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.