I joined Passion Parties the end of May 2003. I had my first Party the end of June. I was so proud of it, I asked the Chamber Leaders what they would think of my joining my business to the Chamber. I knew some local conservatives wouldn't like it, but I said it would just be there to support the chamber and that I would not push my business in anyone's faces. The leaders said that my business was a legal one and that there was no reason I could not join. So I did. Immediately, a certain woman, who was an Ambassador with me, (and who attends a local fundamentalist and charismatic church that her mother is pastor of) began to petition the Chamber leaders to have my business thrown out of the Chamber. She got a copy of our local City Ordinances from her brother (who is on the City Council) and took them to them.
These ordinances spoke of strip clubs and nude modeling studios, not my business at all, so they told her to drop it. I had checked our local ordinances before I had started my business figuring that I would not need to check on the state level because there were a couple hundred Passion Party consultants in the state selling our products for years. As you know, that is where she found the Texas State Penal Code 43.23 c1 : C."A person commits an offense if, knowing its content and character, he: (1) promotes or possesses with intent to promote any obscene material or obscene device."
Armed with this, she "encouraged" our local police department to take action. I have no doubt that they felt a city leader such as myself should not be selling sexual devices. Hoping to run us out of town, I have been told, the Burleson Police Department (in their great wisdom) decided a sting operation needed to be set up. As I am currently gagged only on the events of October 7th you will have to read about the sting operation from another source.
On November 11th I was at the office when I received a voice mail on my cell phone that said basically "Mrs. Webb, this is Officer Havens with the Burleson Police, I need to make you aware that a warrant has been issued for your arrest on an obscenity charge and you'll need to turn your self in this afternoon between 4 and 5 with a $1500 bond".
Yes, I was in shock. I called my husband. We decided to call a local lawyer, all he said was "Well yah it's illegal, get a bond and turn yourself in". That's when I knew he wasn't my lawyer. I called my director and asked her if she knew any lawyers that were Passion Parties "friendly" and that's where I got BeAnn Sisemore's name. When I called her and told her my story her reaction was "WHAT??? That's bullshit!!!" I knew then that I had found my lawyer. She immediately called our local police to find out the facts, when they answered she said, "This is BeAnn Sisemore, I'm representing Joanne Webb, give me the dildo patrol". Yes, I knew I was in good hands. She wanted to go with me when I turned myself in and she wasn't available for 3 days. It was hell.
On November 13th at 8 something in the evening, I turned myself in to the County Jail. One week later, Chris had a break down. I took him to the emergency clinic where they diagnosed him with clinical depression, put him on Zoloft and sent him to bed. He was there for 2 weeks, through Thanksgiving. He lost 18 lbs. Seeing he wasn't going to be able to work for awhile, I brought our office back to the house and shut down the one in town. By Christmas he had regained some of his strength. Realizing he would not be able to return to his work as a general contractor (he wouldn't have been able to handle the stress), we filed bankruptcy in February. This way we could hopefully keep our house that Chris built. I have 3 children, Mandy 20, Katy 16, and Matt 14.
Mandy had to give up her car because we used it as security on a business loan. Katy had just gotten a car from us in August that we had to return. I called the finance company and had them come and get my mustang convertible Chris bought me when I turned 40. We cashed in stocks, sold our boat, and our pop-top camper to get by until Chris was better.
Our 2 last vehicles, the family van and my husbands work truck were also used as security on that business loan, so they will be taken in the next few weeks. When this all first happened I got calls from Joanne Harvie and Janice Mazibrook. They were very sympathetic and encouraging.
When my husband (from his sick bed) asked me to ask Joanne if we would be getting any financial or legal support from Passion Parties, she said that was not an option. (This was in November) In mid-December I received an e-mail from Pat of support and said she looked forward to speaking with me soon. I spoke with her the first time at convention in passing when she gave me a hug and was encouraging. When I was on Good Morning America and Prime Time my lawyer and I requested that PP be sure to give me any leads that came in from them. I received about 100 leads from them in the month or so following those programs.
In March, my daughter Katy had to go on anti-depressants. Not because the kids at school, (they all support me, even most of the teachers!) but because of the fear of her dad having another break down and the possibility of mom going to jail. At this point there had been a little over $4000 dollars donated to my defense fund. Most of it from the 2 Bill's personally, some of the staff and some consultants across the states. At Easter, my husband read on our chat group of different consultants who said they joined because of my story, and yet were not given to me. He wrote a letter of frustration and sent it out to my PP chat group.
When I saw the reaction, people talking about joining other companies etc., I went into a depression. I sought help the next week and am currently taking an anti-depressant. In May, Passion Parties did their fundraiser. They donated 2% of the sales on the highest sales day in May and raised almost $5000! Corporate matched it and made it $10,000! The $10 click donations on your order page brought over $300. In June they flew Chris and I to San Francisco to receive the checks. We were picked up in a limo! We had lunch with Pat, Joanne and Janice and I even got to meet one of the Bill's!
Bill Clark, a very nice man. When they took me to the corporate office to hand me the check the whole staff was outside lined up along a rolled out red carpet for me. Clapping and cheering for me the whole time. Of course, I cried and laughed all at the same time. I was given a tour of the building and got to officially meet the wonderful staff we hear so much about! PP gave Chris and I some walking around money to tour the area and put us up in the Hotel for 4 days! It was incredible! So relaxing. God we needed it. They asked why I hadn't gone to Memphis. Couldn't afford it. They sent me to Pittsburgh with a beautiful room and all expenses paid. The consultants (as usual) were so encouraging and supportive.
Thank you to each and every one of you! Today I am taking my son to get on anti-depressants. He says he keeps crying and doesn't know why. That will make all 4 of us on anti-depressants. I am trying to be strong for all of you and for my family. I know good will come out of all of this in the end it's just getting to the end that requires endurance. I hope I have it! My lawyer says that constitutional law lawyers can cost between $35,000 to $50,000 each. We currently have raised almost $15,000. Thank you so much girls. But as you can see, we're going to need allot more if we're going to be able to fight this.
Okay, that's where we are today. Chris is working w/ his step dad doing construction waste haul off. He loves it! No stress, outside, driving a bobcat and a dump truck. He is starting to get more business and we are doing better. He now feels terrible about his earlier letter, we were just at an all time low then. My business is growing. I have an average of 6-8 parties a month and I have 26 girls under me. I don't do parties in Burleson or Johnson County as that is the only law enforcement agency in Texas (or the U.S. for that matter) currently enforcing this law on the in-home party consultant. My lawyer lets me use her house instead. I hope I've answered everyone's questions about my story.
Yes, I've been on CNN 3 times, MSNBC, GMA, Prime Time, Local and National Radio, in magazines and newspapers around the globe and even had to tell Oprah no twice! (At first they wanted me on a show where people were wanting to rehabilitate from their crimes when they heard my story even they agreed it wasn't right. Then, when they did have a show for it, it came over the 3 weeks that we were completely gagged from talking.) Oh well. It's not over.
Quite a few producers have contacted my lawyer about movie rights and book rights. I can't make money off my crime while I'm still being tried. Hopefully that will all pan out. There you have it girls. Thanks for taking the time to read it. Your support has been one of the few bright spots in this whole mess.
Bless you all.