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Responding to accusations made by one of the event’s co-founders, organizers insist “Denver Comic Con does not need saving.”
A letter posted on the show’s website addresses many of Charlie La Greca’s allegations, most notably that he was unceremoniously forced from the board of the organizing nonprofit Comic Book Classroom and that $300,000 in revenues from the 2013 convention remain unaccounted for.
“Allegations of misuse of funds are wholly untrue,” the statement reads. “As an applicant for 501(c)3 status, CBC’s financial statements are a matter of public record; the 2012 990 form is on file with the IRS, and when the fiscal year 2013 records are completed they will be filed and will also be publicly available as a matter of course.”
The other matter is perhaps a little more murky: La Greca contends he and longtime friend Frank Romero founded Comic Book Classroom and Denver Comic Con; however, the board of directors says there were six founders, including Christina Angel, Illya Kowalchuk, Bruce MacIntosh and Michael Newman. It’s a seemingly minor matter, but it may be indicative of just how deep the disagreement goes.
Romero resigned last month for what the remaining organizers says were “personal reasons.” However, their account of La Greca’s departure differs greatly from his: While La Greca’s open letter suggests he was removed from the without explanation, organizers assert that he was precluded from serving on the board by the $10,000 contract position he accepted: “As was discussed at length with Charlie, the bylaws of the non-profit necessitated that in order to draw a salary he would need to step down from the board — as he agreed.” Following the 2013 convention the organization decided not to renew La Greca’s contract.
“In the months following the convention, CBC and Charlie went to a number of mediation meetings,” their statement reads. “And therefore his nonparticipation has never been in question. We deeply regret that the matter has jumped from mediation to the court of public opinion.”
Organizers also spell out the educational events that have been held since the 2013 convention. The full statement can be found on the Denver Comic Con website.
Convention Director Christina Angel also posted a response on the show’s Facebook page, one geared more directly to fans of the event.
“As you may know, we are a nonprofit; what that means is that there are no profits,” she wrote, in part. “That is, no one is ‘getting rich’ on this project (and in fact most of us find ourselves in quite the opposite situation), and even if the worst should happen and all of this work should fold, under law any and all assets (down to the very desk I am currently writing this from) would be transferred to another comparable nonprofit organization. Greed doesn’t exist here because there is nothing to grab. There are no funds missing and they are all accounted for and in the bank, where they ought to be (and we can prove this and will). That is an outright lie made by someone who has no firsthand knowledge of such things. There is no investigation to be had because nothing is amiss; as a nonprofit, we are always ready and prepared for an audit (as is our responsibility). Those documents are public record.”
La Greca and his supporters have organized a town hall meeting to be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Denver Entertainment Art & Design Academy.