2.07.2013

Why you should not go to DragonCon

See this fine-looking chap? His name is Edward Kramer, and he's a bonafide, out and out pedophile. And guess what? He is a co founder of DragonCon. The simple summary would be that he has successfully delayed going to jail for a decade by funding a legal maneuvering campaign through his share of DragonCon profits. And the corporation that organizes DragonCon can't seem to quite shake off this gentleman. [read more]

Click for some cursory facts in this story.


And a small excerpt:
As Atlanta Magazine reported in September, the wildly successful convention made Kramer wealthy enough that he’s been able to afford to file motion after motion to stall his criminal case for more than a decade. A month after his initial incarceration in the Gwinnett County (Georgia Jail) following his August 2000 arrest, he fell and hit his head, an injury that, when coupled with his other unusual health requirements, led to his release in November 2000 on $75,000. He was back in jail within a few days — a neighbor reported seeing a teenage boy enter his home — but he was placed under house arrest following claims of a January 2001 assault by a deputy.
Even a reindictment to include a third alleged victim couldn’t keep the litigious Kramer in jail. His declining health, which apparently required the attention of 16 physicians, led to one hearing delay after another, and repeated petitions to the court resulted in 11 modifications to the conditions of his bond.

The next decade would see Kramer successfully petition for Social Security disability benefits and fail in a bid to emigrate to Israel, all while continuing to stall his prosecution. It wasn’t until Kramer was arrested in September 2011 in Connecticut on a bond violation — he was allegedly caught in a motel room with a 14-year-old boy — that he finally ended up back in jail. But even then, he fought extradition back to Georgia for more than a year.
 Here is a message from the Foglios, brought to my attention by the amazing Cathy Wappel:
We're Not Going to Dragon-Con.

The few people who actually check our Convention Calendar no doubt noticed that we were planning on going to Dragon Con this year. We were kind of excited about it, actually. We used to go to Dragon Con every year, and had a whole lot of fun. There's tens of thousands of people with pockets full of money who love our stuff, and the after hour parties are some of the best on the con circuit.

For one reason or another we stopped going. We do a lot of conventions, it's all the way across the country, it's the weekend before school starts, it's the same weekend as Worldcon, heat death, whatever.

But we always missed it, and planned to go back. So when they asked us to be guests, AND offered to fly us down AND put us up in the hotel AND give us a dealer's table, we were mighty excited. Whenever we go to a new convention, we always do very well, financially. There are always readers who wait to buy the books directly from the authors. Perhaps they think we get more of the money that way, or they want an autograph, or they just want to put a face to the work and actually talk to us (We love this stuff by the way, it's one of the reasons we do conventions. Meeting the people who enjoy our work gives us a 'contact high' that can inspire us for months). Whatever the reason, when we do a new convention in an area of the country we haven't been to in a while, we do very well indeed. And we're talking about Dragon Con here. 40,000 attendees. You only have to sell to a small percentage of that crowd to come back with grocery money for the next month or so. Plus it's a chance to bring our work to the attention of potential readers. A con where we have so-so sales, but give away several thousand postcards to people who haven't heard of us before is still a success in our eyes, because we're in this for the long haul (This should not come as a surprise to the people who have been reading us for the last 12 years). In my experienced opinion, if we went to Dragon-Con, Studio Foglio would make over $15,000. and that's net, not gross. But we're not going. This decision is costing us, and we don't care.

The reason we are not going is that Dragon-Con is partially owned by a man named Ed Kramer. Ed is a pedophile. He was arrested for it back in 2000, and again in 2011. He was arrested for it again– LAST WEEK. Why, you may ask, is Mr. Kramer not in jail? Well, he has been mounting a very effective series of legal delaying tactics. How is he able to afford this? Dragon-Con pays him close to $150,000 every year. That's how. (http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2013/01/nancy-a-collins-calls-for-dragoncon-boycott-over-ties-to-co-founder/)

This does not have to happen. Dragon–Con is not a one-man shop. It is a corporation. There are a Board of Directors. They could dissolve the corporation, and then form a brand new corporation without Ed Kramer before lunch. This new corporation could then run conventions in the same place, at the same time, in the same facilities, possibly with the same name (but for P.R. reasons, they might want to think about that). However they have not done this. They have not done this for 12 years. Yes, it would be expensive. Yes, it would be inconvenient. Yes, some people would be made sad. But the Board of Directors has decided that they would rather send hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to a known, active pedophile. They are okay with that. They have made an active decision to keep on doing that.

I am not okay with that. I have children. I know people who have children. I seem to remember that I might have been a child myself, once. No doubt there are thousands of people who go to Dragon-Con who don't know about this. Tell them. No doubt there are thousands of people who do know about this, but will go to Dragon-Con anyway. I certainly can't stop you.

But I will be disappointed.
It's interesting that even a tangential hobby to 40k (although really, 40k would be more tangential to Comics and RPGs) can garner 40,000 participants to a single convention, and it's amazing that authors and artists command enough income to be able to boycott part of their income stream.

So are you going?

10 comments:

  1. Cool, a slander piece. Classy.

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  2. Nancy A. CollinsFeb 7, 2013, 2:37:00 PM

    Actually, his name is Edward Kramer.

    And how are repeating facts from a newspaper report and validated by the Court of Appeals in TWO states "slander"?

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  3. Oh goody. An anonymous Troll who doesn't understand that "printing the facts" is much different than "slander"

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  4. Thanks for the correction, Nancy.

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  5. "Anonymous said...

    Cool, a slander piece. Classy."

    Classy? If it's slander, I guess someone should sue me or send me a cease and desist. I'm sure you can find my contact info easily.

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  6. People like to toss around the terms "slander" and "libel" all the time, without actually understanding their meaning. It's a sign of stupidity. This article is clearly not slanderous. For one thing, it's quoting a newspaper article, and for another thing, slander involves the spoken word, not written. So pay no mind to the uneducated.

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  7. I'm definitely going. Yes, by all accounts Kramer is shady and yes, he is s shareholder. But 1) I love the con. and 2) Hopefully he'll finally face justice soon and if convicted, then Dragon*Con will be able to finally take action. But as of now, we should remember that he has yet to be proven guilty in a court of law. We got to let the legal process play out and have faith the jury will get to the truth. That money will sadly be blown on legal fees but, assuming he is found guilty, it won't help him in prison.

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  8. We'll certainly be going. We've already gotten our four tickets and have some friends going as well.

    As to how this might be a slander or, more accurately, libel piece is seen what's been not written rather than what has been written. Perfect example -

    "He was back in jail within a few days — a neighbor reported seeing a teenage boy enter his home — but he was placed under house arrest following claims of a January 2001 assault by a deputy."

    Yeah, that's bad. As soon as he got out and got home he had the neighbors spotting underage kids going into his home. Didn't actually happen though.

    "But Kramer wouldn't be staying at home long. Less than a week later, a neighbor reported seeing a 15-year-old neighborhood boy enter the house. Kramer was hauled back in front of Judge Turner. Melissa Babb, a short boyish looking 34-year-old Marine vet and friend of Kramer testified in court it was her. So did the Army MP who had dropped her off to service Kramer's car. Indeed, the 15-year-old in question - along with his mother - both testified in court that day that the boy was asleep at home and was nowhere near Kramer's house at the supposed time in question. Yet, despite the fact that during the court hearing the neighbor admitted that she didn't actually see anyone enter the house, Turner revoked Kramer's bond and sent him back to the GCDC."

    http://atlantajewish.com/content/2004/edkramer.html

    But nice trimming of the quotes though.

    This goes along with other "facts" floated by the boycott crowd by the way. It's almost but not quite up there with the popular line about how Gwinnett Police seized more than 200 pornographic videotapes from Kramer's home in Duluth, depicting sex between young boys and older men. What the boycott brigade often fail to mention is that, almost two years later, the State conceded that the videos, videos that included such horrible pornography such as The Blues Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator and Conspiracy Theory, were not pornographic and the tapes were removed as evidence in the case. The Georgia Court of Appeals also held that the entire search warrant's description was open-ended enough to be in violation of both the Georgia and United States Constitutions.

    Now, Kramer may well be guilty. I'm not calling that verdict one way or another. He'll be facing his day in court and the courts will decide. But presenting slanted facts hardly makes anything you write trustworthy.

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  9. As to the convention itself -

    Dragon*Con has been minimizing Kramer for years now. They bought out as many shares as they could and Kramer does not have anything to do with running or organizing the convention. Does he still own a stake in Dragon*Con? Yes. Does he still make money off of that stake? Yes. Can Dragon*Con simply, as Nancy A. Collins and her various boycott supporters like to mindlessly repeat in forum after forum, do what "it knows it must do" and cut all ties with Kramer or dissolve itself and reform as a new company to run the convention with Kramer no longer getting any money from it?

    No, they can't.

    For one thing, Dragon*Con has signed huge contracts with the hotels for years into the future and dissolving the company will break those contracts. This is no small thing. The hotels campaigned for easements to build the skywalks, they've turned away other lucrative opportunities (look at the Marriott and the college football fans who still have grandfathered rooms even during Dragon*Con weekend), and if Dragon*Con dissolves anyone who has a bone to pick with them could very well use the opportunity to end it and bankrupt everyone involved, including the non-child molesters who hold shares of the Con. Stockholders can’t be forced to sell shares they own outright. Not legal and not possible.

    Then, of course, there's the little matter of Georgia law.

    Kramer decided that he was conned out of some of his shares or at least conned into undervaluing them. He then launched legal action against Dragon*Con and the people now running it over the matter. By Georgia law, the suggestion of dissolving the DragonCon corporation through voluntary dissolution can’t occur so long as a corporate entity has pending legal disputes, and Kramer is in a lawsuit with DragonCon over his rights as a minority shareholder. Therefore, they can't simply do what the "know they should do" here because it's illegal.

    Of course, they could try it to satisfy the screamers. The results would be one of the two following scenarios.

    #1 - They could offer Kramer what he thinks he's owed and buy him out at whatever asking price he lays down. In the end, this would likely give Kramer a small fortune and be counter to the supposed goal of the Boycott that Collins is crusading for.

    #2 - They can break the law or pull a fast one on Kramer. Guaranteed super payday for Kramer and his lawyers and absolutely counter to the supposed goal of the Boycott that Collins is crusading for.

    Now, I'm sure Collins would respond with her tired line about Dragon*Con having tons of money and that money being able to hire great lawyers, but, seriously... How stupid would the best lawyers that that kind of money can buy be to tell their client to break the law and play right into the hands of the man currently suing them?

    All Nancy's little crusade will do is hurt everybody but Kramer. It will hurt everyone who helped build the con who didn't pull the vile garbage he pulled., it will hurt the fans who love the convention and it will hurt the businesses that these days roll out handmade signs welcoming Dragon*Con and the boost to their bottom lines that it brings.

    But Kramer? Nancy only hurts Kramer if she completely destroys and bankrupts Dragon*Con and, after seeing her sometimes blind to actual full facts and truths crusade of the last few years, I suspect that this has become her primary goal. And hopefully it's a goal that she will fail miserably at.

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  10. Thank you for posting your viewpoint. It serves as a nice full circle for people viewing this post.

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