FedConUSA just opened 24 hours ago, but it's already over ... leaving those who traveled to Dallas and paid for tickets for an event they thought would give them a chance to hob-nob with science-fiction actors, writers and producers wondering what they are going to do now.
Tim Brazeal, the organizer of FedConUSA, announced Saturday morning that he had canceled the convention, despite the fact that it had already started the day before, plagued with missing guests, last-minute plane tickets (if they came at all), and attendees trying to justify the money they spent to get there.
"I have asked my son to shut the show down," Brazeal said in a post on the FedConUSA message boards. "It seems that nothing is going the way it should. I really don't think that it would ... have been done any better if I were there. I always said that good, bad or ugly, whatever happened here is totally my fault. I had really hoped it would be the other way around."
Brazeal said he sent his son to the convention in his place after he was admitted into the hospital over the weekend, but problems with the convention started to crop up long before that complete with sudden cancellation of guests -- many times to their own surprise -- and a very public rebuke from "Battlestar Galactica" actor Aaron Douglas who said he was sitting at the airport waiting for his plane ticket from the convention, a plane ticket that never arrived.
"I am not sure what happened exactly," Brazeal said. "I spent thousands on radio, print advertisements, etc., so it was not from a lack of trying. I don't see a reason in making everyone continue to suffer through this, so I told them to shut it down now."
Brazeal said refunds would be offered to everyone, beginning today for anyone who purchased tickets at the door. However, he said it could take time for other refunds to take place.
"There is still some money in the account and I do have money coming back in from other sources," Brazeal said. "But I see no reason to keep it going. It may take some time, but if everyone works with me, I will get everyone's cash back to them."
Brazeal and partner Thomas Moore, both of whom were instrumental in the controversial TrekUnited campaign that raised questions there about money being raised and lack of disclosure to campaign participants, announced FedConUSA last August after striking up an agreement with FedCon Gmbh, which has run successful conventions in Europe for the last 16 years. A post from one of the company's American contacts, Marc B. Lee, over the weekend, however, revealed that the German company had backed out of the partnership, but allowed Brazeal to use the FedCon name one time only. Lee said he made the status of the partnership public after guests of the convention -- many of whom also attend the Europe conventions -- were contacting him with complaints about how they were treated.
Airlock Alpha questioned the viability of a Dallas convention using the TrekUnited founders as a partner in a column back in August. In that column, the site felt the convention was destined to failure, especially with the inclusion of such a controversial organizer who had a minimal fan following.
But the convention continued on anyway with a promise that guests would not be announced until contracts were signed. However, that didn't stop a continuing revolving door of guests that at one time included the likes of Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Adam Baldwin, Dirk Benedict, Richard Hatch, and both Douglas and James Callis.
Some attendees on the message board called for everyone to make reports to state law enforcement officials asking them to investigate, something Brazeal on Friday welcomed.
"My wife said some of you are thinking about contacting the attorney general or whatever," Brazeal said. "If that is what you want to do, please feel free. We have done nothing wrong, illegal or immoral. What turned out from me trying to make sure you guys had a great guest lineup and a great show has turned to bite me in the butt."
This cancellation does not affect another Texas convention with a similar name, FenCon, which is still on for October. FenCon is not related to FedCon in any way.
For more on the collapse of FedConUSA, see Airlock Alpha's previous story by clicking here.
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