Writers Call for DragonCon Boycott: Accused Molester Still on Payroll

- 01-29-13Comics Posted by James Daniels

DragonCon-580x233

Nancy A. Collins, best known as the author of the VAMPS novels, and former Swamp Thing writer Stephen Bissette have called for a boycott of popular nerd convention Dragon*Con until they agree to cut all ties to accused child molester, and Dragon*Con co-founder Ed Kramer.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kramer was arrested in Georgia in 2000 after being accused of sexual assault by three teenage boys. He was found to be incapable of standing trial due to health problems, and placed under house arrest, but later given limited permission to travel to New York and New Jersey to receive medical care and visit his ailing mother. Under the conditions of his house arrest, he was to report his location weekly and was forbidden any unsupervised contact with children under 16.

In 2011, he was arrested in Connecticut after being discovered alone in a hotel room with a 14 year old boy, whom Kramer claimed was his ward. He fought extradition to Georgia, but lost last December, and has been in jail back in Georgia since last week.

Collins, Bissette, and a growing number of writers and personalities are outraged that Dragon*Con profits are going towards Kramer’s continued efforts to stay out of prison. Kramer “officially” resigned from Dragon*Con, which he helped create back in 1987, in 2000–but as a partner he continues to draw over $150k a year from them, and has refused efforts by the ‘Con’s other partners to buy him out.

Herein lies the source of the boycotters’ frustrations. Bissette posted the “call to arms” Collins wrote on Facebook at his website…It reads in part:

“I’d like to test it by seeing if social media can cut off the flow of money from DragonCon to accused child molester (and the convention’s co-owner) Ed Kramer, who has been using the 150K+ a year he receives each year from DragonCon to avoid trial and manipulate the justice system to allow him free reign to prey upon children, even while under supposed house arrest. All you have to do is publicly declare you will never attend DragonCon again as long as Edward Kramer profits from the convention.

DragonCon has had over 12 years to sever ties with this man, but has failed to do so. Although the convention’s chairman has bought enough shares from Ed Kramer to qualify as the controlling shareholder, Kramer refuses to be bought out. No matter what DragonCon does or says, funds from the convention will continue to go to Edward Kramer until either he dies or the corporation that runs the convention dissolves and reincorporates under another name. DragonCon knows what needs to be done, but has been dragging its feet on this matter, and has gone to great trouble over the last 12 years to hide the fact that they continue to fund Edward Kramer’s lifestyle. But now the cat’s out of the bag (in large part due to Kramer’s own decision to sue them for a larger share of the convention’s profits) and there’s no putting it back in.’

Convention fixture and Geek Personality Adrianne Curry has also made her opinion known: The popular cosplayer and first America’s Next Top Model winner is an abuse survivor, and was quoted in The Mary Sue as saying:

 “The founder of Dragon con was arrested for being a pedophile. I will NEVER attend dragon con. Many will argue that the child molester is no longer associated w/dragon con. He helped build it…and as a survivor, I wont ever go.”

As of yet, no petition or other formal request has been presented to Dragon*Con asking for the removal of Kramer from their payroll.

Category: Comics

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  • G_Q

    really should do research on something before doing an article…..most of this information is half true, if not completely taken out of the context of the facts.

    • http://www.facebook.com/groups/scooteratreides Scooter Atreides

      All of my sources are linked (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, srbissette.com, The Mary Sue). All of my information regarding the charges against Kramer is from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and is 9 days old.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=737336476 Jerry Chandler

        The problem isn’t that sources were not linked to, it’s that some of the sources are full of it. I’ll give information without links in case the number of links trigger the spam filters. Even without the links though, I’ll provide enough information to factcheck.I can also do a single link to my blog where I have well over 50 or 60 links on the matter.

        We’ll start with the “$150k a year” number that’s being thrown around by the boycott pushers and being accepted as fact by many. It’s false. It’s actually false in two ways.

        The $150,000 number being called a payment was actually a settlement figure. Kramer had litigation against Dragon*Con/Ace Inc. and Pat Henry. A portion of that was settled. Some of the legal action is still in motion. But the $150,000 is the settlement that Kramer received.

        Supior Court, Fulton County, Georgia
        EDWARD K. KRAMER VS. DRAGON CON/ACE, INC
        Case No. 2012CV213548

        EDWARD E. KRAMER VS. DRAGON CON/ACE, INC; ROBERT PATRICK HENRY; AND SHERRY HENRY
        Case No. 2009CV164912

        Kramer received a settlement for one of the above cases. That’s your $150,000; closer to $154,000 actually.

        The second problem with that number is the “per year” part. The boycott pushers would have you believe that the $150,000 is a dividend payment that Kramer received. Well, if it’s a dividend for the sake of the argument, he doesn’t get it per year and has not gotten that much in previous years. Dividends are based on the profitability of the shares you own and that’s based on the success and profitability of the business. Dragon*Con has seen explosive growth in the last five years of the convention.

        Dragon*Con attendance in 2007 was around 20,000 paid attendees. In 2012, Dragon*Con had a little over 50,000 people attending. The math that makes up the dividend payments are a little more complicated than just lining them to attendance figures and doing the simple X2.5 math, but you can certainly see that they must have increased overall profitability and success from then to now ad even more so when tracking figures and growth of Dragon*Con/Ace Inc to 2000.

        “he receives each year from DragonCon to avoid trial and manipulate the justice system to allow him free reign to prey upon children, even while under supposed house arrest.”

        To use legal terms, Nancy’s statement is prejudicial and misleading. The things that have gone on in Gwinnett County have shown gross incompetence on their part. Certainly Kramer has played the system in the last few years, but the system he was playing was dumb as a post.

        The prosecution announced that they had gathered a large amount of evidence from Kramer’s home. The evidence was supposedly over 200 VHS tapes of a pornographic nature that included scenes of inappropriate interactions between men and boys. The tapes weren’t entered into evidence when the judge threw them out. You could buy most of them at your local Target and Walmart and the titles included things like Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator and the Blues Brothers. Other evidence dismissed by the court included a series of photos of young boys in states of “partial undress” that were found in Kramer’s home. They were pre-production casting stills for a Gary Busey film that Kramer was to have a hand in producing. The concept was Lord of the Flies in space.

        They had their search warrant ruled invalid because it deemed to be so poorly written, so open ended and so vague that it was ruled unconstitutional on both the state and federal level.

        Every case in the courts, not merely Kramer’s, was delayed when a ruling in an investigation of their court system deemed the entire jury pool invalid and they had to throw out their entire jury pool. Kramer’s case was delayed again in 2003 when the prosecution requested a delay to attempt to gather more evidence.

        Even the issues with the house arrest are idiotic. They put him on house arrest and, despite his becoming a bit of a problem child, never bothered to have anyone do surprise visits to his home. They also told him to call in every Monday to verify his whereabouts. What they failed to do was bother to check that the number he was calling from was a land line connected to the home and not in fact a cell phone with a local area code.

        They would allow Kramer and his legal team to stall going to trial on claims of sever medical issues making him so frail that he couldn’t stay awake in court long enough to take part in his own defense, but they would then grant him permission to travel to take care of his ailing and cancer stricken mother without questioning the apparent contradiction in the abilities he was stating that he didn’t have VS being able to help care for an extremely sick cancer patient. Hell, they even let him go and take care of his mother after she had been dead for six months. No, that’s not hyperbole.

        I work in and around my cities legal system. Fellow geeks who are lawyers have looked at what went on and slapped their heads in disbelief. As one friend of mine put it, the way they acted it makes it look like the dimmest public defender he’s ever known could have had them wrapped around his finger.

        Besides, think about the basic logic, or lack thereof, behind that statement. She’s claiming that $150,000 per year, a bogus figure to begin with, is keeping him out of jail and has kept him away from trial for going on 13 years now. I’m sorry, but how stupid does someone have to be to swallow that line? We live in a country where multimillionaires have faced trial faster than Kramer. Hell, we’ve seen billionaires face justice faster than this. So millions and billions and the best legal teams that money and/or celebrity can buy can’t keep you out of court and away from jail but a measly “$150,000 per year” will? Right.

        Plus, it wasn’t Dragon*Con funding his legal fight.

        Again, I’ll give the boycott pushers their inaccurate figure as a fact just for the sake of argument. But, as I pointed out above, it isn’t a constant annual sum, it was much smaller in the early years of this and there were years when Kramer did not receive any dividends. So where did Kramer draw funds from?

        Ed Kramer was a fairly well known and successful editor. He edited numerous books like White Wolf’s book line before and during their huge boom in the industry with their ‘Vampire: The Masquerade’ line, he was the editor of books related to The Crow and DC Comic’s Sandman characters and he and Collins together edited several books of erotic horror shorts that were fairly successful and included stories from people like Stephen King. He also had a day job where he consulted on technical matters and grant applications. When he was arrested, he had a nice bank account, he had multiple revenue streams not related to Dragon*Con and he had assets to sell later down the road.

        It took quite a few years after his arrest for all of the books he had his name on to go out of print. That was continuing revenue. He had his savings. That was funding. Early on, the friends and associates who then believed in his innocence held fundraisers to help cover his legal costs. And, again, he had assets to sell. He lost his home during this. Reports differ as to whether he sold it or it was foreclosed on, but either, the reason it went was to pay debts.

        And that’s related to an important fact in this and one that Collins will occasionally admit to when arguing this. Kramer is up to his ears in debt and creditors. This has eaten up everything he has ad he even has former legal team members who have yet to be fully paid. But somehow Dragon*Con is paying for his legal fight and his lifestyle. Right.

        “and has gone to great trouble over the last 12 years to hide the fact that they continue to fund Edward Kramer’s lifestyle.”

        This is flat out untrue.

        From 2002 – “While Kramer is still a major Dragon*Con shareholder, no dividends were issued last year on the private stock, says Henry, adding that his longtime associate no longer has any other official connection to the event he ran like a ringmaster for 14 years.”

        From 2009 – “A spokeswoman for Dragon Con told Airlock Alpha that Kramer has not been involved with the operation of the convention since the criminal charges were first brought against him several years ago.

        “Although he is a minority shareholder in the corporation that runs Dragon Con, he no longer has control over management decisions,” the spokeswoman said. “That loss of control may be what motivated him to bring these baseless allegations. Dragon Con has enjoyed great success since Mr. Kramer left, and we do not think a court will second guess the way the current management has run it.””

        That’s two examples right there putting a lie to the claim that they’ve hidden the fact that Kramer profited from shares at all and only claimed that he had nothing to do with the running, organizing and day to day of the convention. The first is from Creative Loafing in Atlanta. That’s a well known Atlanta area news source and actually a source on the story cited by boycott supporters (so we know they know it exists) for various facts on the case. The second was from Airlock Alpha, a fairly well known website to convention going and geek circles, that was also cited in a 2011 Examiner piece on Dragon*Com and Kramer where they republished that same quote.

        There are actually a few others out there that I’ve seen over the years, but I haven’t yet been able to track them down with the boycott talk now taking up so much of the Google search engine hits. But, still, they were trying to hide it by talking about to news sources and major geek websites?

        I’d also dispute the line that they’ve had over 12 years to sever ties with Kramer. Between the incompetence and the abuses being seen in the Gwinnett County legal system back then, a lot of people thought he was innocent. Certainly most of the people that knew him felt that way. Remember when counting the time that he was arrested in August of 2000, so there wasn’t much of that year left. It wasn’t until late 2004 that Kramer had to start playing more obvious games to delay trial. It wasn’t until that point that his actions were starting to make some of his longtime friends and associates question his innocence when faced with his legal maneuverings and games.

        Kramer stepped down from running the con almost immediately after the arrest. As the time wore on and his games were becoming obvious to his defenders, they separated themselves from his defense and put a halt to some of the charity auctions to raise funds for his legal fees. Did you know for example that this wasn’t the first Kramer related call for a Dragon*Con Boycott? By early 2005, some in fandom actually started talk of boycotting Dragon*Con over the Kramer issue. Why? Because Dragon*Con nixed some auction activities in the prior year and had made clear that no auctions would be held at or in connection to Dragon*Con in 2005. That’s right, the boycott talk in 2005 was from the pro-Kramer side because Dragon*Con and the people in charge were pulling back their public support.

        Not long after that, the other founders started trying to buy Kramer out and force him out. It wasn’t long after that that Kramer launched legal action against Dragon*Con/Ace Inc. At that point, they were basically stuck. Under Georgia law, any business with legal action against it,especially legal action between owners, is prohibited from taking any actions that would allow them to remove him.

        That includes dissolving by the way. There’s an amazingly large contingent of boycott supporters who seem believe that they could just dissolve and reform as a new company if they really wanted to get rid of him. Because we all know that a large business entity with multiple long-term contracts and agreements in place can just decide on a whim to dissolve break those contracts, obviously not be on the hook for any of those agreements and contracts and then simply reform a week or so later and pick up exactly where they left off as if nothing had ever happened. Oh, and, of course, Kramer and his legal team would never sue them for fraudulently cutting him out like that and thus tie them up and freeze their activities so that they might not have a con that year and would be spending money with no new income.

        Plus, dissolving or doing anything like that would actually do the exact opposite of what the boycott pushers say that they want even if they loudly advocate such actions as easy and sensible. Dissolve Dragon*Con/Ace Inc. and Kramer gets his piece of the pie in what could likely be a large six or even seven figure sum. They never seem to be able to explain how handing him a massive payday is going to cut off his funding his legal shenanigans.

        Well, actually Collins has an answer for that. She’ll tell you that such a payday wouldn’t last long because Kramer is in massive debt and up to his ears in creditors. Of course, this is the same woman who is also claiming that he’s fueling his legal games and his lifestyle and a lesser number than any supposed payday he would get. You have to love logic like that.

        What’s also stupid in this is the timing. Kramer’s bust in Connecticut has destroyed his ability to play games. The chance of letting him out on house arrest or to travel again is just slightly less than seeing snowfall on a summer’s day in hell. There are supposedly witnesses to the fact that he was hiking round quite healthy and breathing tube free in Connecticut, so his claims of medical issues keeping him out of court may go poof real fast and certainly the DA is pushing for a trial date to be set and set soon. With no action from anyone outside of the legal system itself, Kramer is closer to seeing a trial than at any time since 2003.

        I could have seen taking action in 2005 to 2009, but focused more on shining a light on the legal system down there and letting them know that the nation was watching and they had to get their act together. I mean, hey, depending on your stand on the case, the spotlight and scrutiny worked wonders down in Florida with the Martin case.

        Look, I think that Kramer is guilty. I want to see him face trial and I want to see him do time. But I think this boycott call is a stupid and pointless waste of time and energy that could be best focused elsewhere with regards to the matter at best and just a spiteful attempt at by Collins to get even with a lot of people at worst since the boycott now would hurt everyone except Kramer.

        You have a boycott that doesn’t seem to be well thought out insofar as the claimed objectives and one that’s also being built on inaccurate statements being passed off as facts by the ones who most want the boycott. There’s no way I’m supporting that.

        If you want to check my links, they’re here in the posts related to the boycott.

        http://jjchandler.wordpress.com/author/jjchandler/

        • http://www.facebook.com/groups/scooteratreides Scooter Atreides

          That’s quite a lot to take in, thank you for sharing this information with us.

          Understand that the question of Kramer’s guilt or innocence, or the culpability of DragonCon was never the issue here: This was an objective report designed solely to communicate the news that this boycott exists, and neither I (its writer), nor the site itself is expressing any opinions whatsoever as to whether it is justified. We’re just the messengers, and I based my report on the information made available to me.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=737336476 Jerry Chandler

            I understand how you were reporting this and, to be totally clear, I was not posting this with negative intentions directed at you or as attacking your coverage. I will though admit to be frustrated over the matter at this point.

            In the last 45(ish) days, this has garnered a huge amount of coverage across the net on websites that cover or report on genre and convention news as well as on a few sites that typically don’t focus as much attention to such things. The problem is that the vast majority of the coverage is of the type done here; just reporting what was said. So it becomes a tad frustrating to see statements that you know are not completely factual, if not flat out 100% wrong, being reported in genre news sites without critique and then seeing, in most cases, dozens upon dozens of posts under each article where many take the inaccurate statements, accept them as gospel truth and run with them.

            So right now, when I can and where I can, I’m just posting information, with links when I can, to show that the statements being made by the people pushing for the boycott are not as accurate as they’re making them out to be. So, again, I get the how you were reporting it and get that, especially if you were unfamiliar with the history of the matter, there was no way to make a timely report on the breaking news of the call for boycott and become acquainted with the case’s almost 13 year history. I’m just doing what I can point out the other side of the matter.

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