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No pay, no gain

By: Phillip Bantz//February 2, 2015

No pay, no gain

By: Phillip Bantz//February 2, 2015

Being a public defender is a thankless job. They get kicked around. The clients are difficult. The pay isn’t great. And, unlike some prosecutors and sheriff’s employees, they don’t get free gym memberships.

How then is a health conscious assistant public defender on a budget supposed to stay fit?

Stephen Krzyston allegedly figured out a solution. And it got him arrested.

The 29-year-old public defender in Richland County is accused of fibbing about his profession so he could score two free annual memberships to a Gold’s Gym in Columbia.

The savings amounted to a total of $600 – and he got a forced vacation from his job.

Krzyston, a 2012 graduate of the Charleston School of Law, told gym staff in July 2013 that he worked for the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, according to Richland County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Kevin Lawrence. In October 2014, he got another free membership by again claiming that he worked for the sheriff’s department, Lawrence said.

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen this happen,” Lawrence said. Fifth Circuit solicitor Dan Johnson declined to discuss the situation.

A Gold’s Gym corporate sales manager named Marcy Miller tipped off the sheriff’s department about Krzyston, according to Lawrence. She would not talk about the case, referring comment to gym owner John Burriss. He did not respond to a message.

Attempts to reach Krzyston were unsuccessful. His boss, Fifth Circuit public defender Doug Strickler, would only say that Krzyston had been placed on administrative leave.

That gives him plenty of time for exercise.

Unfortunately, if he ends up getting fired he won’t be able to take advantage of the modest membership discount that Gold’s Gym offers to all Richland County employees, including public defenders.

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