DragonCon organizers have recently tried to distance the popular science fiction and fantasy convention from its ignominious co-founder, Edward Kramer, saying in a public statement that he has not had any involvement in planning or activities since his 2000 indictment on multiple child molestation charges.
Kramer did resign from the Atlanta convention in 2000, but he still holds 34 percent of the company’s stock. DragonCon president Pat Henry owns an equal amount, and the remaining third is divvied up between several other individuals, according to court records.
Kramer sued DragonCon Inc. in 2009, claiming he was being shortchanged on proceeds. He is now appealing the Fulton County trial court’s decision to dismiss the case on summary judgment — and the state Court of Appeals’ May 2011 affirmation of that ruling — all the way to the state Supreme Court.
Kramer’s lawsuit alleges that Henry and his wife, Sherry Henry, the treasurer for DragonCon, are withholding financial information from past conventions and undercounting attendance.
Henry and other DragonCon executives declined to comment Friday through their lawyer, Joe DeLisle.
According to the state Supreme Court filing, Kramer also claims Henry and his wife misappropriated income for themselves and took excessive salaries.
Kramer’s attorney in the civil case, McNeill Stokes, said DragonCon is trying to force him out.
“They are saying he has no connection with DragonCon, but he owns 34 percent of the company,” Stokes said. “It’s because of the PR [public relations] thing. They are trying to distance themselves from him. And he’s not a convicted child molester.”
Trouble far from over
Kramer, 50, is accused of molesting three teenage boys who are now adults in a Gwinnett County case that has been pending for over a decade. He is being housed in a Connecticut prison. His lawyer is challenging a Governor’s warrant from Georgia that seeks his extradition.
Kramer was out on bond awaiting trial when he was arrested Sept. 15 on charges of risk of injury to a child and violating the conditions of his bond in Georgia by having unsupervised contact with a minor.
Police in Milford, Conn., say they found him alone in a motel room with a 14-year-old boy. Kramer was claiming to be a guardian of the child, who had a role in a low-budget movie that was being filmed in town, according to Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter.
Nick Vallas, a 21-year-old assistant director on the film, reported Kramer to the police. Tragically, Vallas died Oct. 9 in a single-vehicle accident in Connecticut.
His father, Dean Vallas, reached by phone at his home in California, said his son told him about the encounter that led to Kramer’s arrest. It happened after Vallas drove the 14-year-old, the teenager’s mother and Kramer back to a hotel after production wrapped.
The mother reportedly told Vallas she was leaving her son with Kramer while she traveled to Los Angeles. According to Dean Vallas, his son soon began having second thoughts about leaving the 14-year-old with Kramer.
“As he was driving — he told me this himself — he just got more and more uncomfortable,” Dean Vallas said. “He had a visceral dislike of this guy. So he actually pulled off the road, went back to the hotel and banged on the door.”
The boy answered it wearing nothing but a towel, Dean Vallas said, citing his son’s account.
Vallas told his father that Kramer was also in the room, and he had some photographic equipment in plain sight.
“Nick just found it absolutely outrageous,” Dean Vallas said.
Nick Vallas later looked up Kramer on the Internet and learned of the pending child molestation charges. He immediately notified police.
Kramer has pleaded not guilty to the charges in Georgia and says he is innocent.
His criminal attorney, Edwin Marger, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon. He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in September that he was “flabbergasted” upon hearing about the arrest in Connecticut, but he had not yet spoken to his client to hear his side of the story.
Kramer, who was indicted in 2000, has not been put on trial because his lawyers say he is too ill to assist in his own defense. In pretrial hearings, they introduced medical records to show he suffered from a debilitating spine injury that made it difficult for him to breathe and caused him chronic pain. In court appearances, Kramer has walked with a cane and breathed oxygen from a tank.
Prosecutors now believe Kramer was exaggerating his health problems.
Porter, the Gwinnett District Attorney, said at least three witnesses saw Kramer on movie sets in Kentucky and Connecticut this year without oxygen tank and cane.
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