2007 Annual Gathering of American Mensa/Timeline

From Mpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Parent article

Timeline of events related to the 2007 Annual Gathering of American Mensa

(Times are given in U.S. central time, the local time of both Birmingham and the American Mensa National Office.)

July 2-6, 1997

2003 or Early 2004

  • LeAnne Porter received a call from the Birmingham/Jefferson County Visitors and Convention Bureau. The BJCVB representative wanted to know who Pam Donahoo was. The BJCVB lady asked if American Mensa's procedures for hosting an Annual Gathering had changed since the BJCVB remembered that Central Alabama Mensa had dealt with them and the Sheraton Hotel for the 1997 AG. Ms. Donahoo had approached the Sheraton Hotel about holding another AG in Birmingham and the BJCVB was confused by this. Ms. Donahoo had not apprised anyone in Central Alabama Mensa about this contact.
  • To clarify the situation, LeAnne and Steve Porter met with Denise Searcy, a hotel employee and signatory on the 1997 contract, at the Sheraton Hotel. Denise began reminniscing about the 1997 AG, recounting instances where she was trying to get Rose Lee Crutcher to define "dry snacks and buffet items". Denise recounted that when she questioned Rose Lee, Rose Lee would just shrug her shoulders and say, "You know, dry snacks and buffet items." Denise said that she fully understood what was meant when a semi-truck pulled up to the loading dock on the opening day of the AG and pallets of food started coming out. Then Denise laughed.

Saturday, December 4, 2004

January, 2007

  • Issue #501 of the Mensa Bulletin has "Do-It-Yourself" as its theme, and features an article by Sharon McMahan about the upcoming Birmingham AG called "By the Members, For the Members, Of the Members". It says that "volunteers are the heart and soul of Mensa", and that this AG "follows this successful volunteer method. It is totally and absolutely a Mensa do-it-yourself project. It began this way and will conclude that way." It also notes that "ideas flow fast and furiously, especially with plentiful homemade food", and "The volunteer recipe proves itself successful again -- and 'soup's on!'" The issue also has an article by the Porters about the construction of their house in Birmingham, with the assistance of Mensan friends who volunteered to help out in the project.[2]

Sunday, March 4, 2007

  • The quarterly report of the Porters to the AMC about the status of the AG (as amended following their March 3 AG committee meeting) answers the question "What are the current pressing issues your planning group are facing, and can the AMC be of any assistance in helping deal with these issues?" with "None".[3]

May, 2007

  • The Sheraton hotel repeatedly told Mensa members that there were no more rooms available at the hotel for the contract rate of $89.25. The hotel offered to sell members rooms at considerably higher rates in the $200 to $300 range.[4] Rose Lee Crutcher worked with the hotel, reminding them of the provision in the Mensa contract that any available room in the hotel would be sold to AG attendees at the $89.25 rate. The hotel fixed the problem, only to have it reoccur. This happened at least three times. Mensans were also sometimes told by hotel representatives that they would have to pay to park in the adjacent garage, despite Mensa's special deal for free parking.[5]

Monday, May 21, 2007

  • Melinda Burnett, CMP at the Sheraton Hotel, wrote a letter to Rose Lee Crutcher, who was in charge of hotel negotiations for this gathering, saying that "Due to recent changes by the Jefferson County Health Department, which governs all public facilities," the hotel had concerns over the food service plans. However, Rose Lee did not receive the letter until after her May 28-30 visit to the hotel.[6]
  • George Smyly, Central Alabama Mensa Local Secretary and 2007 AG Hospitality Co-Chair immediately contacted the Jefferson County Health Department and spoke via telephone with Judy Sapp at the JCHD. She stated there had been no changes in Health Department regulations since prior to the 1997 AG held in Birmingham.

Monday, May 28, 2007

  • Rose Lee Crutcher arrives in Birmingham, AL on Memorial Day. Rose Lee, LeAnne, and Steve Porter tour the Sheraton Hotel facilities that evening. They do not meet with any hotel management on that date. The tour consists of viewing various suites and rooms in the hotel. This tour was necessary because various hotel staff had repeatedly stated that all but one Presidential Suite and all but one one-bedroom suite had been converted to regular rooms during the recent hotel remodeling. Everyone was very relieved to learn that these statements were not accurate. They toured four Presidential Suites and many one-bedroom suites.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

  • Rose Lee meets with hotel management on Tuesday, May 29 and Wednesday, May 30. She does not discuss the letter dated May 21 at that time because she had not received it yet. She meets with the hotel's General Manager (Mark Noyes) and its services manager. According to Crutcher, the GM became "surly and disagreeable" on the subject of Mensa volunteers bringing their own food into the hotel, although this was permitted by the contract as negotiated by Crutcher. He says that no food from members' kitchens would be permitted, as this would not be allowed by the Health Department. Crutcher believes that this is merely "testing to find holes in the contract" on the part of the hotel seeking more profit, and expects that hospitality will be able to go forward as planned, similarly to how it had been done in the same venue ten years earlier under the same health regulations. She notes that the Porters have read all 215 pages of the regulations and were familiar with the rules and their exceptions.[7]

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

  • Steve Porter, John Sanford (a member with commercial food processing and preparation experience), and Sam Samsil meet with hotel GM Mark Noyes. Sam is an attorney, who Porter felt prudent to have present while contract discussions were taking place, though no legal action was discussed or threatened.[8]

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

  • Denise Sercy, the sales manager for the Sheraton Birmingham, contacts the American Mensa National Office regarding problems with food planned to be served. They did this because American Mensa Limited (AML) is a signatory to the hotel contract for the gathering. They also made reference to "threats of getting a lawyer involved" on the part of the local group (apparently stemming from attorney Sam Samsil being present at the previous day's meeting), and requested a conference call on Monday.[9]

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Friday, June 8, 2007

  • In response to many changes which the hotel had made in their requirements, allowances, and rules, Steve Porter requests a written statement from Mr. Noyes outlining the limitations under which the AG would be operating.

Monday, June 11, 2007

  • A conference call was held with Pam, Denise, and hotel General Manager Mark Noyes. The hotel informs Pam that they have recently become aware of menu items planned for hospitality that they believe not to be in compliance with local health regulations. They say they were previously unaware of plans to bring homemade foods. They have been in contact with the health department, which has said that homemade soups and sauces are not permitted, though some baked goods such as brownies might manage to get a waiver. Another issue raised is that the members don't have Food Handler's Certificates, which are required for all people working in the kitchen. Pam sent them documentation of the Mensa food handling classes and certification which nine local members have completed, to see if this might qualify, but even if it does it is an insufficient number of people. The hotel has agreed to provide food handlers throughout the AG at a cost of $2000 (half of the $4000 cost to the hotel, so they are absorbing the other $2000), and set out food purchased via Sysco. Although the contract specifically allows the Mensa group to serve their own food, there is also a clause indicating that local regulations and laws must be followed.[11]
  • The hotel had been given no menu plans for hospitality on this date by the 2007 AG Committee, which claims that homemade foods had been discussed at every juncture with the hotel. Steve Porter receives a four-page letter from Sheraton Hotel GM Mark Noyes on this date. In this letter Mr. Noyes mentions the $2,000 cost for food certified associates (as noted above), which, according to the committee, had been promised at no cost in a meeting the preceding Friday. He also outlines multiple stipulations that the committee believes not to be addressed anywhere in Health Department rules and regulations, and even contradict these regulations. This letter was considered by the Porters and the AG committee to be a red flag. The Porters begin attempting to contact the AG AMC liaison, Mike Seigler to alert him of potential problems. At this point no one from the hotel, the AMC, or the National Business Office informed anyone on the 2007 AG Committee that any communication "behind the committee's backs" was taking place.
  • Later that day: Pam receives faxed copy of letter from hotel to Porters regarding food requirements, and it is forwarded to Russ and corporate counsel Maria Sawczuk.[12][13]

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

  • The hotel forwards to Pam a copy of the response from the Porters, and this is sent on to Russ and Maria.[14]

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

  • Pam called RVC 5 Mike Seigler to brief him. He hadn't yet spoken to the Porters, though he had been contacted by them.[15]

Thursday, June 14, 2007

  • Pam receives a phone message from the Porters and calls them back. Pam offers to use contacts within the Starwood hotel chain to try to get the hotel's GM to "lighten up" a bit. Steve, LeAnne, and Rose Lee Crutcher thank Pam for this help. Steve and LeAnne request a conference call the following day. The Porters indicate that they are trying to find a way to make things work, and that they plan on serving their food somehow (possibly in a suite separate from the hospitality room).[16]
  • Also that day, Pam calls the Vice President of Global Sales for Starwood and leaves a message. She also speaks to Mike Seigler and compares notes regarding the conversations they have had.[17]
  • The Porters managed to contact Mike Seigler at his work. Mike instructed the Porters to contact Pam Donahoo which they did immediately. Rose Lee Crutcher was not part of this communication. Alternative plans for hospitality were not discussed as part of this call.

Friday, June 15, 2007

  • 11 am: Pam gets a phone call from the hotel GM. He talks about how pleased they are with the room booking (over 3200 room nights) and about how the hotel wants to make the event a success. Pam offers to fly in next week to work on things, but the GM says he didn't think this was necessary. He wants the group to sit down and tell him of their plans, and he and the hotel staff will make it work.[18]
  • Following this, Pam has a call with Steve and LeAnne, who by this point are saying that they don't want the hotel's help, and if they can't do the AG the way they want, "by Mensans for Mensans", they want no part of it. Pam assures them of her support, but warns that any kind of legal action requires AML involvement. According to Pam, the Porters are getting emotional and are talking about legal action such as suing as individuals.[19]
  • Evening: Pam informs Russ about the latest call.[20]
  • The Porters called Pam Donahoo to get a report on her Starwood "back channel" communications. Ms. Donahoo was very excited and reported that everything was great. Mensa would do whatever the Sheraton Hotel wanted because the primary concern was to keep the Sheraton Hotel happy. The Porters responded that their primary concern was to keep Mensa members happy and to enforce the existing AG hotel contract within the limits of the law. Ms. Donahoo responded that this wouldn't do and that if the Porters didn't conform to her scenario she would remove them as chairs of the event. The Porters stated that this was not an appropriate thing for an employee to say and asked that she have Russ Bakke call them that evening. The Porters told Ms. Donahoo that we would not keep such a dismissal secret. As part of this conversation the Porters offered alternative ideas for serving hospitality food that would not involve utilizing the Sheraton Hotel ballroom space and kitchen facilities. Ms. Donahoo stated that the hotel would find some means of shutting this down and implied that she would fully support them in their efforts. Again Ms. Donahoo never reported on any communications she was having with the Sheraton Hotel Birmingham.
  • Russ Bakke had not called by 11pm CDT. At this point the Porters called him. This was 9pm Las Vegas time. They specified that it was impossible to negotiate with a hotel when the hotel was getting different messages from different participants in the negotiation process. The hotel had attempted to get different messages from Rose Lee Crutcher and the Porters. When that didn't work the hotel then appealed to Pam Donahoo and was successful. The Porters asked Russ to send a faxed letter to the hotel to arrive on Monday morning stating that the Porters or their designee (Rose Lee Crutcher) were the only individuals authorized to negotiate with the hotel regarding the 2007 AG. Russ stated that he could fix this. Russ requested that the Porters send an e-mail summarizing the phone conversation. The e-mail was sent at 12:25 that evening.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

  • The "official" timeline distributed by national Mensa states that Russ spoke with the Porters, and the Porters accused Pam of interfering with the hotel and undermining their position, and made an ultimatum that "we do it our way or we won't be involved at all".[21] However, the Porters say that they did not communicate with Russ Bakke in any manner on Saturday, June 16. Apparently, the chronology entry actually refers to their conversation the preceding evening.
  • The quarterly report of the Porters to the AMC about the status of the AG (filed on June 16[22] for the July 6 AMC meeting) answers the question "What are the current pressing issues your planning group are facing, and can the AMC be of any assistance in helping deal with these issues?" with "We are currently having disputes with the hotel and have asked Russ Bakke to take the steps necessary to assist us in resolving these matters."[23]

Sunday, June 17, 2007

  • Evening: The AML Executive Committee had a conference call, reviewed the documentation on what had occurred so far, and agreed among themselves that we must comply with hotel and health department regulations, and we should use the hotel's offer of assistance. Pam said that she would not be involved in contacting the hotel again if this would help calm the waters.[24]
  • Afterward: Russ called the Porters, and according to Russ the Porters indicated that they would comply with all regulations even if the AG wouldn't be the way they wished it to be. They requested that Russ fax the hotel to indicate that the Porters remain the primary Mensa contacts for the hotel.[25]
  • Throughout the entire process the Porters kept stating that they would conform to all applicable laws. They also stated that all provisions of the contract should be enforced within these limitations.

Monday, June 18, 2007

  • Russ faxes the hotel as requested by the Porters.[26]
  • Steve Porter called Judy Sapp at the Jefferson County Health Department to establish a meeting to clarify the rules under which the 2007 AG would operate. Judy Sapp stated the earliest such a meeting could occur would be late Tuesday afternoon, but it might be Wednesday, June 20th or even Thursday, June 21st. Steve Porter also called Mr. Noyes and scheduled a meeting for Wednesday evening, June 20th. After this Steve Porter's employer informed him of an appointment for the same evening so he rescheduled the meeting with Mr. Noyes for Thursday evening, June 21st.
  • 9:16 pm: After hearing rumors that they are planning on being "creative" with hospitality, possibly including busing people between the hotel and their house, Russ e-mails the Porters imposing a 48 hour deadline to provide a detailed report on what they plan on doing about the hospitality issues, saying that the plan's acceptability would have to be confirmed with the hotel via AML's attorney.[27]
  • 9:44 pm: The Porters respond that the 48-hour requirement is one that there is "no possibility of complying with" because it will take longer to get a response from the Health Department, which they plan on meeting with "late tomorrow afternoon at the earliest". They further stated that "If we need to be handing this over to others please let us know by 10 am central time tomorrow, June 19".[28]
  • 10:20 pm: Russ replies that he wants the Porters to continue, and wants to be as supportive as possible, but also wants to provide what is best for Mensa. He requests nightly updates on the status of the AG hospitality issues, and mentions rumors that the Porters are considering moving hospitality to their house, stating that Mensa expects any contingency plan to be carried out in the hotel.[29]
  • Very late Monday evening Russ Bakke called and informed the Porters that they had 48 hours in which to resolve all hospitality issues and all problems with the hotel. The Porters stated this was not possible because the Health Department could not meet with them in that time frame.
  • The Bakke contention that hospitality must "be carried out in the hotel" is most interesting since AGs have historically held hospitality events at off-site locations and there are no ASIEs forbidding this.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

  • Very Late Evening -- actually Tuesday morning: George Smyly, the Local Secretary of Central Alabama Mensa, calls Russ to express concerns that the Porters might have to write a "two hour report every night" while they're busy with last-minute details for the AG.[30]
  • 12:41 am: Russ writes to the ExCom mailing list that he received an "almost instant response from the Porters" and that this showed a "cooperative spirit". However, he also said that "If I sense a stall or any game playing, I am prepared to pull the plug. I hope, however, that does not become necessary."[31]
  • 11:42 am: Russ e-mails the Porters mentioning George's call and saying that he's not trying to make their lives miserable or waste their time, and all that is needed is quick status updates, not a two hour report. However, he says he would be remiss in his duties if he didn't monitor the situation in a "24-hour manner".[32]
  • Sometime that day: Russ speaks to the Sheraton GM to express that AML was behind the Porters' efforts to reach a friendly compromise, and was monitoring the situation daily.[33]
  • 7:11 pm: Steve Porter informs Russ by e-mail that he has a Health Department meeting the following afternoon.[34]
  • 11:59 pm: Russ e-mails the Porters saying "the natives are restless" and that "I am leaning over backwards to buy you the necessary time, but I also need to stress that we are at critical mass here." He requested a report the following evening on what the plans were, more extensive than a single sentence.[35]

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

  • Late afternoon: Steve Porter and John Sanford met with the Health Department to receive guidance on what they could and could not serve. Judy Sapp indicated she would give a written ruling indicating what could and could not be served in the Sheraton Ballroom. She stated that she understood the time sensitive nature of the problem.[36]
  • 5:15 pm: The Porters were scheduled to meet with the hotel, but canceled this meeting and moved it to the following day because of other commitments including the Health Department and another meeting.[37]
  • Evening: The hospitality co-chairmen met to re-work the purchase list based on what Porter called "the new realities we are dealing with."[38]

Thursday, June 21, 2007

  • 12:29 am: The Porters e-mail Russ (copied to the ExCom and others) saying how busily they have been working, both on the AG and on their real-world jobs, and how adding additional requirements from national Mensa is an imposition. They also criticize Pam and Russ for involving themselves in hotel negotiations against the wishes of the AG committee, saying that "Standard business practice requires that a single voice carry out negotiations." Finally, they issue an ultimatum: "You have two options: fire us or return full charge of this AG to us. We must know by noon central time Friday, 22 June. It is not fair to the members to let this situation continue."[39] Text of Porters' letter
  • 3:04 pm: Russ responds (actually addressed to George Smyly, but copied to the Porters and various others including the ExComm) that "In forty five years of volunteer-run AGs, there has never been an ultimatum posed to the governing body of this organization that demands zero awareness and/or accountability or else." He says that New York corporate law, under which American Mensa is incorporated, requires its governing body to show fiduciary responsibility, and as a result he was demanding that the AG committee provide specific updates on how various aspects of the hotel situation were being handled. He reports that the ExCom would be holding an emergency meeting with legal counsel at 6 PM PDT (8 PM CDT), and a response is requested from the AG committee a half hour earlier so it can be presented.[40]
  • 3:46 pm: Cookie Bakke e-mails Russ to note that she had just talked to Mark Noyes, and found out that a meeting had been set up at 5:15 PM between people connected with the hotel and people on the AG committee. The hotel people indicated frustration with lack of communication, and indicated that they have a close relationship with the local health department (the hotel is owned by the city) and cannot budge on the requirement of only pre-packaged foods to be brought in. Cookie told them that she was just gathering facts, and that she didn't want anybody to tell the Porters that she had called the hotel. She indicated that the ExComm was prepared to take fast action if the issues were not resolved shortly, but she hoped that the meeting would be successful (wishing she was a fly on the wall there).[41]
  • At no time did the Health Department state that only pre-packaged goods could be served at the AG. Cookie Bakke was doing exactly what Pam Donahoo had done in trying to have another party enter the hotel negotiations.
  • 5:15 pm: The Porters meet with the hotel (postponed from the previous day). Mark (the hotel general manager) reports that he got some information from them then, but less than he was hoping to get (according to Cookie). Besides hospitality food issues, the hotel is also concerned that it has not yet received a copy of the program so that they can enter it into the hotel computers and complete scheduling; Steve says that this will be provided the following day (Friday).[42]
  • 5:31 pm: George Smyly e-mails Russ in reply to one of his e-mails, mentioning the meetings with the Health Department and the hotel, and that they have met and called Mark Noyes and that "He has agreed that the hotel will abide by the Health Department's decisions." He reports that the Health Department has promised a more detailed response today but has not gotten back to them yet. He reaffirms that the Porters have the unanimous support of Central Alabama Mensa's ExCom, and Smyly's complete confidence as LocSec.[43]
  • Ending about 7 pm: The national ExComm has a teleconference where they unanimously agreed that they urgently need to know the details of the revised hospitality plans.[44] The ExComm authorized Russ to remove the Porters and appoint Beth Anne Demeter as AG chair if detailed reports are not forthcoming. [45]
  • 7:16 pm: The Porters e-mail Russ informing him about Wednesday's meeting with the Health Department.[46]
  • 10:53 pm: Russ e-mails Smyly, copying a number of other involved people both nationally and in Birmingham, mentioning the ExComm teleconference and the Porters' latest e-mail, and insisting on more detail on the revised hospitality plans, including a statement in writing from the Health Department (due to liability exposure concerns expressed by legal counsel). He also requests "absolute assurance that the intention is to keep all hospitality inside the Sheraton", and "open and ongoing communication as regards all AG plans." A response is requested by noon the next day.[47]

Friday, June 22, 2007

  • 9:41 am: Smyly e-mails Russ (copying the Porters) making brief responses to his last message. He states that food which will be handled by the hotel will be delivered to the hotel staff, and items which they will be serving themselves will be delivered to a different area under their control, and they are still awaiting final word from the Health Department with specific details. He also confirmed that hospitality will be within the Sheraton, not outside (there had been reports that the Porters were considering alternate plans such as moving hospitality to a different location, and Russ had asked for confirmation that this was not the case).[48]
  • 12:00 pm: Cookie e-mails Russ with updates about what she has heard from the hotel regarding recent events, meetings, and conferences. She expresses concern that Steve has said that they would not be needing the hotel kitchen at all under the latest plans; given that home-cooked food is ruled out by health regulations, it is unclear where they are intending food to be prepared. (Mark, at the hotel, reportedly finds this "alarming".) There are also concerns that not much information has yet been provided to the hotel about what food and drink items, in what quantities, would be delivered at what times, so they can prepare for it. Reportedly, after all the fuss that has been raised, the Health Department would now be monitoring the gathering very closely for violations. Cookie is concerned that the Porters might still be trying to slip something past them. She proposes either taking away hospitality from their control (leaving them in charge of the rest of the AG) or else taking the entire AG away from them, suggesting that the ExComm have an immediate conference to choose between these alternatives and the other choice of trusting the Porters and leaving them in charge. It is mentioned that the next scheduled meeting with the hotel is the following Wednesday.[49]
  • Afternoon: The national ExComm teleconferences, and agrees on the need "to establish an oversight of the 2007 AG" due to the "vagueness of the incoming information and our inability to get any complete and definitive answers to specific questions." Their decision (reports vary as to whether the vote was unanimous, 5-1, or 4-1-1; Russ later clarified that he was mistaken about Mike Seigler's position and the actual vote was 4-1, with one other vote in favor of full revocation of the host contract) is that "AML is officially requesting Central Alabama Mensa cease all hospitality efforts and immediately turn over all records regarding the hospitality aspect of the AG." A new team is being assembled to take over this function, and do it in full compliance with local laws. It is noted that "Mensa's relationship with the Sheraton has been affected", and that communication has been poor.[50][51] Mike Seigler, AMC liaison for the AG had been included in some ExComm discussions on the matter which would have made the number voting 6, but Mike Seigler was in Washington, D.C. and had no vote or input in this development.
  • Russ e-mails the Porters (and others) (the timestamp in the version archived on the Mensa national site is 11:34 PM, but that is perhaps from a later forwarding or re-sending of it, since it apparently preceded the evening teleconference noted below) notifying them of the outcome of the ExComm conference. He gives them an ultimatum to decide by Saturday at noon between the two alternatives of letting AML take over hospitality but keep the Porters and the local committee in charge of the rest of the AG, or to let AML take over the entire AG.[52]
  • George Smyly, Central Alabama Mensa Local Secretary, received an e-mail from Russ Bakke a little after 7:00pm CDT requesting that George participate in a conference call at 8:30pm CDT. Nick Sanford, Region 5 RVC Elect also received this e-mail at the same time. George decided that it was prudent to get a quorum of the CAM Executive Committee to be present so he began getting them congregated and a quorum was present by 8:30pm. The AMC group attempted for 45 minutes to get the conference call to work. They were unsuccessful and said they were giving up. The CAM ExComm then proceeded to establish their conference call and had it working in 10 minutes. It became very obvious that although the hotel contract and Host Agreement had been in the AMC's hands since December 2004 they had many misconceptions regarding what these documents contained. George Smyly was attempting to read from these documents to correct and address their concerns and Russ Bakke cut him off stating that the AMC ExComm had already made their decision and it didn't make any difference what these documents really said. There were eight people in the room listening to this conversation.
  • In the teleconference, the Central Alabama Mensa Executive Committee chose to let the entire AG be taken over from them rather than proceed with hospitality being run by different people from them. They do this because they regard hospitality as the "heart and soul" of the gathering, and thus will not participate in running a gathering for which this function is out of their control. They also recognize that they would have no authority to enforce budgetary restraints on an independent hospitality group and that the local group would be responsible for any AG losses caused by this separate group.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

  • The change in management of the AG is announced on an e-mail list for official Mensa announcements, and is soon repeated on various lists and forums related to Mensa.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

  • At 11:07pm the Porters finally get an e-mail from Beth Anne Demeter, the new AG chair. Prior to this they had heard rumors of who was the new chair, but no one had actually notified them of the new chair's name or given them any contact information.

Monday, June 25, 2007

  • The Porters participated in a conference call with Russ Bakke, Beth Anne Demeter, and Chris to provide information to the new AG team. George Smyly listened to the call and all participants were aware of this fact. The Porters provided information about various aspects of the AG including the overall hospitality plan of providing one meal a day, one specialty item a day, and substantial food 24 hours a day. They also provided costs and payment information for the three bands, information on games and tournaments, and information that badgeholders and bags had been purchased. The Porters stated that the printed programs were in the process of being printed. Various aspects of this conversation were reiterated in a later e-mail.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

  • Steve Porter received an e-mail from Judy Sapp at the Jefferson County Health Department stating, "If the Sheraton Hotel has no problem with you providing non-potentially hazardous food in the ballroom, the Health Department would not object to non-potentially hazardous foods that were baked in private homes being served in the hospitality room to members of your organization."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

  • Morning: Judy Sapp of the Health Department called Steve Porter. Ms. Sapp was upset and wondering if she needed to get an attorney because she had received a call from Eldon Romney who identified himself as the Ombudsman of American Mensa, Ltd. Steve Porter told her that he did not believe she needed an attorney, but she had to make the final decision on this.

Friday, June 29, 2007

  • A response from the Health Department to the Porters' earlier inquiry is circulated on Mensa discussion lists. This response allows the serving of "plain biscuits, plain pound cakes, cookies without icing or fillings, plain coffee cake without icing or fillings", but no other home-cooked foods.[53]

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

  • 4:00 pm: The gathering begins.[54] Food served was not quite what was originally planned, but was still much more copious than at other recent AGs. Some members engaged in mild protest activity such as wearing black dots on their badges, or T-shirts or stickers with slogans critical of the national takeover.[55]

Thursday, July 5, 2007

  • 4:00 pm: The Annual Business Meeting is held at the auditorium of the Medical Forum (part of the AG site).[56] The change in AG management is one of the subjects that comes up during the meeting, and several members express opinions about it.

Saturday, July 6, 2007

  • 9:00 am: The AMC holds a regularly scheduled meeting during the gathering.[57] The nomination of Beth Anne Demeter as the new AG chair is officially ratified.[58] Some discussion of the change in AG management also takes place, including from non-AMC members speaking at the time when outside input is solicited.[59] Among the people commenting were Nick Sanford, a Central Alabama Mensa member, who stated that the removal of the host agreement was wrong both legally and practically; and Rose Lee Crutcher, who expressed frustration at the way the leadership was changed at the AG. [60]

Sunday, July 8, 2007

  • 1:00 pm: The gathering ends.[61] Discussion of the issues regarding this gathering continues on various online forums and are likely to keep going for quite some time.[62]

Notes and references

  1. Minutes of AMC meeting, December 4, 2004, at Orlando, Florida (member login required)
  2. Mensa Bulletin, issue #501, January 2007
  3. Quarterly Report of 2007 Annual Gathering, for March 25, 2007 AMC meeting at Oak Brook, Illinois (member login required)
  4. M-US-AG-2007 list, message #506, by Carla Young, posted on Mon May 21, 2007 2:48 pm. (Archive access requires list membership.)
  5. M-US-AG-2007 list, message #470, by Jeff Dommenge, posted on Tue May 8, 2007 11:18 am. (Archive access requires list membership.)
  6. M-Grapevine list, message #74483, by T.J. Lundeen, posted on Thu Jul 19, 2007 2:00 pm. (Archive access requires list membership.)
  7. M-Grapevine list, message #72876, by Billie, posted on Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:55 pm. (Archive access requires list membership.)
  8. M-Pol list, message #30560, by Lee Berkovits, posted on Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:29 pm. (Archive access requires list membership.)
  9. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  10. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  11. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  12. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  13. Copy of letter is on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  14. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  15. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  16. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  17. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  18. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  19. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  20. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  21. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  22. M-Grapevine list, message #74222, by Howard Rothstein, posted on Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:13 pm. (Archive access requires list membership.)
  23. Quarterly Report of 2007 Annual Gathering, for July 7, 2007 AMC meeting at Birmingham, Alabama (member login required)
  24. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  25. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  26. From timeline published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  27. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  28. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  29. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  30. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  31. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  32. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  33. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  34. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  35. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  36. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  37. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  38. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  39. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  40. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  41. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  42. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  43. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  44. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  45. Executive Committee Report, for AMC meeting, July 7, 2007, at Birmingham, Alabama (member login required)
  46. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  47. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  48. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  49. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  50. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  51. Executive Committee Report, for AMC meeting, July 7, 2007, at Birmingham, Alabama (member login required)
  52. From file of e-mails published on official American Mensa site (member login required).
  53. M-Grapevine list, message #72880, by Judy, posted on Fri Jun 29, 2007 12:30 pm. (Archive access requires list membership.)
  54. AG program book
  55. M-Grapevine list, message #73340, by De Freshwater, posted on Mon Jul 9, 2007 5:29 pm. (Archive access requires list membership.)
  56. AG program book
  57. AG program book
  58. Mini-Minutes of AMC meeting, July 6, 2007, at Birmingham, Alabama (member login required)
  59. M-Grapevine list, message #73804, by Lee Berkovits, posted on Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:08 pm. (Archive access requires list membership.)
  60. Minutes of AMC meeting, July 6, 2007, at Birmingham, Alabama (member login required)
  61. AG program book
  62. M-Grapevine list, message #73349, by De Freshwater, posted on Mon Jul 9, 2007 6:14 pm. (Archive access requires list membership.)