading rumors and hateful messages.

    • answers says:

      So, Gage Employee, can you give us some answers?
      Is there a gym open in Blue Springs? Is there a gym for the Team?
      Is the equipment still in your possession? Give us ANSWERS so we DO know the whole story….you are the ones holding back!

      • Anonymous says:

        Rainydayfun says:
        October 22, 2010 at 1:06 PM
        The creditors have not taken the equipment, which are Al’s tools of the trade and his livelihood. Al took the equipment because it was purchased by Dragon Gymnastics, which is owned by Al alone, not by the landlord. The landlord was attempting to take everything, whether it belonged to him or not.
        Al is speaking with his attorney who is in contact with the landlord’s attorney and he is prepared to give anything back that is deemed property of the landlord AFTER the attorney has agreed what that is

      • Rainydydayfun says:

        There is a gym in Blue springs for preschool, rec, and cheer. They’re still considering a place in Lees summit for team.

        All the equipment is in Al’s possession and he has everything he needs to continue the business.

        As far as the whole story, the media will never give it to you straight. The whole story is the business of the paying parents and no one else, but here it is anyway.

        Al negotiated happily with Jake for some time for the lease of the two GAGE buildings, one of which Al owns half of. A mere few days before Al had to sign the lease or lose everything, Jake threw several new conditions onto the contract, including ownership of 51% of the company. Al signed under duress. (Who wouldn’t, knowing he’d lose everything if you didn’t?)

        With half his profit being taken away, Al was unable to pay off the lease each year and was building up debt. Finally, Jake raised the rent too high and refused to negotiate. After months failing to bring the rent down to a reasonable amount, Al refused to renew the lease. Jake then came into the building and wrote “GAGE” on every piece of equipment he could, claiming it as property of their joint business.

        However, most of the equipment was purchased by Dragon Gymnastics, the team business owned by Al alone. His decision to take the equipment when he left was in direct reaction to Jake’s vandalism. He is prepared to give back anything that his attorney deems property of GAGE.

        Gage is in the process of renovating the building in Blue Springs to open as quickly as possible. Parents and employees have graciously been helping and it’s coming along very quickly. Al is excited to open the doors again, but in the meantime, the employees have worked very hard to find alternative locations for birthday parties, which will now be held in Oak Grove. Al has promised refunds to those who have paid for lessons and parties that are now unable to be held in time, as well as making it up to those who have been upset and inconvenienced by the change.

        He’s got a lot of kinks to work out and it may take longer than you’d like, so let’s give him a break. Most people wouldn’t hold up so well in a situation like this. He’s got a loving family and great employees to support him and count on.

  12. Correct says:

    Is anyone reading how rude the GAGE employees are being? Not a great display if they want people back!

    • Rainydydayfun says:

      Is anyone noticing how rude the commentors are being? I haven’t seen any rude replies by any GAGE employees. All I see is a bunch of ill-informed townspeople brandishing torches and pitchforks against a misunderstood individual.

    • Insideout says:

      Really?? How did all this happen in the first place? Duh….So funny

  13. Rainydydayfun says:

    Since Al is half owner of the Bump City building, he’s hoping he will be able to gain continued use of it. I would imagine that the teams would use that building and that the recreation classes would continue at their new facility in Blue Springs, which is still under construction.

    • thank you says:

      Thank you. That is very helpful.

      • new to web site says:

        Do I understand correctly that there is a new building in Blue Springs for cheer and other programs. And that Al is hoping to open the bump city building for his team. Does that mean there is no Lee’s Summit location as previously stated?

  14. Gym Rats Mom says:

    New to the Website – There are so many rumors running on this site right now that I can’t tell what is real and what is an attempt to further “stir the pot”. I think we all just need to take a breath and wait for things to shake out. I signed up for the GAGE Gym facebook page and feel confident that they will let me know when everything is settled. I’m not helping myself or anyone else by worrying about it.

  15. AAAnonomus says:

    I just had a thought. What if we’re all being conned. They’re both in it and the real owners of the loans and equipment are being played like a fiddle not wanting to get in the middle of what seeming will turn into a lengthy legal battle. Well, we’ll see if this gets posted.

  16. TBG says:

    Okay Gym Rats Moom, you just take a breath and wait for things to shake out. In the mean time your team mates are trying other gyms and your daughter sits at home without training while everyone else does. Of course, all those people trying new gyms could be lying as well since only GAGE gives out the truth. Maybe all the new girls aren’t really from GAGE but just pretending to be.

    • Gym Rats Mom says:

      Why do think my gymnast is a girl? GAGE has male gymnasts as well. I don’t see taking a break as a bad thing. I also don’t think my child will get a college scholarship or on a box of Wheaties because of gymnastics. I don’t see my other child getting those things from playing soccer either. I guess that make me a bad mom.

  17. karma says:

    Can you really blame him?? You can not walk out on a contract and think you wont get any repercussions. Get out while you can and do what’s best for your child because Al isn’t.

    • robertd says:

      Karma – you are either a coach or a gym owner from another facility by your reactions to everything being written on this page and other pages on the net-

      being bitter and back stabbing doesnt gain you respect – the truth is out there and until Jake and AL want to tell it, it doesnt matter what every single person says on this OPINION page – it is all mudslinging –
      The gymnastics family is a family and the cheer family is a family they are trying to do what they can to hold on – this story has more to it than we will ever get to know on this page

      • karma says:

        Actually, Robert, I’m a concerned parent who is sick of the lies…..too much time has been wasted. Unless you have a child who was/is coached by Al Fong and Armine for as many years as my daughter has and can speak from firs hand experience what GAGE team (mainly the 9,10, elite girls) is truly like then do not jump to conclusions about me from a few sentence posts. I could tell you stories that would have police at their door for child abuse. Al needs to step up and take responsibilities for his actions….for once.

      • karma says:

        Oh and Robert…..if you happen to have a child that’s high up at GAGE, which I highly doubt because I would easily be able to figure out who you are, then I apologize for jumping to conclusions assuming you didn’t. However, I have a feeling I am correct in my first assumption. 😉

      • robertd says:

        oh karma – but I have been with the gym for several years – and the verbal junk you are trying to pedal in interesting – you are lumping all of the coaching staff as AL and Armine but the fact that GAGE employes more than 2 coaches and as far as my child she is an upper level kid. Lets meet…..

      • karma says:

        Don’t confuse me with “Kharma” the other poster in this blog. Though we seem to agree on quite a bit we are two totally different entities.

      • karma says:

        Robert, I’m sure we have run into eachother then. I read a prior post of yours were you said your child is not on the floor with Al… to assume your child is no elite…..probably not even level 10. The employees, other than Al, are AMAZINGLY talented and kind hearted people. There are many many good people there….coaches, gymnasts, and parents. We were all sad when Rodney left, Coach Becky quit, and Vardan was deported……and actually didn’t realize just how valuable they really were until they were gone. I seem to ask myself though why Rodney doesn’t come back to visit more or why Coach Becky left GAGE without looking back?? I also wonder why Al’s current or former college gymnasts don’t visit more. Terin does but she almost doesn’t count because she left prior to the new building even being built. Al has more gymasts leave, quit, injured, or die way more than he has ever been successful. So Robert…….I actually wont be able to meet you anywhere as I am a married woman…..I don’t think my hubby would appreciate it much. 😉 ill take my chances on meeting at the grand opening of the new GAGE Center……I wont be holding my breath though. 🙂

      • Gym Rats Mom says:

        karma – Why in the world would you continue to allow your child to be exposed to people that you believe could be arrested for child abuse? That doesn’t sound like very responsible parenting to me. And before you attack me, I have a son on team who started in preschool gymnastics at GAGE when he was 2. I just don’t get it.

    • karma says:

      Gym rat……under Wally and the boys program I am sure your son has thrived and thoroughly enjoys every second. The way Al has treated these girls under him is no secret. We are all guilty of allowing Al in someway abuse our pockets or verbally/mentally abuse our child. No one is the exception under Al. Is this not the truth about GAGE blog?? We were always told by him that the gymnasts need to be mentally tough…..unfortunately until more recently I have heard more and more horrible stories of what went on and what was said as the inevitable nears. My daughter will not return to GAGE, ever. I truly hope he displaced team members find a happy, permanent home, no matter what gym it is. Al should never have let it get this far our of hand and I feel sad for all those he hurt and will end up hurting.

      • Gym Rats Mom says:

        I’m aware of the rumors about Al and the girls team. if my daughter hadn’t decided that soccer was more fun than gymnastics, we most likely would have moved her into a different sport any way. I wouldn’t have tolerated any of what is rumored if it had turned out to be true. I guess I’m too dense to understand why anyone else would.

  18. kansas says:

    Dispute involves gymnastic equipment

    The Kansas City Star

    A lawsuit filed Friday seeks to obtain equipment recently removed from a Blue Springs gymnastics training facility, the plaintiff said.

    The litigation was filed on behalf of Jake Tonsfeldt, majority owner of Great American Gymnastic Express, the Blue Springs training program operated by Al Fong, prominent youth gymnastics coach.

    “Our intent is to get our equipment back that he took without authorization,” said Tonsfeldt of Fong. “Those are company assets, which I am the 51 percent owner of.”

    Fong, however, has the right to use the equipment to practice his livelihood, said Jim Wirken, the Kansas City attorney representing the coach.

    “This is what Mr. Fong does for a living,” said Wirken. The most appropriate way he can earn income to repay loans, Wirken added, is to use the equipment.

    Wirken said a new location for gymnastic training had been leased in Blue Springs, with the possibility of a second location in Lee’s Summit.

    One or both of the locations should be operating no later than Nov. 1, Wirken said. Fong will be involved in the instruction, Wirken added, despite a non-compete clause in his agreement with Tonsfeldt.

    “Mr. Fong is not under any obligation to not compete,” Wirken said. “He intends to get on with his life.”

    Fong and Tonsfeldt are involved in a dispute over the assets and operation of Great American Gymnastic Express at 1101 N.W. Jefferson St.

    Last Sunday parents of children enrolled in gymnastic classes began to receive telephone calls advising them that classes had been canceled. A letter on the Great American Gymnastic Express website advised parents that the program was experiencing difficulties because its landlord had placed “unacceptable conditions” on it, including “extreme above-market rent.”

    Tonsfeldt, Fong said later, had purchased the Blue Springs building three years ago and then rented it back to him. However, Fong said, the rent had grown “outrageous” and his business had grown unsustainable.

    Tonsfeldt said he regretted the inconvenience the dispute was causing children and their parents.

    “I feel for these kids, they are getting caught in the middle,” said Tonsfeldt.

    “But I didn’t start this thing. This man owed me more than $300,000 in rent that I let him slide on. Now he is deciding he doesn’t want to pay back that rent someday, so now he is going to skip.

    “This is a nightmare for me.”

    • Seriously says:

      So under this idea, anyone who owns a home based business should be able to default on their house loan without danger of foreclosure. After all it is the “tools of their trade.” Al is capable of working in any gymnastics facility and earning a living. It would not prevent him from earning a living for his family if they take the equipment away from him. Why not just purchase new or used equipment that is seperate from the entire situation between Al and Jake? Then there wouldn’t be a problem at all. It isn’t right that Al should get to walk away from his debts free and clear and leave everyone else holding the bag. Al created the money situation in the first place. Anyone that has spent 5 min. with Al, knows that you won’t intimidate or bully him into anything he doesn’t want to do. For him to say he was forced into signing against his will is absolutely ridiculous. He needs to truly face up to his decisions instead of walking out on them. Wouldn’t we all like to just walk away from incurred debt and bad decisions? What are we teaching our children in all of this. Al made promises to employees that he may well not be able to stand by. He walked out and they went with him. Doing so leaves all involved dealing with fallout, they should have realized that when they left with him. Al set all of this in motion. He is the only person completely responsible for all of it.

  19. shouldn't even post says:

    Gage was a great place for some and not for others. Move on, with them or without them. This site is a joke.

  20. Who's at fault says:

    Joke or not… it is getting us more than the watered down story of what happened.

  21. TBG says:

    The ‘tools of the trade” agruement does not apply to assets that are pledged as collateral. More smoke and mirrors to try and keep the loyals fooled a little longer while he tries to work a miracle. Tools of the trade protects a carpenter’s hammer and skill saw when he files for personal bankruptcy protection. This is not remotely similar.

    My question for the loyal parents is, how many weeks are you going to give Al before moving on? This is stressful on the kids not to mention meet season is approaching for all the sports mentioned.

    Coaches, how do you know when the gig is up and need to start bringing home a paycheck? Unless they have a spouse with a good income, I’ve seen few coaches that don’t live paycheck to paycheck. Can you hold out until Thanksgiving?

    • Steve O'Rielly says:

      I am a past GAGE gym parent…I have seen over the years all the stunts Al has pulled. This by far amazes me the most. Who just picks equipment up over the weekend and goes on the run with it. This guy has no regards for laws, contracts and agreements. Al you talking about shaping gymnasts and the youth, what are you teaching them. If you don’t like the agreement, just pick up and leave. Great lesson Al, whats next embezzlement??(oh sounds like that is already happening)

      Secondly, Al needs to grow up and quit using his daughter as his motivational excuse. Hey Judge, “I did it for my daughter.” Wow this guy will say and do anything to win approval. He deserves an Academy award for this performance.

      Be a man and quit using your daughter as a pawn.
      Step up to the plate and pay your bills.(your not to big fail, no stimulus for you)
      Be Honorable

  22. Old gym parent says:

    A desperate person is what Al Fong is. Instead of hiding behind his little daughter to keep people fooled why doesn’t he be honest and tell people the truth. I think its a ashamed a grown man has to use a child to make himself look good. I believe that Jake gave him to much time to pay his rent. I read he owes Jake over 300,000 dollars for rent if Jake is such a bad guy why did he let him go month after month. I’m sure they had a signed contact stating amount of rent and I don’t believe for one minute Jake forced Fong to do anything. From what I’ve seen and heard Al Fong is not a person to do anything he doesn’t want to do. Mr. Fong is ruthless and cares only about himself.
    To all you loyal followers you really need to wake up because in the end Mr. Fong will leave you all holding the bag to save himself. Good luck to all the kids who have be hurt by Mr Fongs actions. Also good luck to Jake I hope you bring this man to justice and get what is rightfully yours.

  23. a birdy on the wall says:

    just got a call – got some intresting info – the truth is coming – I think most of the folks wil be suprised to hear it all – what this littke birdy heard – wait for it – then lets see if the blog will put it up on the wall –

  24. Who's at fault says:

    I heard that it got rescheduled for the middle of Nov… While I did not hear this from the famed bird on the wall, I believe it to be true.

    • another birdie says:

      And I heard on Friday when it was rescheduled the judge said that equipment was not to move before the new court date and yet Al and one of his coachs were seen moving more equipment in the new facility on Saturday. Evidently Al thinks the law doesn’t apply to him.

      • seriously says:

        Well obviously he is right since he just keeps getting by with crap and never has to face up to what he does. He will continue to do so, because he can! As long as parents, staff and people in the community allow him to do things that are above the law, he will continue to believe he can. I truly cannot believe people still keep falling for his lies and manipulation. Wake up people and see what is right in front of you. How many of you will go down with him before this is over? How many good coaches and good people will be sucked into this? Can parents truly justify this to their children? If you can, then you truly need to take another look at what you are saying and doing. That kind of thinking is really messed up! This is a sport and no matter how much your child may love it, it isn’t worth teaching them that it is ok to manipulate the law and do your best to screw things up for people who “he claims to care about”. That makes sense! NOT!!!

  25. […] GAGE In the News The Truth About GAGE's Blog Here is a link to a blog all about the GAGE issue. If you sift through you can find all the legal documents and all of the parent/coach comments good and bad. There is a lot to this tale and until the new court date I am sure many questions will remian unanswered. Unless Mr Fong is lurking here and would like to respond. __________________ Gymnastics will never be equal or fair, but it should be fun and accessible to as many kids as possible. […]

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