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I'm going to Dragon*Con (and no, I'm not boycotting it) - KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
I'm going to Dragon*Con (and no, I'm not boycotting it)
I've received my confirmation that I'm going to be a guest at Dragon*Con 2013. I just have to fax my letter of agreement back, and all will be well.

D*C has always been a favorite show of mine -- I've met some dear friends there, and have some fantastic memories associated with it. (Just to name a few: talking about the presidential election in 2008 with George Takei, Walter Koenig, and Peter David; lengthy drunken chatting at the bar with J.G. Hertzler, Robert O'Reilly, and a bunch of Trek fans; kissing Harlan Ellison on the top of his head in front of a room full of people when he was pissed at me; some excellent parties thrown by Browncoats, and other excellent parties thrown by Scapers; the Elitist Bastards dinner in 1998; a great dinner with Steven Sears and a bunch of Hercules/Xena fans; showing up for my autographing and being stunned to learn that the long line was for me; and many many many many more.) I'm very much looking forward to going back.

I was asked on both Facebook and Twitter about the boycott that several creative types have called for, led by my friend Nancy A. Collins, and I guess I should address that. One of the founders of D*C is Ed Kramer, who has been arrested several times for child molestation, first in 2000 and most recently just this past month. He has yet to actually be convicted, though that's in part due to his consistent gaming of the legal system (some of it related to his disabilities, though it's an open question how much of that is legitimate and how much is gamesmanship to avoid jail time). His ability to do the legal dance is aided by the money he gets as one of the founders and initial investors of D*C. Nancy and others are calling for potential D*C guests to boycott the con until they cut ties with Kramer.

First of all, let me say that Nancy is indeed a friend and colleague, and I love and respect her tons. I also totally get where she and the other boycotters are coming from and why they're angry that D*C is continuing to, as Nancy put it, "fund Edward Kramer's lifestyle."

But there is no legal way for them to simply cut Kramer off. He was an investor in the startup of D*C. The con has tried to buy him out, and he's refused, as he's completely within his rights to do.

The only way to cut Kramer off is to dissolve the company and start from scratch. That would require them to not do the con for two years before they could reincorporate, it would require them to break every single contract they have with multiple downtown Atlanta hotels and renegotiate them from scratch, it would force them to completely reorganize and recapitalize, while sacrificing two years' revenue. They would lose a lot of good will with the city of Atlanta, who would lose the influx of geek money to the city every Labor Day for two years, not to mention losing fan momentum by not happening for two years. (Edited to add: As suricattus pointed out in the comments, they might be able to reincorporate in less than two years, but NFW it happens in less than one year, and the con would have to go on at least a one-year hiatus, which would still be a body blow to the con.)

Kramer has been banned from Dragon*Con. Kramer has also not actually been convicted of anything. Whatever one thinks of him, he is entitled to the money D*C has been paying him because his money went into the creation of the con. I don't see any practical way for D*C to do as they ask without killing the con and/or opening themselves up to all manner of nonsense. Hell, even if they did close the corporation and start over for the express purpose of not paying Kramer, they'd be open to legal action by Kramer, and he'd be justified.

So no, I'm not boycotting D*C. As I said, I respect the rationale behind it, but Kramer hasn't been convicted of anything except in the court of public opinion, and that's not a good enough reason for D*C to risk killing the convention altogether.

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative
Current Music: "Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow" by Jethro Tull

55 comments or Please comment
liamstliam From: liamstliam Date: February 1st, 2013 04:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice summary, Keith.
kradical From: kradical Date: February 1st, 2013 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
suricattus From: suricattus Date: February 1st, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Even if they were able to reincorporate swiftly, and still get the same or better terms as the previous convention from hotels etc, I can't see it taking less than 12 months to finish (legal documentation, especially something this size, is a headache and a half). And in that time there would be no-one legally liable to negotiate or sign paperwork on behalf of the convention, etc.

Plus: they would STILL have to make good the shareholders, financially.

To say that the board is "protecting" Ed is unfair to the board in many ways: they're protecting the convention, which is not the same thing at all.
kradical From: kradical Date: February 1st, 2013 04:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yup. Even killing the corporation would require them to send Kramer large sums of money, which is what they're trying to avoid.
threeoutside From: threeoutside Date: February 1st, 2013 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've never attended Dragon*Con, and will never do, probably, so I don't have a dog in this race, but it disturbs me that this argument sounds an awfully lot like "here's another case of a degenerate sleazebag being too big to fail."

Why is it that good and decent people are never too big to fail? They're just small enough to suffer the crap from the sleazebags.

kradical From: kradical Date: February 1st, 2013 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
First of all, and I know I keep harping on this, but Kramer hasn't actually been convicted of anything. I'm a staunch believer in innocent until proven guilty, because the alternative is a police state. I personally feel he's a scum-sucking weasel, but that's not enough to convict him of anything except some guy thinking he's a scum-sucking weasel.

Secondly, it has nothing to do with him being "too big." It's the con that Kramer helped found that has gotten too big.

I just don't see this boycott as accomplishing what it is setting out to do. It's an impractical application of outrage.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
wrenn From: wrenn Date: February 8th, 2013 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
From what I gather, the Henry's are good people. And have a lot of good will equity with the businesses in downtown Atlanta.

But it seems they are acceptable collateral damage, they made a bad business decision 26 years ago.
sffilk From: sffilk Date: February 1st, 2013 05:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Two missed points:

and I don't mean to disparage anyone, I merely seek to eludcidate:

1. Ed Kramer has filed a federal lawsuit, which is still active, against the county where he's been incarcerated because, amongst other things, he's accused the county jail system of many things, including assault and the fact that because they don't get him the proper medications, his medical conditions have worsened (they try to give him, according to his lawsuit, medications he had used previously which don't work);

2. The other part of the lawsuit is that the county, which is one of the most conservative in the state of Georgia (I live in Georgia) is also anti-Jewish which, if so, could possibly (not probably) explain some of the actions of the jailers (who have made anti-Jewish remarks in the past directed at him). It seems that this part of his lawsuit is true.

Again, I say these merely to elucidate, not to disparage or judge.
kradical From: kradical Date: February 1st, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Two missed points:

Fair points, both.
Re: Two missed points: - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 1st, 2013 06:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Going to D*C

Thanks so much for this, Keith.

I feel a bit guilty every time I read Nancy's Boycott plea because as much as I love and respect Nancy, and loath Ed and what he's done (or allegedly done) I feel that D*C itself is a wonderful Con and should not be missed -- at least by me.

And although Ed does receive money from D*C, and as a founder will FOREVER be somehow tied to it, he is NOT D*C, nor does he have anything to do with running it anymore.

D*C has always been good to me. I've attended almost every one since it's beginning. It's practically in my back yard. And I get to see many old friends each year. Not to mention all the business and information I get from attending.

So, although I admire and support Nancy's integrity in her cause, I will keep going to D*C as long as I'm able.

Hope you see you there!
kradical From: kradical Date: February 1st, 2013 06:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Going to D*C

marlowe1 From: marlowe1 Date: February 3rd, 2013 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Going to D*C

No he is only a third of DC

Great that you "admire" Nancy.

Too bad you also make a lot of excuses for going to a con that gives money to a child molester.

But hey, why don't you write a letter to all of Ed Kramer's victims and tell them how much you admire them as well.

I'm sure they will be happy to forgive you for helping to delay the court case that will finally convict their molester.
Re: Going to D*C - (Anonymous) - Expand
martianmooncrab From: martianmooncrab Date: February 1st, 2013 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I only attended D*C because I was with Anne, and I did research Ed because I needed to know what was going on. I know that Anne believed in him, and the issues he was having with GA and his detention. His lawsuits against the state and county because of his treatment. Plus that he hasnt gone to court on the original charges.

I didnt know that he has been banned from attending (giving the conditions of his parole I can understand that), nor his subsequent arrest in CT on new charges.

Its a mess, there can be a whole lot of discussion over it, and how D*C is trying to sever the relationship, the economics of the con, just, everything that is all tied up in one big wriggling knot.

He does need to go to trial, it does need to be resolved in a court of law. Until then, people can make their own choices.
marlowe1 From: marlowe1 Date: February 3rd, 2013 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
He has been delaying that trial for 12 years now. He even delayed his extradition from Connecticut for over a year before getting back into jail.

DC invited him back as a guest in 2008. Besides that they have been lying about their relationship to him and this 34% ownership complete with $150K going to him is a new revelation despite years of deception on their part.

(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
dragonmakr From: dragonmakr Date: February 1st, 2013 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
If they don't accept me as a vendor again this year, I suppose I could use the boycott as an explanation as to why I'm not there....
marlowe1 From: marlowe1 Date: February 3rd, 2013 02:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Of course, you could make a statement saying that you are boycotting DragonCON BECAUSE of Ed Kramer. Oh sure, you might be doing it becasue you don't think that you will be a vendor regardless, but you can state that you cannot live with yourself if you are openly supporting a child molester.
jmward14 From: jmward14 Date: February 2nd, 2013 05:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Well said.
And yeah, I'm going, too, for the same reasons.
marlowe1 From: marlowe1 Date: February 3rd, 2013 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
And you are an accessory to pedophilia as well.

But hey, whatever you're conscience can live with and if you can live with helping a child molester evade justice, then that's your thing. Really, you're not a scumbag making excuses at all.
marlowe1 From: marlowe1 Date: February 3rd, 2013 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)
This is bullshit.

Sorry, I know taht you are thinking that you are doing the right thing but you are allowing a convention to continue that will give money to Ed Kramer to the tune of $150K a year.

All of your reasons are the vain and shallow excuses of someone who uses DragonCon to feather your own nest. You know that there are hundreds of Conventions throughout the United States and you could go to any of them and have similar experiences, but you are still choosing to go to a convention that has consistently lied about its association with Ed Kramer, invited him back as a guest in 2008 and has attempted to pretend that it does not give him $150K a year.

Part of that fund going to him this year will be because YOU (and not the other scumbags on the panels) will attend and lend it credibility. THis will allow Ed to pay his attorney (Bob Barr) the money required to delay the court date that will keep his victims from the justice they deserve.

Why don't you write a letter to Ed Kramer's victims? You know, let them know why you are refusing to boycott a convention that gives him money that allows him to paint them as psychopaths and anti-Semites, all the while delaying his day in court.

You can tell THEM why you are allowing their molester to get away with his crimes. Maybe you can even send them a couple of your books. I'm sure tehy will appreciate them in lieu of actual justice.

kradical From: kradical Date: February 3rd, 2013 02:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wrote a response to this, but it exceeded LJ's 4300-character limit on replies. So I made it its own post. It's the only response I'm making to you, marlowe1, as I'm not in the habit of replying to spammers.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 7th, 2013 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Kramer v. Dragon*Con

I'd like to point out that a corporation cannot disband or liquidate while it is the plaintiff in a lawsuit. I believe that Kramer will keep them tied up in frivolous suits until he is dead, broke or both. This insures a steady stream of money as long as the con lives. He can keep the suits "low key" and for insignificant sums so that D*C doesn't deplete it's funds on attorneys' fees. Is Kramer's health an issue? Probably. He will certainly use it as one in order to keep delaying court appearances on his suit with D*C and his criminal trial. He can effectively drag this out forever.

On the potential plus side. IF (and it's a big if) the DA can get him into court, and get him convicted, they may be able to force him to liquidate. Some states have rules about making no money from your crime, or anything you used to entice victims or make money to further your criminal activities. I'm not sure about GA. Liquidating him out of D*C would be something the Henrys would be thrilled about. But yes, he will still make a ton of money from it.

Could the con survive a dis-incorporation/re-incorporation? Depending on a large number of factors, I think so, but it would be ROUGH. In order not to drop a year, they would have to have a completely new organization already set-up, in place, and ready to go. One year it would be D*CON, the next it would be something else, but not the same name. They would have to allow him to drag the D*C name and money through the courts, completely deplete it of all assets, and declare bankruptcy. During that time he could sue for control and ownership, claiming poor management and/or bad faith. I wouldn't put it past him. He is clearly about as lawsuit happy as the Church of Scientology.

Would the local hotels help build the new con? Probably. The Henrys have a lot of goodwill over 25+ years. They could probably get a bank loan for the new deposits etc. Heck, there are probably enough of us with money that would help out. We could buy lifetime memberships in advance.

Another plus is the obvious fact that he has clearly broken parole. Even if he is too expensive to incarcerate while awaiting trial, he should go back on house arrest, with zip for privileges.

Unfortunately, the Henrys are over about 5 different barrels with this guy, and I see no good way out for anyone. It's a shame that slime-buckets like Karmer can ruin a good thing for tens of thousands of people. And while it's true that he hasn't been convicted of anything yet, I plan on saying a prayer that ALL his Karma comes home to roost. NOW. If he's innocent, he gets no backlash, if he's guilty.... well, I'll leave the particulars to Hecate, She's much more inventive that I am.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 7th, 2013 05:47 am (UTC) (Link)

"banned from Dragoncon"?

Keith, could you substantiate the claim that Kramer has been banned from Dragoncon? Is there some sort of official statement on this? I've heard it repeated but have no idea where the claim is coming from or whether it's true. And if true, when did this banning take place? He was attending the con at least as recently as 2008.

Susan de G
kradical From: kradical Date: February 7th, 2013 05:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: "banned from Dragoncon"?

Apparently, he was invited by one of the tracks as a guest in 2008, though it's unclear whether or not he was actually at the convention, only that he was listed as a guest (such lists are not reliable -- a similar list of Arisia 2013 says that Laura Anne Gilman was a guest and I wasn't, when the reality was the other way around). However, he has had absolutely nothing to do with the running of the con since his arrest in 2000.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 26th, 2013 09:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Boycotting DragonCon

The pros talking about boycotting DragonCon might have some affect on its dividend shares, but the people who can make the biggest impact are the unpaid volunteers who make it possible for this corporation to gross so much money.

I have never attended a DragonCon, but I have worked on several. After this story came to my attention, I won't work for another as unpaid volunteer unless its parent corporation is non-profit. When a convention nets enough to give its shareholders over $150 grand per year in dividends, it's time to start paying wages. Is DragonCon doing that for more than an elite few?

This sounds more exploitive than the sweat shops in third-world countries, especially when these unpaid workers think of it as a labor of love.

Adrienne Foster
kradical From: kradical Date: February 26th, 2013 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Boycotting DragonCon

One of the things that has been driving me crazy in this whole thing is the misinformation that's being spread as truth. One of the biggies is this:

Dragon*Con is NOT paying Ed Kramer $150,000 per year. Kramer got a single settlement for $154K after he took out a lawsuit against D*C, one of many he's taken out against them. That, BTW, is why D*C has been silent on this, they're in the midst of several legal actions against Kramer and so can't comment on the record for fear of damaging their case.

As for volunteers, they're paid in memberships, as is true for most cons. I believe that D*C has several employees who do earn a salary, but I'm not sure.

But this isn't unusual. Corporations all over the world have unpaid interns who do the same kind of scutwork that volunteers at cons do, while CEOs get six- or seven-figure salaries. Why is it particularly bad for D*C to do so?
55 comments or Please comment