Main Page
My Opinions
Current Reading List
Book Reviews
Current Movie List
Titleholder Crap
Barebacking
The San Diego Six
Richard Chatterton Changes
Larry Townsend Keynote

About Me
Return to My Opinions table of contents
 

 

The December Club X Board Meeting

What a miserable, awful, pathetic, disgusting, saddening, heartbreaking, and totally unnecessary mess.

I have had the distinct displeasure to witness a few tragic things in my life and this one is right up there among them.  I am referring to the actions taken at the Club X Board meeting on December 6th, 2001.  I am putting all this up here because I think it needs be said, because we all need a place where this info can be easily accessible, and because I want my side of this whole awful mess to be out there as well.  Also, what took place that night took place in an open meeting.  A meeting attended by at least half a dozen general members of Club X as well as a couple of non-members.  The results of the meeting were recorded by the acting Club Secretary.  That is, until she too quit the Board in disgust.  I do stand behind these words.  If you would like to discuss them with me then feel free.  My email address is: thor62@cox.net and I will gladly answer all questions as best I can.
 
 

Chronology of Messages

A surprising amount of messages have flown back and forth between Jake, Michelle and I.  I have linked them all here so that their chronology becomes better apparent.  You can click on the subject of each message and be taken directly to it.  Just hit the "Back" button to come back to this table.
 
 
 

My First Message 12/07/01 12:00 AM
My Explanation 12/07/01 1:38 AM
Jake & Michelle's First Message 12/07/01 1:16 PM 
My Reply to Jake & Michelle's First Message 12/07/01 2:12 PM
My Question to Jake & Michelle 12/07/01 2:32 PM 
Jake's Friday Reply 12/07/01 5:05 PM 
My Answer to Jake on Friday 12/07/01 5:38 PM
My Attempt At Limiting The Damage 12/07/01 7:11 PM
My Request That They Set Things Right 12/10/01 11:44 PM
Jake's Reply on Tuesday 12/11/01 1:47 PM
Michelle's Friday Bomb 12/14/01 10:40 AM
My Reply to Her Attack 12/17/01 9:53 PM

 
My First Message
I sent this to Jake & Michelle, to everyone who was at the Board meeting who I remembered was there who I also had an email address for, and out to a number of my friends.  I did this to let the world know what was going on.  I did this to solicit their advice and there help in perhaps persuading Jake & Michelle to stop any further damage.
12/07/01 12:00 AM

Jake, Michelle,
 

It truly pains me to have seen what the both of you did tonight.  You have not only unjustly insulted Richard, you have not only caused Delline to resign in disgust at your actions, you have not only just thrown away the weeks of negotiations that Richard achieved with the hotel, nor have you just placed the Club in a horrendous financial position, but you have also managed to diminish and insult yourselves in the process.  What you did was just plain wrong and you both are the lesser for it.
 

In the span of two or three weeks Richard achieved greater success and more results in dealing with the hotel than the both of you did in the two months preceding his efforts.  At a stroke you threw that all away.  Your justification of it all being over "procedural grounds" is an ugly thing for the two of you to hide behind.  Had this truly been so then you could have found a great many more ways of working within the Board to overcome it.
 

Instead, you lead off the meeting with an attack on Richard, a purely naked power grab with absolutely no justification, and which revealed your personal motivations to their core. 
 

Jake, Michelle, the basic facts are that neither of you are capable of dealing with the situation the Club now finds itself in. 
 

You are too emotionally involved to deal with this in the rational, professional, and businesslike manner it needs to be handled with.  Richard was.  That is why he achieved the results he had in such a short span of time and why neither of you had been able to achieve anything close in the months you had before the Board stepped in.  Yes, Richard mishandled that action in that he didn't dot his "i's" and cross his "t's" in getting the Board to cast that vote to take over handling the LeatherFest debts and suspending efforts on future LeatherFest's until that debt was settled.  Procedures aside, the fact remains that the Board did agree that you two were not achieving the needed results and that something must be done before the hotel files suit against the Club.
 

Instead of accepting this and trying to deal with things constructively, you took it as a personal attack by Richard against the two of you.  This, despite his repeated declarations that his efforts, and the Club's decision to take over the resolution of the debt, had nothing to do with the way you ran LeatherFest.  This was in no way a personal attack.  There comes a point where we can only tell this to you so many times before it becomes insulting for you to echo back that you are being "victimized."
 

Jake, Michelle, the two of you did an outstanding job in running LeatherFest XI.  You went from $800 in the bank to holding an event that saw almost $80,000 pass through it.  You put in horrendous hours and your dedication to its success is well over and above that which anyone could have expected.  We acknowledge that.  We thank you for that.
 

The debt remains.
 

So too does the fact that for two months, from September, when you first reported about the debt to the Club X Board, to when Richard finally pressed the issue in November, nothing had changed in regard to the debt being resolved.  The two of you made commitments to take certain actions and report back to the Board - but you did not.  Again and again you did not.  If we had fully detailed minutes and full print outs of everything that was posted on CXAdmin then this would be even more clear.  From that procedural point alone you are even more remiss than Richard is for his "failings" to follow proper procedure.
 

Jake, Michelle, no one doubts that the two of you want to resolve the debt LeatherFest XI has incurred.  It IS your responsibility but it is NOT your fault.  You seem to be missing that point.  What Richard was well on his way to doing was resolving that debt and doing so in a way that does not further the Club's debt, put any one individual at great financial risk, or cripple LeatherFest XII before it even starts.
 

In the process of seizing power within the Club you have managed to destroy what cohesion was left and alienate two of the most dedicated and effective individuals who were on the Board.  Congratulations.  You have achieved a truly pyrrhic victory.  You have supplanted and forced out the one person who was best qualified to solve the debt problem, caused another Board member to not only resign from the Board but to disgustedly quit the Club entirely.  In the process you also rendered the Board of incapable of making decisions or taking actions - and this when the hotel has set an end of the year deadline to resolve the debt or else they may start suing us to recover it.
 

Jake, Michelle, this is a pathetic ending to your LeatherFest XI efforts.  It did not have to be this way.  Yet this is what you have forced it to be.  I truly hope that this mythical "anonymous benefactor" exists and I truly hope that he or she is willing to loan the Club the $30,000 it needs.  With such pointless and vindictive melodramas now being the norm for Board meetings any such benefactor would have to be a fool to throw such money our way.
 

This Club has been teetering on the edge of collapse for many months now.  Richard and Jeff were the only ones who were consistently working to keep the Club afloat.  The rest of the Club X Board was overwhelmed with LeatherFest.  For the two you to so damn Richard for his efforts is disgusting.  For you force this issue in such a way as to leave him no choice but to resign is beyond vindictive, it is negligent.  The entire Club is now at grave risk of being consumed by the financial mess which resulted from LeatherFest XI.  Tonight you could have put your personal feelings aside and dealt with things in a professional, rational, and businesslike manner.  You could have put the good of the Club, the good of its members, and your own personal financial safety over your personal vendetta.  Yet you deliberately chose not to.  You insulted all of us in the process and you lessened yourselves in the process as well.  Congratulations.  Your motivations here are beyond me but the results of your actions tonight are appallingly clear.
 

Yes, Jake, Michelle, we are ALL in trouble now.
 

Sincerely,

Madoc Pope 


 
My Message Explaining The Background of What Had Taken Place
Knowing that a number of folks had no idea of the mess that Club X and LeatherFest XI was in, I also sent this one out explaining it.  Jake and Michelle got a copy of this one as well.
12/07/01 1:38 AM

Folks,
 

I am very sad to have to tell you of this.
 

I attended the Club X December Board meeting and had high hopes that we would be further on our way to resolving the massive debt which LeatherFest XI incurred.  Instead the Board meeting turned into a nightmare of personal recriminations and an ugly personal vendetta.
 

The end result was that the President of Club X, Richard Chatterton, was replaced by Jake Lee over "procedural" issues which Richard had "violated."  Jake, and his partner Michelle, (who were Co-Directors of LeatherFest XI,) then proceeded to berate Richard for his actions in trying to keep Club X afloat and resolve the $30,000 debt left over from LeatherFest XI.
 

A little background here for those of you who do not know what has happened thus far.  LeatherFest XI was contractually obligated to fill the hotel to a certain capacity in order to have exclusive use of the hotel.  There were not enough attendees at LeatherFest to make that happen.  So, LeatherFest is now obligated to pay the difference to the hotel.  That comes out to almost $27,000.  When you throw in the other remaining bills from the event it is about $30,000.
 

As Co-Directors of LeatherFest XI, Jake & Michelle reported this to the Club X Board of Directors (of which Jake was President) at the September Club X Board meeting.  At the time, Jake & Michelle informed the Board that they knew of an anonymous benefactor who was willing to loan the Club the $27,000 it needed to pay the hotel.  The Board then authorized Jake & Michelle to proceed with this, gain the funds, repay the debt, and commence work on LeatherFest XII.  That was in September.
 

At the October Board meeting, Jake informed the Board that the anonymous benefactor was being slow to produce the funds but that the hotel was still willing to work with Club X.  The Board then directed Jake to find out what conditions the benefactor needed to make the loan to Club X and if the hotel would be willing to negotiate on the debt.  Jake promised to provide this information within a matter of days after that Board meeting.  The Board also recognized that Jake was very much overwhelmed with his duties as BOTH the President of Club X AND as a Director of LeatherFest XI.  The Board asked Jake if he would resign his position as President and become a Member At Large on the Board.  He did, and Richard then was voted in to the President's position.
 

At the November Board meeting there was no further information about LeatherFest from Jake or Michelle and nor had the situation changed in regard to the debt.
 

That situation was becoming desperate.  It was clear that Jake & Michelle were incapable of resolving this issue.  With no communication about the debt resolution efforts coming from Jake & Michelle, Richard acted on his responsibility as the President of Club X to find out what, exactly, was going on, and what could be done about this.
 

Richard sought the advice and counsel of a number of folks here in San Diego as to what was the best course to take in dealing with this debt, and even invited Jake & Michelle to participate in this process.  They did not.  Richard was advised on the truly dangerous legal situation the Club is now in.  The Palm Springs Riviera Resort, where LeatherFest XI was held, can take LeatherFest XI to court to recover the debt which it contractually is obligated to pay.  Jake & Michelle signed that contract and they are the first ones up who the Riviera would go after.  Next up would be LeatherFest itself.  As LeatherFest is a part of Club X - it shares the same Tax ID number, the same PO Box, and the same checking account - the Riviera would then come after Club X.  If worse came to worse the hotel could come after the individuals on the Club X Board of Directors and then it could go after what assets the Club has.  This is truly a nightmare scenario.  And it is precisely what Richard faced when he contacted the Riviera hotel.
 

The hotel was far from pleased with their dealings with Jake & Michelle.  All that Jake & Michelle were able to do was make vague promises to repay the entire amount owed and do so at some future time.  This, being entirely dependent upon their anonymous benefactor suddenly coming up with the twenty seven grand.  Suffice to say, the hotel could not rely on such vague assurances and was increasingly looking at legal action to resolve the matter.  Richard, according to the hotel, was the first person to deal with them in a businesslike and professional manner.  The results were both immediate and impressive.
 

Upon finding just how dire the situation was with the hotel, and acting upon the best advice he could gain from those in the community, Richard sought - and gained - the support of the Club X Board of Directors for Club X to take over the responsibility of resolving the LeatherFest XI debt.  This removed Jake & Michelle from the process of dealing with the hotel on this matter.  The Club further supported Richard in voting to suspend all efforts on next year's event, LeatherFest XII, until the debt was entirely resolved.  That simply made sense.  Richard was running out of time to take these actions so he sought this support from the Club X Board in a series of phone calls which took place in Mid-November.  In short order, each individual Board member voted in his favor and Richard was authorized to be the sole negotiator with the hotel.
 

Richard did not follow proper procedure in doing this.  He did not call for a Executive Meeting where the Board could gather and cast their vote together.  He seriously erred in this and that is what was thrown against him at the December Board meeting.
 

In a matter of two or three weeks, Richard had largely reversed the situation the Club faced when he began.  He had negotiated with the hotel to reduce the amount owed by almost half.  He had also began securing donors who were prepared to donate $5,000 to the Club to satisfy the debt.  All this in a matter of two or three weeks.  He also had regained the faith and confidence of the Riviera Hotel management.  Then came tonight's Board meeting.
 

It had been apparent for some time that Jake & Michelle were taking this all the wrong way.  For what ever their reasons, they have viewed Richard's actions as being a personal attack on them.  If anything could be at all viewed the wrong way, Jake & Michelle did just that.  Richard's actions in the past two or three weeks have left Jake & Michelle incensed.  Yet Richard has gone out of his way to make it clear that neither he nor the Club X Board are laying blame on anyone.  Instead, he is just trying to fix the problem the Club now finds itself in.  Before the meeting started, it looked like he would be able to do all of this.  Yet, that was not to be so.
 

The meeting started with Jake announcing that he was "reclaiming" his position as President of Club X.  This despite his having resigned it in October.  He attempted to justify this by saying that he had originally intended resignation in October to only be temporary.  That didn't hold up and he retreated from that position.  He and Michelle were very strident in their opposition to Richard's actions and they based their opposition to Richard's playing fast and loose with proper procedure.  In short order, another Board member sought to resolve this by calling for a vote as to whether Jake should take the position of President.  Perhaps this was an attempt to forestall any further divisive debate on the subject and thereby allow the Board to get on to the business at hand.
 

Instead, more divisive comments followed before the question was finally put to a vote.  Cast in secret ballot, the count came down to  one vote for Richard, one abstention, and two for Jake.  The Club X Board normally has seven member but one member was out of town, and there has been a vacancy for some months now with the seventh position.  Richard was stunned at this vote and it was as clear a power grab as there could be.  Several of the general members attending the meeting counseled against proceeding further with this action.  They were not heeded.
 

With Jake now confirmed as President, he and Michelle lost no time in taking Richard to task for his actions.  They gave but cursory acknowledgment to the sacrifices he has made over the past six months in largely being the only person on the Club X Board who was working to keep Club X functioning.  Save but for one, the rest of the Board were all too heavily involved on the LeatherFest XI staff to devote the needed time to their responsibilities as Club X Board members.  In my opinion, Richard is the man most responsible for there still being a Club X.  He should have been thanked for his performance and dedication by being allowed to continue in his position, not by being forcibly removed.  This was as ugly as thing as I have ever seen.  It was a disgusting spectacle.  It also was one which left both Jake & Michelle sorely diminished.
 

In the discussion that followed, Jake & Michelle revealed their intentions so clearly that this left Richard no real option but to resign from the Board.  It was clear that Jake & Michelle would not support him fully - even as they considered asking him to stay on to further negotiate with the hotel.  An odd situation that.  The two of them based their attack on Richard for the actions he had taken and then they were prepared to turn right around and ask him to continue taking those actions once they were in charge.  Richard would have none of it.  He resigned from the Board and left the meeting.
 

Jake & Michelle then made their LeatherFest XI report.  It was then that their view of the situation became even more clear.  Their objections to Richard's actions were so out of line and were so emotionally charged that they were immediately called on it by several of the general members attending the meeting and by one of the Board members, Delline.  Delline, in fact, became so disgusted by this whole affair that she too resigned.  Resigned in disgust not just from the Club X Board - but from Club X as well.
 

At this point there were no longer enough Board members present.  Jake looked to the general members attending the meeting to see if any of them were willing to step forward and take an appointed position on the Club X Board.  Not surprisingly, none were.  There was no way to continue the meeting so it was ended at this point.
 

I am truly disgusted by all of this.  This whole thing was absolutely unnecessary and uncalled for.  Jake & Michelle have a personal grudge against Richard and have had it for some time now.  They endured a hellish time in putting on LeatherFest and gave of themselves like none others.  They were clearly overwhelmed - both emotionally and physically - by running the event.  While I admire their dedication and willingness to carry on with running it, they are clearly incapable of doing so.  They have made it such a personal thing that they can not see anything about it objectively.  Their unawareness of the financial peril and the unreality of their proposed solution is stunning.  Yet they have bitterly resisted any and all attempts by the Board to deal with the debt in a rational and professional manner.  All of this came together at the December Board meeting.
 

In just a few minutes, Jake and Michelle humiliated and spurned one of the most dedicated and effective Board members the Club has.  They maneuvered quite well to force his resignation and they succeeded.  Now they are faced with a shattered Board and a financial mess quite beyond their ability to handle.  In the process they have demonstrated their intent on driving away any and all who want to help Club X.  This is a sad time for the Club and may well be its final moments.  I hope not.
 

I have a vested interest here.  I was one of the folks who started Club X.  Back in June of 1994 I was on the Board of what was then the National Leather Association - San Diego chapter.  We took the group independent when it was clear that the NLA was so poorly run that it would be the ruin of our local group if we remained associated with them.  It was then that Club X came in to being.  I stayed on the Board for another year before taking a couple of years off.  Then I cam back on in 1999, serving as a Co-Chair on the Board.  I was reelected in 2000 to my fourth term on the Club X Board, eventually I became the President of the Club once we incorporated.  I did not run in 2001 as I was pretty much burnt out and had LeatherFest XI to concentrate on.  That too left me burnt out.
 

Now however, I am watching two people I thought I knew well, Jake & Michelle, reveal a truly ugly side to themselves and exercise some spectacularly poor judgment in the process.  I had a deep respect for the two of them but that was destroyed by what they did at that meeting.  I think they should apologize to Richard for their mistreatment of him.  I think they should apologize to the Board of Club X and to its members as well.  I think that Jake should resign from the Club X Board of Directors and from his position as a Director of LeatherFest XI.  So too should Michelle resign for her Director's position.  This has gone on far enough, the two of them have done enough damage, and there is too much at risk here for this to go on.
 

If Jake and Michelle want to salvage anything out of their efforts in running LeatherFest XI then they should stop now.  Their behavior at the December meeting was an unfitting end to such good efforts on their part.  It would be even worse that if in their rush to push Richard aside and seize power on the Board that they make matters even worse by destroying Club X in the process.
 

I know this is a lot to go through.  I know there are probably a whole lot of questions raised here.  I also know that this is but my perspective.  Please, feel free to get in touch with Jake & Michelle directly, that's their address up there in the "CC" section.  Learn what you can of this sad affair and try to let them know just how wrong they are and how lessened they have made themselves for it.
 

Sadly and with deep regret,
 

Madoc Pope
Former President, Co-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer of Club X San Diego.


 
Jake & Michelle's First Message
This is what Jake & Michelle sent out on Friday.  While I think it was the right thing for them to have so quickly recognized the damage their actions caused and that it speaks highly of them to have so quickly apologized, I also think their attempt to insult me undermines the sincerity of that apology.
12/07/01 1:16 PM

Madoc and All,
 

Hindsight is always 20/20.  In looking at our actions of last night, Jake and I have come to the conclusion that we have done damage and hurt the members that were in attendance, members not in attendance, the Board of Club X and Richard and Delline in particular.  For this we are very truly sorry. 
 

For all the right reasons we took the wrong actions.  This was made abundantly clear by those in attendance who spoke up in the meeting and by those of you who gently pointed it out after the meeting.  Thank you for staying and for being honest.  The meaning of amends is making right the wrong we have done. 
 

At the end of the day, we are still just people.  Our hope is that there are those among you who know us well enough to know that it was not our intent to do harm.  Whether intending to or not, we know that we have done harm. 
 

Friendship is precious to us both and we both hope that one day there will be a time when we can take the emotion out of it and sit down with both Delline and Richard and regain their friendship.  We know the hard work Richard has done to get the Club back on its feet.  He selflessly went to bat for the Club and negotiated with the Resort to solve the LF debt.  We are truly appreciative of his efforts. 
 

The one truth you spoke Madoc was that we are too emotionally involved to be able to be effective.  It is true that we have given of our hearts and souls to put LeatherFest back on the map.  We hope that LeatherFest will go on to be what it was intended.  The Community's chance to educate and to reach out to those who would otherwise not have an opportunity to be introduced to this lifestyle.  It was our introduction to this community and for that reason will always hold a special place in our hearts. 
 

For that reason, we have both decided that in the best interest of the Club and of its membership we will resign our position as Executive Directors for LFXII, will further not interfere with the debt resolution of LFXI.  Jake is prepared to resign as President of Club X as soon as the position of President is reassigned.   We hope that in so doing, Richard will take back the reigns as President, that Delline will reconsider her resignation and that the membership will be spared from any further harm.  Club X means a lot to us and we want you to know that we are still willing to do whatever it takes to resolve the debt owed by LFXI but will leave it to Richard to decide when or how. 
 

The general membership at the meeting suggested sitting down with a mediator with the hope that communication could be reestablished among the Board members in order to make right the damage that occurred last night.  We will again leave that to the Board to decide.  We are willing to participate if and when you do decide it would be in the best interest of the Club to do so. 
 

We will hand over any/all records of LFXI so that whomever runs LFXII will not have to start things from scratch.  We will also help the new Directors if they need us.  We are also storing Club X property and archives in our garage and will help in getting them to the Club X storage when designated to do so. 


Finally, to Madoc, I hope that you come to realize the harm you do when you yield your pen.  You have accomplished what you set out to do.  We are hurt deeply by your words.  Please send this response from us to wherever you originally sent your posts.  We would like to remind you of a time Jake stood by you when you had made some very poor decisions for the Club. You and only you know to what we refer.  But that is on your conscience and our hope is that one day you will feel the backlash of your words that are meant to destroy others.   It is unnecessary at this point to belabor the issue of your post as we know that we were wrong last night and that is the only thing that need be addressed by us. 
 

We will be at the social tonight and available to talk if you wish to. 
 

We remain Yours in Community Service and Leather,
Jake Lee and Michelle Zornes
 
 
 

In a message dated Fri, 7 Dec 2001  3:00:08 AM Eastern Standard Time, Madoc Pope <thor62@home.com> writes:
 

> Jake, Michelle,

> It truly pains me to have seen what the both of you did tonight.  You have 
> not only unjustly insulted Richard, you have not only caused Delline to 
> resign in disgust at your actions, you have not only just thrown away the 
> weeks of negotiations that Richard achieved with the hotel, nor have you 
> just placed the Club in a horrendous financial position, but you have also 
> managed to diminish and insult yourselves in the process.  What you did was 
> just plain wrong and you both are the lesser for it.

> In the span of two or three weeks Richard achieved greater success and more 
> results in dealing with the hotel than the both of you did in the two 
> months preceding his efforts.  At a stroke you threw that all away.  Your 
> justification of it all being over "procedural grounds" is an ugly thing 
> for the two of you to hide behind.  Had this truly been so then you could 
> have found a great many more ways of working within the Board to overcome it.

> Instead, you lead off the meeting with an attack on Richard, a purely naked 
> power grab with absolutely no justification, and which revealed your 
> personal motivations to their core.

> Jake, Michelle, the basic facts are that neither of you are capable of 
> dealing with the situation the Club now finds itself in.

> You are too emotionally involved to deal with this in the rational, 
> professional, and businesslike manner it needs to be handled with.  Richard 
> was.  That is why he achieved the results he had in such a short span of 
> time and why neither of you had been able to achieve anything close in the 
> months you had before the Board stepped in.  Yes, Richard mishandled that 
> action in that he didn't dot his "i's" and cross his "t's" in getting the 
> Board to cast that vote to take over handling the LeatherFest debts and 
> suspending efforts on future LeatherFest's until that debt was 
> settled.  Procedures aside, the fact remains that the Board did agree that 
> you two were not achieving the needed results and that something must be 
> done before the hotel files suit against the Club.

> Instead of accepting this and trying to deal with things constructively, 
> you took it as a personal attack by Richard against the two of you.  This, 
> despite his repeated declarations that his efforts, and the Club's decision 
> to take over the resolution of the debt, had nothing to do with the way you 
> ran LeatherFest.  This was in no way a personal attack.  There comes a 
> point where we can only tell this to you so many times before it becomes 
> insulting for you to echo back that you are being "victimized."

> Jake, Michelle, the two of you did an outstanding job in running 
> LeatherFest XI.  You went from $800 in the bank to holding an event that 
> saw almost $80,000 pass through it.  You put in horrendous hours and your 
> dedication to its success is well over and above that which anyone could 
> have expected.  We acknowledge that.  We thank you for that.

> The debt remains.

> So too does the fact that for two months, from September, when you first 
> reported about the debt to the Club X Board, to when Richard finally 
> pressed the issue in November, nothing had changed in regard to the debt 
> being resolved.  The two of you made commitments to take certain actions 
> and report back to the Board - but you did not.  Again and again you did 
> not.  If we had fully detailed minutes and full print outs of everything 
> that was posted on CXAdmin then this would be even more clear.  From that 
> procedural point alone you are even more remiss than Richard is for his 
> "failings" to follow proper procedure.

> Jake, Michelle, no one doubts that the two of you want to resolve the debt 
> LeatherFest XI has incurred.  It IS your responsibility but it is NOT your 
> fault.  You seem to be missing that point.  What Richard was well on his 
> way to doing was resolving that debt and doing so in a way that does not 
> further the Club's debt, put any one individual at great financial risk, or 
> cripple LeatherFest XII before it even starts.

> In the process of seizing power within the Club you have managed to destroy 
> what cohesion was left and alienate two of the most dedicated and effective 
> individuals who were on the Board.  Congratulations.  You have achieved a 
> truly pyrrhic victory.  You have supplanted and forced out the one person 
> who was best qualified to solve the debt problem, caused another Board 
> member to not only resign from the Board but to disgustedly quit the Club 
> entirely.  In the process you also rendered the Board of incapable of 
> making decisions or taking actions - and this when the hotel has set an end 
> of the year deadline to resolve the debt or else they may start suing us to 
> recover it.

> Jake, Michelle, this is a pathetic ending to your LeatherFest XI 
> efforts.  It did not have to be this way.  Yet this is what you have forced 
> it to be.  I truly hope that this mythical "anonymous benefactor" exists 
> and I truly hope that he or she is willing to loan the Club the $30,000 it 
> needs.  With such pointless and vindictive melodramas now being the norm 
> for Board meetings any such benefactor would have to be a fool to throw 
> such money our way.

> This Club has been teetering on the edge of collapse for many months 
> now.  Richard and Jeff were the only ones who were consistently working to 
> keep the Club afloat.  The rest of the Club X Board was overwhelmed with 
> LeatherFest.  For the two you to so damn Richard for his efforts is 
> disgusting.  For you force this issue in such a way as to leave him no 
> choice but to resign is beyond vindictive, it is negligent.  The entire 
> Club is now at grave risk of being consumed by the financial mess which 
> resulted from LeatherFest XI.  Tonight you could have put your personal 
> feelings aside and dealt with things in a professional, rational, and 
> businesslike manner.  You could have put the good of the Club, the good of 
> its members, and your own personal financial safety over your personal 
> vendetta.  Yet you deliberately chose not to.  You insulted all of us in 
> the process and you lessened yourselves in the process as 
> well.  Congratulations.  Your motivations here are beyond me but the 
> results of your actions tonight are appallingly clear.

> Yes, Jake, Michelle, we are ALL in trouble now.

> Sincerely,

> Madoc Pope


 
My First Reply
I was saddened that Jake & Michelle could not bring themselves to make a clean breast of it.  That they could not apologize without having to try and hide behind something else, some other thing which they could express their outrage over. I knew this needed to be addressed but I also thought it in everyone's best interest to come together.  So, I sent this message out to the individuals Jake & Michelle had listed in the "CC" field of their message.
12/07/01 2:12 PM

Jake, Michelle, & all,
 

I am truly sorry that it had to come to this.  It pained me greatly to watch you take the actions you did at the Board meeting.  They were uncalled for, unjust, unnecessary, and tarnished the great effort which both undertook on behalf of Club X to get LeatherFest running again.  It was a sad thing to come to pass.
 

I am glad that you both recognize this and are so quickly willing to make amends.  That says much for you both and is more like that Jake & Michelle I came to know over these past several years.
 

With your help and participation I look forward to rebuilding the Club and continuing to hold more LeatherFests.  We will overcome the current problems and move forward.  Thank you.
 

Sincerely,
 

Madoc
 

At 12/07/2001 04:16 PM -0500, SirJacob1@aol.com wrote:
>Madoc and All,
>
>Hindsight is always 20/20.  In looking at our actions of last night, Jake and I have come to the conclusion that 
>we have done damage and hurt the members that were in attendance, members not in attendance, the Board of 
>Club X and Richard and Delline in particular.  For this we are very truly sorry.
>
>For all the right reasons we took the wrong actions.  This was made abundantly clear by those in attendance 
>who spoke up in the meeting and by those of you who gently pointed it out after the meeting.  Thank you for 
>staying and for being honest.  The meaning of amends is making right the wrong we have done.
>
>At the end of the day, we are still just people.  Our hope is that there are those among you who know us well 
>enough to know that it was not our intent to do harm.  Whether intending to or not, we know that we have done 
>harm.
>
>Friendship is precious to us both and we both hope that one day there will be a time when we can take the 
>emotion out of it and sit down with both Delline and Richard and regain their friendship.  We know the hard 
>work Richard has done to get the Club back on its feet.  He selflessly went to bat for the Club and negotiated 
>with the Resort to solve the LF debt.  We are truly appreciative of his efforts.
>
>The one truth you spoke Madoc was that we are too emotionally involved to be able to be effective.  It is true 
>that we have given of our hearts and souls to put LeatherFest back on the map.  We hope that LeatherFest will 
>go on to be what it was intended.  The Community's chance to educate and to reach out to those who would 
>otherwise not have an opportunity to be introduced to this lifestyle.  It was our introduction to this community and 
>for that reason will always hold a special place in our hearts.
>
>For that reason, we have both decided that in the best interest of the Club and of its membership we will resign 
>our position as Executive Directors for LFXII, will further not interfere with the debt resolution of LFXI.  Jake 
>is prepared to resign as President of Club X as soon as the position of President is reassigned.   We hope that in 
>so doing, Richard will take back the reigns as President, that Delline will reconsider her resignation and that the 
>membership will be spared from any further harm.  Club X means a lot to us and we want you to know that we 
>are still willing to do whatever it takes to resolve the debt owed by LFXI but will leave it to Richard to decide 
>when or how.
>
>The general membership at the meeting suggested sitting down with a mediator with the hope that 
>communication could be reestablished among the Board members in order to make right the damage that 
>occurred last night.  We will again leave that to the Board to decide.  We are willing to participate if and when 
>you do decide it would be in the best interest of the Club to do so.
>
>We will hand over any/all records of LFXI so that whomever runs LFXII will not have to start things from 
>scratch.  We will also help the new Directors if they need us.  We are also storing Club X property and archives 
>in our garage and will help in getting them to the Club X storage when designated to do so.
>
>Finally, to Madoc, I hope that you come to realize the harm you do when you yield your pen.  You have 
>accomplished what you set out to do.  We are hurt deeply by your words.  Please send this response from us to 
>wherever you originally sent your posts.  We would like to remind you of a time Jake stood by you when you 
>had made some very poor decisions for the Club. You and only you know to what we refer.  But that is on your 
>conscience and our hope is that one day you will feel the backlash of your words that are meant to destroy 
>others.   It is unnecessary at this point to belabor the issue of your post as we know that we were wrong last 
>night and that is the only thing that need be addressed by us.
>
>We will be at the social tonight and available to talk if you wish to.
>
>
>We remain Yours in Community Service and Leather,
>Jake Lee and Michelle Zornes
 


 
My Question To Jake
After sending out my first reply to just those folks who I could determine had received Jake & Michelle's message, I then asked Jake what he was referring to with his last minute innuendo.
12/07/01 2:32 PM

Jake, Michelle,
 

At 12/07/2001 04:16 PM -0500, you wrote:
<snip>
Finally, to Madoc, I hope that you come to realize the harm you do when you yield your pen.  You have accomplished what you set out to do.  We are hurt deeply by your words.  Please send this response from us to wherever you originally sent your posts.  We would like to remind you of a time Jake stood by you when you had made some very poor decisions for the Club. You and only you know to what we refer.  But that is on your conscience and our hope is that one day you will feel the backlash of your words that are meant to destroy others.   It is unnecessary at this point to belabor the issue of your post as we know that we were wrong last night and that is the only thing that need be addressed by us.
 

What _are_ you talking about here?
 

I am more than willing to send out your apology and announcement of resignation to all those I emailed about last night's meeting.  But that will wait until I know what you are inferring here.
 

Madoc


 
Jake's Reply
In response to my question, Jake sent me this reply in which he makes clear his reasons why he is so outraged and also what, exactly, is that deep dark terrible secret about me that he and Michelle have been keeping in confidence.
12/07/01 5:05 PM

Madoc,

I am specifically referring to the October 29th play party in which you allowed to persons who walked in off the street who happened to be undercover vice officers entrance without forethought or without this admission when the raid happened.  We all make mistakes, Madoc.  I've had your back ever since that time and have never once broken your confidence.  THAT is what I am SPECIFICALLY referring to.  I cannot believe you have such short term memory as to have forgotten.  While I will continue to maintain that confidence I hope you can look to your conscience when pointing the finger at me.  While I have admitted the harm I have done this Club and the individuals in it, and am willing to do whatever it takes for rectification, you play stupid and stab me in the back like no one ever has in my life to this point.  Thanks for your support.

Jake 


 
My Reply to Jake and Michelle
To say that I was amazed at Jake's reply is an understatement.  There was no secret to be held in confidence and I had long since taken full - and public - responsibility for my actions that night.  I have no idea why he would think otherwise.
12/07/01 5:38 PM

Jake & Michelle,

At 12/07/2001 08:05 PM -0500, SirJacob1@aol.com wrote:
>Madoc,
>
>I am specifically referring to the October 29th play party in which you allowed to persons who walked in off the street 
>who happened to be undercover vice officers entrance without forethought or without this admission when the raid >happened.  We all make mistakes, Madoc.  I've had your back ever since that time and have never once broken your 
>confidence.  THAT is what I am SPECIFICALLY referring to.  I cannot believe you have such short term memory as to 
>have forgotten.  While I will continue to maintain that confidence I hope you can look to your conscience when pointing 
>the finger at me.  While I have admitted the harm I have done this Club and the individuals in it, and am willing to do 
>whatever it takes for rectification, you play stupid and stab me in the back like no one ever has in my life to this point. 
>Thanks for your support.
>
>Jake
 

Where to start here?  I have already accepted your apology for what the two of you did last night.  I will shortly be distributing your email - minus the "poor decisions" paragraph - to all the folks I made my original mailings to last night.  Even if you were spot on with your facts I would still edit your message as your attempt at getting in one last zinger even amidst your trying make amends was wholly unfitting to that attempt.
 

Jake, it is very difficult for me to relate to your frame of mind right now.  I see the anger in the two of you and can understand but only some of it.  I want to believe that it is comes from a misguided desire to set things right and not anything more vindictive.  How it had its effect in the real world is something else and again but you have now recognized this and taken responsibility for it.
 

I did not "stab you in the back."  The two of you took very direct action last night and I called you both on that directly.  I betrayed no confidences, told no lies, made up no facts - and I also made sure to include you on the correspondence I sent out about your actions in that meeting.  Nor have I launched any diatribe against you.  I have tried to keep this from getting personal.
 

The main reason why I did not think of this incident at the October Party is because there was nothing to hide, and nothing which I have not already been very open about.  In just about every recounting I have made about the details of the police raid on our party I have always been _very_ clear that I was the one who let the two undercover vice officers in to the party.  I have made sure to make that point as plainly as I could as it is _very_ educational to the people I am describing the raid to.  I fully, completely, openly, and honestly accept my responsibility for making that decision and I have freely discussed it with others.  This is why I simply had no idea what you were talking about.
 

Jake, if you think that this is something I would rather have kept secret then you have come to this opinion by yourself and done so without listening to the other people in our community.  Hell, when I went off to the Leather Leadership Conference in DC back in 2000, I even addressed entire workshops filled with people about this very point.  In the poster session there, I made a point of telling the folks about this as a lesson in just how devious the vice officers can be.
 

I have never had anything to hide Jake.  If you thought otherwise, and if you have been bearing this burden, then you have done so without ever asking me if it needed to be borne.
 

Jake, Michelle, you both have done amazing things for our community.  You both deserve praise for that.  What you also deserve now is some time to recoup.  Some time to get your lives back in order.  Some time to regain your health.  The two of you have become worn out and ground down carrying the burden of running LeatherFest.  Please, for your sake, take the time you need to rebuild yourselves.  You both are worth it, you both need it, and you both deserve it.
 

Sincerely,
 

Madoc


 
My Second Mailing of Jake & Michelle's Message
I made a mistake here.  I knew that Jake was factually incorrect in assuming that I had had some secret to hide about my previous actions.  I knew that it was highly inappropriate to include an insult in the midst of trying to make an apology.  So, I edited out part of that last paragraph in an attempt to lessen the damage I perceived Jake & Michelle doing to themselves.  I should not have done that as I think it just gave them more ground to feel aggrieved.

I am not going to include the entire message here, just that last paragraph.  The part that I changed.  Compare it to their original one to see the difference.

12/07/01 7:11 PM

...

Finally, to Madoc, I hope that you come to realize the harm you do when you yield your pen.  You have accomplished what you set out to do.  We are hurt deeply by your words.  Please send this response from us to wherever you originally sent your posts.  It is unnecessary at this point to belabor the issue of your post as we know that we were wrong last night and that is the only thing that need be addressed by us.

....
 


 
My First Request
The more I thought about Jake & Michelle's Friday reply the worse it felt for me.  A number of people told me the same thing at the Club X Monthly Social.  They too had read Jake & Michelle's message and were wondering why in the world they would try to make and apology while trying to make insult at the same time.  I felt this needed to be addressed so on the following Monday night I sent this.
12/10/01 11:44 PM

Jake, Michelle,
 

Hello and good evening.
 

It has been three days.
 

On Friday you tried to insult me even as you were trying to make amends.  In the message you sent out on Friday you resorted to a sly innuendo about some "very poor decisions" I made for the Club as if this somehow justified your actions on Thursday night or somehow rendered me unqualified to call you out when you both were so wrong.  That this all concerned some dark and terrible "secret" about me which you were alone in the world thinking actually existed was all the more amazing.
 

I pointed all of this out to you on Friday as well.  Not only were your remarks inappropriate they were also incorrect.
 

I had hoped to talk to you at the Friday night Social but you did not attend.  Over the weekend I had hoped to see some message from you in which you further apologized for making that underhanded accusation.  It has been three days since you made those remarks and even after I pointed out how wrong and incorrect they are you have remained silent.
 

You accused me of being both unethical and of being a liar by virtue of the fact that you were doing me some favor by maintaining in your confidence the details of those "poor decisions" I allegedly made.  You decry the harm I do when I wield my pen yet I never resorted to sly innuendoes or lowered myself to making personal attacks against the two of you.
 

Jake, Michelle, you have stated that you desire to make amends.  I ask you to act on that desire.  You have accused me of personal failings which are not only factually untrue but wildly inappropriate to have lowered yourselves to have made in the first place.  Please, for the sake of everyone involved, correct this.
 

I take very seriously any allegations about my integrity.  No few individuals saw fit to comment on the petulant nature of your attempted insult - and this even from the edited version of your message which I forwarded to them, per your request, on Friday.  You did yourselves a disservice by making such remarks.  You will be doing yourselves a favor by taking steps to correct them now.
 

A simple message from you is what is needed.  So far I am willing to accept that your remarks were made in both anger and in haste.  Despite the emotions and speed in which you made your remarks they are still _your_ remarks.  Now that you know not only of how inappropriate they were, how incompatible it was to attack me while attempting to apologize to the community at the same time, but also how incorrect your assumptions were, it is therefore time for you to let the community know this as well.
 

Jake, Michelle, I want to see this whole issue resolved as soon as possible.  No more innuendoes, no more insults.  But, if necessary I will explain all of this myself by sending out another message which goes in to the details.  I would rather you send your message of retraction and apology instead.  This would do you more good than my message but I will not leave your allegations unanswered and uncorrected.
 

I hope we can move forward together on this and I await your reply.

Madoc 


 
Jake's Last Email
The next day Jake sent me this.
12/11/01 1:47 PM

Madoc,

I am through with debating this in email.  If you want to come out from behind your computer and talk man to man, you know where I live and you have my phone number. I would very much appreciate talking about this one on one from here on out.  There have been many in our community who have had the courtesy to call me directly or come to my home to get to the truth.  I would appreciate the same courtesy with you.
Sincerely,

Jake

I tried calling Jake and Michelle on the 11th.  I left a message on their answering machine but got no call back that day.  The next day, the 12th, I tried once again and this time I got a hold of Jake directly.

We spoke for the better part of an hour if not more.  It was a good conversation.  This was the first time that Jake and I had had a chance to speak to each other directly since the Board meeting.  We both went over our positions and the reasons why we had both taken them.  Jake still was angry and hurt that I had sent out my first message so soon after the Board meeting and had not talked to him or Michelle first.  I explained that I had tried to talk to them during the Board meeting, that I had tried to reason with them at the Board meeting, but that they had rebuffed me each time.  They had completely ignored my advice, rejected my council, and had been hell bent and determined to have their way.  I felt that they had completely shut me out and that there was no longer any point in trying to delay things.  So, I sent out my first messages that early Friday morning.

I also explained to Jake just how wrong he was to have thought my actions at the Club X October '99 Play Party were somehow a secret or ones that I had not already publicly taken responsibility for.  I also told him once again that I had never asked him to keep anything about me in confidence.  That being so, that he was therefore factually incorrect in making that claim and that it was wholly inappropriate of him to make such a personal slander in a message where he was trying to apologize for his actions.

We discussed this a bit further and ended our conversation on an up note.  I told Jake that I thought he had now at least stopped digging himself in deeper and that he and Michelle could now begin the process of climbing up out of the hole they had dug for themselves.  I thought this resolved when we hung up the phone.  I was wrong.
 
 

Michelle's Friday Bomb
Just when I thought things had begun to calm down, just when I thought no more damage would be done by Jake and Michelle, out comes this.  I had truly thought this issue resolved and laid to rest.  Jake left that impression with me clearly.  So I was very much stunned when Michelle sent this one out to everyone on Friday - a full week after she had declared her intent on making amends and two entire days after I had resolved things with Jake.
12/14/01 10:40 AM

To All,
I have been content to sit by and let our apology stand.  I will not, however, let Madoc Pope dictate when and if another needs to be made.  Please see below Madoc's post to us and my (not Jake’s) response in its entirety.  Just so that things cannot be misconstrued or edited by him as in our last response, I am sending it directly to all I know.  Because it was not shared with us where the last post went, I am sending it ONLY to people locally with whom I know received the original post.  As you can see, he has threatened another blasphemous post unless we comply and send another apology directly to him.  Enough is enough. 

Sincerely,
Michelle

<<<Jake, Michelle,

>Hello and good evening.
>
>It has been three days.
>
><<<<On Friday you tried to insult me even as you were trying to make 
>amends.  In the message you sent out on Friday you resorted to a sly 
>innuendo about some "very poor decisions" I made for the Club as if this 
>somehow justified your actions on Thursday night or somehow rendered me 
>unqualified to call you out when you both were so wrong.  That this all 
>concerned some dark and terrible "secret" about me which you were alone in 
>the world thinking actually existed was all the more amazing.
>
>I pointed all of this out to you on Friday as well  Not only were your 
>remarks inappropriate they were also incorrect.
>
>I had hoped to talk to you at the Friday night Social but you did not 
>attend.  Over the weekend I had hoped to see some message from you in which 
>you further apologized for making that underhanded accusation.  It has been 
>three days since you made those remarks and even after I pointed out how 
>wrong and incorrect they are you have remained silent.
>
>You accused me of being both unethical and of being a liar by virtue of the 
>fact that you were doing me some favor by maintaining in your confidence 
>the details of those "poor decisions" I allegedly made.  You decry the harm 
>I do when I wield my pen yet I never resorted to sly innuendos or lowered 
>myself to making personal attacks against the two of you.
>
>Jake, Michelle, you have stated that you desire to make amends.  I ask you 
>to act on that desire.  You have accused me of personal failings which are 
>not only factually untrue but wildly inappropriate to have lowered 
>yourselves to have made in the first place.  Please, for the sake of 
>everyone involved, correct this.
>
>I take very seriously any allegations about my integrity  No few 
>individuals saw fit to comment on the petulant nature of your attempted 
>insult - and this even from the edited version of your message which I 
>forwarded to them, per your request, on Friday.  You did yourselves a 
>disservice by making such remarks.  You will be doing yourselves a favor by 
>taking steps to correct them now.
>
>A simple message from you is what is needed.  So far I am willing to accept 
>that your remarks were made in both anger and in haste.  Despite the 
>emotions and speed in which you made your remarks they are still _your_ 
>remarks.  Now that you know not only of how inappropriate they were, how 
>incompatible it was to attack me while attempting to apologize to the 
>community at the same time, but also how incorrect your assumptions were, 
>it is therefore time for you to let the community know this as well.
>
>Jake, Michelle, I want to see this whole issue resolved as soon as 
>possible.  No more innuendos, no more insults.  But, if necessary I will 
>explain all of this myself by sending out another message which goes in to 
>the details.  I would rather you send your message of retraction and 
>apology instead.  This would do you more good than my message but I will 
>not leave your allegations unanswered and uncorrected.
>
>I hope we can move forward together on this and I await your reply.
>
>Madoc>>>>

Madoc,

We never once tried to justify our actions at the Board meeting.  We were wrong in our actions, we admitted it.  I am posting this to all I know so that you cannot edit its content.  You threatened to sling more of your arrows meant to cripple and destroy us unless we comply.  We apologized for our actions at the December Club X Board Meeting, but we will NOT grovel.

As difficult as it was, we decided to go to the people present at the Board meeting and apologize and admit fault.  We have done that.  It was not easy.  We responded to all who jumped on the bandwagon to condemn as well as those who called us personally without condemning. 

As surprising as it still is to me, there are those that would rather just tag on to negative hearsay and unless you were in attendance at the Board meeting it is just that.  When you sent our “edited” response, we do not know where it went. I do know from my boy who resides in LA that she has heard it all the way up there. We also know that it did not go to some of those you originally posted to as they have asked us to send it to them.

The reason we even mentioned the fact of the confidence Jake held in our response was to point out that we ALL (yes even you) make mistakes. 

You are under the misguided illusion that you are somehow the conscience of the Community. I've seen you destroy people because you donut like their behavior.  Others have sat idly by and let you.  I am not those others.  YOU ARE NOT THE KEEPER OF MY INTEGRITY nor of anyone's but your own. 

We had already planned to apologize the day after the Board meeting even before you posted.  Not to YOU, Madoc.  To the Membership and to Richard and Delline in particular. We do not casually dismiss an ill done a friend even with the best of intent.  We have since heard from Richard and he was genuine and warm and now wants to go on with what needs to happen to rectify things.  I admire him for this.  He was very magnanimous in his response and a true leader. 

You time and again insult us and post half-truths and yet YOU want an apology??? You refer to a “mythical benefactor” in your post and that is not damaging to our reputation???  We have kept this persons identity anonymous out of loyalty to them.  L_O_Y_A_L_T_Y, look it up.  We ask that you choose your actions carefully Madoc if and when you post again.  As you wield your pen to destroy others, we ask that you hold up the mirror and look at yourself.  We have made amends ONLY for the harm we did at the Board Meeting. We were wrong for our actions at the Board meeting only. We were not wrong in trying to correct the damage done the club by the unethical and incredibly glaring attempts for ONE person to run this Club even as well meaning as they are.  They ARE our signatures on the contract with the Riviera and yet we had no idea what has been and is going on between Richard and the Resort for its resolution.  Never once was it shared with us.  Does that not seem amiss?  Jake and I are the first people the Resort will come to when or if they decide to sue.  The vote that removed us as Directors is not in any Board meeting minutes and not one of the Board could confirm that they voted on it. Does that seem right to you?  We did NOT stop communications with the Resort and I sent a communiqué to Richard confirming that in October.  Jake kept his word to talk to the Resort every week on Monday to give the controller an update.  His response to us was that he planned on working with us on LFXII as soon as we resolved the debt which we had every intention to do.  Now we hear he had nothing but negative to say.  Why was this not told to us?  Why did we have to hear it from someone not even involved with Club X?

We were suddenly told we could no longer speak to this person when it was us who established the relationship in the first place.  By whose authority?  We appointed a person in August to head up fundraising to lessen the debt.  This person was told by Richard that she could not move forward and that we had been dismissed.  Again, by whose authority?  Are we now turning away money?  We were sent a notice of the meeting you referred to with the "community" the night before it happened and with such short notice could not attend. After the Board decision to accept no monies at the door, we know for a fact at the last play party they took money.  Have we learned nothing from the past mistakes made because one person (you) acted irresponsibly and autonomously?  There was no Board approval for this.  Jake sits on the Board and was never asked for his opinion or his vote on all that has transpired. 

Before the Board meeting in December, we honestly went through all the Board meeting minutes and never saw that Jake had been permanently replaced as President by Richard. It was an honest mistake.  It was not an oversight by Delline who took the minutes. She did her job.  It was an oversight by Jake and myself.  When we saw that there were Minutes at the December Board meeting that supported the fact that Richard was now President, Jake could have just said, “ok... I see them now” but Rudy then made the motion to have Jake take over as President.  It was too late.  Jake was then committed as the motion had been seconded.  And the vote was 3 for Jake, 1 for Richard and 1 abstention (also inaccurately recounted by you).  It must have looked contrived but in fact, was not.  We did not even know that Mike would be there but found out he was there on Richard’s behest. 

We also know that there was a sign up at the November play party (because we were there) that said all proceeds were going to LFXII seed monies. Who decided that???  It certainly wasn't the Board.  And just plain isn’t the truth.  And the vote to which you refer that happened over the phone, never happened.  We asked 4 of the six Board members and they denied that it happened. LFXII was put on hold.  As the Directors, don't you think we should have been informed?  Don't you think this should have been decided by the Board?  I do. 

You wonder wistfully why we're angry... Gee Madoc, it seems glaringly apparent to me why we would have feelings about not only being "dismissed" from the solution of the debt left at the Resort from LFXI but also knowing that the dismissal came not from the Board or its Membership.  This, after having worked for 17 months to ensure that we would even have an event.  Perhaps in the minds of some people we weren't acting fast enough but not even that was shared with us.  The only thing we heard was that we'd been terminated. 

When one person makes decisions for and about the Club without the knowledge or approval of the Board and the Membership, it can have long term and devastating ramifications.  When we Incorporated it meant that there was now a California code and bylaws we were held to.  We could no longer act as we have in the past and make decisions that could come back to haunt us later.  Can you not see this?  Or have you completely forgotten the decision YOU made autonomously to break the hard and fast rule made by the Board not to let anyone who had not prepaid into the play party that was raided?  It was YOU that let the undercover vice officers into the play party because YOU decided (on your own) to do so.  It harmed the entire leather community globally.  And yes, Madoc, we were ALL in trouble then.  But we worked together to find solutions.  We never pointed a finger at you and said that because you made a mistake you should suffer any more than you must have suffered in knowing it was your fault.  It would have been nice to have been shown the same courtesy by you but alas, you have chosen your method by trying to destroy us in the process.  Live with your own mistakes as I will live with mine.

It IS a big deal not to follow the bylaws and the rules of Club X.  Not just to dot the i’s and cross the t’s as someone so callously pointed out but to act in the best interest of the membership and ask Board approval before acting.

And if we cannot learn from our mistakes, what then?  Yes, Madoc even you make mistakes.  But before you next point the finger of condemnation, look closely at yourself.  It has been extremely painful to have those you have looked to for wisdom and guidance turn their backs and throw stones from glass houses.

I am not sending this on behalf of Jake.  I want to make that clear.  I am also now willing to step away completely from Club X, LeatherFest, the Community and the resolution to LFXI.  My energies are needed and will definitely be appreciated elsewhere.  I am not going away.  I will be present to support that which I choose to but will never again put myself on the chopping block of this community.

And if there is one among you who wants to talk about this, please show me the courtesy of talking directly to me.  My phone number is 8xx xxx-xxxx and you all now know my email address.

Sincerely,

Michelle Zornes
 


 
My Monday Reply
I called Michelle within minutes of her sending out her little bomb.  Our conversation was vastly different from the one that Jake and I had just two days prior.  Whereas Jake was as beaten down and remorseful a man as ever I had heard, Michelle was full of anger and intent on spreading her pain.  The hurtful intent and venom in her voice was very saddening to here.  Needless to say our conversation didn't get very far nor go very well. 

On Saturday I called them and got a hold of Jake.  A full day after Michelle had sent out her attack piece he had still not fully read it through.  He told me that the conversation he and I had on Wednesday was just between he and I and that Michelle was acting on her own.  I was amazed to hear this as it was anything but what he had made clear when we spoke that day. 

Jake told me that Michelle was just speaking her truth and that I would have to deal with her on my own for he was not going to get involved.

That Saturday night I spent a good deal of time figuring out just what I wanted to say.  Michelle had made a very personal attack on me.  It was very apparent that she was now intent on making me her next scapegoat. She had done this to Richard in the months leading up to LeatherFest and, sadly, the months after it too.  I think the main reason endured her abuse for as long as he did was because he realized that running LeatherFest was more important than enduring Michelle's tirades.  So he took it and Michelle would then get back to trying to run the event.

Well, LeatherFest is over now.  Jake and Michelle are no longer the ones having to deal with it, Richard is.  When Jake & Michelle tried escalating their abuse of Richard at the December Board meeting all they managed to do was destroy everything else around them.  They were called out for that abuse.  Richard is now no longer on the target list.  I guess Michelle couldn't get by without having a scapegoat for her to abuse.

I tried to make all this clear in even the draft of the message which I worked up.  I even went so far as sending Michelle and Jake a copy of that draft to show them just how seriously I took her attack on me.  I asked her to make things right on Monday.  And then I awaited her reply.  None came.

On Monday, I called Jake & Michelle yet again.  It seems that I am the only one capable of using the phone to speak with them.  Not surprisingly, Michelle was still full of venom.  She was still incapable of dealing with this in anything but an emotionally spiteful manner. 

Well, I am not going to be Michelle's scapegoat.  I am not going to idly stand by while she sprays out one insult after another at me.  I am not going to be Michelle's excuse for failing to deal with the failures she has created.  I am not going to play a role in her melodramas.  If she truly wishes to make the amends she so loudly proclaims is her intent, then she will have to do it without excuse, without rationalizations, and without trying to deflect attention from her mistakes by pointing her finger at me for some imagine sin on my part.

For her own sake, for the sake of her partner, Jake, for the good of the Club, for what little good is left of all the work the two of them did to make LeatherFest happen, and for the sake of the community which she holds so dear, I hope that Michelle does soon start making her amends.  I hope that she does start to heal herself, that she does, finally, start to give up her anger and stop her hurtful actions.

I hope she apologizes.  To herself, for herself, if for no one else. 

Madoc
 

12/17/01 9:53 PM

What a bloody, vindictive, petty, destructive, angry, depressing and pointless mess. Luckily it's not my bloody mess, it's Michelle's.  But a mess it still remains.

I know most of you are as saddened as I am in watching Michelle and Jake destroy themselves in the melodrama that they have made of Club X and LeatherFest. Michelle's latest message just adds to the damage and destruction they have already done. Jake and Michelle have already had their train wreck but now Michelle is not content to leave it at that. I guess there is not enough anguish and outrage in her life so she has set herself the goal of making things even more miserable by spewing even more venom and making yet another personal attack. I wish that this were not so. I wish that she would live up to her declared intent of making amends. I wish that she would just stop in her attacks, just stop in her search for people to blame their shame on, and I wish that she would just - for the sake of both of them - stop all this and begin to heal. 

On Friday the 14th Michelle fired off a truly regrettable and anger filled message in which she attempted to damn me for all of her ills. Jake & Michelle had already tried to pin all their suffering on me for my having had the ill manners to let other people know what I thought of the destruction they left behind at the Club X Board meeting on Thursday the 6th. In my messages I sent out about their appalling behavior I criticized them only for the actions they took and the poor judgment they showed. I did not attack them personally. I did not call them liars. I did not say they were unethical. I did not "go personal" on either of them. I knew that they had made some bad mistakes and I simply pointed this out and called on them to correct their actions. 

On Friday, little more than half a day later, Jake & Michelle sent out a message in which they declared their intent to do just that. Many of you have a copy of that for I forwarded it to you as well. In that message Jake & Michelle apologized for all the Hell they had brought down upon Club X, upon LeatherFest, upon the Board, and upon individual Board members in particular. Jake & Michelle then piously proclaimed how sorry they were for the devastation they left in their wake and that they were now willing to make amends. This would have been wonderful had they left it at that. But that was something they could not bring themselves to do. Instead they finished off their message, in which they proclaimed their contrition, by then taking one last stab and hurling a cheap and petty insult at me via a sly innuendo . Truly a shortsighted and self-defeating thing to do to themselves. 

Where I grew up I was taught that if you are truly sincere in making an apology, if you have truly accepted that you have made a mistake, if you truly desire to make amends for you failings, then you should let your apology stand by itself. You shouldn't try and rationalize your behavior. You shouldn't try and excuse it. You shouldn't try to deflect attention from it by pointing a finger elsewhere. If you really are sorry then that is all you really should say. I guess Jake & Michelle never got this lesson when they were growing up, and I guess they still haven't gotten it now.

When Jake & Michelle hinted that they were holding in confidence some deep, dark, terrible secret about a "poor judgment" of mine, they did more than just try and insult me by that. They also managed to throw into question the sincerity of their entire message. They destroyed their own attempt at making an apology.  If Jake & Michelle were truly contrite, if they truly were sorry, if their apology was truly sincere, and if they truly wanted to make amends then they would have had the courage to let their apology stand by itself. 

They would not have tried rationalizing their actions. They would not have tried excusing their actions. They would not have tried to deflect attention from their actions by pointing their fingers at me. They would have simply stated that they were sorry for the hurt they caused, that they wished to make amends and they would have left it at that. They would have let their apology stand by itself.  I wish they had found the courage within themselves and the strength within themselves to have done just that. 

I asked them about this that Friday and pointed out just how much damage they were continuing to do to themselves by failing to make a clean breast of it in their apology. I also asked just what in the world they were referring to about that alleged secret they were keeping in their confidence. I was very surprised and even more disappointed when I found out what it was. 

Jake & Michelle are alone in the world in thinking that I had any secrets concerning my actions at the October 99 Play Party. I have been very open about what I did, took responsibility for it then, and openly acknowledged my mistake. I have also made sure to include the details of it when I make presentations about the Raid, as I did at the Leather Leadership Conference in Washington, DC in the spring of 2000 and also at the Odyssey Weekend in San Jose that September.  Jake & Michelle should remember that at least for they were there with me.  There has been no secret and I never asked them to keep anything in confidence. I am all too aware that we all make mistakes and that is why what criticism I made of Jake and Michelle concerned only their actions and only their poor judgment. I did not attack them on a personal level nor throw such pathetic insults at them as they did me. Particularly as Michelle has now done. 

I let Jake & Michelle know all of this that Friday, the 7th, and I asked them to set the record straight. After hearing nothing back from them the entire weekend I sent another message to them on the night of the 10th in which I more clearly asked them to own up to their insult and start making the amends they claimed to so intent on. I called Jake & Michelle on the 11th and finally got a hold of Jake on Wednesday, the 12th. What followed was a much needed conversation. 

I can not recall ever having talked to a man so beaten down and full of remorse as Jake was that day. The pain over the devastation he caused was all too evident in his voice. He fully knew just how badly he had handled things and recognized how his actions were the primary cause of all the destruction he now saw around him. It was made all the more painful because we both knew that he wanted something better to have come from his actions. 

During that conversation, Jake made it very clear that he was the one who bore the responsibility for that message on the 7th.  That it was he who bore the responsibility for claiming I had some secret to hide.  That it was he who I should talk to about that and not Michelle.  Jake and Jake alone.  So I did.

Jake and I talked for the better part of an hour, and while we did not wind up agreeing on everything we did seem to resolve enough of the differences between us that we could all now move on together and begin healing the damage done. But that was on Wednesday. 

Two days later Michelle decided that there was entirely too much peace in the world for her taste.  So without any warning she fired off her attack piece. It is interesting to note that one of the things Michelle damned me the most for was my failing to have tried talking with either Jake or her before I sent off my messages after the Board meeting. There were only a couple of hours between when I left that Board meeting and when I sent out my messages. 

While I was at the Board meeting I had done my best to talk to Jake and talk to Michelle, but they would have none of it. They had shut me out at that meeting and were determined to have their way no matter the cost. Again and again I tried reasoning with them.  A number of us at that meeting tried reasoning with Jake & Michelle.  The financial risk they were putting the Club at by their actions was so great that even several of the non-members of the Club tried reasoning with them as well.  To no avail.  This is what I left that meeting with and that is why I saw no other way to get my point across to Jake & Michelle then to send out the messages I did.  I had done my best by talking to them directly at the Board meeting and they had brushed it all aside.

On the other hand, Michelle had a full week from when I first sent them a message in which she could have picked up the phone and talked to me person to person. She even had two days in which to have done this from when Jake and I had resolved things. I guess there was too much resolving going on for her taste. I guess she wanted to keep the pain going on and keep the hurt going on too. This was obvious in speaking with her. 

I had not even fully read her attack piece before I was on the phone dialing their number. I did eventually get a hold of Michelle and asked her why she sent that message after Jake & I had made such progress in coming together and working through the damage the two of them had done. I asked her why she would so personally attack me when I had been at pains not to "get personal" in what I criticized about her and Jake's actions. Michelle's responses could not have been more different from Jake's. Whereas Jake was filled with remorse and was genuinely sorry for the harm he inflicted on the rest of us, all Michelle was intent on was spreading pain. Michelle kept on asking me "You hurt now, don't you?" "How's it feel now?" "It hurts, doesn't it?" "You're in pain now, aren't you?"

These were not the words of a woman intent on making amends. These were not the questions posed by a woman wanting to heal the damage she had done. These were not the remarks made by a woman genuinely sorry for her actions. 

They were, instead, the remarks of a woman bent on feeding her anger. They were the remarks of a woman so desperate to avoid having to take responsibility for her own failings that she would do almost anything else. That she would use any excuse to become outraged over a "mistreatment," be it real or imagined.  Failing that, she would invent something to be outraged over. Anything would do. Just so long as she could work herself up into a towering fury and explosive outrage. Anything in which she could scream just how much she was the victim. Anything but deal with the facts. Anything but accept her own responsibility. Anything but that. This was the Michelle I was now dealing with. This is what Michelle allowed herself to become rather than face her own actions.

Michelle would rather blame me for all her ills rather than make an apology which could stand on its own. She would rather try and use me as a scapegoat for her shame than do anything more than mouth the words of that apology. Michelle can say all she wants about how sorry she is but until she stops trying to rationalize her actions, excuse her actions and deflect attention from her actions by pointing her finger at me then there she will be unable to make any amends for her actions. 

What a bloody, vindictive, petty, destructive, angry, depressing and pointless mess. This mess is now Michelle's. It is no longer Jake's. 

Jake and I have made our peace on this. He has spoken his truth, I mine, and we have agreed to move forward together to heal on this issue. I think that may be one reason why Michelle is now so vehement in her attacking me. She is now alone in her outrage. She is now alone in having to accept responsibility for the damage she and Jake did. Jake already has accepted this. Michelle has yet to do so. This is a sad thing to see. While I can understand how difficult it must be for someone like Michelle to accept so painful a thing that does not mean I will idly stand by while she spews her venom all around. Particularly when she takes aim at me with it and tries making me the root of all her sorrows. 

On Saturday the 15th I once again asked Michelle to set things right. I sent her a rough draft of this message to let her know just how serious I viewed her attack. I told her that I wanted to work with her and that I only sought a righting of the wrongs that she had done me. I did not ask her to grovel. I never have. I only want her to let go of her anger, stop feeding her pain, stop trying to destroy everyone around her, and start holding herself to the same standards she so regally insists others live up to.  I only want her and Jake to start the healing process by truly starting to make amends.

In short, I asked her to apologize.

It was as simple as that.

And at this point, nothing less will do.

Madoc

If you have any questions about this whole sordid mess then go ahead and ask them: thor62@cox.net.







[Top of Page]

[Back to Main]

This page was last updated on: 27 February 2003