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For Immediate Release
June 8, 2006
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE FILES CHARGES AGAINST FIVE
SELF-DEFENSE SCHOOLS

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has filed charges against five self-defense schools for failing to renew their registration with the Division under Maryland’s Health Club law.

Arnold Mitchell’s Karate Academy, Inc. of Baltimore, Bethesda Martial Arts, Inc. of Bethesda, Dawson Enterprises, Inc. of Columbia, Mayeday Enterprises, Inc. of Potomac and Waldorf Tae Kwon Do Academy, Inc. of Waldorf received renewal notifications from the Division, but did not respond by the deadline date of September 1, 2005, the beginning of the registration year.

Under Maryland law, health clubs, self-defense schools, and weight loss centers 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 of payment in advance from members or charge a initiation fee of more than $200.00.

The Division’s charges against each school state that a cease and desist order be issued until the registration requirements have been met. It requires that each school register with the Division and pay all fees due. The charges also state that the schools must pay restitution for payments made by consumers during the time they were not registered. Each school is ordered to pay the Division civil penalties as well.

“Enforcement of the registration and bonding requirements helps protect consumers in the event that the club should go out of business before a consumer’s membership expires,” said Curran.

Curran urges consumers to visit the Attorney General’s website at www.oag.state.md.us/Healthclub/consumer or to call the Consumer Protection Division at 410-576-6350 before they join a health club, weight loss center or self-defense school to see if it is properly registered and bonded. The website also contains tips for consumers considering joining health clubs, weight loss centers or self-defense schools.

A public hearing regarding the charges will be held July 25, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. in the offices of the Consumer Protection Division, 200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore.


   

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