Boy oh boy. These con wars are getting more and more complicated.
Denver Comic Con is in its fourth year and last year experienced exponential growth. Originally founded as part of a Comic Book Classroom, a non-profit outreach program designed to increase awareness of comics to children, the con was a means to fund that outreach. Now, co-founder Charlie La Greca has penned an open letter charging that he has been removed from the con, and $300,000 raised has not gone towards the CBC program:
The Denver Comic Con achieved success in its inaugural year, 2012. In DCC’s second year, we brought in over 61,000 attendees and became the fifth largest comic convention in the U.S. It was a great accomplishment and, as founders, Frank and I knew that we could not have done it without the generosity, support, and hard work of the artists, publishers, vendors, fans, and community.
However, the last eight months have been fraught with difficulty and tumult, and I am left questioning the ethics and values of the people that Frank and I brought on to the CBC Board of Directors. We were somewhat inexperienced and should have better selected a Board who was perhaps dedicated to the Comic Book Classroom mission and making sure that the focus and funds raised from the DCC convention indeed went to teaching kids.
That has not happened: Since the 2013 convention, it seems the teaching and literacy programs have been nonexistent; Frank Romero has resigned and I have been removed from control of the Board; there are allegedly up to $300,000 in revenues from the 2013 DCC alone, that remain unaccounted for, and some of which appear to be funneled towards high profile legal posturing.
There’s much more to La Greca’s letter — read the whole thing in the link. Among his other charges: his name and that of co-founder Frank Romero—who has resigned from the board—have been removed from the Wikipedia page; and no Comic Book Classroom events have been held for a year.
While some hints of discomfort at the con have been circulating for a while—especially after last year’s event experienced huge lines and crowds, leading to complaints of disorganization—the current kerfuffle seems to be pretty acrimonious, with La Greca claiming that he has been unable to reach any current board members regarding his dismissal.
The Beat contacted Christina Angel, a current board member, who said that a statement with their side of the controversy will be released later today.
In the mean time, La Greca has launched a Save Denver Comic Con site, and plans an open town hall style meeting for Sunday, Feb. 23 at 3 pm to be held at Dead Academy, 841 Santa Fe Dr..
We’ll update this story when the new statement is released but…developing. Failure is an orphan, etc etc etc.
Here’s the letter that was sent out late last year by the current convention board announcing La Greca’s removal:
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.