Published on July 8th, 2013 | by Jessi Roman0
The Newest Twist in the DragonCon Boycott Saga
Today’s breaking news revealed that the latest episode in the Dragon*Con Boycott Saga has been aired. The official press release read:
DRAGON CON, INC. REPLACES DRAGON CON / ACE, INC.
Dragon Con will Continue the Agreements With Hotels, Guests and Performers
ATLANTA – July 8, 2013 – The Board of Directors and Shareholders of Dragon Con / ACE, Inc., producer of Dragon*Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy and sci-fi convention, have agreed to merge the company into Dragon Con, Inc. (Dragon Con) in a cash-out merger.
Led by Pat Henry, David Cody and Robert Dennis, ownership of Dragon Con includes five of the six founding owners of Dragon Con / ACE (the old Dragon Con). The effective date of the merger is July 8, 2013.
Edward Kramer, who has not had any role in managing or organizing the convention since 2000, was offered cash for his shares in the old company. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“This decision only affects the ownership of the old Dragon Con,” said Pat Henry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dragon Con. “Our members and others who attend Dragon*Con 2013 will experience the same fantastic convention they have come to expect from us.”
Dragon Con will continue the agreements with each of the host and overflow hotels associated with the convention as well as all of the guests and performers scheduled to appear at this year’s event, either “as is” or with amendments recognizing Dragon Con as owner.
Within moments of this news, the internet was ablaze with bloggers and journalists rabidly reporting what they’d just learned. But what exactly does it mean for the boycott?
Horror author, Nancy Collins has been at the front and center of the movement to boycott Dragon*Con. In an interview with her, she revealed that she had been personally boycotting Dragon*con since 2001, after she had discovered that the current chairman, Pat Henry, had testified on behalf of Ed Kramer at his bond hearing in 2000. For those who aren’t up to speed, Ed Kramer was arrested in August of 2000 on charges of molesting two teenage brothers who had slept over in Ed’s home. It was only in January of this year that she began calling for an artistic boycott of Dragon*Con. While Nancy didn’t claim that Dragon*Con should be held responsible for Ed’s behavior, she did believe that they owed an apology to the victims and that “those who run the organization *do* have to answer for their decision to repeatedly go to bat for Ed Kramer in the past, to the point of calling the victims (then 13 & 15 ) liars and insinuating Kramer was the victim of a ‘set-up’.” As with any juicy morsel, news of the boycott spread like wildfire on the interwebs.
The Dragon*con Boycott even has it’s own Facebook community page, which, at the time of this article, had 159 “likes”. The community description reads:
Dedicated to Protecting the Children Who Attend Dragon*Con from The Co Founder Accused of Multiple Child Molestations.
The page features updates of guests who have cancelled their plans for appearing at Dragon*con this year. It is not specified whether the cancellation plans are related to the pending case against Ed Kramer and the Boycott, or pure coincidence. It so happens, that in the case of Venture Bros. creators, Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick, their decision not to attend Dragon*con this year had nothing to do with the boycott. When asked about the posts on the Dragon*con Boycott page stating that Venture Bros. “say ‘No’ to Dragon*Con 2013″ Doc Hammer confirmed that it was not a statement being made in regards to the Ed Kramer case.
One member of the Dragon*Con Boycott community shared this publicly on the page:
Aurelio Voltaire is a media personality and respected authority on all things Gothic, Horror, Sci-fi, Steampunk and involving “geek” culture. He is often referred to as a modern day renaissance man having achieved success in the fields of animation, music, comics, books, and toys. He has been a consistent icon, performing at Dragon*Con for years. When publicly confronted about this on his Facebook page, Voltaire confirmed that these were in fact his words. Despite stating that he would rather not be involved, he gave a very lengthy and thoughtful statement regarding the Dragon*con Boycott and his decision to continue performing there. In his statement, he confided that he was a victim of child molestation himself, but “destroying Dragon*Con to try to get at one guy is like nuking a country because you want to oust the president…”
That is exactly the sentiment that Elizabeth Nelson on behalf of the charitable organization, Austin Browncoats shared when asked about their continued involvement in Dragon*Con.
I believe that Dragon*Con is doing everything possible to separate their event from Ed Kramer, while still upholding the law. I believe that Pat Henry and the rest of the Board of Directors are working hard to sever ties to Kramer, including VERY fair offers to buy his shares. I’m not sure what else people expect them to do. Kramer legally owns those shares. Dragon*Con seems to be stuck in a loop of active litigation and offering to buy Kramer’s shares, which he has repeatedly declined.
I continue to support Dragon*Con and their Board of Directors. They have gone above and beyond to ensure our charity is not only successful, but also well taken care of during their event. They are very active in charitable giving, as well, which I admire. I can’t imagine the stress brought on by this constant state of litigation and can only hope that Kramer will allow a buy out of his shares or another solution will be found that will end this matter. As of right now, it is my understanding that Kramer has yet to be convicted of the crimes brought against him. Hopefully, if convicted, that will lead to a resolution that ends with Kramer no longer affiliated with Dragon*Con in anyway, financial or otherwise.
Austin Browncoats, founded in 2007, is a non-profit located in Austin, TX. Austin Browncoats work to end violence and discrimination in all sectors of society. We place special focus on working alongside young women and children because, given the opportunity and proper education, young women and children can help create a better world for all beings. Much like our passion for the amazing works of Joss Whedon, such as “Firefly”, we are passionate about our causes and raising funds for our charities, including Equality Now, SafePlace, Heart House and Emancipet.
Austin Browncoats have been a vendor at Dragon*Con since 2008 and gives 100% of their net proceeds to charity.
The problem with a boycott, as many have noticed, is that it does not only affect Ed Kramer. Nancy Collins has claimed that Mr. Kramer receives 1/3 of your ticket money, using it to pay his legal defense and play the system. The fact is, as explained by Dragon*Con’s Director of Public Relations, Greg Euston, Ed Kramer has been a shareholder, and nothing more since 2000. As a shareholder, he receives 1/3 of the *dividend* IF there is one. That means that after Dragon*Con has paid all the employees, paid for guests’ flights and hotel stays, paid for the use of the hotels, paid advertising, and attorney fees, and given to charity, plus any other number of expenses incurred by a convention of this magnitude… after all that has been paid out, the dividend is what remains, if any. To clarify, Ed Kramer holds 2050 shares, which is 34% of the old company.
A dividend is in no way guaranteed in any given year. There have been several years when no dividend at all was paid, most recently in 2008. For most of the history of Dragon*Con, when a dividend was paid, it never exceeded $1 per share and was frequently well below that. ~Greg Euston, Dragon*con PR
That means that on any given year, Mr. Kramer received no more than $2050, with the exception of one year, in which Dragon*Con’s dividend was exponentially higher. This is where the $150,000 number floating around comes from. That was not at all an average payout for Ed Kramer.
The idea of dissolving the company and reopening under a new name has been suggested repeatedly by Dragon*Con supporters. Today’s news shows that Dragon*con supporters were on the right track, and finally Dragon*Con has been able to move forward in what is called a “squeeze-out merger”. A phone call to McNeill Stokes, Kramer’s attorney proves that the press release by Dragon*Con is not “just spin” as the latest updates from the Dragon*Con Boycott Facebook community page claim.
He was clear on the fact that Ed Kramer objected to the merger, but declined to give a written statement, and said that no “official statement” had been made from their office.
In an email from Nancy Collins, she states the (nearly) exact same sentiment.
It changes nothing since their PR release does not come out and *say* 100% Ed Kramer is no longer financially involved and will no longer be receiving money from the convention. Until they do so, and make public their incorporation records to *prove* he is no longer involved, there is no reason to believe a word they say. As far as the boycott is concerned, until there is indisputable proof Kramer has been bought out and is no longer profiting from the convention, this just a shell game.
While Dragon*Con is either unwilling or unable to provide documentation at this time, for those who know where to look, evidence of such a merger should be on public record. Dragon*Con public relations did clarify that:
In this merger, Dragon Con, Inc., replaces the old company, Dragon*Con/ACE Inc. Pat Henry and four other shareholders exchanged their shares in the old company for 100 percent of the shares in the new company. Ed Kramer, the remaining minority shareholder in the old company, was cashed out. Dragon*Con/ACE Inc. no longer exists.
As a consequence of this merger, Mr. Kramer no longer has any interest, financial or otherwise, in Dragon Con.
It appears the Dragon*Con Boycott circus has come to a close, but this wasn’t really supposed to be about Dragon*Con, right? The purpose of the boycott, being to see an accused child molester, who has evaded trial for over 12 years, finally tried in court. If the purpose of boycotting Dragon*Con was truly to prevent further manipulation of the courts at the hands of Mr. Kramer, then consider this: at an average of less than $2050 per year from Dragon*Con dividends, Ed Kramer has to be raking in money from some other cash cow, because that wouldn’t cover a day’s worth of legal fees, much less 12 years. Perhaps Nancy Collins and other concerned boycotters can now turn her attentions towards his greater sources of income.
Ed Kramer is the award-winning editor of ROC Books’ Dark Love and Grails, HarperPrism’s Sandman: Book of Dreams, Del Rey’s The Crow: Shattered Lives and Broken Dreams, Tor Books’ Free Space, Avon Books’ Forbidden Acts, White Wolf’sElric: Tales of the White Wolf, Pawn of Chaos: Tales of the Eternal Champion, Dante’s Disciples, Tombs, the Dark Destinytrilogy, and Bereshith Publishing’s Strange Attraction, based on the kinetic sculptures of Lisa Snellings. He has many additional works both in print and in progress; next isKabbalah: The Magic of Solomon (co-edited with Jack Dann). Ed’s original fiction appears in a number of anthologies as well. He has also co-written and directed the digital feature Terror at Tate Manor, which debuted as a direct-to-Internet film. ~(http://web.archive.org/web/20070928175958/http://www.edkramer.com/)
*Update – an article has just popped up stating that Nancy Collins has called off the boycott. At this time, she has not responded to Word of the Nerd for verification, but here is the quote from said article.
I have confirmed the Dragon Con merger press release via non-fannish channels (ie an AJC reporter who has spoken to Kramer’s attorney–newsflash, Kramer’s unhappy and is going to sue). Barring unforeseen events, I am now officially calling off the boycott. It’s interesting to see that something that something that had not been done and supposedly *couldn’t* be done for nearly 13 years somehow managed to be implemented in less than 6 months.
I would like to thank those professionals who took a stand and vocally supported the boycott of DragonCon, as well as the many fans who have done so as well. You looked the dragon in the eye and made it blink. And have no doubt, it was your unified efforts, actions and voices that made this happen, and nothing else.
It was you, and no one else, who were responsible for this cancer finally being cut from Fandom.