DragonCon CEO feeling pressure from proposed boycott - Daily Agenda - Atlanta Magazine
 
 
 

DragonCon CEO feeling pressure from proposed boycott

Many plan to stay away because of event's ties to accused child molester Ed Kramer

In the wake of an Atlanta magazine article last September that detailed the financial interest that DragonCon co-founder and accused child molester Ed Kramer still holds in the Atlanta sci-fi convention, a campaign calling for a boycott of the annual event has been gaining ground.

How much ground? Enough that DragonCon CEO Pat Henry talked to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about his efforts to buy out Kramer's one-third stake in DragonCon/ACE Inc., the convention's for-profit parent company.

Henry said his organization has tried to disentangle itself from Kramer’s ownership, offering to buy him out in 2004, 2006 and 2008. “I used to try to buy him out every week or two,” said Henry, adding that the $500,000 they offered for his shares in 2004 was high. “The company value was nowhere close.”

As the author of the Atlanta magazine story, I found it telling that Henry (no relation to myself) was finally willing to address the subject of Kramer in the media. He'd refused to discuss it when I contacted him last year and has kept mostly mum on the issue, save for an unsigned posting on DragonCon's Facebook page in February telling fans that "there is no simple, legal, solution to this matter."

Since Edward Kramer’s arrest in 2000, we have made multiple attempts to sever all ties between Edward Kramer and Dragon*Con including several efforts to buy Edward Kramer’s stock shares. Unfortunately, Edward Kramer's response to our buyout efforts was repeated litigation against Dragon*Con...thus our buyout efforts have been stalled. The idea proposed of dissolving the company and reincorporating has been thoroughly investigated and is not possible at this point. Legally, we can’t just take away his shares. We are unfortunately limited in our options and responses as we remain in active litigation.

In the AJC piece, however, Henry says dissolving the company remains an option, “but is not as easily done as one might think.”

Horror author Nancy Collins, a former DragonCon participant and longtime critic, launched the boycott campaign in January to persuade convention guests and customers to stop supporting the convention while Kramer still holds a stake that earns him annual dividends of more than $150,000, according to court documents.

Collins takes Henry's comments in the AJC to mean that reforming the corporation as a Kramer-free enterprise—a move she advocates—isn't impossible, "but would be expensive as hell." She plans to keep up the pressure for a boycott.

"It's difficult to know how well it's working," Collins says. "I can only go by the fact that I hear word is spreading and people tell me folks are dropping out of DragonCon—and that (Henry) is finally talking to the media."

Meanwhile, Kramer is being held without bail in Gwinnett County jail as he awaits trial for allegedly molesting three boys in Georgia—charges that date back to 2000.

The only good news for Kramer lately is that he likely won't be extradited back to Connecticut to answer charges there for “risk of injury to a minor.” In September 2011, Kramer was arrested in a Milford, Connecticut, hotel room that he was allegedly sharing with a 14-year-old boy in apparent violation of his Georgia bond agreement.

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  1. Joel Adams posted on 03/29/2013 04:30 PM
    'poor widdle Pat Henry. Maybe you shouldn't have held those "Free Ed" fundraisers and publicly called the victims liars while lying about Ed's involvement.

    To hell with reforming. Pat Henry and co. are scum and there are plenty of other cons.
    1. Jerry Chandler posted on 04/02/2013 12:36 AM
      @Joel Adams **"Maybe you shouldn't have held those "Free Ed" fundraisers"**

      Yeah, because God knows that if anyone thinks that a friend or associate might be innocent of the crime they're being accused of they should just turn their backs on them and refuse to do anything to help them clear their names. Certainly all people should hold to the high standards that you obviously hold yourself to and just drop someone like a rock, if not outright attack them, at even the first breath of an accusation.

      As someone who has been wrongly accused of a crime in the past as well as knowing a guy who went through a year of hell due to accusations of rape that were proven to be false, let me personally thank you for being nowhere near my circle of friends as well as hoping that you are fortunate enough to have only friends of your high standards around you who will turn their back on you in a second should you ever be accused, correctly or incorrectly, of a crime.

      People that knew him thought he was innocent early on. His actions long ago changed many of their minds. Not only did they put an end to the fundraisers, but the pro-Ed contingent actually threatened to boycott the 2005 Dragon*Con because they would no longer allow auctions and fundraisers at the con or using the cons name. Bringing up people trying to help a friend who wasn't worthy of the faith they placed in him eight or more years ago simply looks foolish. You might have a point if they were doing this in 2010, 2011 and 2012, but citing such things from when this first started only looks foolish.

      **"while lying about Ed's involvement"**

      I'm sorry, what lying are you referring to? You're not referring to the much used talking point of the boycott pushers about the people running Dragon*Con having done everything they could over the last 12 years to hide the fact that Kramer was a shareholder, are you? Well, you can relax. This claim like so many others is not as accurate as they like to pretend it is.

      There are quotes out there as recent as, not counting the last year's responses to the lawsuit settlement, 2009 and as old as from 2002 where Dragon*Con spokespersons and Pat Henry himself tell various media that Ed Kramer no longer has anything to do with running the convention while also identifying him as a shareholder. You can find the more recent statements on sites like the Examiner, geek sites like Airlock Alpha and Slice of Sc-Fi as well as the oldest one in an article written by some guy named Scott Henry on the Creative Loafing in Atlanta website. Nice 2002 piece on the then story so far. Has a nice bit about Nancy as well where it describes her with words like "fanaticism" and "zealot" and describes her as someone who "views every new detail about Kramer through the lens of her own convictions."

      And that last bit is apparently a trait she carries on to this day as evidenced below. With pretty much no facts at this time whatsoever to support her assertions, she rattles off a list of people who, she implies, have canceled Dragon*Con because of the boycott. The Foglios have certainly made that statement. But the others? Must be true. After all, no one has ever canceled out on a major con in the history of conventions without a boycott to explain it.

      Oh, and then it turns out that her big drum roll cancellation is also cancelling other appearances in that general time frame at conventions not named Dragon*Con and not connected to Ed Kramer. Seems she's still looking at everything through that lens, adding 1+1 and, without actually checking on the facts first, publicly declaring the answer to be 11.
  2. Nancy A. Collins posted on 03/30/2013 03:28 PM
    The boycott is, indeed, having an effect on the convention. Hugo-winning artist and web-comics creator Phil Foglio and his wife, Kaja, were the first confirmed guests to cancel. Since then,several other previously confirmed guests/exhibitors have mysteriously disappeared from DragonCon's website without a trace, including Geek Magazine, Don Coscarelli (director of Phantasm, Beast Master, Bubba Ho-Tep, John Dies At The End), Michael Cerveris (Fringe, Treme, Stakeland), Levar Burton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Roots), and (drum roll) Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: Next Generation, X-Men, American Dad, I Claudius).
    1. Wrenn_NYC posted on 03/31/2013 02:41 PM
      @Nancy A. Collins Sir Patrick cancelled FanExpoCanada (the weekend before Dragoncon) due to filming (the rumor has it). I can't find confirmation as to any reason given from either con as yet.

      It is more than likely that his film schedule took out both conventions' appearances. When you deal with actors, such happens. A lot. Making assumptions as to why an actor drops off a guest list without any news relating to a reason is kinda futile.
    2. Joel Adams posted on 03/31/2013 05:55 PM
      @Nancy A. Collins I highly doubt that the boycott will do much other than have guys like Pat Henry crying "foul," as too many DC supporters continue to look for excuses and cockeyed rationales. But to them, when it comes down to brass tacks, child molesters are not cool, but giving up DC is too much a sacrifice for them, after all, it's the only con on Earth and by making waves, people like us are giving sci fi/fantasy fandom a bad name.

      At least the Penn State morons eventually shut up and quietly conceded that children were being assaulted. DC fans, however, don't mind a few virgins bleeding on the Dragon's alter.
  3. Wrenn_NYC posted on 03/31/2013 02:22 PM
    It would be expensive as all hell --- AND, it seems from the above, would put at least half a million into Ed Kramer's pocket. And that is what people asking for the corporation to dissolve are asking for (and they consider THAT a " Win"?)

    Gwinnett County DA has a lot to be held accountable for, for not prosecuting this man and resolving this issue years ago.
    1. Joel Adams posted on 03/31/2013 05:51 PM
      @Wrenn_NYC Clearly, you've not been following the case. The DA has been trying to prosecute this dirtbag for many years, however, he's used every nefarious legal tactic (and a lot of money) to negate these efforts. The last time Ed started squealing for "justice" (to get the case dismissed) the DA went forward again with prosecuting. Kramer convinced a judge that he could not sit in a court room for more than two hours and stymied the whole thing. Later that year, he was in Louisville, Kentucky tromping through the woods and shooting a web series. After that, he got busted in a motel room with a little boy and you're still an idiot.

      And so it's gone since he was first charged and even before, when similar accusations were made against him. It's deplorable that DC supporters seek to blame everyone else but Kramer and the financial beast that supported him. It's unfortunate that OJ was able to beat that murder rap too.

      I stopped supporting DC when Kramer was first busted. If you want to give Kramer money, then by all means, be a dirtbag too, but play the blame-game among yourselves. The rest of us aren't into the self-deception game.
    2. Nancy A. Collins posted on 04/01/2013 03:35 PM
      @Wrenn_NYC Whatever money Kramer is likely to receive from DragonCon--assuming they finally DO buy him out--will not be his for long. He has a conga line of creditors lined up behind him, including several of the lawyers he's used and tossed away like Kleenex over the years. And once that money is gone--it's gone.

      And the DA *has* been trying to prosecute him. Numerous times. Only to be thwarted by various rulings regarding Kramer's health. Personally, I believe someone far higher up on the political food chain in Georgia was pulling strings for Kramer. Why? Who knows. But whoever they were, they appear to have either died, retired, been voted out of office, or have decided that he's too big a liability, judging from his current situation.

      BTW, Kramer just got a new criminal attorney two weeks ago--thus delaying his day in court even more. Your DragonCon profits at work.
  4. Anonymous posted on 04/10/2013 01:03 PM
    Ok, think about it this way. He is not convicted, he is technically not guilty by law. He worked for that stock and he deserves a fair offer. My dad is Kramer's lawyer. I know that his stock is worth way more than his offers. Could he have committed the crime? Yes. But that doesn't mean he did. None of you have met him. None of you know the true story. Besides, there are probably people who are just as bad getting money from the stock. Stop boycotting dragoncon. It isn't fair to the good people invested, and his involvement doesn't effect the company, and he's doing time. He earned that stock legally. Grow up.
    1. VapRhap posted on 05/01/2013 01:19 AM
      @Anonymous Considering you've said your father is representing Kramer legally, I think it's a conflict of interest you posting here. Forgive me if I don't buy you purporting his innocence.
  5. Old School posted on 04/11/2013 01:48 AM
    I met Ed Kramer growing up in the Atlanta scene in the 80's. I was a very young boy at the time and I was an aspiring 11 year old photographer and artist. Ed was doing some photography at the time and was known around town to photograph a lot of the rock concerts. Ed was always very kind to people. Especially younger "nerdy" types of kids into science fiction, gaming (Dungeons and Dragons), and intellectually stimulating conversation. He had some social anxieties I never quite understood which included some nervous ticks and quirky mannerisms. He was definitely different than anyone else I have ever met in my life. Sometimes genius level people may act "odd" in social situations. In Ed's case I believe he was so intelligent that he found it hard to relate to most normal people. I remember the day he told me he wanted to start Dragon*Con. He was comparing his ideas against the already existing "Atlanta Fantasy Fair" and wanting to improve on what they had going. I spent quite a bit of time with Ed back in those days. He would throw parties at his house and we would play Dungeons and Dragons all weekend, drink mountain dew, listen to Alice Cooper, and watch sci fi movies. I was a very good looking young boy back then. Yes, I was that boy that all the 11 and 12 year old girls in my school had a serious "crush" on. Some even professing their love for me through notes passed to me signed to me from "your secret admirer". What I am getting at here with this info is that if Ed was seriously a "child molester", I would have noticed something. I would have seen it or Ed would have tried something on me. I never saw any hint that he was a "child molester" or "pedophile". He did surround himself with younger people (girls and boys), but there were always other people his age around as well. He just liked nerdy people. That's why he started Dragon*Con. He did have some nervous ticks and he had skin psoriasis which would make his appearance slightly disturbing to some. If you didn't know him he might seem a bit "creepy" appearance-wise , but once you got to know him then you realized that he was just quirky and slightly different. I never thought of Ed as a pedophile so if he truly is, then it is a deep dark secret that he hid from quite a lot of us. I can also see someone evil trying to take advantage of Ed because he had money and was friends with a lot of very famous people. He was also a very giving person. I saw him help out quite a few people several times. Someone evil could see this as a weakness and try to take advantage of this kindness. Is Ed Kramer a "child molester" or pedophile"? I'm not sure what the truth is at this point. I wish I knew. I never saw anything that leads me to believe he was. I never saw any hint of it or witnessed any pedophile type behavior. Yet people are accusing he molested his own stepsons. I wish he would just go to court and battle this thing out. It doesn't make sense to me that he would molest his stepsons. There has got to be more to this story. Something just doesn't add up right. If he truly is a child molester then he deserves the hell he is in, but if he is not then someone evil is trying to ruin his life. I spent a lot of time around Ed growing up and I never saw him act like a molester or pedophile. If I ever did I would have been the first person to speak up. Sometimes generosity and kindness is preyed upon by evil manipulative people. I hope we eventually get to the bottom of this and the truth finally comes out. One statement that really applies to Ed is "don't judge a book by it's cover".
    1. Nancy A. Collins posted on 04/15/2013 04:43 PM
      @Old School But these boys *weren't* his stepsons.

      Kramer's never been married.
  6. Ajax posted on 04/30/2013 06:12 PM
    So i reading the comments and read a lot about this and the effects of this boycott will do to the city of Atlanta on wiki it says that "According to statistics provided by Georgia State University, Robinson College of Business, Dragon*Con brought in over $21 million of direct economic impact to Atlanta in 2007, and an estimated $25 million in 2008. It also raises tens of thousands of dollars for charities and hosts a large blood drive." so what do you think it worth end the end 1000's of job losses and city cuts does not seem economic smart to just shutdown Dragon*Con because of some trad
  7. Nancy A. Collins posted on 05/05/2013 06:49 PM
    For those who want to cite the dire importance of DragonCon to the Atlanta economy:

    The same weekend DragonCon is held the city also plays host to the Chic-Fil-A Kick-Off Classic which, as of last year, had an attendance of 75,00o +.

    The Decatur Book Festival, the largest in the country, is also held the same weekend with an attendance of 75,000-80,000.

    The Nascar Nationwide AdvoCare Night Series is held that same weekend at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Attendance in 2012 was 90,000.

    DragonCon only has between 4-7 full-time employees and 1500+ unpaid volunteers.
  8. George Burdell posted on 05/17/2013 12:41 AM
    Top 5 conventions for economic impact as reported by the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and published by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, 12/28/2012:

    America's Mart Janurary Gift & Home Furnishings - 117.7 million
    America's Mart July Gift & Home Furnnishings - 91.9 million
    Dragon Con - 40.7 million
    American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting - 38.2 million
    Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show - 36.6 million

    Some facts, Ms. Collins to help you out. Dragon Coin may have 4 to 7 employees, I actually think it is more, but their footprint is far larger.
    1. Nancy A. Collins posted on 06/02/2013 10:16 PM
      @George Burdell Since you'e fond of facts, here are some courtesy of Find Law, the Georgia Court Appeals, and the Gwinnett County Justice Department.

      " Finally, Kramer emphasizes that his attorneys failed to submit in the federal case the affidavit of SHERRY HENRY, a registered nurse who had evaluated Kramer while he was confined at the GCDC. In her affidavit, Henry describes Kramer's deteriorating medical condition during his confinement and goes on to opine that detention center officials breached the standard of care in failing to provide Kramer proper medical treatment so as to prevent the deterioration in his condition."

      Sherry Henry is the WIFE of DragonCon co-owner and current chairman Pat Henry and at one point was the convention's Financial Officer.

      So much for DragonCon and its various board members not having anything to with Kramer since his arrest in 2000.

      http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ga-court-of-appeals/1207434.html

      You can also read DragonCon Con Chair Pat Henry & DragonCon CFO Sherry Henry's testimony in support of Edward Kramer at his September 2000 bond hearing at the following link
      http://tessfowler.tumblr.com/post/51137722896/ed-kramer-dragoncon-boycott

      DragonCon has its chance to genuinely turn its back on Kramer and walk away for good, but this is what they chose to do--even after finding out about Kramer's 1996 arrest for child molestation. They have no one to blame for this mess but themselves.
  9. Anonymous posted on 05/19/2013 11:47 AM
    "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

    If it turns out he owns stock in Disney and Microsoft... should we start boycotting those companies because they 'allow him' to make dividends? This effort is pointless. The only people at fault are the members of our justice system.
    1. Nancy A. Collins posted on 06/02/2013 10:20 PM
      @Anonymous Considering that Sherry Henry, wife of DragonCon Con Chair Pat Henry and DragonCon CFO, was at ground zero for Kramer' using claims of "ill health" to avoid trial and jail time, I'd say there is plenty of fault to go around.

      The following is from Find Law, the Georgia Court of Appeals & the Gwinnett County Justice Department.

      " Finally, Kramer emphasizes that his attorneys failed to submit in the federal case the affidavit of SHERRY HENRY, a registered nurse who had evaluated Kramer while he was confined at the GCDC. In her affidavit, Henry describes Kramer's deteriorating medical condition during his confinement and goes on to opine that detention center officials breached the standard of care in failing to provide Kramer proper medical treatment so as to prevent the deterioration in his condition."

      Sherry Henry is the WIFE of DragonCon co-owner and current chairman Pat Henry and at one point was the convention's Financial Officer.

      So much for DragonCon and its various board members not having anything to with Kramer since his arrest in 2000.

      http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ga-court-of-appeals/1207434.html
  10. Papa Emeritus II posted on 05/24/2013 12:27 AM
    Nancy can try to boycott DragonCon all she wants but it is a waste of her time other than to try to gain attention to herself. DragonCon will grow bigger and gain more and more fans. She will not be able to stop it. Ed has not had anything to do with the con in many years. Just because Ed receives money from his stock it does not mean he has any influence or participation in the con. He only gets money because he was a founder and owns the right to collect a percentage. This is the law and no one can take it away from him. They have made him offers and tried. The fact is, the con has grown and grown and it has now become a huge part of the Atlanta scene. It has outgrown any other con in the world of it's type and will continue to do so. Nancy's efforts are a way to gain attention for herself but it will not affect DragonCon. It would be the equivalent of boycotting Christmas at this point. Very few people will listen and it may even backfire on the protestors. Why hold DragonCon responsible for what Ed did? DragonCon belongs to the fans, not Ed. When Ed dies, then who will you blame?
    1. Nancy A. Collins posted on 06/02/2013 10:10 PM
      @Papa Emeritus II The following is courtesy of Find Law.

      " Finally, Kramer emphasizes that his attorneys failed to submit in the federal case the affidavit of SHERRY HENRY, a registered nurse who had evaluated Kramer while he was confined at the GCDC. In her affidavit, Henry describes Kramer's deteriorating medical condition during his confinement and goes on to opine that detention center officials breached the standard of care in failing to provide Kramer proper medical treatment so as to prevent the deterioration in his condition."

      Sherry Henry is the WIFE of DragonCon co-owner and current chairman Pat Henry and at one point was the convention's Financial Officer.

      So much for DragonCon and its various board members not having anything to with Kramer since his arrest in 2000.

      http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ga-court-of-appeals/1207434.html

      You can also read DragonCon Con Chair Pat Henry & DragonCon CFO Sherry Henry's testimony in support of Edward Kramer at his September 2000 bond hearing at the following link
      http://tessfowler.tumblr.com/post/51137722896/ed-kramer-dragoncon-boycott

      FYI: DragonCon does not "belong" to the fans. If it did, each fan in attendance would receive a portion of its 500K in profits. DragonCon is NOT thousands of fans. It is a for-profit corporation consisting of small group of people, one of whom is Edward Kramer, that pays a small handful of full-time employees while relying on thousands of unpaid volunteers, in violation of Federal labor laws, to actually run their convention.
      Fans believing they "are" DragonCon" simply because they pay money to attend the convention are like baseball fans claiming to play for the Yankees simply because they bought a seasons ticket and a T-shirt with a player's number on it.
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