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Posted on December 3, 2015
Tallahassee Reports has learned that the City of Tallahassee has penalized a local business, Gym Force Gymnastics Center, for being a “competitor’ to the City’s gymnastic services.
The City owns and operates Trousdell Gymnastics & Aquatics Center located on John Knox Road.
After filing an application to become an exhibitor at the annual Winter Festival, the owner of Gym Force was notified via email that the application had been denied.
Mario Palmentieri, Recreation Supervisor, wrote;
“The Winter Festival Committee reserves the right to accept or deny any application. As you know, the City of Tallahassee operates a Gymnastics Center and the promotion of it takes precedent at all City of Tallahassee produced Special Events. Again, I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.” (Full email is below)
Tallahassee Reports contacted Commissioner Gil Ziffer for his reaction.
Ziffer, who with his wife is a small business owner, was surprised to hear about the situation and said, “I am a free market person. I prefer to see competition. It makes us all work harder.”
Tallahassee Reports has received a number of phone calls from gymnastic businesses and dance studios over the last two-three years about practices by the City of Tallahassee that they claim were designed to hurt their businesses.
However, until now, the lack of any documents kept Tallahassee Reports from writing about the issue.
The email below indicates that it is standard operating policy for the City to protect their “Gymnastic Center” operations, even at the expense of local businesses.
When contacted by TR, other businesses that offer gymnastic or dance classes said that the City significantly undercuts their pricing and makes it difficult to operate.
“Our local taxes subsidize our competition and that is tough to take, especially in a slow economy,” said one local business owner.
City Commissioner Scott Maddox had this to say;
“This is ridiculous. The City of Tallahassee should be encouraging and supporting local businesses instead of competing with them.”
This email is in reference to the Gym Force Gymnastics Center’s application to become an Exhibitor at our annual Winter Festival event. Jan Bubsey has informed me about the situation and we are sorry for any inconvenience that this issue may have caused you. As you can see from the attached copy of the application you signed and submitted, we ” The Winter Festival Committee reserves the right to accept or deny any application.” As you know, the City of Tallahassee operates a Gymnastics Center and the promotion of it takes precedent at all City of Tallahassee produced Special Events. Again, I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Special Events, Disc Golf, Skate Park
Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Affairs
912 Myers Park Dr.
Tallahassee, FL 32301