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Questions Surround Panda Express’ Hiring of a Pico Rivera Employee Coaching Company

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BY BRIAN HEWS • March 9, 2021

This week it was reported that an employee seminar company hired by the popular fast food company Panda Express – Pico Rivera-based Alive Seminar and Coaching Academy (Alive) – was named in a lawsuit alleging physical and psychological abuse at Panda seminars the company conducted.

The complaint alleged the Panda Express seminar was “strange and quickly devolved into psychological abuse.”

Participants, who paid for the seminar out of their own pocket, were prohibited from using their cellphones, the windows were covered with cloth and there was no clock in the room.

According to the complaint, as the seminar progressed, the event became more like a cult ritual with coaches asking participants to strip down to their underwear and hug each other.

Both reports focused on what happened at the seminar but did not look into Alive itself; HMG-CN looked into Alive and found it is as strange as the seminars it allegedly conducts.

For starters, the company’s Facebook page and website have been removed sometime in the past two days. A look at the site using a web history platform found that the very ordinary site was in Spanish without a listing of owners or managers.

Three names were listed on the site as administrative employees, one of them was a woman named Antonia Gomez, who is the owner of a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 1,150 square foot home in Maywood located on East 57th street near the intersection of Slauson and Atlantic.

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The house in Maywood on East 57th street is the corporate address of Alive.

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That location is the corporate address of Alive, registered with the Secretary of State.

Strangely, Alive registered as a non-profit, classified as a public charity in a May 2017 letter to Ms. Gomez from the IRS.

The IRS defines a PC as “churches, hospitals, qualified medical research organizations affiliated with hospitals, schools, colleges and universities.”

A PC is either “publicly supported, deriving a substantial portion of its financial support from the public, or functions to support one or more organizations that are public charities.”

Yet an examination of Alive’s tax returns, known as a Form 990, shows Alive filing a 990-N “postcard,” meaning Alive, under penalty of perjury,  says it generates less than $50,000 in revenue per year.

And Alive’s latest 990-N is dated 2016 which places its non-profit filing status in serious jeopardy.

 

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The latest 990-N on the IRS website for Alive.

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In addition, according to the SOS’s website, Antonia Gomez is the registered owner of Vision Professional Service located at the same Maywood address.

Ms. Gomez lists the functions of Vision as paralegal, notary, and income tax services.

 

 

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So how does a questionable company such as Alive secure a lucrative seminar contract with a privately held company with $2.2 billion in revenue who can hire any employee coaching company in the country?

The lawsuit should shine a light on that question, if it goes to trial.

Attorney Oscar Ramirez told the Press-Enterprise, “We are looking forward to presenting this case to a jury,” it is unknown if Ramirez is aware of Alive’s questionable corporate background.

Officials with Panda Express said the company “is taking the allegations seriously and will conduct an investigation.”

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