This CPA/financial planner I know tells me that with the economy still struggling to recover, his clients are trying to get him to guarantee that what he suggests will turn out all right. Know what I mean? The client would like the planner to be a fortuneteller and to assure that nothing bad will happen.

Now, don't you just love it? Not only does the planner have to give advice (or suggestions, if you will), but they have to be backed up with guarantees.

Of course, don’t tell this to Beth Daly. You know her? She's a fortuneteller who plies her trade in Dickson, Tennessee. And she is now embroiled in a big lawsuit.

Recently, Ms. Daly filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Dickson, claiming that city officials violated her free speech rights by preventing her from selling her fortuneteller services. Actually, the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on Ms. Daly's behalf, claiming that because she's been barred from selling tarot card readings, her right to free speech has been violated.

According to the ACLU of Tennessee's director Hedy Weinberg, Ms. Daly is a law-abiding citizen, who stopped selling $25 tarot readings at her store, the Curiosity Corner New Age Shop, when told it was against the law. And even though she then went to the ACLU for help in getting the law changed, the Dickson officials were unresponsive.

You see, the founding fathers of Dickson have prohibited anyone from making money as a fortuneteller. In fact, a specific city regulation modified in 1980 makes it illegal for “any person to conduct the business of, solicit for, or ply the trade of fortuneteller, clairvoyant, hypnotist, spiritualist, palmist, phrenologist or other mystic endowed with supernatural powers.”  Note that they didn't specifically mention financial planner or advisor.

The lawsuit--the first filed by the ACLU of Tennessee on behalf of a fortuneteller--asks for the ordinance to be declared unconstitutional and for Dickson to be prohibited from enforcing the ban. No court date has been set but Dickson Councilwoman Linda Chambers (who has been on the City Council for the past 10 years) points out that Ms. Daly is still free to continue her tarot readings, as long as the service is without charge. Says Councilwoman Chambers, "We do not prohibit them from doing it. If they want to do it for free, that's fine." Huh?

Maybe Ms. Daly would be better off working as a planner or advisor. But what about all those guarantees?

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