Boy, did I learn a hard lesson about Meetup policies yesterday…
…Imagine my surprise yesterday morning when the long term Co-Organizer (Michael Pruner) of my Georgia Crowdfunding Community Meetup Group emailed me and told me that he and I were no longer Organizers (leaders) of our Meetup group. I quickly logged into Meetup–and was first greeted by a message that Meetup was not getting responses to emails sent to me. Meetup asked me to “verify” my email again, which I did. I then navigated to the Georgia Crowfunding Community Meetup group and, sure enough, this guy, “J.R. McNair”, was now the main Organizer of the group with admin privileges. Michael and I had been sent “down” as just members of the Meetup group we created. For the record, Michael and I do not know this person and have not agreed to pass on the role of Organizer of our Meetup group to this person.
As background, I founded this particular Meetup Group back on April 17, 2013. My intention was to help build out the then young Georgia intrastate crowdfunding community (Invest Georgia Exemption) and help build out the local crowdfunding market—until such time that the SEC promulgated rules on Title III of the JOBS ACT which would enable interstate crowdfunding . I wrote about my experiences in this blog post, this one and this one.
Back to the hijack–I needed to find out what had happened– Michael and I would never turn the group over to anyone–unless we had an agreement beforehand. (This person had never attempted to contact us, so we were caught completely off-guard.)
I quickly messaged this person and in about 30 minutes he responded. I called him and told him we didn’t know what had happened, but that Michael and I had the intention of maintaining leadership (Organizer) of this Meetup Group. I offered to reimburse any and all past dues and thanked him for stepping in when apparently Michael and I were not receiving emails about dues payable or the possible disbanding of the group. –The conversation went downward from there. Essentially, this person refused to turn the group back over to Michael and me unless we struck some sort of “deal”. Within an hour, both Michael and I were kicked out of the Meetup group we created with no chance to rejoin.
I’ve contacted Meetup but have yet to hear back. I don’t have high hopes. Just since yesterday when this happened, I have had heard of two other groups in Atlanta where the same scenario played out.
So, for the record, Michael Pruner and I no longer have any association with the Georgia Crowdfunding Community Meetup group or with “J.R. McNair”.
Good luck, Meetup.