Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Star On City Ordered To End Suit Against Donaghy

The Star's Jon Murray picks up on Advance Indiana's report last Friday that the City of Indianapolis had been ordered by Judge Michael Keele to execute a settlement agreement with Melyssa Donaghy concerning the operation of two businesses the city initially claimed were "illegal" adult businesses. After wasting taxpayer dollars and valuable police time investigating Donaghy, the matter has ended with no fine or finding of a violation against Donaghy. Murray writes:

A lawsuit between the city and an Indianapolis dominatrix operating a basement "dungeon" has ended without a fine.

But in return, Melyssa Donaghy -- best known recently for property tax activism -- has agreed not to continue with such activities in her Meridian Kessler home on the Northside. In 2005, Mayor Bart Peterson said Donaghy was running an illegal home business, with clients paying to take part in sex-related torture.

Donaghy and the city initially reached a settlement agreement last month in which no money would change hands. But Donaghy would not sign a new version prepared later by the city with more detail about alleged activities in her home, city attorney Teri Kendrick said.

On Friday, Judge Michael Keele ordered the city to sign the first version of the agreement to end the case, according to court records."We agreed not to pursue a fine or a finding of violation," Kendrick said.Donaghy, 45, contends city officials never proved anything was illegal.

"If I want to teach someone how to properly kneel or crawl on the floor, I can do that," she said. "(But) I don't have the desire to do that professionally anymore."

Donaghy said she is considering suing the city for damages stemming from emotional distress during the dispute.

While the city was devoting many police hours and legal resources pursuing Donaghy's dominatrix business, numerous illegal pea shake houses, which were visiting crime and other nuisances on area neighborhoods, including one just down the street from Donaghy's home, operated without any scrutiny by police or city zoning regulators. It makes you wonder where the priorities of the Peterson administration have been in the war on crime it claims to be waging with success.


Anonymous said...

I read the dismissal paperwork.

Clear in all this is: Melyssa's business was found to be improper in a neighborhood setting. She conveniently forgets that.

Maybe because city lawyers ran rough-shod over her, and it was deplorable. She had a right to be outraged--we all should be--about Wright's inept handling of the complaint with stormtroopers. (It's not the first zoning case he's handled poorly, or heavy-handed)

But the underlying condition, an illegal home business, did not change. She's enjoined from doing it again. It was, after all, a pretty simple zoning violation. Why the city needed to pursue this so vigorously is beyond me.

And, although city lawyers treated her shabbily--there were no financial awards granted. Interesting.

She broke zoning ordinances. The city over-reacted big time. She gets publicity, and moves on to other forums, to which she's entitled, but soon, her 15 minutes are way up. Thankfully.

Anonymous said...

Jon Murray's story in the Star today is downright deceptive about the facts of this case. He reserves for the very last paragraph a comment that Judge Keele ordered the city to execute the settlement agreement without explanation after putting out all of Wright's incompetent blabber. I'm disappointed in Murray. I thought he was capable of better journalism than this hack piece for the administration.

Anonymous said...

Notice to everyone who runs a home business in Marion County.

Watch out! The Zoning Enforcers may be peering in your windows after the election, if Mayor Peterson wins.

Single exception:

Peas-shake houses run as a cultural service.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 6:31am:

I doubt you know the home business laws or are an attorney. You certainly are cowardly, because you don't publish you name. But there are thousands of nameless cowards posting their opinions all over the internet. Nothing new.

I did not break laws and the city has not proven I did. The judge wanted the case to "go away" and because I have no intention of practicing domination professionally again, I agreed to sign the agreement for the sake of the judge who didn't want to get into a 1st Amendment argument in his court.

And regarding my 15 minutes, I could care less about being on the news even though I've been in the news regularly since 2003. I did not ask for the attention, but when they came to me and made such a big deal over nothing, I decided the only way to fight them is in the media. They chose the playing field, not me. I just happen to be pretty decent at PR.

Be glad there are activists like me out there holding politician's feet to the fire. No doubt you don't have the courage to do it, nor a passion for the welfare of your city.

Heck, you don't even have the courage to sign your own name. Are you ashamed of your opinion and who you are?

Anonymous said...

Melyssa, I wish I could sign my name...just can't. Got a job to protect.

And yes, I am quite familiar with the Home Occupation Ordinance. You violated it. The agreement enjoins you from doing it. Seems pretty simple to me. If you didn't agree, don't sign the final papers. End of story.

I know the presiding judge pretty well, too. He's as even-tempered as they come. I've personally witnessed many cases where he could easily "make it go away," clean up his calendar, and move on. He usually patiently waits, guides both counsels to solution, and, when he has to, rules.

But I am right with ya darlin on the over-use of authority here. I've dealt with the attorney you crossed--he is, in Lou Henson's immortal words, "a classic bully." It made no sense for them to push you too hard, and impolitely. You had every right to be outraged at their heavy-handed attitude. We all do. It could happen to any of us.

But the underlying information here is pertinent: home-based businesses must operate under very specific codes. And someone complained. I know a lot of MKNA folks, and most of them agree, this is not a business they'd want next door to them.

FWIW, I'm also a little appalled that certain bloggers took to commenting on your physical appearance. Out of bounds.

Vive la difference, Melyssa...I don't get the Dominatrix thing, but in the proper setting, knock yourself out. The comment on another post about paddling the Mayor was kinda funny. Protesting at his home on a Sunday morning isn't, and frankly, it speaks volumes about judgment.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your opinion. And regarding judgement about protesting at Bart's house it wasn't my idea, but I did run with it. We got everything we wanted from it which was photos of our signs in the paper and to make the point that Bart doesn't feel our pain.

We are shut out of city government over and over again. And if you are a mayor of a city who does not give your people a voice, you've got it coming...particularly around elections. I view politics in our city right now as a war...a war that will be won by the people.
Most people supported our little protest...including my neighbors who I talked with about it in advance.

Also, there is not one single complaint from any citizen in my neighborhood that we were able to uncover during depositions with zoning officials and the undercover vice cop (who was pretty cool).

I spent $500 in depositions trying to get my hands on the original complaint. It simply does not exist as a matter of any record. The city attorney could never produce a complaint.

And regarding psychological dominance and submission, it permeates every relationship known to humans, including our relationship with God which is where I derive most of my inspiration.

Thanks for expressing yourself, my business was built on creating platforms for human expression as a means to help advance human self-actualization.



I did not practice sex for hire. I was a teacher to submissives and I am entitled to first amendment guaranteed freedom to teach anything I want for consideration in my home occupation as long tutoring is an allowable home based business.

By the way, I saw no more than 10 clients a month. Most of my business was made up of phone consultations with couples who sought a greater understand of the power exchange dynamic in their relationships.

My next tutoring dominatrix gig is to teach the citizens of Indianapolis how to dominate and control our thieving city government.

Anonymous said...

If you want a real mission why don't you and your tax protest friends stand outside of the many illegal numbers gambling houses in Indianapolis (pea shakes to the locals)?
Organized crime that is thriving off illegal numbers racketeering and flooding the streets with narcotics and prostitutes doesn't really seem to be a campaign issue in this town.
Our Mayor and Prosecutor turn a blind eye to the racketeering but they nail your ass to the wall over a homebased business serving a whopping total of ten clients a month.
Hit the gambling houses Melyssa, they aren't zoned and they sure as hell aren't paying taxes.

Anonymous said...

You've got a point and I've been on the pea shakes for about a year since I started to learn about them on IndyU. I'm not so sure about the safety of picketing them and I've cased the one at 37th and Keystone which got raided again today. I've also taken photos of activity there from 1/2 block away after it was raided and was still in full operation.

Cops at the 38th & Fall Creek BP gas station told me to stay away from them and that their hands were tied and they were not allowed to touch the pea shakes.

Scott Robinette who is a chief over criminal investigation told me last spring (at the mayor's dog & pony show memorial for the 7 murder victims) they were going to get utilities shut off at pea shakes. They are offering the same old hogwash today.

Pea shakes are protected by certain politicians and everyone knows it. Let's see what happens in court with those arrested today. I'm sure the timing will line up nicely with elections.

Too little, too late Bart. The public is on to you.

Bart will always choose politics over public safety, the will of the people, and action of honor.

Let's see if he holds a press conference in front of the pea shake. If he does, you can bet I'll be there alerting the media to all I know about the subject.