Dear LeTip Members,
I'm sorry to say this website had to be taken offline by the legal demands of LeTip International. This site has been running for years by the request of the LeTip Regional Director and with the knowledge of LeTip International. However LeTip International has now decided to change their mind, demanding the site go offline and is now threatening to sue for damages.
We have always cooperated with LeTip International's requests for site changes in the past and are deeply offended by this legal action. We however will comply with their demands by taking the site offline immediately.
Unfortunately this is a huge loss of resources for the region and a completely unjust way to treat a member of the organization for nearly five years. We encourage everyone to call LeTip International and express your feelings about these actions, their number is (800) 255-3847.
LeTip has been making many claims about the website and situation which we feel needs to be cleared up:
The website absolutely had to go offline because of LeTip's legal demands. Their letter states among many things "use of the name, logo, meeting procedures, or instructions is a violation of law." Even if I could remove every bit of offending material in a timely manner, continuing to run the site on the domain washingtonletip.com could be considered infringement on their trademarks because of the domain name contains "LeTip". Many of our valuable tools like the chapter reports are deeply embedded with meeting procedures. Simply put, a regional LeTip site which makes no mention of LeTip or how it works isn't much of a regional LeTip website. Backing their many demands was the threat of a "Federal Action for Accounting, Intentional Interference with Business, Trademark Infringement, and Fraud."
Furthermore I think you have to look at actions and intent. There was no list of specific changes and legal threats were their first recourse. Their actions do not suggest they wish to collaborate but rather intimidate.
LeTip claims "We have made an offer to Selkowitz Computer Services, to take ownership and control of washingtonletip.com, and host it on our servers" but "[he] refuses to allow LeTip International to assume the responsibility and ownership of this website."
This is completely untrue, we have received no such offer. Kim Marie asked on the one phone call we had if we were open to the concept, I said yes. But there has been no offer on their part and no refusal on our part.
LeTip claims "[he] did not respond to our attorney's request to discuss this issue." There was no such request. Also so far their lawyers have neglected to respond to mine promptly. When I called Kim Marie a week ago she nearly refused to speak to me because her lawyers were not present!
About the letter a year ago. Yes, LeTip did send a letter a year ago, however before I received it Kim and Doug called to apologize, claimed their legal team sent it without their knowledge, and said they would work with me to make changes. They never did. I'm appalled Kim Marie would mislead the members by neglecting to tell the whole truth.
Site inaccuracies - without question any site with so much content will have inaccuracies (Letip.com has plenty). However LeTip blows a few typos and old data completely out of proportion. Furthermore they claim "and requests for updating were often ignored." This is untrue, we received no requests for site content changes from LeTip.
When will the site be restored? I think any business owner can understand that until the threat of legal action is lifted, we cannot risk restoring the website. I believe I have made this clear to Doug and Kim Marie. I wrote an email to Doug and Kim Marie on 2/17/08 suggesting a reasonable course for resolution, it has gone unreplied to. Its their choice not to act to seek resolution and allow safe restoration of the site.
Kim Marie states "When the very integrity that LeTip International espouses is in peril, we cannot sit by and allow it to happen."
The greatest peril to LeTip's integrity isn't a website. Being dishonest is a greater peril to LeTip's integrity.
LeTip is back at it threatening legal action for libel and cybersquatting. Of course there's two major problems:
This is the "integrity" that Kim Marie and LeTip offers.