LARGO — The Quest club is a place where consenting adults go to satisfy their appetite for such fetishes as foot worship, bondage and puppy training.
But it's not all about pleasure at the club these days, thanks to a nasty legal fight with the Phoenix club, a competing fetish group.
The owner of Quest claims the Phoenix unlawfully stole business from him.
The story begins in March 2007, when James Jordan and Perry Edge purchased "The Master's Quest" club from Edward Joseph Mitskevich.
Jordan and Edge had a falling out and Edge went on to start the Phoenix club. Mitskevich, who signed a non-compete clause, also became involved as a member in the Phoenix club.
On Nov. 13, Jordan filed suit in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court against the Phoenix club and the two men, saying they had violated legal obligations toward him in their involvement with the Phoenix club.
Boiled down to its basics, Jordan's suit accuses Mitskevich of selling him the club and then taking actions to help its competitor steal away business, including working for the other club in direct violation of his non-compete clause.
Mitskevich's attorney, Alan M. Gross, said his client had done nothing to violate the contract.
Jordan also claims that Edge, his former business partner, violated the law by starting a competing club when he was supposed to be a loyal partner.
Again, Gross said this was a baseless accusation and that Edge quit his partnership with Jordan before embarking on the new club.
This is nothing more than a nuisance lawsuit, Gross said.
But Jordan insists he is simply trying to get fair value from the $28,000 he shelled out for the club. He also wants to make Edge and Mitskevich pay for their acts of betrayal.
"This is not all about money," he said. "It's about right and wrong."
So what is a fetish club and why are the two clubs in mid Pinellas at odds?
The Quest club is a members-only venue where people gather to network and to perform fetish acts. A large number of the visitors are couples, Jordan said.
The club's Web site advertises a clean and safe environment in a strip mall at 12517 66th St. N in Largo.
The two-story space is wide open with room for various stations. The Web site advertises a medical examination table, a changing room for men who want to dress as women and various apparatuses for intricate forms of bondage. Role-playing scenarios include "airport security," "nasty nurse" and "Mad Science ElectroPlay," the Web site said.
The Quest bills itself as "Florida's Fetish Moulin Rouge" and has a maximum occupancy of 65 people, though it doesn't often reach that number, Jordan said.
While the Phoenix club has no club house, it hosts events around the area, drawing an average of 20 people, according to Gross.
The privacy of members is paramount, Jordan said, so he did not want to say too much about the activities inside the club. He emphasized, however, that the fetish activity at the club was all safe and consensual. He said it is often considered a foreplay event leading up to sexual intercourse.
Clubs like this one play a vital role for people who can't find full sexual satisfaction without the fetishes, Jordan said, and that's why he stepped up to purchase the club in early 2007 when it seemed to be on the verge of going out of business.
"Without each other, we are lonely people," he said.
Of course, the purchase did not turn out exactly as planned.
"This," Jordan said, "has since turned into a drama-fest of epic proportions."
Jonathan Abel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4157.