Rick Archer is accused of being Unethical
On January 4th, the
following comment was posted on Facebook:
Alex Schamenek: Rick signed a non-compete clause when he sold SSQQ
to Daryl, violated the clause almost immediately, then told Daryl to
"sue him," knowing he couldn't.
never respect someone with ethics like that.
Rick Archer's Note: There
is not a single element of truth to this statement. To set the
record straight, here is what is incorrect about Mr. Schamenek's
To begin with, I never told Daryl to
'sue me'. I have never in my life threatened to sue anybody.
On the other hand, Daryl sued me
The first time Daryl sued me was
over my decision to teach one night a week at the Pavillion. That
was back in July 2010. At the time, Daryl was having trouble
getting his studio open. At the same time, I
had already resigned from the new studio and
was out of a job. Left with absolutely no income,
the part-time opportunity at the Pavillion offered me a
way to earn at least some income. For the
record, I asked Gary Richardson
to approach Daryl for permission. Keep in mind
I did not need Daryl’s permission, but I asked for it anyway.
initially did give his permission, but then had second thoughts.
To my surprise, Daryl changed his
mind and slapped me with a cease and desist order. In Daryl’s
defense, I am sure he was under tremendous pressure. He was
struggling to get his studio open and here the former owner was
already going out on his own. Unfortunately, Daryl chose a very
ugly way to get his point across.
Nevertheless, I wanted to give SSQQ
the best chance I could to get off to a good start, so I voluntarily
yielded on the disputed issue as an act of Good Will. I doubt
seriously Alex has ever heard that version of the story, but it is
the truth and I have plenty of emails to prove it.
The second lawsuit came in July
2011. This time I got fed up and hired a lawyer. That solved the
Daryl and I may have had our
differences, but I came to respect him. It isn't easy to run a
dance studio. I could see that Daryl and Joanne put their heart and
soul into making a go of it. For that, I am grateful and hope
everyone else gets that.
For seven long years, Daryl paid me
$2,000 a month as part of the purchase agreement for the dance
studio. Not once did I have to ask him to send me that money even
though I know he was under financial pressure on many an occasion.
Daryl and Joanne gave me seven years
of rest during which I have written a book, 'Destiny', which
chronicles how SSQQ came into being in the first place. It is a
very entertaining book, I can assure you.
As for Mr. Schamenek's contention
that I violated a non-compete clause, I wish to point out I had a
perfect legal right to teach wherever I wanted
the moment I resigned from the studio. My non-compete
clause forbade me from owning a dance studio for two years, but I
could teach on my own anywhere I pleased.
Because there is so little trust in
the world, I will voluntarily share a clause in the Sales Agreement
dealing with employment.
"3.1 Seller's Covenant Not to
Vesper Ion and
SSQQ, Inc. and Richard Archer agree there is a business rationale to
protect the interest of the Purchaser in the value of the
reputation, goodwill and customer base with respect to the sale and
purchase of assets as set forth in this agreement.
Inc and Richard Archer agree not to compete with the new dance
studio to be begun by Vesper Ion LLC with respect to dance
instruction and the dance studio business for a period of two
may if he chooses to exercise his right to leave this employment and
be released from this covenant not to compete to the extent that he
may rent space at any competing studio within Harris Country and teach
dance classes so long as he does not acquire any ownership rights
over said competing studio.
I do not bear any animosity towards
Daryl. Back in August 2017 I heard the studio wasn’t doing very well, so
shortly before Hurricane Harvey, I offered to return to the studio
and teach a class for Daryl. After the hurricane ruined the dance
floor, I made sure to give Joanne a big hug. Seeing Joanne
completely in tears, who wouldn’t feel sorry for her? After seven
years of hard work, the place was decimated! Two days later I shook
Daryl's hand as he cleaned out the studio and wished him well. If
by chance, Daryl gets a new SSQQ off the ground, I will happy to
help him get it running.
I would like to say a few more
things in my behalf.
From the bottom of my heart, I did
my best to conduct SSQQ with the highest ethical standards. In 32
years of operation, not one bill went unpaid, not one instructor
went unpaid, there were no law suits nor were there any threats of
lawsuits related to my business. If there was a complaint to the
BBB, I never heard about it.
In particular, I went out of my way
to make SSQQ a safe place. I would not tolerate groping or
disrespect to women. If I heard even a whiff of a sexual predator
or a man who hurt women through careless dancing, they were asked to
leave the studio.
I think the highest compliment I
ever received came from a prominent Houston therapist who said she
sent all of her broken-hearted clients, male and female, to my
studio because quote "they would be safe at my studio"
There was a good reason why SSQQ was
considered one of the finest places in Houston to find a boyfriend
or a girlfriend... SSQQ was so friendly, people let down their guard
and formed a family of sorts. Anyone with a smile was welcome to
join that family be they Arab, Jewish, Hispanic, Black, Asian, Gay,
or Martian. My point is that our doors were open to all; everyone
was made to feel welcome.
The SSQQ of my day was the largest
dance studio in Houston. I did it the old-fashioned way... I hired
extremely talented teachers with big hearts and made sure to let my
dance students know I appreciated their presence.
This is not to say I did not have my
faults. I had a temper and lost it on occasion, especially over the
recurring issue of refunds. I had a thin skin and there were times
when I did not tolerate criticism very well. There were times when
I let the myriad problems associated with trying to please so many
people turn me bitter. I recall responding to people's complaints
in a fairly sarcastic way using the infamous SSQQ Newsletter and
probably made some enemies in the process. So, yes, I was far from
On the other hand, despite my
prickly side, it was important to me at all times to be fair and
honest. I had one overriding goal... I wanted my students to feel
at home at SSQQ. I believe I was successful. There was a warmth
about the studio that was unmistakable. I think people understood I
cared deeply about making SSQQ a good place to meet friends and have
fun, maybe even learn to dance a little along the way. This
approach helped create a loyalty and affection that permeated the
institution. I daresay the consensus was that SSQQ was a good place
to hang out. In my heart, I tried my best.
The odd thing is that I have no idea
why Alex developed such a low opinion of me. As far I am concerned,
the statement he made was so totally off base I have to wonder whose
Kool-Aid he has been drinking.
I have always liked Alex. Not only did I give
him his first job as a teacher, I once stuck up for him by writing a
lengthy article in his defense. In 2007 there was an incident when
one of Alex' students publicly criticized a Crash Course class he
had taught. I thought the critical student was way out of line, so
I wrote a
story to back Alex up.
Alex was in attendance at the 2010
Last Waltz, the final dance party ever held at the SSQQ Bissonnet
location. He may not have thought much of me, but he was clearly
very loyal to the studio. For that, I appreciate his
I hold no grudge towards Alex. If
he believes I am unethical, he is welcome to his opinion.
Personally, I think his mistake was listening to the wrong person,
something I am sure we have all been guilty of at one time or
leads me to my final point. I do not think that Mr.
Schamenek's inappropriate statement is an accident. I think
Mr. Schamenek was simply giving voice to an opinion held by many
that somehow my behavior negatively affected the operation of the
the record, both Marla and I have been well aware of an undercurrent
of hostility towards us that runs among many former members of the
original SSQQ. Many people who were once our friends at the
original SSQQ have turned their backs on us in the past several years. Having spent the
past seven years more or less as an outcast,
I have every reason to
conclude that things said behind my back have painted me as the
villain. Mr. Schamenek's outburst was simply the tip of the
truth is that I dearly loved running SSQQ for 32 years and would
never do something to sabotage its successor. That said, every
man has a right to earn a living. Since I wasn't welcome at
the second SSQQ, I had no choice but to work elsewhere.
Friday, January 5, 2018