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Suddenly

UPDATED: Dragon*Con Officially Separates From Founder, Accused Molester, Ed Kramer


After a drawn out, public debacle, Dragon*Con has announced they have finally managed to divorce themselves from accused molester Edward Kramer

We previously reported on the story of Kramer, a Dragon*Con co-founder accused of child-molestation who has been using health issues to avoid going to court since his initial arrest in 2000. Although he was no longer involved with the convention, he was getting compensation for his holdings ($154,000 in 2011).

But The Mary Sue received a press release today from McGraw Euston Associates on behalf of Dragon*Con which states, “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.”

Although the general public, creators, and fans have been calling for Dragon*Con to do something just like this for years, they expressed their agreement but said it was a difficult process. One it looks like they’ve finally managed.

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 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.”

The release went on to say all current agreements with hotels in the area, guests, and performers will go unchanged or with amendments added to recognize the new ownership.

As soon as news broke, creators often vocal about the Kramer situation (some even boycotting the convention), took to Twitter to comment.

“REALLY happy @DragonCon’s ‘sorry, we can’t do anything about it’ has finally turned into ‘we got rid of Ed Kramer,’” said Ron Marz. “Obviously @DragonCon kicking Kramer to the curb was long overdue, but the most important thing is that it’s finally done.”

Steve Niles said, Great news about @DragonCon. They did the right thing. Great way to start the week,” while cosplayer DJ Spider wrote, “Best @DragonCon news of the day – finally! Bye bye, Ed Kramer!” Facebook users also expressed their appreciation for the news on the Dragon*Con facebook page.

UPDATE: We were asked to clarify this situation and recieved this statement from Greg Euston of McGraw Euston Associates. He wrote:

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.

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  • Anonymous

    GOOD. One more mainstream convention I’ll be a little bit more comfortable supporting.

  • Sarah Brockman

    Glad they could get through the financial hoops and legal red tape to make this happen. I’m sure they had to give Kramer way more money than he morally deserves, but distancing themselves from him, especially with the push against harassment at Cons, is great news.

    This, plus the John Scalzi pledge (and 700 others who have signed it) from the past week, is giving me much more hope for the human race than the previous month did.

  • Anonymous

    Dragon Con was in a tough spot: you definitely don’t want a molester in your management but it would’ve been a lot easier if he would’ve been convicted. I’m glad it’s finally over.

  • David Hill

    The more I read the announcement, the fishier it sounds. They said they offered. They never said he accepted. They say it’s being run by five of the six founders, but they only list three names.

    It seems to me that if they wanted to distance themselves from him and cut his ties, being evasive and vague is not the way to do that.

    I get that there might be some legal roadblocks there, but the writing is very intentional there.

  • Tully

    I suspect Kramer agreed to the sale because his lawyers told him no money, no defense. He’s spent 13 years fighting to avoid trial and that had to cost big money. Now that he’s finally back in custody without bond and facing that long-delayed trial, his legal bills are going to go up again. And it would not be a point in his favor in front of a jury for prosecutors to point out that he has stubbornly refused to give up ownership in an event attended by thousands of underage youngsters.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Story is updated with clearer wording – it’s official.

  • David Hill

    Awesome. Now, if they adopt a harassment policy, I’ll look at taking my business there.

    Thank you!

  • Ryan Colson

    Sweeet

  • Nancy A. Collins

    Until DragonCon posts incorporation paperwork proving 100% that Ed Kramer is no longer financially involved with the convention and will no longer be receiving dividends from its profits, there is no reason to take their PR as gospel. I don’t care what their PR says, I want to see what their incorporation documents say.

  • http://www.danaseilhan.com Dana Seilhan

    If he didn’t accept the offer, the news would be different. Wouldn’t he have come along to the new company if he hadn’t accepted the buyout?

  • http://www.danaseilhan.com Dana Seilhan

    Well, go look then. It’s public record.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Do you really think they would lie and say he was out if he truly wasn’t? They are under serious scrutiny as it is, and they said previously they didn’t want to comment until everything was settled.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Nancy Collins,

    Get the hell out of our hobby. You aren’t wanted here.

    Sincerely,
    Nerds Everywhere.

  • Anonymous

    They already HAVE a harassment policy…

  • Nancy A. Collins

    Well, given they mislead everyone about his continued financial involvement for 12 years, the burden to prove he is 100% severed is on them.

  • Anonymous

    They are still a predatory for-profit corporation which squats on Labor Day (the traditional date for Worldcons) and makes it hard to organize genuine fan-run not-for-profit fannish conventions in the region.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not a mainstream convention; it’s a for-profit company.

  • Snertly

    You should submit your demand to the Dragon*Con lawyers. They have the best chance of answering you completely and will probably be too polite to mention how little your opinion is worth.

  • Snertly

    The majority of conventions, in all industries, are “for profit” events. Usually the “not for profit” label is a code phrase meaning “has no budget”.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Nancy Collins,

    What DavidPatrick said.

    Sincerely,
    The Rest of Us

  • Anonymous

    As long as this is 100% legit and truthful, Dragon*Con has leveled up many times on my respect-o-meter.

    Glad to see that it’s working out for the good of the majority of the people, fans and all.

    Chozo Ninpo
    CEO. Channel Zero
    http://thezerolevel.com

  • Nancy A. Collins

    Tell that to SDCC. They’re Non-Profit.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Please do not attack other commenters like that.

    Sincerely,
    Jill Pantozzi, Associate Editor of The Mary Sue

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    I believe it’s both, actually.

  • Nancy A. Collins

    You’re welcome, fake geek boys.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    That’s true but they also didn’t have the kind of attention re: this topic as they have the last 2 or so years.

  • Nancy A. Collins

    They would be able to keep things like this from happening again if they re-organized a Non-Profit like SDCC .

  • Anonymous

    And she proves how laughable she really is.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Dear Eh_Non_Emouse

    Please do not speak for me.

    Sincerely,
    Part of “The Rest of Us”

  • Anonymous

    I wish there was a “like” or “love” button available.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Same goes for you:

    Please do not attack other commenters like that.

    Sincerely,
    Jill Pantozzi, Associate Editor of The Mary Sue

  • Nancy A. Collins

    I did. I went to the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. All that is listed is a merger. There is no list of owners/partners, just the presiding officers, Pat Henry & his wife.

  • Anonymous

    And the daughter of the Executive Director and wife of their treasurer each make $60k+ salaries. There’s some profiting going on there.

    http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/news-ticker/2011/jul/08/comic-con-grossed-more-than-9-million-in-fy-09-lat/

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    You do not understand the definition of “profit”

  • Anonymous

    I understand perfectly what “profit” is. Making a company a “Non-Profit” doesn’t make a company any better or any worse. In the end *somebody* has to profit because somebody has to be paid to run such a huge shindig, regardless of what coast it’s on, as they should. Whether they take the additional spoils and pay themselves bonuses or hold it in the bank for future use is irrelevant. Don’t paint a corporation as greater than another just because they choose a different tax path. People are being paid, so there is some profit going on.

  • Abel Undercity

    As a library worker, I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that non-profits still have payrolls.

  • Snertly

    Non-Profit, as in “they make no money”, or as in “they put their ‘profits’ into salaries and funding next year’s shows so while they might not technically be ‘for profit’ they’ve managed to do well enough to keep a number of people employed for the last 45 years”?

  • Laura Truxillo

    Excellent news. Glad they finally got it done.

  • Thomas L. Strickland

    It is time to let it go.

    I understand the intent of your crusade, but in doing so, you’re harming an institution that serves and helps thousands in pursuit of a single, horrible man.

    They’ve taken the steps they must to sever ties, and though it might mean that you will no longer be the subject of yearly interviews by local newspapers, these efforts are positive overall. Why not let them take their course and see what occurs, instead of coming out swinging and vindictive?

    Does Dragon*Con need to reassess its business model? Should it be a non-profit like SDCC? Most likely, yes to both of these.

    But as of today, they’ve pulled an albatross from around the proverbial neck of their organization. Whether they sail smoothly going forward is up to them, but encouragement for this action is a better use of anyone’s time than the typical yearly sneering.

  • Anonymous

    That’s what has traditionally made science fiction conventions different from commercial shows, Snertly: we have managed to run them, from your local 400-people regional relaxacon to 8,000-people Worldcons, with an all-volunteer staff and without anybody taking a skim off the top. If you don’t understand the psychological, emotional and spiritual difference between that and a commercial show… well, you have my pity.

  • Anonymous

    If people are being paid, then perhaps it’s too damned big to care about any more.

  • Snertly

    Nonsense. the corporate structuring of an event is not what prevents or allows the association of people you might find objectionable. To insist otherwise suggests that your statements drive their own agenda.

  • Snertly

    That would be the death of most hobbies, no?

  • Anonymous

    Some hobbies, maybe; but so what? Science fiction fandom has managed to have its conventions since 1937 without turning any of it, including Worldcons, over to the for-profit sector. It’s a way of life, not just a goddamn hobby.

  • Snertly

    I think you’re a bit fuzzy on just how fine a point the difference between for-profit and non-profit can be. A convention, that wants to happen more than once, has to cover it’s expenses, and has to always have someone nudging toward that next thing. I doubt that has happened for eighty years as a philanthropic gesture on the part of fandom.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve worked the small cons (120 peeps) and the 800 people ones (a ‘numbered’ trek con in the UK – there’s a real non profit) and I’ve also worked Dragoncon. There’s no comparison. I think the volunteer staff at DC is about 1800, which makes the staff alone a good sized con, let alone the 50k+ attendees.

    I spent a number of weekends before last years DC in their offices, helping prep things, and there were a whole bunch of people working hard even 5-6 weeks beforehand.

    And I’ve been ConCom too, and failed at it (so badly the convention made BBC’s Watchdog) so I know how hard it is to do the stuff at the top.

    When you get past the 10k size, especially get to the DC range, it does become a full time job.

  • Anonymous

    Were you misled? I certainly haven’t been. I’ve known what the situation was for the last few years, from just keeping an eye on court filings, and havinga quick read through Georgia law. That second part there is important, because what I’ve seen you saying they ‘should do’. is illegal under GA law, but you knew that right?

    But if you really want to continue to grind your axe, why not start with the Secretary of State’s office, where you could spend 5 minutes and get this https://cgov.sos.state.ga.us/BizEntity.aspx/ViewEntityData?entityId=4762319
    (registration required)

    Will probably take another few days to have the SoS office update the online database though, but that’s the link to the info page.

  • Anonymous

    You were looking at the OLD filing, not the new one. Odds are documents were signed/processed today, so it won’t be on the online system straight away, but the NEW one is https://cgov.sos.state.ga.us/Home.aspx/ViewEntityData?entityId=4762319

    The old one, listing the mergers, etc. that you were looking at was https://cgov.sos.state.ga.us/Home.aspx/ViewEntityData?entityId=874981

  • Anonymous

    HALLELUJAH! Good for them!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been on con committees for over three decades, Snert. I’ve also worked for the state tax department. There’s no comparison between operating a for-profit business that sells tickets to attendees, and putting a margin of error in the membership structure so that your fan-convention can continue from year to year for its member-participants. It’s the difference between your local chess club or Labor History Society, and your local Chuck E Cheese or AMC Cinema multiplex.

  • Anonymous

    I think David Hill meant “& actually enforce it”. At least, that’s what I would have meant if I had made that statement…

  • Snertly

    And your local chess club will never, ever mount anything like Dragon*Con. Granted, there’s a number of ways to skin the convention cat, and there’s a number of ways any model can fail or succeed.

    But regarding the topic at hand, it is somewhere between just nuts and egotism gone wild to attempt to punish Dragon*Con and its attendees for the doings of one past member/founder. If Mr Kramer owned shares in Coca Cola and derived income from that, would Ms Collins and/or yourself stop drinking carbonated beverages?

  • Anonymous

    You’re missing the point. Legitimate fandom is a non-profit system for shared joy, from which nobody derives profit and nobody gets paid; Dragon*Con is a commercial entity parasitically drawing energy and people away from legitimate fandom. Nobody is saying that Coca Cola, a commercial corporation in Atlanta, should be getting help from over a thousand enthusiastic volunteers who don’t get paid when they work at corporate headquarters.

  • Emily Walton

    What did she say to warrant that level of hostility?

  • Matthew

    Luckily nancy collins finally verified Kramer’s separation through “non fannish” sources(fannish=The Mary Sue) according to The Beat. Ha! I love comics! Come on, Mary Sue, stop being so…..fannish.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    This. The law can be slow, and I know DragonCon has been trying for years to extricate any last vestiges of association with Kramer, even on a shareholder level, but I think the public pressure may have played a role in speeding things along. I totally supported and respected those who were boycotting and also those still attending. This is a huge relief. Hopefully, if (when) he is convicted the monies can go into a trust for the victims.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Snertly, I wouldn’t call it nuts or egotism to boycott something you don’t feel comfortable going to. They weren’t hurting anybody and it didn’t cancel the con for those who wanted to attend, but it did send a message. Nobody can afford to be 100% ethical in what they support (we all have to eat food and drink water and pay phone bills), but whereas Coca Cola has probably millions of shareholders, DragonCon only had a few. It seemed more personal to some. I totally understand and respect both the boycotters and those who were going to attend anyway.

  • Thomas Ledbetter

    Something that hasn’t been mentioned that I think is significant is the timing of this action. To dissolve and re-incorporate means paying each of the five owners (including Kramer) 1/5 of the value of the corporation. Which means determining the value of the corporation. I think right now, a few months before the con, after most of the expenses have been paid and before most of the “me too” registration fees are in, is the best time to rate the con at its lowest value of the year, which means the lowest payout to Kramer. Smart. The worst time to have done this is right after the con when it is flush with registration income and few new bills.
    Now watch Kramer file a lawsuit claiming he was bilked out of his fair share of its worth.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    This is going off on your tangent, but I have had some of my most genuine fan experiences and geek-outs at Dragon*Con. There are thousands of events both huge and small occurring throughout the Dragon*Con weekend. Some are more commercial (though not by any means necessarily less delightful), and some have that intimate, homespun quality of pure, quiet fandom. I have frequented other cons, but none make me feel as welcome or personally acommodated or give me as much freedom to choose the pace and level of intensity (from quiet late night games of Mafia/Werewolf to huge ballroom parties) of my weekend as Dragon*Con. Your mileage may vary, of course.

  • Josh Mueller

    Are we really pulling out hair out over cons making a profit now? Apparently the irony is lost on a lot of people here that fail to realize most of the justification for our cons – movies, albums, books and games – were all made for profit.

    And the ‘not for profit’ label is laughably easy to claim at it is. Is something fun? Was it worth your money? Awesome. Quit complaining if the person that made it possible got paid for it.

  • Josh Mueller

    Having attended Dragon*Con many years in a row, they enforce the harassment policy quite nicely. Security has gotten extremely strict since 2010, and it’s shown. Granted, they can’t be everywhere at once. But neither can the police.

  • Anonymous

    This whole thread is conflating the idea of an individual “profiting” from something with the actual tax definition of “for profit”.

    “Not for profit” = The primary purpose of this organization is not to make money for the shareholders, but
    to further its own cause (feed the homeless, teach acting, youth jobs, political ads, host a convention…). Non-profits in the US are absolutely allowed to make money.

    In principle, any money earned is put back into the business—this includes paying employees, so there is a lot of room for individuals to make money without it becoming a for-profit business. It’s the difference between a salary and a dividend.

  • Ten

    Being non-profit doesn’t prevent the association of objectionable people, but in this case it would have fixed the issue. Kramer was a shareholder, and was profiting off the event despite not having been involved in running it for years. In a non-profit, even if some people are being paid a salary, they have to actually be employees and therefore they can be fired. You can’t fire your shareholders.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, and I just remembered the smallest sci fi con I ever worked on. I think there were 40 people total.

    Was organised by Andy Sawyer at Liverpool University, and had 5-6 sci-fi authors. There were half a dozen volunteers, including me. Of course, Andy is more properly Dr Andy Sawyer, an English professor at the university, and all the volunteers except me were his students (I was working on a robotics degree) and the guests they got were mainly because Dr Sawyer is also the curator for the British Science Fiction Foundation’s archive (the John D Wyndhamm archive)

    While it was a great con, it’s not the sort that goes beyond a very niche audience, despite it being REAL fandom.

  • Reverend

    So everyone is happy Edward Kramer gets a huge pile of money instead of a small pile?

  • wilder125

    Wikipedia. 6 board of directors now 5 since Kramer’s finally stopped being a limpet parasite. They may mention 3 now because a couple either a) decided not to have their names bandied about but wiki posted it anyway. or b) died. c) they could have been neutral and let the 3 take the lead in it.

  • wilder125

    Actually, from what I understand. The specific method they were finally legally allowed to do, forced him to take the money and lose the shares as a result.

  • wilder125

    It all boils down to, for me, now. That I never heard of Nancy Collins at all until the boycott started. And the titles/back cover summaries in her name that I can pull up don’t appeal to me. So I can see why I may have seen her name at some point, but never picked a book up or remembered her.

    And that has nothing to do with the fact I’m glad the insanity is finally over and people can get back to what they’ll do anyway. Whine and moan, and argue.

  • Linda Carroll

    Hey, she’s got the rocks to do it under her own name, instead of hiding behind an ‘anonymous’ facade. I can respect that.

    Also, speak for yourself, not for geeks in general.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Money paid out in salaries are not “profit” they are wages. Just because people make money off working from a company doesn’t mean there is profit. I’ve been employed for a small business for 8 years and for the past three years we have turned no profit. That doesn’t mean noone’s getting paid.

    SDCC is a non profit. Any money they “make” HAS to be funneled back into the company, through wages or expenditures for the next year’s con.

    Being a non profit doesn’t mean anything in particular about the kind of business they conduct. But you continue to try to assert the fact that people earn a salary, something nefarious is going on.

  • Tully

    That would make sense. Do a wrap sale of the con’s name/assets to the new company, then dissolve the old one and distribute the proceeds. And NOT allow Kramer to buy into the new company.

  • wilder125

    Compared to the total amount he got through his shares per year. Which he used to pay his medical bills which still exist, and his lawyer. It was chump change

  • Snertly

    Legitimate meaning anyone who regards fandom in the same fashion as yourself, I take it. Frankly, your stance seems to be more about competing with Dragon*Con as fan purist versus commercial profiteer and their grip on a prime scheduling weekend.

  • Snertly

    As an individual decision, I would completely agree. However, Ms Collins seems to have a personal beef with Mr Kramer which, by elevating to a matter of principle and attempting to publicize by calling for the boycott of the event, essentially attempted to harm tens of thousands of people so she could feel better about her beef.

  • Anonymous

    Responses so far have gone from “Good” (or even the more petulant and vindictive “HAPPY now?”) to “They should have done it YEARS ago, so I’m still not going”

    Nancy’s still waiting for final verification of the facts, which is reasonable. But I will be curious to see her official response once she receives provenance, and to which end of the spectrum it skews.

    In short, this is similar to a lot of other issues today where something you like is in some way threatened by an individual or group who either disagrees with its actions, or feel they have been wronged by the thing. Since you have no personal connection to the person or issue involved, and have a GREAT personal attachment to the thing, you choose to side with the thing. In some cases, you see some merit to the argument, but not enough to threaten the thing you like, so you try to make the point that it won’t make THAT big a difference, so why bother worrying about it. In some cases, your love/zeal for the thing becomes SO great that you begin to actively attack the people threatening the thing. You call them names, cast aspersions on them, and try to invalidate their claim or cause, even if only in your own mind.

    Look at the case against Orson Scott Card. He’s written some great books, and now they’ve made a movie of one. But he’s staunchly anti gay marriage, and that stance is enough for a lot of people to want to boycott said film, not to mention a planned issue of Superman, and anything else he says, does, or touches. And a lot of people really like his work, and don’t give a tinker’s cuss about his values, and just want to go see the movie. Same for folks who just want to eat at Chick-Fil-A.

    These people aren’t “wrong”, and the act of seeing a movie or eating a sandwich doesn’t mean they support those views. The connection isn’t direct enough. So the people who go to Dragon*Con, or will go in the future now that this is “settled” are not pro-pedophilia, or pro-sexism. They just want to have fun.

    Some will declare this is enough, and some will declare NOTHING is enough. And neither are wrong, they disagree with each others to varying degrees.

  • Anonymous

    I suppose I mean more well known.

  • Cy

    I could be wrong but if the majority of the shareholders agree to sell the company for an X amount of money then he can not deny the buyout and is forced to take the payoff. Plus the purchasing company was already an established company and they can refuse anyone who wants to buy into the company as they are not publicly traded.