(Bloomberg) -- With the Equinox group of high-end gyms still reeling from customer defections over part-owner Stephen Ross’s association with U.S. President Donald Trump, the chain’s executive chairman sent a letter to members and staff seeking to clarify the ownership structure and recommit to backing causes promoting diversity and inclusivity.
“Mr. Ross is not the majority investor in Equinox,” Equinox Executive Chairman Harvey Spevak wrote. “He is one of the investors including myself. He does not run the company. I do.”
News that Ross, a billionaire real estate magnate and owner of the Miami Dolphins, planned to host an Aug. 9 fundraiser for Trump in the Hamptons led to membership cancellations and boycott threats at Equinox and SoulCycle, another exercise chain in which Ross holds a stake. Both chains moved to distance themselves from Ross, but Spevak said in his letter, “I’m sorry we haven’t said more.”
Spevak said he has led the “vision and strategic direction” of Equinox since 1999, adding, “Our focus has always been about building a community centered on our values, not politics.”
The chairman pointed to Equinox’s past support of five charities and said the chain would make a new donation totaling $1 million to them. The organizations are Cycle for Survival, for rare cancer research; the Heroes Project, which trains injured veterans in mountain climbing; Move for Minds, focused on brain health and Alzheimer’s research; the Felix Organization, which aids children in foster care; and House Lives Matter, which supports the largely LGBTQ and minority house ballroom community.
“We will continue to listen to your thoughts and ideas, and while we have a lot of work to do, I am confident that together we will come out a stronger community,” Spevak wrote.
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