dragonconDragonCon founders officially announced a split from co-founder Ed Kramer yesterday morning.  The Board of Directors and Shareholders of Dragon Con / ACE, Inc., producer of DragonCon, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy and sci-fi convention, have agreed to merge the company into Dragon Con, Inc. (Dragon Con) in a cash-out merger.  Led by Pat Henry, David Cody and Robert Dennis, ownership of Dragon Con includes five of the six founding owners of Dragon Con / ACE (the old Dragon Con). The effective date of the merger is July 8, 2013.

What this means is that since they couldn’t get him to just accept a buyout offer (they tried, and he refused) they did an end run around him.  They dissolved the company and reformed it without him.
Ed Kramer is currently in jail in Georgia on charges related to child molestation.  After avoiding a trial in 2000 due to physical health limitations, he purportedly violated his  and has been avoiding going to trial for roughly a decade by using various legal delaying and stalling tactics.   Detractors complain that the money Kramer had been making from his association with Dragon*Con was being used in his legal defense.  He has not had any role in managing or organizing the convention since 2000, was offered cash for his shares in the old company. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“This decision only affects the ownership of the old Dragon Con,” said Pat Henry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dragon Con. “Our members and others who attend Dragon*Con 2013 will experience the same fantastic convention they have come to expect from us.”

Dragon Con will continue the agreements with each of the host and overflow hotels associated with the convention as well as all of the guests and performers scheduled to appear at this year’s event, either “as is” or with amendments recognizing Dragon Con as owner.

Significant creators of popular media have been boycotting Dragon*Con/ACE due to its failure to remove Kramer from its board of directors, including Kaja and Phil Foglio, creators of the popular steampunk adventure series Girl Genius.  From their blog:

For over ten years the corporation that ran Dragon Con claimed that there was no way that they could detangle themselves from pedophile/co–founder Ed Kramer. Then noted author Nancy Collins started a boycott of the convention. Kaja and I signed on, as did a growing number of high profile media guests. Less than six months later– hey presto! Dragon Con has sundered its relationship with Ed Kramer. Yay! A noted segment of my particular sub–culture has done a good thing. For anybody who actually cares about my opinion, I think that this is the best outcome that we could expect from something like this, and we personally will be looking into attending DragonCon in the future.

WHO IS EDWARD KRAMER?
According to Deadline.com, Kramer was arrested in 2000 in Georgia and charged with three counts of child molestation involving two teenage brothers. However, Kramer has never been tried in criminal court.  He was believed to be physically incapable to stand trial due to spinal and respiratory problems and was released on bond, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Kramer was under house arrest for several years, but was later allowed to travel between Georgia and New Jersey or New York to receive medical treatments or visit his ailing mother. But he was not to have unsupervised contact with children under 16, according to the bond conditions.
In 2011, he was in violation of his bond agreement when he was charged with “risk of injury to a minor” in Connecticut when he was found in a hotel room with a 14-year-old boy, according to the AJC.  He was extradited to Georgia in January.

About Dragon*Con

Dragon*Con is the largest pop culture convention featuring comics, film, television, costuming, art, music, and gaming. Held each Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, Dragon*Con attracted more than 52,000 attendees in 2012. For more information, please visit www.dragoncon.org.  (For the record, that makes it significantly bigger than San Diego Comic-Con, which garners only about 35,000 attendees each year and cannot exceed that due to the size of the San Diego Convention Center where it’s held.)

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