Denver Comic Con rift threatens the event's founder and his original cause

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Denver Comic Con co-founders Frank Romero and Charlie La Greca.
There have been rumors about trouble among the Denver Comic Con ranks. But today, DCC co-founder Charlie La Greca posted the following letter on a new Save Denver Comic Con website.

Hello my name is Charlie La Greca. I am a cartoonist, lifelong comic fan, and lover of all things geek.

This is an incredibly difficult letter to write but I feel the need to tell you about an injustice and ask for your assistance in attaining its correction.

Comic books are my life. I grew up in Denver, Colorado and in the 1990's moved to the East Coast to pursue my dreams of working in comic book publishing. It took years of hard work but eventually, I established myself in New York City working in the industry that I love. After working for such notable companies as Disney, Nickelodeon, and DC Comics, I moved back to my native Denver to embark on the next chapter of my dream.

I reconnected with my lifelong friend, Frank Romero, to figure out how we could apply our passion, experience, and networking within the industry to bring something very special to my hometown. I have completely and utterly devoted my entire being to this endeavor for the last 5 years and it was with our intention to encourage learning and ignite imaginations in children that Frank and I envisioned creating a pop culture convention that, with its proceeds, would fully support a good cause - children's education and literacy. To that end, in 2009, Frank and I founded Comic Book Classroom (CBC) to raise literacy through comics, and we devised the Denver Comic Con (DCC) to become an institution that funded CBC.

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.


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Danielle Lirette
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.

After five years of dedicated service to Comic Book Classroom and Denver Comic Con and despite my desire to continue to be a part of the organizations I founded, I've been apparently removed from them. I've only heard this indirectly; most painfully through a letter recently sent out to all of my peers, clients, fellow artists, and industry professionals claiming I was no longer with the organization. Inexplicably and without explanation, my professional email and all of my admin rights were turned off overnight.

Additionally, since the beginning it is undisputed that Frank Romero and I co-founded these entities, and in the 5 years since, that fact has never once been questioned by any of the directors, members, or volunteers of CBC or DCC. That is why it was disconcerting to discover, immediately after the success of DCC 2013, that our Wikipedia page has been anonymously edited to remove the role Frank and I played. This fact alone speaks to further questionable tactics, as well as the mention of other Board members listed as founders in a press article directly after the 2013 convention. It is one thing to feel as though founders are being forced out from an organization, it's another to perhaps claim ownership and rewrite history.

I'd like to first, make it clear that all Frank and I ever wanted to do was to help kids and I believe we both stand behind the original values and mission statement of education, respect, inclusiveness, diversity, responsibility, human dignity, communication, honesty, opportunity, and community with which we founded CBC.

Secondly, it must be known that I have never stepped down. I never resigned. This statement made in the aforementioned letter or any statement announcing that I resigned or am no longer with the organization is false. I set out my whole life to bring my passion and love of comics and geekdom to others. I did not and will not give up on this organization that I envisioned and co-founded and so believe in. Nor have I or will I leave it. I find it interesting that a letter of that sort was circulated and yet the other members of the Board never thought to contact me or meet with me to discuss my exit. In fact, the other members of the Board chose to walk away from mediation (I have the emails to prove this) and when I most recently made one last attempt to draw them back into mediation to discuss and solve matters, they refused and had their lawyer serve me with a letter threatening to possibly file a lawsuit against me. Presumably such a lawsuit would be funded through the unaccounted for monies raised from the Denver Comic Con. Money better used to serve children.

It's hard to imagine that the people Frank and I chose to put in place - the very people who benefited from the financial investment that I personally procured - would seek this as a possible solution.

Read on for the rest of Charlie La Greca's letter -- and what he plans to do

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25 comments
mermaidgoddess16
mermaidgoddess16

I'm sorry, I'd have to look at your non profit filing docs to believe either side. I don't believe the sob story about foolishly losing control. There is paperwork that should easily prove who should retain the rights. The public statement that insinuates that funds were not used in the way they were marketed, sounds corrupt for both sides. Integrity lost.

Clayton Capra
Clayton Capra

It's funny to see everyone take the word of one person over many. It's sour grapes and dirty pool to air it in the media like this.

therealtrickjames
therealtrickjames

I know these guys. Chuck is one of the nicest most sincere cats I have ever met. This con and the literacy project are his life. The way this thing shook out was shady as hell. The people responsible did a bunch of back door maneuvering while Frank was laid up at home with a broken knee and unable to attend board meetings. The whole thing stinks to high heaven. I'm sure the board is going to release a statement whitewashing the whole thing, and Frank is about the most non confrontational person on the planet so he just quit and now Charlie is taking them on alone.

This has seriously been Charlie's dream for a long time. To see it taken from him like this makes me want to rage on someone's face.

aliceanyone
aliceanyone

FYI the names of the co-founders are backward in relation to the image above.  That's Frank and Charlie, not Charlie and Frank as listed in the caption.

Alirox
Alirox

Instead of solving this matter through public opinion, put on your blue tights and red cape, your utility belt made of Legos and your Mardi Gras mask, and BEAT UP THE EVILDOERS.

coriredford
coriredford

Is there going to be a statement from DCC here? I'd like to hear both sides.

Scott D. Taylor
Scott D. Taylor

Basically it says they had about $500,000 in revenue and only spent $1,000 on the literacy project.

watchmencomedian
watchmencomedian

cant wait for a response wondering if this folds if we are all out those 150$ tickets

Brittany Quinn
Brittany Quinn

I'm eagerly waiting to hear on DCC's statement on this. This should be good.

Danny Dupree
Danny Dupree

When a con decides to air its dirty laundry and backroom politicing out in the open, I certainly don't care to attend it. Keep that crap in your offices and away from what should be a fun event.

Scott D. Taylor
Scott D. Taylor

Based off the Colorado Secretary of State filings you knew that the money being raised wasnt going to promote literacy.

James
James

@therealtrickjames Before you "rage" perhaps you should learn the other side of the story vs. just the one you're so eagerly eating up.

watchmencomedian
watchmencomedian

its important to know if we are going to even have a con and that our money is going to the purpose it was meant and marketed as plus if we the customers are going to lose or money for this years if it folds 


therealtrickjames
therealtrickjames

That's part of Charlie's big complaint. Where is the money going?

maloney-d
maloney-d

Got anything to back that up?


raddu76
raddu76

How so? Details...links?

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