Two Maryland Health Clubs Charged with Failure to Register


Body Talk LLC, Laurel, MD, and Kassama’s Okinawan Karate Studio, Baltimore, have been hit with administrative charges for not registering with the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced.

The administrative charges seek a cease and desist order prohibiting the two health clubs from selling any health club services in Maryland until they comply with the requirements of the Consumer Protection Act and Health Club law.

The law requires health clubs in Maryland to register with the office. It also requires health clubs, weight-loss centers and self-defense schools to post a bond or letter of credit to insure consumers’ investments if the facilities collect more than three months’ payment in advance or charge an initiation fee of more than $200.

According to the law, health club contracts also must include a “notice of consumer rights” that discloses the club’s registration number, whether or not it has posted a bond that would protect consumers’ advance payments if the club were to go out of business. The contracts also must include consumers’ cancellation rights.

The Division’s Health Club Registration Unit alleges that Body Talk, which offers dance-based workouts, and its owner, Arnell Tunstall-Richardson, as well as Kassama’s Okinawan Karate Studio and its owner, Ontagu-Ibrahima Kassama, failed to register despite multiple warnings that they were required to do so.

The division will ask that the club owners be ordered to pay civil penalties and costs. Hearings are scheduled for Feb. 22 at the Maryland Office of the Attorney General.

The number for Body Talk has been disconnected, so Tunstall-Richardson could not be contacted for comment. Kassama had not yet responded to a call to his facility for comment.

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