Better Business Bureau dispute with Asheville Yoga Center

BBB Complaint Case# 577969 (Ref#20-554226-577969-7-1100)

https://charlotte.app.bbb.org/complaint/view/577969/c/w2a749

Thank you very much for helping me in this matter. I have tried yet have been unable to reach Asheville Yoga Center.

In additional to running an IT company for 21 years with 10 consecutive years on the Triangle Business Journal’s top companies, I have a pristine lifetime track record, and passed a strict background check to serve as a volunteer yoga leader for the NC Department of Public Safety at Franklin Correctional Institute to help inmates find peace in their environment. I also served in Charlotte North Rotary Club, Raleigh Rotary Club, and Cary McGregor Rotary Club for 20 years with 10 years of perfect attendance and 3 Paul Harris Fellows. I am an ordained minister, and founding member of the Marriage Matters Sunday school class at Edenton Street United Methodist Church. Please consider the source credibility I have for my entire life, and help Asheville Yoga Center amicably settle matters with me since you have been able to get their response.

Michael Johnson said people complained about me plus concocted a story about other complaints in other classes. Melissa Driver, the General Manager at Asheville Yoga Center has failed to date to give me any reason for my termination, has never met me, will not answer my phone calls to Asheville Yoga Center, filed a grievance with Yoga Alliance, and will not reply to emails. My request to speak with Sunny Keach, one of the owners or Asheville Yoga Center, using Facebook Messenger with a response from him that he knows about the case and will let Melissa Driver handle it is my personal business, and my prerogative to block him. Furthermore, I have been advised by counsel not to contact him again. The focus is on Asheville Yoga Center, their failure to answer the phone or respond to emails directly to Stephanie Keach, the other owner, and not personal interaction on Facebook Messenger. As for the YouTube copyright violation, I recorded my conversation with Michael Johnson after the teacher training module was over on my computer with my software, and am not going to argue with YouTube or Asheville Yoga Center about it.

I am open and honest, have publicly placed full documentation with detailed emails and videos, and have nothing to hide.

Asheville Yoga Center – question after class from Jim Ray
http://yogaray.org/asheville-yoga-center-question-after-class-from-jim-ray/

Asheville Yoga Center – Chronology After Training
http://yogaray.org/asheville-yoga-center-chronology-after-training/

Yoga Alliance – Grievance from Asheville Yoga Center
http://yogaray.org/yoga-alliance-grievance-from-asheville-yoga-center/

The fabricated Assault on Female charge and incarceration for a crime I did not commit is the worst thing that has happened to me in life to date, has nothing to do with Asheville Yoga Center, and merely indicates judgment from Michael Johnson plus those that stayed after class that complained according to Michael Johnson. Asheville Yoga Center fabricating a story to you that I communicated a threat as being the reason for my termination occurred after Michael Johnson said people complained about me, and management would be contacting me. The use of their word “threat” is inaccurate, and “promise” would be a better choice. I remain willing to settle amicably for a refund, or seek restitution in a court with a civil suit for treble damages.

According to Asheville Yoga Center, the total expense during his lifetime as a client at AYC including the 300RYT program charges, attending classes at our studio, and lodging is $3,547.39 since his first visit on November 4, 2014, and that “Mr. Ray has not spent $10,000 with AYC as he has stated.” It is a 7 hour round trip for me to drive, and Asheville Yoga Center constitutes only a portion of my expenses. I used their lodging for only 2 nights at $90/night for 1 of the 11 modules. However, I stayed elsewhere for most of the modules at an approximate cost of $100/night for 18 of the 20 nights, had a per diem for meals of approximately $35 for 20 days ($5 breakfast, $10 lunch, $20 dinner), made 6 trips to Asheville with 238 miles one way that cost $1656 at the US IRS reimbursement rate of $0.58/mile, and bought both the required and optional books for $400 at an approximate cost of $40 per module for 10 modules.

  • Lodging $1,800 – approximate cost of $100/night for 18 of the 20 nights, 2 nights at $90/night for 1 of the 11 modules at Asheville Yoga Center
  • Meals $700 – per diem for meals of approximately $35 for 20 days ($5 breakfast, $10 lunch, $20 dinner)
  • Mileage $1,656 – $0.58/mile*238 miles one way*12 trips
  • Books $400 – required and optional books for $400 at an approximate cost of $40 per module for 10 modules
  • Asheville Yoga Center $3,547
  • $8,104 total expenses

Asheville Yoga Center owes me $8,104 for terminating me without cause with only 1 of 11 modules left to graduate with my RYT500 certification. If they do not wish to settle amicably for $8,104 total expenses, then I stand by my word to retain counsel, and enter into civil litigation for treble damages of $24,312.

Regards,

Jim

From: Better Business Bureau charlotte.epy@bbb-email.org
Sent: Friday, October 16, 2020 2:11 PM
To: Jim Ray jim@net0ag.com
Subject: BBB Complaint Case# 577969 (Ref#20-554226-577969-7-1100)

Complaint ID#: 577969
Business Name: Asheville Yoga Ctr

Thanks again for the opportunity to assist you with resolving your dispute with the above mentioned business. BBB received a response, which is available by clicking here: https://charlotte.app.bbb.org/complaint/view/577969/c/w2a749

Please review it and advise us of your position in the matter by October 21, 2020. If BBB does not hear from you, your complaint will be closed, and it will appear in the company’s BBB Business Review as: “Answered – BBB has not heard back from the consumer as to their satisfaction with the business’s response.”

We sincerely hope the business’s reply addresses your concerns, and would appreciate hearing from you as to your satisfaction. If this resolves your dispute, your complaint will appear in the company’s BBB Business Review as: “Resolved – The complainant verified the issue was resolved to their satisfaction.” If the business’s response does not resolve your concerns, BBB would like to hear from you.

Each year, millions of consumers contact BBB for pre-purchase information, and your response as to your satisfaction will assist future consumers with making pre-purchase decisions.

We appreciate the opportunity to be of service, and look forward to hearing from you by the above-mentioned date.

“The text of your complaint will be publicly posted on BBB’s web site (BBB reserves the right to not post in accordance with BBB policy). Please do not include any personally identifiable information in describing the nature of your complaint. By submitting your complaint, you are representing that it is a truthful account of your experience with the business. BBB may edit your complaint to protect privacy rights and to remove inappropriate language.”

Yoga Alliance – Grievance from Asheville Yoga Center

Melissa Driver at Asheville Yoga Center that has never met or spoken with me filed a grievance with Yoga Alliance that is the registrar for the RYT500 certification I was about to complete at Asheville Yoga Center, and Trinity Perkins at Yoga Alliance requested a meeting:

Hi, Jim

My name is Trinity and I’m an Accountability Advisor with Yoga Alliance. I hope this message finds you well and staying safe, thanks for your time.

My department handles grievance, concerns or inquiries regarding our membership and potential violations of our Code of Conduct, Scope of Practice and Standards. We strive to mediate between all parties involved to find a resolution, including education on the requirements of membership.

I’d like to schedule some time to speak with you this week as it was recently brought to our attention by Melissa Driver of Asheville Yoga School that you were removed from their teacher training program. She also shared screenshots of an ongoing conversation in a FB group regarding an apparent financial dispute. I’d like to hear your side of this situation and see how Yoga Alliance might be able to offer support.

I’m located on Eastern Time with hours M-F 8:30-4:30pm ET. My earliest availability via phone or Zoom is tomorrow at 11am ET. What’s your time zone and availability for a call? Do you have a preference of Zoom or call?

Thank you in advance for your time. I look forward to talking with you, Jim, and hearing your side of this matter.

Take good care.

In Service,

Trinity Perkins, M.S.Ed, RYT 200

Accountability Advisor
grievance@yogaalliance.org

ref:_00D1UxpZL._5003g50q31:ref

email 9/28/2020 2:26 PM

I replied the next morning, and set up a Zoom call with her.

Trinity,

I am surprised to hear from you, have not yet submitted my grievance, and do not know Melissa Driver. However, I did plan to submit a grievance about Sunny Keach and Stephanie Keach that are the studio owners. I have been advised by counsel to not further engage with them, and had rather handle matters amicably if possible instead of filing a civil suit against Asheville Yoga Center.

May we schedule a Zoom call on your first available 8:30 AM day? 11 AM is right in the middle of my business day, and not convenient.

Here is the complaint I have submitted to the Better Business Bureau that sums up my grievance, and I am not surprised that Melissa Driver filed a grievance against me to try to make me look bad:

Thank you for using the Better Business Bureau’s Online Complaint System.
Your complaint has been assigned case # 577969.

Filed on : September 21 2020

Filed by :
James Ray

Filed against :
Asheville Yoga Ctr
211 S Liberty St
Asheville NC 28801-2334

Complaint Description:
I had started training in 2016, and was about to graduate. They dismissed me as client after spending $10,000, and will not let me get my RYT500. I had taken a virtual teacher training module on Bhakti Yoga with Michael Johnson 9/11-9/13, and had previously taken others modules with him as well. After the module was over, he said he would stick around if anyone had any question, or would like to have a discussion. He gave me permission to speak, and I asked him for a reference, and told him why (a personal issue completely unrelated to Asheville Yoga Center). When I called him to discuss the details, he had an authoritarian tone, said people complained, went back on his word to give me a reference, said management would be contacting me, and then I received the attached dismissal letter with no cause given. I have a pristine life time track record, and passed a strict background check to serve as a volunteer yoga leader for the NC Department of Public Safety at Franklin Correctional Institute to help inmates find peace in their environment. I also served in Charlotte North Rotary Club, Raleigh Rotary Club, and Cary McGregor Rotary Club for 20 years with 10 years perfect attendance and 3 Paul Harris Fellows. I am an ordained minister, and founding member of the Marriage Matters Sunday school class at Edenton Street United Methodist Church. All I ask is for Ashville Yoga Center to refund all monies associated with the RYT500 certification since, or give me the certification without prejudice after I complete the last few modules necessary.

Your Desired Resolution:
I’ve spent $10,000 since 2016 when I started the advanced yoga teacher training, and seek a complete refund since they dismissed me as a client without cause, I am unable to transfer credits elsewhere, and I am unable to get what I paid for, the RYT500 certificate. I had planned to graduate in a couple of months. Stephanie and Sunny Keach that own Asheville Yoga Center will not answer the phone or respond to email.

This case will be reviewed by a complaint specialist at the Better Business Bureau, and then forwarded to the business for their response. It is our policy to allow the business 10 working days to respond to your complaint. You will be notified when the business has responded.

https://charlotte.app.bbb.org/complaint/new/554226
BBB CASE#: 577969

Regards,

Jim

Here is the video recording of the Zoom call between Trinity and I about the complaint from Melissa Driver at Asheville Yoga Center that has since then been dropped:

video with Trinity Perkins at Yoga Alliance 10/1/2020

I also forwarded to Trinity Perkins documentation that provided a detailed explanation of the fabricated Assault on Female charge where I was found Not Guilty with or without any reference from Michael Johnson, Asheville Yoga Center, or anyone else. Furthermore, that fabricated charge had nothing to do with yoga, Asheville Yoga Center, or Assault on Female. Consequently, Judge Monica Bousman ruled in my favor, declared me Not Guilty, and said the Cary Police Officer Howard did not have probable cause.

9/23/2020 Not Guilty verdict

Trinity,

I look forward to our meeting 10/1/2020 at 8:30 AM for a Zoom call about the complaint from Asheville Yoga Center against me, and had previously failed to send you the letter from my attorney indicating that the Assault on Female charge the State of North Carolina because of the Cary Police Department had nothing to do with Asheville Yoga Center. I am going through a divorce, my wife of 20 years assaulted me, I pushed her away and called the police, and she told the police she did not provoke me. It really has nothing to do with Asheville Yoga Center, is none of their business, and I have not done anything wrong. I just asked for a reference that I had been working on my RYT500 for 5 years with intention of graduating soon after class from the yoga teacher, Michael Johnson, to use in the court case last week when I was found Not Guilty:

I am shocked at how Michael Johnson said he would be happy to provide that reference yet allowed people to talk behind my back and fabricate fear leading up to my dismissal without cause. They judged me, and broke a trust. According to Michael, people complained about me for something that never happened. Furthermore, it was a virtual teacher training module. How could people possibly be scared of me harming them over an Internet connection?

Whatever Asheville Yoga Center and their personnel do behind my back is their business, and their karma. I know I have never said or done anything in their yoga studio, in any other studio, or outside any yoga studio that I would not share with my own mother, a mediator, or a judge should we not reach a settlement with dialogue.

Asheville Yoga Center either needs to let me finish what I started without prejudice, or pay every penny back that I’ve spent nearly completing my RYT500.

Regards,

Jim

Trinity Perkins at Yoga Alliance followed up with Michael Johnson at Asheville Yoga Center, and Michael Johnson went back on his word to provide me with a reference plus slandered me by stating he “had concerns over your behavior during your time in teacher trainings.” There have never been any complaints from anyone at Asheville Yoga Center about me, and Asheville Yoga Center employees are fabricating stories instead of admitting an error. Consequently, Asheville Yoga Center needs to make financial restitution.

Thank you for your message, Jim

I hope you’re doing well so far this week. I appreciate your patience while I spoke with Michael Johnson and sent a follow up emailed summary of both calls to Melissa Driver.

Michael was a key witness listed by both you and Melissa. My call with him was helpful to fill in a few gaps regarding your dismissal and the statement from AYC, and possible next steps within Yoga Alliance scope. Michael did have concerns regarding how the school handled your dismissal but he also did not feel that he could, in good faith, write a letter of recommendation for you upon learning more of the concerns over your behavior during your time in teacher trainings. Michael did not share tapes of his conversations or screenshots of his emails with you – he read and briefly described them all on our call.

Michael said that he did not share your personal story of the assault but that it was recorded at the end of one of his classes while 15 students were still logged into the class.

At this time, AYC is not seeking any additional support from Yoga Alliance. I shared with Melissa that you have two requests – allow you to finish what you started and earn the RYT500 credential or, issue your refund in the full amount you are asking.

Melissa said that she spoke with the Keach’s and they will be responding to your BBB complaint shortly.

Jim, do you need any additional support from Yoga Alliance regarding this case?

Thank you for your time.

In Service,

Trinity Perkins, M.S.Ed, RYT 200

Accountability Advisor
grievance@yogaalliance.org

email to Trinity Perkins at Yoga Alliance 10/7/2020

Ironically, I had been a dues-paying member in good standing since 2014 with Yoga Alliance, filed a grievance with Yoga Alliance about wrongful dismissal from Asheville Yoga Center, and Trinity Perkins, a female, took no action against Melissa Driver, a female, at Asheville Yoga Center. Furthermore, Trinity Perkins refused to escalate the issue to Shannon Roche, the female president of Yoga Alliance.

Michael Johnson has the burden of proof on his slanderous comment, “concerns over your behavior during your time in teacher trainings,” and there have been no times during my time in or out of teacher trainings for which I am ashamed or would not repeat. I have absolutely nothing to hide.

There is very much of a cause/effect relationship from the phone call with Michael Johnson as if he were ashamed that I was in his virtual class after going to jail for a crime I did not commit. Michael Johnson admitted to drug use in a former teacher training module that may be affecting his ability to reason, did not keep his word, and does not have sufficient source credibility to judge my behavior.

Asheville Yoga Center – Chronology After Training

I asked Michael Johnson the question after class posted here http://yogaray.org/asheville-yoga-center-question-after-class-from-jim-ray/

My last written communication with Michael Johnson on Sept. 13, 2020 around 12:30 PM when he agreed to be a reference for me as a yoga student was as follows:

Michael, I will email you later today with details. Thank you, sir! Namaste.

chat after class from teacher training module

Here is the email I sent to Michael Johnson time stamped Mon 9/14/2020 10:36 AM regarding a character reference for criminal trial 9/22 for fabricated assault on female charge:

Michael,

I’ve had lots of “friends” not give me the time of day after getting falsely arrested last year, and would appreciate your help with a brief letter stating that I am a yoga student in good standing, about to get my RYT500, and that yoga is all about the way you live your life including non violence.

My own criminal lawyer wanted me to go through forensic psychological examination to see if I have the sanity to withstand trial. He said it in a conference call with my father. I told him he was fired, and hung up the phone. We kissed and made up.

If he or anyone else thinks I am crazy, all they need to do is ask, and I will tell them that hell yes I am crazy. Crazy about love and kindness.

I’ve got to go to a job site now, and would like to briefly discuss matters, and at least answer any questions you may have. Attached are 2 references that are good examples, and much appreciated.

Having you say I am a good student of yoga, and about to graduate with my second advanced teacher training certification from arguably the best yoga school around, Asheville Yoga Center, would carry some weight.

North Carolina has painted an ugly picture of me, and is about to get in a lot of trouble if they do not dismiss the case, and pay for damages. Even the lady at Franklin Correctional Center in the NC Department of Public Safety would not stand up for me, and I was a volunteer for NC Department of Public Safety to lead yoga for inmates that were murderers and rapists that I learned to call my brothers, and to treat them as such especially after my 2016 Prison Yoga teacher training at Asheville Yoga Center with James Fox that leads yoga at San Quentin.

Some unnamed district attorney insinuated my case would have been dismissed had I taken a plea bargain that entails 1 year of battery classes for a crime I did not commit, and I am most likely as qualified to lead those classes as anyone else they choose especially with my direct volunteer experience doing so with yoga. It also entailed 5 years of probation, a criminal arrest record, and lying to the judge to say I am guilty.

Regards,

Jim

email to Michael Johnson 9/14/2020

When I spoke with Michael Johnson about the details on Tuesday morning, 9/15/2020, he told me people complained, went back on his word to provide a reference for me, and said management would be contacting me.

I tried to communicate with one of the owners of Asheville Yoga Center, Sunny Keach, that had been a friend on Facebook, and he refused to get involved as evident from our Facebook Messenger exchange on Tuesday afternoon, 9/15/2020 at 1:34 PM:

People complaining behind my back constitutes slander. It was at that time that I lost my trust in Michael Johnson, and canceled my reservation for his next teacher training module in the following email sent to Carolyn Way in charge of programs at Asheville Yoga Center, and to Stephanie Keach, the other owner of Asheville Yoga Center:

subject: may i cancel the poly vagal training in October, and get a refund?

I am very disappointed after having a conversation with Michael Johnson this morning. I waited until after the teacher training session this weekend, asked permission to ask a question involving a reference for a fabricated charge, briefly discussed the details, and was told that people complained, and I would be contacted by management.

Unless you want a civil suit for slander, I suggest we work out a suitable arrangement for me to finish the training I started.

I’m sorry the truth hurts a little bit.

I will never go to one of his classes again, and really don’t care to go back to Asheville Yoga Center at all.

It has become an unsafe place for me, and the discussions that take place in a question/answer invitation should remain as confidential as necessary so people do feel safe.

I don’t need the judgement from Michael, you, or anyone else.

Regards,

Jim

email sent 9/15/2020 at 9:54 PM

Asheville Yoga Center would not answer phone calls or reply to email. I received a client termination letter the next day from Melissa Driver at Asheville Yoga Center that I have never met:

That letter from Melissa Driver to expel me from Asheville Yoga Center was attached to the following email that I sent to my criminal attorney in the trial on 9/22/2020 where I was found Not Guilty of Assault on Female, and my attorney recommended filing a civil suit against Asheville Yoga Center due to the actions of Michael Johnson, Melissa Driver, Sunny Keach, and Stephanie Keach:

From: Young, Bill wdyoung@hatchlittlebunn.com
Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 10:52 AM
To: Jim Ray jim@net0ag.com
Subject: RE: may i cancel the poly vagal training in October, and get a refund?

Hey Jim:

Wow. They are not holding back are they?!

So, you are likely going to need to consult with a civil litigator regarding potential causes of action.

With such a clear termination, your relationship with them is definitely over. Only question left is if they owe you more money for the time and money you already spent on the training that is worthless to you without completion.

Let me know if you would like a referral.

Bill

William D. Young, IV
Attorney, Criminal Defense Team
Hatch, Little & Bunn, LLP
2626 Glenwood Ave. | Suite 550 | Raleigh, NC 27608 | map
Office: 919.856.3964 | Fax: 919.857.3964 | www.YoungLittleLaw.com
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

HLB STATEMENT ON CORONAVIRUS: As we prepare for the wide range of possible outcomes related to unprecedented public health concerns regarding COVID-19, we want to provide assurance that our highest priorities are the health and safety of our clients, employees, and the community in which we live. We are monitoring federal and state guidance and are prepared to implement extensive business continuity measures that ensure uninterrupted service levels throughout the duration of this evolving situation. To the extent that our services rely on third-party and government entities, we will adapt and respond accordingly. Precautionary and thorough sanitary practices have been employed in our office to reduce risk to employees and clients.

From: Jim Ray jim@net0ag.com
Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 10:48 AM
To: Young, Bill wdyoung@hatchlittlebunn.com
Subject: FW: may i cancel the poly vagal training in October, and get a refund?

Now, will you write a letter to them for me?

Regards,

Jim

From: AYC Programs programs@youryoga.com
Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 10:40 AM
To: Jim Ray jim@net0ag.com
Subject: Re: may i cancel the poly vagal training in October, and get a refund?

Mr. Ray,

Please see the attached letter. Your card on file has been refunded for the future training you had paid for in advance.

Melissa Driver
General Manager

Yoga Programs Department
Asheville Yoga Center

On Tue, Sep 15, 2020 at 9:54 PM Jim Ray jim@net0ag.com wrote:
I am very disappointed after having a conversation with Michael Johnson this morning. I waited until after the teacher training session this weekend, asked permission to ask a question involving a reference for a fabricated charge, briefly discussed the details, and was told that people complained, and I would be contacted by management.

Unless you want a civil suit for slander, I suggest we work out a suitable arrangement for me to finish the training I started.

I’m sorry the truth hurts a little bit.

I will never go to one of his classes again, and really don’t care to go back to Asheville Yoga Center at all.

It has become an unsafe place for me, and the discussions that take place in a question/answer invitation should remain as confidential as necessary so people do feel safe.

I don’t need the judgement from Michael, you, or anyone else.

Regards,

Jim

email sent 9/16/2020 11:26 AM

Asheville Yoga Center has not worked out a suitable agreement, and I am seeking financial restitution.

Asheville Yoga Center – question after class from Jim Ray

After the Bhakti Yoga teacher training class was over, Michael Johnson, the instructor, said he would stick around to answer questions, or to have discussion. I let him know I had a question, waited patiently for 18 minutes for others to have the floor, asked him for a reference as a yoga student, and let him know why in this recording I made of our conversation: