City Denies South Miami Gym A License Over Unpaid Fines | Athletic Business

City Denies South Miami Gym A License Over Unpaid Fines

A gym owner in South Miami, Fla., said he may be forced to shut down after the city has denied the business its license over unpaid fees. 

Gabriel “Stunna” Varona, a retired mixed martial arts fighter who runs Stunna’s FIT on Southwest 62nd Avenue, told WPLG-TV that he believes he's been targeted by South Miami officials since he signed his lease five years ago. 

Stunna’s FIT was supposed to have its business license renewed Sept. 30, but the city denied it, Varona told the news station. 

The gym has at the center of a years-long saga over noise complaints. Neighbors who live near the gym have complained about noise.

“I don’t think that there’s been any targeting by the city,” South Miami Mayor Sally Phillips said.

Code enforcement officials told WPLG-TV that the city does not renew licenses or permits for businesses that have outstanding fines. Varona owes more than $50,000 in citations.

“No matter what I do, I’m always gonna be a step behind them because they manipulated the system,” he said. “No matter what I do, I’m gonna be wrong.”

Varona said he has paid a portion of the fines, but he’s appealing several.

Thomas Pepe, South Miami’s city attorney, said officials are holding off on shutting the business down for the time being until two important hearings next week.

Varona’s attorney said the city allowed him to open his doors, and he’s been able to renew his license every year after operating respectfully. He said the city is using taxpayer dollars to drive Varona out.

Varona’s attorney said if the city shuts Stunna’s FIT down, it would be violating Varona’s rights.

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