b. Moral Kombat!

Both Gandhi and Martin Luther King were pacifists but they were not passive. Trying to live peacefully does not mean rolling over whilst someone takes advantage of you. On the contrary, it is important for the humble, idealistic and peaceful to 'fight back' because unsavory characters will often take advantage of passivity.

Our community has established policies and practices that act like a 'filter' to prevent dishonest characters from being a part of the community. However, despite our best efforts, sometimes individuals get through who do not have the best intentions.

There are many tools and legal resources you can use if a situation becomes very negative. All are moral and within the confines of the law. Hence the name 'Moral Kombat'!


1) Filming Incidents on the Property

The police said if someone is doing something that could potentially turn illegal, like getting aggressive which could lead to assault, they can be filmed on the property and the video can be used for evidence if something were to happen. In fact, it is completely legal to film anyone on the property so that if there is an argument between a couple then it might be advisable to record parts of the argument if it's turning aggressive so that it can be used as evidence if necessary.

Video can be used indirectly in any future security or enforcement situation. It does not have to be pointed directly at someone. That is impolite and can aggravate a situation. But holding the iphone casually with the video on records a lot of information and is legal as long as we film on our property.


If a Community Member has to be asked to leave the property after their First Warning, always give them the option to return once the problem behavior is modified. This creates hope for change and redemption which makes it less likely that they will create a scene and end the relationship by burning bridges.

However, if a situation becomes threatening in any way, we call the police. We pay our taxes so law enforcement is available to us. We never want any community member to feel threatened. Always feel free to call the police in any aggressive situation.

If a person's transgression was serious enough that they have to be asked to leave immediately. We practice what we call a 'Take Down'.

  • Two interns should approach the person ideally in their lodging space.
  • One Intern should have a phone in their hand predialled to 911. The other should explain the following and options:

"Due to violation of Hedonisia Community Guidelines you are being asked to leave. Normally when a person is asked to leave no refunds are given except under Compassionate Circumstances. 

  1. Compassionate Refund. If you wish to receive a compassionate refund then you have to apply online through the Cancellation Form on the Reservation Info page at our website. You can only apply for a Compassionate Refund once you are off the property.
  2. Burning Bridges. If you 'burn your bridges' by making any sort of drama or scene, you will be asked to leave immediately with police being called if necessary. This is private property and once a person is not welcome, they are trespassing.
  3. Refund Amount & Reason. Hedonisia does NOT issue refunds for departures that the fault of the guest. However, in certain cases we will issue a partial refund. The amount you receive will be dependent on your behavior both on and off the property prior to receiving the Cancelation Form and the cleanliness state you leave your lodging in when you depart. The form has a section where you can briefly explain your reasons why you feel you should receive a partial refund despite being asked to leave.
  4.  In addition, Hawaii is a small island and our recommendations and reviews of a person are respected. So we will give an honest assessment of our experience with them if anyone calls or asks for a referral.
  5. Respectful Departure If you are respectful of our policies, demonstrate contrition, and create no more drama, clean their bed space and leave under friendly circumstance you may stay longer until you find another space and the Compassionate Refund will be higher.
  6. Criminal Transgression. If you commit a criminal transgression at Hedonisia—for example, threatening behavior, severe sexual harassment or theft we can, in conjunction with the Directors, call the police to file a criminal complaint.



3) Legal Hostility & Legal Protection

There are times when engaging without confrontation simply does not work. The situation escalates and the person turns aggressive, spiteful, or even criminal. This is where politically correct idealists often fail. In their desire to avoid confrontation many progressive people will choose to avoid rather than morally engage.

We argue that it is also moral to engage in a way that acts as a deterrent so that the person does not continue in their aggressive or criminal actions. We call this 'Moral Kombat' defined as, actively engaging to counteract a person who has broken the law that does not involve violence and is ethical and legal.

The Police. Over the history of Hedonisia we have learned that while many wonderful people love to come to our little piece of Hawaii, paradise also attracts sociopaths and criminals too!

In each case, what saved us was that we were not at all hesitant to call the police and/or go through the legal system. This is when it pays to be honest. Because one of the best forms of security is simple. It is known as the police!

When you pay taxes you are paying for your security. Police often concentrate their efforts on activities that many would argue are personal choices not crimes. We would say, let's keep the police busy solving real crimes rather than creating crime!

Politely dealing with the police is an important aspect of community security. It is for the protection of everyone including the intern who calls them. The police are very nice in Hawaii and they are trained to deal with potentially dangerous situations.

Hand the Registration Form to the police if necessary. As long as we get a Registration Form from every party who stays at Hedonisia, we have no problems! Based on past experience, once the police are shown the signed Registration Form they act upon it immediately and without question because they see we are a tourist establishment and not a rental agency. We updated our Registration Form with the help of our lawyer so it is even more legally binding. For example, the signing party of any group is now responsible for all the persons in their group as well as any visitors they may bring on the property

The Legal System. If you wish to be a social entrepreneur, we strongly recommend that you know some of the basics of the courts. Be familiar with the legal process in your country for you never know when you will have to defend yourself and/or your community enterprise in court!

We use Legal Shield, which is an insurance that allows us to immediately seek legal counsel in any civil or criminal situation.

We advise any social entrepreneur to use the Small Claims Court System. While not the greatest it can serve as a non-violent way to get justice. And going through the legal system, as we've done, means you have to bring your business policies into strict legal compliance.

BLACK HATS and Black Mail!

Throughout the world, many intentional communities exist under the radar. Due to oppressive and excessive government regulations, communities are simply not legal in many countries. For example, in Hawaii there is a law which states no more than five unrelated adults can live together in the same building, in effect making all communities automatically illegal.

Communities will often try to deal in cash, not declare their taxes and use various other methods so as not to bring in government scrutiny. However, these practices can backfire.

In Maui, we know of one community whose owner operated in cash and did not complete tax forms. His manager ended up stealing $14,000. When confronted by the owner, he threatened to tell the IRS about the owner's tax avoidance activities. The owner not only didn't call the police, but actually paid more money to cut all ties with the man.

When you are living in the shadows, you are always subject to blackmail. Better to go through the system slowly and properly than to build a house of cards that collapses at the first incidence of criminality.

America is a country of individuals who have freedom and choice to roam the country. This is wonderful because it means if things are not working out in one place, a person can simply leave and go to another to begin anew.

We have met many such Americans at our community, who have left small towns and social controls behind to arrive at our little paradise community to start again. Most have been fantastic individuals.

But this culture of roamers has its dark side. Individuals with criminal histories drifting around the country. Like sharks, they seek easy places to crash and hide. Places like intentional communities in Hawaii!

Over the history of Hedonisia we have had a number of such individuals. In each case, what saved us was that we were not at all hesitant to call the police and/or go through the legal system. This is when it pays to be honest. Because one of the best forms of security is simple. It is known as the police!

When you pay taxes you are paying for your security. Police often concentrate their efforts on activities that many would argue are personal choices not crimes. We would say, let's keep the police busy solving real crimes rather than creating crime!

We are not open to blackmail because we obey the law or actively seek to change unjust laws that affect the community. For example, we are a board member of the Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance, which is seeking to introduce legislation to allow for eco-friendly buildings and communities in Hawaii.


Case History Example:

Customers on the Warpath. Sometimes a customer will have something horrible to say and they are completely unjustified. We had one person who did not follow our Cancellation Policy when canceling at the last minute. Instead they initiated a chargeback request directly through their bank. We then had to fill in a lot of paperwork to dispute the chargeback.

Because our cancellation policies are clearly and transparently posted on our website we won the case. However, the customer in a fit of anger then went to at least 4 social network sites broadcasting distortions about our community.

As a proud social enterprise your reputation is your business. But if someone unjustifiably defames your business then you have to counter their narrative otherwise your business reputation can be irrevocably sullied.

We wrote to the social network sites that listed their negative review to explain our case. When a negative review is completely unjustified it can be considered defamatory so often the site will either remove it or allow you to post a rebuttal. (Once you open an account with them that is!) To be a moral business does not mean staying silent when being unjustly attacked. To be a moral business sometimes means fighting back legally and morally!

In this case we wrote to the customer directly sending a sternly worded letter threatening to sue through Small Claims Court.

Within 3 days all negative posting were removed!


RE: Notice of Intent to Sue

Attention _____________:

This letter serves as the formal notice of our intent to file a lawsuit against you in court, due to your posting of malicious and defamatory postings on various travel sites with regards to the Hedonisia Hawaii sustainable community. (See attached.screenshots which will be presented as evidence)

Contrary to your allegations when the Hedonisia refund procedure is followed we issue a refund. Ms V. S who was also part of your traveling party did follow procedure and received a refund.  We have her letter and cashed check as evidence.

Unlike Ms. S and her mother who were polite, courteous and followed procedure it has been challenging dealing with you from the time you initially contacted us to make your booking to the way you simply bypassed our refund procedure and initiated a direct process with your bank for a complete refund whilst making a spurious claim of our community being 'sketchy'.

Furthermore, your postings about our community are based on hearsay. You have never visited our property and if you look at the other reviews we have on Trip Advisor and our website you will see that we have excellent visitor and media reviews.

We value our reputation which we have built over 8 years and will take necessary steps to defend it from persons with malicious intent such as yourself. Please note that as of this writing we have not discovered any malicious postings from anyone else who traveled in your party so they are not part of this lawsuit.

In our claim which we hope to file at the Small Claims Court in either in Hawaii or in Orange County, CA we seek financial compensation for the following:

  • - For each defamatory posting we seek $800 in lost business income. As of this writing we have discovered 4 defamatory postings on Tripadvisor, Volunteer Match, Yelp and Gogobot. This is equal to $3200 in lost business income. For every new negative posting we discover we will seek an additional $800 in compensation for lost business income.
  • - If case is filed in Orange County then we will seek further compensation for travel expenses, court costs, legal costs, service costs.
  • - If case is filed in Hawaii then we will seek additional compensation for court costs and collection costs.

If you wish to resolve this matter without court action, we will expect the following measures to be taken within seven (7) days of receipt of this letter.

  • 1- A signed and printed letter of apology for aforementioned defamatory postings sent to our Hawaii address.
  • 2 - A check for $240 for lost business income since the time you made those defamatory postings as well as time taken to contact the relevant travel sites to have some of them removed.
  • 3 - Removal of malicious postings from all websites where you posted them.

If we  do not hear from you within 7 (days), we will start the process to initiate a lawsuit. All legal notices will be served at your place of residence listed above.

Your prompt attention is appreciated,

M. Mustapha - Community Director

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