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For Immediate Release
April 30, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

CURRAN'S OFFICE FILES CHARGES AGAINST SIX HEALTH CLUBS AND SELF-DEFENSE SCHOOLS

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has filed charges against six health clubs and karate schools for failing to register with the Division under Maryland's Health Club law. The businesses are:

1. Anita Hardester t/a Westminster Karate Family Training Center - Westminster
2. Bare Hills Athletic Club, Inc. t/a The Bare Hills Athletic Club - Baltimore
3. Bethesda Martial Arts Academy - Bethesda
4. Karate Club of America - Silver Spring
5. Kimble's Health and Fitness for Women t/a Kimble's Health and Fitness for Women - Silver Spring
6. Westminster Karate Academy t/a Westminster Karate Academy - Westminster

Under Maryland law, health clubs are required to register annually with the Consumer Protection Division. The law also requires facilities to post a bond or other security with the Division if they collect more than three months' payment in advance from members or charge an initiation fee of more than $200.

"These laws protect consumers in the event the club should go out of business before a consumer's membership expires," said Curran. "Consumers run the risk of losing their money if they join a facility that has failed to comply with the law's registration and bonding requirements."

Curran urges consumers to call the Consumer Protection Division at 410-576-6350 before they join a health club, weight loss center or karate school to see if it is properly registered and bonded. Consumers can also get information about health clubs, weight loss centers or karate schools on the web at www.oag.state.md.us/consumer/tip69.htm.

A public hearing on the charges will be held at the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings, 11101 Gilroy Road, in Hunt Valley, on June 3, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.

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