So here's the story, for any who are interested in my business start-up. My friend, Sean, and I belonged to a local kink club, which shall remain nameless. The club elected a new Social Chair to the governing council in January, and she had a lot of ideas for increasing the club's activity level and involvement with the community. One of the things she wanted to do was revive the Fetish Ball, a fundraiser that the club used to hold every year, but which had died out as people got burned out on trying to organize it (Gee, I wonder how THAT happened ). She formed a committee to arrange this, and I joined, thinking it would be fun to do. Junior high politics ensued, and the Social Chair - who remains a good friend of mine - was ousted from the council, with another member declaring that there would never be a Fetish Ball in this town unless SHE organized it, and she wasn't interested in doing so at this time. I showed up to a regularly-scheduled meeting of the committee to discover that I was the only committee member there, the President and Treasurer had attended to "sort out the mess", and ta da!!! I had inherited the whole thing. Sean, bless his soul, barely blinked when I told him what happened before he whipped out a notebook and plunged into helping me plan. We scouted for possible venues, as instructed, and concluded that the Tucson Convention Center was by far the best choice. We presented our findings, documented out the wazoo, to the council. This is where it gets freaky. A new Social Chair was appointed, and we met with him to discuss a formal proposal for renting the venue and moving forward on the planning. We told him we intended to have an informal group at our house to put together the proposal and budget, with any member who wished to contribute invited, and that we would be posting the notice online. He agreed. We got home, posted the notice, and two hours later, it was pulled from the online group. At the same time, we received a pissy note from the Social Chair, telling us that this was not what was discussed, he knew we just considered him a figurehead, and that we were fired from the committee. At the same time, he told us he couldn't stop us from going private, and that the club would probably even rent an outreach booth at the event if we did so. Meanwhile, there was a pissy online notice from the President, suspending all committees and pending projects and outlining some absolutely insane amounts of red tape that would henceforth be required to do ANYTHING at the club. The membership reacted in an uproar. We discussed it, decided that the Ball was something the Tucson community really needed and wanted and that we really wanted to do it, and determined to go private with it. My best friend, Blair, volunteered to put up the seed money we needed to get started in exchange for a percentage of any profits. But he asked us to agree first to meet with the council and try to resolve the differences and hard feelings. I would do almost anything for Blair, so we agreed. His first attempt at a meeting was stonewalled. On the second attempt, the three of us arrived at the designated meeting space, a local bar and grill that was viewed as neutral ground, and the council never showed up. Instead, Blair received a text message trying to convince us to come to a council member's nearby house and meet with three of the seven council members. We refused. We proceeded to get a business license as an event promotions company, a tax ID, a trademark on the name we wanted to use (which had previously been used by the club almost four years ago, but never trademarked), everything we needed to go into business, and put in an application with the Tucson Convention Center. For the record, the TCC is owned by and part of the Tucson City Government, partially subsidized by tax money. Okay, so . . . I get a message from the Social Chair, informing me that he intends to call our venue and all our prospective vendors to "make sure we're not telling people we're affiliated with the club", as if we would. Discussing it with my friends, I find out that the Social Chair ALSO went to Blair and told him that he had overheard me saying all kinds of nasty things about him - Blair - to a mutual friend, and tried to convince him to withdraw his funding. (Soooo junior high. I feel a pimple coming on.) Blair, of course, utterly ignored him. Things start moving fast now. I get a phone call from the Education Chair (the woman who said that a Fetish Ball would only happen if SHE planned it), criticizing my parenting because I brought my 2-year-old to a club social, taking place in a downtown cafe and bar, and saying that this should make anyone "really question my judgement". I politely told her to blow it out her cakehole and hung up, but Sean was furious and snapped off an e-mail to the club President, objecting to the bullying and harassing and informing him that the club was now a negative influence in the community and not welcome to have a presence at our event. ::sigh:: I get an e-mail from the President and Education Chair, citing "disturbing rumors" the council is allegedly hearing, that we're running wild and throwing the club's name around, that we're continuing to plan an event without their permission, yada yada, and demanding that I answer these charges by the 18th, because there's a council meeting scheduled for the 20th, at which they intend to address my behavior. Then, the piece de resistance, I talk to my contact at the Convention Center, and find out that the Social Chair not only called her to make sure she knew that we weren't affiliated with the club - she did - but he told her that she shouldn't rent to us because there were "significant concerns that we would be promoting prostitution" at our event! The TCC lady was understandably flustered and upset, and although I did my best to soothe her, it's likely they will turn us down now, and we'll have to go with an alternate, and more expensive, venue. Okay, enough is enough. I've been trying all this time to keep my mouth shut and not exacerbate this problem, but that's going too far. I made an appointment with a lawyer friend of mine, and drafted a letter to the council for the response they "demanded" from me. In it, I outlined everything that had happened, included copies of all the e-mail messages involved, cross-referenced everything with endnote notations, and then told them that they would be hearing from my lawyer in short order. I presented this letter at the council meeting and walked out. I met with the lawyer yesterday, he wrote a cease and desist letter to them that was a masterpiece of scaring the piss out of someone, and am now hoping fervently that they'll drop it and let me get on with things, because while I'm perfectly willing to engage in a slander lawsuit - I've apparently got them by the short and curlies, since a city official is testifying to what they told her - I'd really rather not. Oh, Sean and I received e-mails informing us that our club memberships had been suspended, but that we could reapply in a year, provided we had dropped all legal action against them. Yeah, y'all hold your breaths waiting for that application, okay? Sheesh.