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CONTACT 13: Nutrition Rush under multi-agency investigation

Posted at 6:00 PM, Dec 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-21 22:32:07-05

A valley nutrition store was recently on Dirty Dining. Now, the entire chain is under a multi-agency investigation. 

Could they be selling products that are dangerous to the public? Chief Investigator Darcy Spears has the exclusive story.

There are 13 Nutrition Rush locations across the valley. They're inside Eos Fitness, Las Vegas Athletic Clubs and there are stand-alone stores. 

But some have been shut down and others have sections under quarantine because of what they can't tell the Health District.

Yellow caution tape is usually associated with a crime scene. 

But bright yellow Health District tape criss-crossing Nutrition Rush store shelves is there to protect consumers from house brand products sold under the name Super Pharm.

"Except an actual name brand, their stuff is very misleading," said Emilee Peterson, who worked for about two years as a manager in several Nutrition Rush stores. 

She says the Health District's investigation is long overdue. 

Nutrition Rush's website says its products are produced in certified labs. 

But where are the labs and who's making the products? That's what the Health District wants to know. 

Nutrition Rush on Stephanie Street is one of the stores inspectors shut down because they were "unable to confirm product source." 

The one on North Rainbow Boulevard was shut down for "failure to comply with hold order." 

Contact 13 has multiple receipts proving Nutrition Rush was still selling Super Pharm products days after the Health District forbid it. 

Peterson says it's not the first time.

"I worked right over here at the Summerlin Parkway location and the health inspector came in and we had a wall of discounted product and all of them are expired."

She says the inspector ordered them to remove the expired product from store shelves, but when she told the owner, "She told me just to box it up, to do what the health inspector said, but when they left to put it back out on the shelf."

Contact 13 spoke to numerous former employees who confirm expired products were routinely sold. They even say they used acetone to wipe expiration dates off product labels.

"Some stores we would just put a sticker over the expiration date just so they wouldn't see it," Peterson said.

Nutrition Rush on Tropicana Avenue and Decatur Boulevard was on Dirty Dining in August when the store was shut down for failing re-inspection. There were multiple repeat violations including protein powder for smoothies that had expired in February.

"Taking an expired product can get you very sick and we did have people come in, returning products because the product got them sick," Peterson recalls.

Contact 13 reached Brian Kuveke, the man who runs Nutrition Rush, by phone. He said he has no comment while the Health District investigation is ongoing. 

Kuveke hasn't always been in the nutrition business. 

He used to work as a contractor, but the Nevada State Contractors Board revoked his license in 2010 for substandard work, willful disregard of state building laws and failure to take corrective action. 

Within months of that, he and his family opened Nutrition Rush.

Corporate documents are in the name of his wife, Laura Kuveke. She did not return a message seeking comment for this story.

Contact 13 also found Nutrition Rush hasn't been paying federal taxes. There are multiple IRS tax liens against the business, including one from June of this year for more than $400,000. 

Both the Health District and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are actively investigating, and so is Contact 13.