As his long-postponed trial date on child molestation charges approaches, Ed Kramer and DragonCon—the sci-fi convention he co-founded more than a quarter-century ago—have now severed all ties. As of noon today, according to DragonCon spokesman Greg Euston, an out-of-court settlement between Kramer and DragonCon went into effect in which DragonCon will pay Kramer for the shares he still held in the company—shares that entitled him to dividends and which prompted some longtime attendees to boycott the convention.
“DragonCon’s relationship with Mr. Kramer is officially over,” Euston told us. Euston said the amount DragonCon paid Kramer was a “small amount” over the amount company officials had offered Kramer over the summer, when company officials formed a new company—Dragon Con, Inc.—and absorbed the old company—DragonCon/Ace, Inc.—effectively dissolving it. All that remained was paying Kramer for his 2,050 shares. Kramer, with his lawyer acting as his proxy, had dissented to the merger in July and was offered no new shares in the new company. When he rejected DragonCon’s offer as insufficient, the company sued him in Fulton County Superior Court in August to seek a judge’s intervention. Today’s settlement precludes the need for that. Euston said terms of the settlement were confidential. McNeill Stokes, Kramer’s attorney, did not immediately return a call for comment.
The DragonCon brand had suffered a public relations hit over the past year, especially after an Atlanta magazine story in September 2012 revealed that the wildly popular convention was still paying dividends to Kramer, who had even sued the company to collect a 2011 dividend in the amount of $154,000. Euston stressed that the money for today’s settlement was set aside in July, meaning that none of it comes from the 2013 DragonCon, which took place over the Labor Day weekend.
Meanwhile, according to Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter, Kramer’s trial on child molestation charges is set to begin on December 2, the Monday after Thanksgiving—thirteen years after he was first charged. For much of that time he was out on bond and under house arrest, but in September of 2011 he was found in a Connecticut motel room with an underage boy—a violation of the terms of his bond—and is now in Gwinnett County jail, where he awaits trial.