A few months after the lawsuit against Matthews Ballroom was filed, former franchisee Kristin Grasso Heck began posting what we believe to be highly defamatory comments about PBI and its officers online. Some of the posts have since been deleted by the Heck’s, but not before screenshots and video were collected by us.
The remarks we believe to be defamatory continued throughout the legal dispute with Matthews Ballroom and escalated in January 2019 when Kristin Grasso Heck’s husband Brandon Heck joined in on the attacks. Brandon Heck works in the “human capital“ department of Linden Capital Partners, a private equity firm based out of Chicago.
In May 2019, a joint lawsuit was filed against the Heck’s for defamation of character. The matter is an active case in Mecklenburg County. The lawsuit against Matthews Ballroom did not involve the Grasso/Hecks in any way. Grasso sold her franchise in mid-2016 for $90,000. It is unclear why she decided to get involved.
In early 2020, the Heck‘s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the case. The motion was denied and a court date has been set for early October 2020.
The timeline shows clear evidence that Kristin Grasso Heck began and heightened her defamatory comments about us in correlation to our lawsuit against Matthews Ballroom.
Kristin Grasso Heck was a first-time business owner who purchased the rights to use our brand and proprietary business model and who received our training and access to our confidential trade secrets. It was a success by her own admission. This attack and smear campaign lacks any evidence and displays malicious intent.
Kristin Heck claims that her blog statements were general in nature and not directed at anyone. However, evidence clearly shows that the posts were shared soon after being published by PB franchisees and reviewed by unknown numbers of PB customers and the public in general.
We believe that Kristin is not only responsible for the damages her blog caused, but is also responsible for any damages caused when other people shared her publication.
Brandon Heck attempts to invade his responsibility for his words by stating that he was defending Kristin from harassment and stalking by us. This absurd notion has no basis in reality. details on Brandon‘s claim can be found here.
“A big company going after the little guys that worked for/with them.”
“…the little guy gets abused by the people at the top.”
“I started a business…without a lot of support.”
“…I continued to push through the corporate bully, malicious behavior, and toxic environment…”
“when things fell apart…”
“…get treated so badly…”
“…get connected to a toxic company…”
“…information you have is incomplete…”
“…doesn’t have a lot of data behind it yet.”
“…half a decade in a toxic business environment.”
“Any person who needs to put you down to hold themselves up…”
“…battling narcissism, manipulation, or deceit.”
“Manipulative people are good at making coal look like gold.”
“I stand behind everything I write on this blog.”
“…I’ve been through some massively difficult business experiences in the last couple of years.”
“I took my hair out of the mandatory bun, peeled the mandatory eyelashes off my eyes, washed the mandatory makeup off my face…my life could now be my own again.”
“…corporate office had sent: who are they suing?”
“What money are they asking for now?”
“What new crazy rule have they implemented?”
“Who are they going to belittle or tear apart now?”
“…creep back in…thought the bully was gone…”
“…when you are the small guy in a big, toxic corporation, you are always fighting a losing battle and you get drained. I mean that literally and figuratively.”
“In the literal sense…funds being siphoned… All. The. Time.”
“In the literal sense…shady deals happening… All. The. Time.”
“The odds are always stacked firmly against you… and they know how to use it to their advantage.”
“You don’t even realize [contract] loopholes exist…”
“More importantly, I trusted that the people I had entered into contract with had my – or at least the business’s – best interests at heart. Unfortunately, as it played out, that was not the case at all.”
“When every day and every little thing is a battle that you can’t win, it’s exhausting.”
“Nothing fancy, just real talk from real life – sometimes with a little psychology twist. There is nothing fake about these words and no secondary motivation behind them.”
“3…abusive people…professional relationships…”
“3…the people above you scream, steal, publicly belittle, lie and cheat…”
“5…toxic environment for a long period of time.”
“6…abusive employers hired you…”
“6…they wouldn’t continue to try to be better than you...”
“6…they wouldn’t try to destroy you…”
“7…hurt people hurt other people.”
“8…toxic and manipulative people…”
“8…make them temporarily successful or at least appear to be.”
“P.S. since my first post… so many heartfelt messages from people who found what I said helpful… overwhelmed with emotion several times knowing that this blog is making a difference and impacting people positively. Thank you for your… support.”
“my last business venture…every company I had worked for prior to this had blips of drama or difficulties…nothing compared to what I experienced in my most recent career chapter.
“A toxic workplace…significant drama and infighting, where personal battles often harm productivity…considered the result of toxic employers…who are motivated by personal gain (power, money, fame or special status), use unethical, meanspirited and sometimes illegal means to manipulate and annoy those around them; and whose motives are to maintain or increase power, money or special status or divert attention away from their performance shortfalls and misdeeds.”
“This definition says everything I could want to say… it is, really, everything.”
“I have seen this [definition] from every. single. side…identify with every single side of an issue.”
“I firmly believe the cultural tone of a company is always created from the top down. If leaders scream, gossip, act catty, compete with their employees, lie, steal, then they have established a precedent and should expect that is how others in the company will behave as well…”
“…in the environment I worked in, it was always everyone else’s fault. Literally.”
“The people at the top… everyone below them were ‘evil’, ‘stupid’, and/or ‘incompetent’.”
“For me, that meant that my marriage, my family, my education, my appearance, who I was as a person…literally everything…was up for public disparagement.”
“In situations like this, those at the bottom must scramble…everyone is scheming, or creating secret plans, or feeling paranoid, or trying to create alignments with others so they can stay out of the line of fire…”
“…it turns into one of those everyone for themselves type of situations…the people at the bottom… aren’t at fault here.”
“Now for the psych angle…double blind communication…you are receiving two conflicting messages on two different levels… direct…indirect…a correct response to one message makes for a faulty response to the other message. You literally cannot win.”
“…you simply don’t know what to do to be successful and everything you try fails.”
“…pit members against each other… people… are…forbidden from communicating;”
“…the corporate office frequently berates managers in front of staff and colleagues;”
“…corporate officers openly pride themselves on people being fearful of them;”
“…corporate actively states that they aren’t interested in anyone’s opinion outside of their own.”
“On one hand, we want you to work together (words) but will do anything we can to discourage that and isolate you (actions).”
“1…you will be criticized, threatened, and belittled no matter what you do, so do what you need to do for yourself… that’s a lot of truth…most freeing truth for me…”
“2…There is strength in numbers, but when employees are discouraged from communicating with each other openly…”
“4…you must always push back when your boundaries have been crossed… you teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce…this is very true…including the [situation] we’re talking about.”
“7…surrounded by toxicity… I can attest to these…when you are part of a larger toxic system, EVERYONE IS TRYING TO SURVIVE.”
“…I have gotten wind of many things that were said about me both while I was employed and after I left.”
“…when you are part of that kind of culture...be…wary of commentary from people at the center of the drama.”
“I’ve been sitting quietly on the sidelines watching your entrepreneurial failures stack up.”
“…the lies continue”
“…all those…take you to court without a word.”
“…you degrade people…”
“… took every penny you could…”
“…how hungry you are to take credit for anything and everything that anyone associated with you ever accomplished…”
“…your desire to self promote trumps all – including truth and reality.”
“…franchisees…leaving them with piles of legal fees…”
“…franchisees…recoup their reputations…”
“…franchisees…recoup…after your lies…”
“…franchisees…recoup…their money after what you two weaseled away.”
Toxic, odds against you, manipulation, blah... blah... blah
If the above were true (there is no evidence whatsoever), then how could you possibly be successful?
Kristin Grasso Heck was a first-time business owner who purchased the rights to use our brand and proprietary business model and who received our training and access to our confidential trade secrets. It was a success by her own admission.
PB Johns Creek revenue graph with arrow indicating the LATE implementation of our marketing system.
EM misrepresented Kristin Heck’s experience at PB? Really?
Mon, June 20, 2016 10:21 pm Kristin Heck wrote:
“In college, just after I had done my time on scholarship, I took a break from formal dancing and captained the basketball dance team instead. Not a popular choice. I didn’t decide to pursue a Master’s in dance, although my professor pushed really hard for me to follow that path. In fact, I didn’t pursue dancing at all after school, choosing instead to dance for a small dance company lead by a former Alvin Ailey soloist whose goal was simply to allow people to enjoy dancing. I came to your company looking to continue that joy. I moved to Charlotte because I loved the city and I wanted to be sure dancing was part of my new start there. When I found PB (or DanceSport Carolina at the time), I thought I found a place where I could continue to love dancing. Even better, I was offered the opportunity to make money while still dancing. It couldn’t have been better.“
Kristin Heck spends months attacking us with a barrage of defaming articles that were broadly shared with our client base, and according to her husband and herself, she’s the victim. Right.
We believe the following comments made by Kristin Grasso Heck prove she acted in malice when she posted these harmful articles about us.
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