Tan & Tone America owner Ed Shelby linked to bankrupt fitness chain from the 1980s
BY JENNIFER PALMER NewsOK.com
Thursday, July 26, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY - Throughout his career in the fitness business, Ed Shelby, 80, founder and owner of Tan & Tone America, managed to distance himself from International Fitness Centers, an Oklahoma City-based chain that went bankrupt in 1987.
International Fitness' story had a similar ending to Tan & Tone's, with hundreds of customers fuming over unused membership fees. Twelve metro-area Tan & Tone locations closed abruptly Monday and nearly 200 complaints have been filed with the state Attorney General's Office over fees debited from members' bank accounts and not refunded. Not only does the owner owe customers, he owes the state Tax Commission more than $215,000, a commission spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Efforts to reach Shelby for comment have been unsuccessful.
When International Fitness went under, it left hundreds of former members with worthless lifetime or long-term memberships. As a result, the Legislature passed the Oklahoma Health Spa Act, which prohibits the sale of contracts longer than 36 months. However, the law didn't apply to Tan & Tone America because it exempts facilities that operate “solely for aerobics or toning.”
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Ed Shelby, founder and chief executive of Tan & Tone America, in 2002. JIM BECKEL/NewsOK.com