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CONTACT 13: Nutrition Rush store permanently shut down by Health District

Posted at 5:50 PM, Mar 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 22:12:49-04

A Las Vegas nutrition store that continually violated Health District orders has been permanently shut down. And a tip from Contact 13 helped authorities catch them in the act.

RELATED: More product quarantined at Nutrition Rush

Earlier this week, the Health District permanently shut down the Nutrition Rush location on Charleston Boulevard near Lamb Boulevard for operating in a way that endangers public health. 

But that's not what Nutrition Rush is telling customers. 

A sign on the door says "Temporarily closed due to shortage of staff," but that is not the case.

"Put that one on, b----!" said Nutrition Rush's Brian Kuveke as he extended his middle finger to the camera.

"Put that one on! Put that one on, b----!" he continued as the car, driven by his wife, sped out of the Health District's parking lot.

That's the first time we've seen or heard from Brian Kuveke, the convicted felon who runs the chain of valley Nutrition Rush stores with his wife, Laura. 

Before they sped off, Contact 13 tried to talk to them about why they haven't been able to provide proof to the Health District that all their products come from an approved and verifiable source.

"We've tried to get your explanation and you haven't given us one," Darcy Spears said to Brian Kuveke as he walked away. "You don't have an explanation? Laura, do you have an explanation?"

Laura Kuveke remained silent.

Contact 13 first broke the story on Nutrition Rush's suspect operation in December. 

That's when the Health District first began issuing hold orders -- putting the company's house-brand products under quarantine because Nutrition Rush couldn't prove where the stuff came from.

"We have never had such a mass product placed on hold," said Health District Attorney Heather Anderson-Fintak.

At the revocation hearing held this week, the East Charleston store's health permit was on the line.

Heather Anderson-Fintak: You know how concerned the Health District was about selling product that we couldn't even substantiate as food?
Lionso Velasquez-Diaz: Yes.

Lionso Velasquez-Diaz's name is on the paperwork, but Brian and Laura Kuveke made it clear they are in charge.

Heather Anderson-Fintak: So what you're saying today is that you had inadequate control over what the employees were doing?
Laura Kuveke: At that moment, yes.

The complaint that led to this hearing accused Nutrition Rush of mixing banned Rogue nutrition products with the good stuff, but putting it along the back wall so it wasn't highly visible.

"They're dark products on dark shelves," Brian Kuveke told the hearing officer, trying to explain why some may have been missed. 

But the complaint also states they would hide banned product behind the sales counter in drawers and cabinets and sell it to certain people. 

And that's exactly what Contact 13 found at other Nutrition Rush locations with the help of undercover sources, who were able to purchase multiple Monster brand products from two stores.

The Health District banned those Monster brand products from use or sale in December, but receipts provided to Contact 13 show the stuff was sold in two stores just a few weeks ago in February -- from behind the counter and from the trunk of an employee's car.

"I got (Monster) Stack in my trunk," an employee can be heard saying on hidden camera. "It's my personal one. I haven't opened it. I'll just put it in stock."

That is still under investigation by the Health District. 

So the East Charleston location may just be the first domino to fall.

"The Health District has decided to go forward on this case because we lack the trust that Nutrition Rush will not do this again. And we are left with a lot of excuses about what has occurred," Anderson-Fintak told the hearing officer.

Inspectors found multiple open containers of Rogue product near the smoothie machine at the East Charleston store. 

The Kuvekes tried to blame employees.

"We're probably guilty of hiring somebody who isn't the very smartest person," said Brian Kuveke.

But the hearing officer didn't buy it.

"The buck stops at the very top," said Hearing Officer Henry Melton. "You're at the top of the food chain. So you can't lay it off on someone else."

After finding they blatantly and repeatedly ignored Health District regulations, the health permit that allows Nutrition Rush on East Charleston to operate was permanently revoked.

That is a stand-alone store but many Nutrition Rush locations are inside Las Vegas Athletic Clubs. 

We've just learned that LVAC has issued a notice of termination for all the stores in their gyms unless Nutrition Rush can prove their problems with the Health District have been cured.