A 64-year-old man has been sentenced to probation and time served for threatening a Maplewood fitness club manager while complaining that members were exercising without wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michael M. Florhaug of Maplewood was sentenced Monday in Ramsey County District Court after pleading guilty to felony threats of violence in connection with the confrontation Dec. 31, 2020, at the LA Fitness on County Road D near White Bear Avenue.
Florhaug had been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, but that count was replaced with threats of violence. The initial charge could have led to prison time.
Judge JaPaul Harris sentenced Florhaug to a term of one year and one day but gave him credit for six days he served upon his arrest, set aside the balance of the time and placed him on probation for three years.
Terms of his probation include following recommendations of a mental health assessment, not possessing firearms and forfeiting to law enforcement the gun he brandished at the gym. The felony conviction also cost him his state-issued permit to carry a firearm in public.
It was shortly before the 6 p.m. closing time on New Year's Eve when Florhaug complained to a front desk employee that gym members were not wearing masks as the state required at the time as part of the effort to combat COVID-19.
Assistant manager Mike Olson stepped in and explained to Florhaug, who was not a club member, that the gym lacked the staff to enforce the mandate and told him to leave. Florhaug yelled at Olson and said he intended to go around and photograph members.
Olson put up his hands to stop Florhaug, who responded by pointing a gun at him, the complaint continued. Olson backed away as Florhaug returned the gun to his sweatshirt pocket.
As Florhaug walked toward the front of the gym, Olson tackled him from behind, took the gun and removed its ammunition. Police soon arrived and arrested Florhaug.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482