Regular Foggy Bottom gym-goers know to have their GWorld in hand when walking into “Hell-Well,” but a group of five managed to shoot hoops Tuesday after nonchalantly strolling past the lobby ID-checkers.
Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx and four others enjoyed special access to the five-year-old building, which University officials said was a courtesy extended to a celebrity; but Foggy Bottom activists said was illegal. A D.C. zoning agreement forbids non-GW community members to work out at the Lerner Health and Wellness Center, but Foxx and his entourage had no problem playing basketball.
Actor Dave Brown, who said he is appearing in the film that Foxx was shooting in D.C., said assistant men’s basketball coach Darrell Brooks let the group in.
A Health and Wellness manager said a basketball coach escorted the celebrity group into the building. She said the standard policy of requiring a GWorld to enter the facility was waived because the coach had “special privileges.”
Brooks and University Senior Counsel Charles Barber, who fought for GW to get the gym’s license, weren’t immediately available for comment.
Matt Lindsay, assistant director of Media Relations, said that although the gym is for GW community members, exceptions are sometimes made.
“The Health and Wellness Center is supposed to be for students, faculty and staff, but there are special arrangements,” Lindsay said. He explained that School Without Walls students, who can work out at the facility, are an exception to the rule.
Ron Cocome, a board member of the Foggy Bottom Association – a neighborhood group focused on curbing GW development – said Foxx’s use of the Health and Wellness Center is against zoning regulations.
“(It’s) a violation of our agreement with the city and it would hopefully have consequences,” Cocome said in a phone interview Wednesday. “That would be a violation of (GW’s) license. I hope appropriate action will be taken.”
Cocome said he wasn’t sure what penalty the University would incur if the city pursued the alleged violation. He said any consequences could range from a warning to a suspension of the gym’s license to operate.