SEAL BEACH — Gloria Marshall America Inc., which had eight of its 13 weight-loss centers closed Thursday by the Internal Revenue Service, reopened the centers Friday, the company's president said.
Mark Bergendahl said he gave the IRS a check for $435,000 but plans to challenge IRS allegations of non-payment of taxes and to seek a reimbursement.
"We didn't want to inconvenience our patrons and employees," Bergendahl said. "I don't see why the IRS is practicing these types of collection procedures. We thought we were dealing in good faith and had legitimate disputes" about the amount the company owes in taxes.
Judith Golden, an IRS spokeswoman, said Thursday that the company has received at least five notices from the IRS in the past six months seeking payment of delinquent employee payroll taxes. The IRS filed its first lien against the company in February, 1992, according to documents in the Orange County recorder's office.
Golden said Friday she cannot confirm that the IRS has received a check from Bergendahl. However, she said stickers and locks were being removed from the eight seized centers.
Bergendahl said the tax dispute dates to 1991. The company is doing well, he said, is attracting more members and hopes to begin franchising the Gloria Marshall name next year.
At one time, in 1982, there were 280 Gloria Marshall centers nationwide. The 13 centers in Los Angeles and Orange counties, which employ about 100 people, are all that remain.
Gloria Marshall, based in Seal Beach, offers exercise and diet programs for women.