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Life Time Fitness CEO Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor Assault

Life Time Fitness CEO Bahram Akradi pled guilty to misdemeanor assault on Tuesday stemming form an altercation in the Minnetonka High School parking lot.

The story in the Star Tribune, by Rochelle Olson, reported that Akradi was involved in an altercation with a student, Scott D. Hanson, in the parking lot of Minnetonka High School. Akradi said that Hanson was driving erratically and that Hanson’s behavior scared him and his 14-year-old daughter. Akradi said that he did get out of his car and grab Hanson but said that he did not dent the car and did not remove Hanson from the car because Hanson was wearing a seatbelt.

But after his court appearance, Akradi said Harrison sped toward him as if he was going to hit him. Akradi said his daughter, who was then 14, was in the car and both were scared by Harrison's behavior. He admits he grabbed Harrison's shirt but said he didn't pull him out of the car because the student was wearing a seatbelt.

Scott Hanson gave a very different account of the event. Hanson’s report was reported first which makes very logical sense that the story told by the complaining party would be reported first.

According to the complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court: The victim, Scott D. Harrison of Minnetonka, who was 17 at the time, drove his BMW into the school's parking lot on Feb. 23. A black Humvee driven by Akradi cut him off, and Harrison honked his horn. Akradi got out of his vehicle and hit the front panel of the teen's car, leaving a dent. He yelled for Harrison to get out of the car. When he refused, Akradi tried to pull him out of the car, ripping his shirt, the complaint said.

The most difficult part of this story is creating interest and telling a story without looking like a war monger. I felt that, in this case, Olson might have gone a little too far to dig up a story. Akradi pled guilty to a misdemeanor not some thing serious. Yes, he is a public figure and in some cases public figures are held to a higher standard, but realistically I felt that I would probably acted in the same way as Akradi. Therefore, I felt that Olson might not have had the best of intentions in writing the story the way she did.

The story that ran in the Pioneer Press, by John Welbes, reported many of the same facts but I thought that the Welbes version was much more realistic and appropriate. I though that the headline for the story by Welbes was a bit too harsh and very much editorialized.

Life Time Fitness CEO pleads guilty, vows: 'I'm not going to take crap from anyone'

The headline for the Olson version of the story was much the same but rather softer and less editorialized.

Life Time Fitness CEO guilty, but not sorry

The Welbes version of the story was much shorter and to the point. There wasn’t as much background information present in the Welbes article but I found that it was mostly unnecessary any way.

Therefore, I felt that the Welbes version of the story was much more appropriate because of its length and the background provided. I thought that the Olson version of the story was much too long and only succeeded in making her look like a story monger. I felt that it was rather unfair for a story with the length of the one written by Olson to be written about a man who pled guilty to a misdemeanor, even if he is a public figure.