July 9, 2013 at 2:39 PM ET
When she took part in "The Biggest Loser" back in 2009, Tara Costa had to step on the scale each week for all to see. Now, four years later, her weight is back in the spotlight again.
Costa became a fan favorite during her stint on "Loser," sweeping the challenges almost every week and ending the season in second place after dropping 155 pounds. She was so popular, she even came back to compete against players in a one-off challenge in 2011 (which she also won).
That popularity led to business deals for the reality TV star. One such deal was with a company called FC Online Marketing Inc., which owns ILoveKickboxing.com. The arrangement between the parties involved public appearances and -- at least according to FCOM -- Costa maintaining her weight loss.
But FCOM claims Costa didn't stick to that last part of the agreement, and now the company is suing her.
"We hired Tara Costa in 2011 to be a spokesperson," Michael Parrella, the company's chief executive, recently told Newsday. "She came on at a certain weight. We had a fitness clause. She was in material breach after she gained, in my opinion, about 45 pounds. She was supposed to visit 15 of our franchise locations, but we weren't able to send her anywhere because she gained a lot of weight."
Of course, there's a point of contention. According to Costa, the suit claims she gained too much weight during a time when she was actually "the most fit" she's ever been.
In a recent tweet, Costa said the time period included when she "did Kona." Costa took part in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii in 2011 and completed the grueling triathlon -- swimming 2.4 miles in 1 hour and 24 minutes, biking 112 miles in 6 hours and 51 minutes, and finally running a full 26.2-mile marathon in 5 hours and 13 minutes.
Costa's lawyer, Darren Heitner, insists the trouble isn't about weight at all.
"This case has absolutely nothing to do with Ms. Costa’s weight and everything to do with FC Online’s breach of an appearance contract, along with their exploitation of Ms. Costa’s name and image without compensation on a website that promoted their commercial services," he told TODAY.com. "Since appearing on season seven of NBC’s hit series, 'The Biggest Loser,' Ms. Costa has remained physically fit and even participated in an Ironman competition. FC Online’s effort to frame any debate as one related to Ms. Costa’s appearance is misguided and will be exposed throughout the litigation.
"Ms. Costa fully intends to file a countersuit against FC Online in which she will seek a reasonable royalty and exemplary damages for FC Online’s nonconsensual use of her name, image and likeness, and will further ask the Court to award her damages for FC Online’s failure to pay her pursuant to the guaranteed appearances that she was willing, able and excited to be a part of," he said.
Heitner also said that FCOM continued to use Costa's image despite the alleged problems.
"It is notable that despite FC Online’s supposed efforts to distance itself from an overweight individual, it continued to display her name and likeness in association with the services it was offering," the Miami-based attorney told TODAY.com. "FC Online’s lawsuit against Ms. Costa is nothing more than a worthless disguise intended to cover-up its own wrongdoing."
As for Costa, she's posted several images of her own online recently, and they certainly make a strong case for her current physical condition.