DragonCon Atlanta clouded by founders’ child molestation charges

Keywords: DragonCon, Atlanta, Ed Winter, child molestation, lawsuit, Atlanta Magazine, zennie62, zennie abraham

DragonCon Atlanta’s set to get underway August 30th through September 3rd, and expects to draw 40,000 people to five hotels in Downtown Atlanta. But there’s one problem and this blogger was alerted to it via an email that contained this text:

Dear Mr. Abraham:

I think you’ll want to pick up (or check out outline) the September issue of Atlanta Magazine, which will feature an in-depth article on how Ed Kramer has been using funds from Dragoncon–he currently owns 33%,(down from 50+%)–to avoid going to trial on multiple counts of aggravated child molestation for the last 12 years, and to finance a second career as a talent agent for child actors.

Since that email popped up, the article to be in Atlanta Magazine has been mentioned by several friends. A search for it has not produced the work, and since Atlanta Magazine doesn’t post their content for that month until after the first week of that month, we’ll have to wait for that to come out.

But that doesn’t stop a discussion of this issue. Especially because it’s important for DragonCon goers to know that the money they spend for tickets (a walk-up ticket is $100) has in part allegedly been used to pay its founder Ed Kramer, who (again allegedly) has used his share of money to defend himself against child molestation charges.

It must be reported that the remaining active DragonCon founders have been fighting against having to do this, and to the point where Mr. Kramer filed a lawsuit in 2009. According to The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Dragon Con founder Ed Kramer is suing the current director of Atlanta’s annual sci-fi/fantasy convention for allegedly shortchanging him on stock proceeds.

In the suit, filed in Fulton Superior Court, Kramer accuses Dragon Con president Robert Patrick Henry of misspending company funds on Las Vegas boondoggles and hiring unqualified family members.

Kramer also accuses Henry of hiding company financial records to trick him into selling his majority stake in Dragon Con for less than its worth. “Pat Henry initiated an aggressive, coercive, and nepotistic campaign,” the suit states, “to wrest control of the company away from its shareholders.”

Henry could not be immediately reached for comment. Kramer’s attorney, McNeill Stokes, refused to comment.

The civil case coincides with Kramer’s pending criminal trial on charges he molested three teenaged boys. The case, which began with Kramer’s arrest in August 2000, has been repeatedly delayed because of Kramer’s chronic health issues.

Apparently Mr. Winter seems to have a little something in common with former Penn State Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Last year, Ed Winter was arrested yet again in September 2011:

Bond has been set at $50,000 for DragonCon impresario Edward Kramer, an accused child molester who was caught Tuesday staying in a Connecticut motel room with a 14-year-old boy, authorities said.

Kramer, who has said he is no longer affiliated with DragonCon, was arrested in Milford, Conn., after police learned he was staying there with a teenager. That is a violation of the conditions of his bond from Gwinnett County. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on Sept. 21, according to the state’s attorney’s office in Connecticut.

Kramer was not accused of molesting the 14-year-old. Milford Police charged him with misdemeanor reckless endangerment of a child, according to his defense attorney Edwin Marger.

The lawsuit winter filed in 2009 was thrown out of court on a motion of summary judgement in 2011, but Winter filed an appeal. The fact is that, with all of the arguments and legal issues, Kramer still owns 1/3rd of DragonCon, and if this lawsuit goes his way, he can collect on whatever remaining ticket proceeds exist, plus what they don’t have but would owe him.

And if Kramer doesn’t win, there’s still the allegations of living large in Las Vegas and mishandling finances. Those claims come right up against the view that DrongonCon is more expensive than San Diego-based Comic Con at $100 versus $75, yet Comic Con has big A-list stars, a great-relationship with Hollywood, and is three-times larger than DragonCon.

This issue has been totally ignored by all Atlanta mainstream media, which seems more interested in seeking out wife-murders-husband and teacher-student-sex cases – not a story that could bring down a major convention, regardless of how just it would be.

As for this blogger, and to be totally frank, DragonCon invited me to apply for a press credential after granting me one at the last minute in 2011. Then, after applying, my entry was rejected because of my SFGate.com coverage. I said that the DragonCon media relations person did not know how to evaluate the media coverage for the event – I did not come under the SFGate.com or San Francisco Chronicle name, but under Zennie62Media. So he should have done a search for all Zennie62 platforms, where he would have found DragonCon-related content.

I didn’t protest the action beyond one emailed response. I figured if they were going to treat me that way (the guy was mean to me) I had no reason to cover DragonCon favorably or unfavorably.

That was before I got the email that personally tipped me off to this Ed Kramer issue. Thus, had I not looked at how DragonCon unfavorably presented Atlanta – as I did in an Examiner blog post – I’d have not learned of the Ed Winter controversy until, who knows when?

As I wrote before, it’s not a good idea to piss off a blogger and have that blogger outside the tent pissing in. It’s clear DragonCon needs to be fixed and in many ways.

Stay tuned.