One of two high-profile science-fiction convention disasters of 2008 has returned to the news with an indictment against Shane Senter, the organizer of the failed JumpCon.
Senter faces two counts of theft and four counts of unfair or deceptive business practices, according to the Boston Herald following his failed series of conventions that had science-fiction stars scrambling and fans scratching their heads on what was coming next.
On July 15 last year, Senter posted a message to fans that he was canceling the Boston JumpCon, and was doing it ahead of the actual start of the convention as to not create another FedConUSA, a Texas convention that was shut down in the middle of its run just weeks before.
“Many factors that needed to come together to make it happen simply did not,” Senter said at the time. “We tried everything humanly possible and were unable to overcome the insurmountable obstacles. I wanted to see this succeed so badly that I was blinded to some warning signs that should have been obvious.”
The next day, Senter posted a second message saying comparisons between JumpCon and FedConUSA were unfounded.
“This has never been a scheme, and was never about money for me,” Senter said. “I hope when the refunds have all been issued, people will accept the truth. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, but it will get done.”
One of the actors that was hit both by FedConUSA and JumpCon was “Star Trek: Enterprise” actor John Billingsley, who was on stage with his wife at a panel discussion at FedConUSA when it was announced the convention was closing down. He fought to make sure those in attendance got refunds, or at least were able to try and salvage something out of the event.
Days later, Billingsley posted a note on his Web site making it clear that he was not attending JumpCon, and had asked the organizers to remove his name and his wife’s name off the guest list. “If our names remain on their Web site after [July 11], JumpCon is clearly engaging in a form of fraudulent advertising,” Billingsley said.
Robert Picardo, who played the EMH on “Voyager” as well as starred in the final season of “Stargate: Atlantis,” said at the time he was suffering from misinformation being distributed about how much he’d been paid, and who actually canceled.
“I have no ‘scheduling conflict’ for JumpCon Boston and have not canceled,” Picardo said at the time, according to TrekToday. “JumpCon unilaterally removed me from their Web site without notifying me that I was canceled. Why? Perhaps because our contract stipulates that I’m due a 25 percent cancellation fee if JumpCon cancels me within 60 days of the event.”
After FedConUSA collapsed — a convention that was being put together by Tim Brazeal, the leader of the one-time campaign to save “Enterprise” that came under fire for how money was being used and collected from fans, Texas state officials said last summer they were investigating what happened there, but it’s not clear if the investigation is ongoing, or if it had concluded.
JumpCon’s Senter is set to be arraigned on Friday in Hillsborough County Superior Court in New Hampshire.