The Tea Party Nation volunteer group really fell apart, though, after the November 7, 2009 planning meeting at the local Golden Corral called The One Year Notice Rally.

Excited organizers found out October 22 that Sarah Palin had chosen to speak to the party. During the meeting, local activists urged Phillips to change the venue so more people could attend as the space was so limited at Opryland. At that point in November, he had 60 days to change the venue but was afraid if he changed it, Palin wouldn’t come speak to the gathering, says one person familiar with the meeting.

When Judson Phillips suggested the $550 convention fee, some members were so aghast they got up and left the meeting.

At one point, fisticuffs nearly broke out, emotions ran so high. Those who had been in the bottom-up organization felt betrayed because the event excluded so many average people and many of the volunteers themselves couldn’t even afford to attend. Philips and his few supporters saw an opportunity to make money.

This meeting prompted many long-time Tea Party members to quit.