Robin: your story I think is VERY typical for a lot of members..especially the "local drama" stories. IPMSUSA may have had some drama, but not nearly as often or on the level of local clubs. I've been a member since '77, and have been extremely blessed to have been a member of 2 clubs with almost NO drama...the Rickenbackers in Columbus and IPMS First Coast here in Jax. But, having attended many, many local shows and regional contests, and spoken to hundreds of other "local" members; their stories are legion about the "drama" in their clubs. Many clubs either fail, or split off due to those internal problems. And who can blame members like yourself for not wanting to deal with such things in their hobby?
One of the biggest, if not THE biggest problems with the IPMS "reputation" is the idea that the drama experienced at the local level actually reflects IPMSUSA at large. What's worse, MOST of these stories are perpetuated by the NON-members who attend local and regional shows and go on to bad mouth an organization they're not even a part of based on some story they heard (true or not) at at one of those shows.
While all of the "problem" stories in the history of IPMSUSA add some spice, they do not reflect the true overall history of it. Considering IPMS has never had anything but volunteers at ALL levels, just existing for going on 60yrs is an accomplishment. The fact IPMS has grown into the an organization with a first class publication and who puts on 6+figure National conventions is amazing! It's had to reinvent itself too....when it started, historical documentation for model building was scarce, and IPMS led the way in providing it. At times, until the 80s, it was one of the ONLY sources of info for model builders. Since then, IPMS, and its Quarterly and Jounal mags have had to survive competing against a bevy of commercial magazines and subject specific publications that give model builders an alternative source for both subject data and kit reviews. And with the internet and its on-line clubs, IPMS is having to evolve once again to remain relevant to the model builder.
I hope the history that's recorded accentuates the positives as much or more than the negatives over the decades!