After eight years of convention — the latter part plagued with legal controversy — the Slanted Fedora conventions will be closing up shop.
In a statement released on the convention company’s Web site, company owner Dave Scott said the reason for the closure is purely financial.
“I did give this my best efforts, and the effects on my personal life will be felt for years to come,” Scott said in a release. “I took a second loan on my home, as well as exhausted all of my personal savings, retirement and obligations for future earnings. I did my best. No one wishes this were different more than I.”
The company was based in Shawnee, Kansas, but conducted conventions all around the country, focusing mostly on Star Trek actors.
In September 2003, the Kansas attorney general’s office filed suit against Slanted Fedora for allegedly bilking customers. According to the suit, which was filed in Johnson County District Court, Scott and his wife Jackie were accused of violationg the Kansas Consumer Protection Act in 27 transactions. Details of whether or not that particular suit has been resolved were not available. (a href=”http://airlockalpha.com/article.php?id=1144″ target=”_blank”>story)
At the time the suit was filed, Scott told the Kansas City Star that he did pay back customers who had requested refunds, but some of those refunds took some time because of financial difficulties the convention company was having. The suit also claimed that Scott repeatedly canceled conventions without refunding deposits. Scott, however, denied this, saying that two conventions were rescheduled following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and canceled another one after that. He told the paper he gave customers the choice of refunds, credit for future conventions or merchandise.
Among the charges also were that customers were being double-charged on their credit and debit cards. Scott did admit that double-charges had occurred, but that they have all been refunded the difference.
Actor Patrick Stewart, best known for his portrayal of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” accused the convention in January 2002 of promoting the fact he would be attending a convention without finalizing the details. He said that to help keep shorted fans happy that he provided 1,000 autographed pictures for a fee, but the check provided by Slanted Fedora officials didn’t clear.
James Darren, who played the popular recurring holographic character of Vic Fontaine in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” said that he was unhappy with the fact that Slanted Fedora official were telling fans that he pulled out of a couple of convention appearances in 2002, when in fact, it was the officials who dumped him off the schedule.(story)
When the business was suspended in 2002 by a Kansas court when government officials said that Slanted Fedora owners didn’t answer a court summons. After it was restored, Scott did talk with Airlock Alpha about Slanted Fedora’s problems.
“We have made mistakes, lots of them,” he said at the time. “We will continue to make mistakes, unfortunately, lots of them. As always, people who attend our conventions are for the most part satisfied. Those who do not attend would prefer that we were somethiung different, or gone completely. We still offer the best ‘deal’ for a fan dollar.”
Scott encouraged past customers to keep in touch with him, but asked that they use the postal service instead of e-mail. He said that he had to limit his electronic communications as he needs “written records,” as would the fans communicating with him. It was unclear Scott’s reasons for the request.
In his statement about closing down Slanted Fedora, Scott did include a warning to fans.
“It is a dangerous time,” he said. “The song, ‘You Won’t Know What You Got Till It’s Gone,’ comes to mind. The new (convention) producers will need your support. Sadly, nasty and mean is an easier emotion to express than gratitude and understanding. My advice [is] be nice, support, encourage and build a community that enjoys the hobby.”
It is unclear what will happen to upcoming conventions already scheduled by Slanted Fedora. The convention company’s Web site continued to list information and details for New Orleans in March, and New York City next October.