Anime Tour for the Cure – Scam?

Let me start out by saying that I had a reasonably successful day at this convention. Attendance was slightly less than what I’d expected, but sales well justified attending. I was a lucky one, because this was a local convention for me. The booth was free. I stood to lose nothing by exhibiting there (almost, I’ll mention one exception later).

Part of the reason I had good experience was that the promoters were completely honest with me. They wanted to cancel the January show because some special guest had a schedule conflict. The Cashman center would not let them out of the space, so they decided to put on a small scale version now, and would do the ‘real’ show in April. I was told to expect 100-200 attendees. I was told that I could back out and they understood. But I live in Las Vegas, my laptop travels, there was no reason not to go.

This is not the same for the other four exhibitors. One had come all the way from Dallas Texas. That’s when I learned that the promoters had not been as up front with the other dealers. They were told there would be a dealer’s room with 20 dealers, 2000 attendees, and that the convention was Saturday and Sunday.

Well there is no Sunday. The revised version of this event had knocked out Sunday. And there was no Dealer’s room. Let me clarify, the dealer’s room was put in a small 3rd floor lounge overlooking the baseball field. We were supposed to have pipe, drape, table, trash. We arrived to a pile of tables and ‘put it whereever you want.’ I had reserved 1 table. Some dealers had reserved 3 or 4. With chaos ruling my one table became 3. I had to make a table triangle to wall off my space. This was free, right? No big deal how many tables someone reserved, right?

Well, yes, except that you had to give a refundable deposit to exhibit. This was to ensure that dealers actually showed up. I paid a $250 deposit for one table. Others had paid up to $800 for four. That deposit that was given months ago was money out of their hands. We had been promised we’d be refunded at the end of the event. The promoter on site told a volunteer to tell us they would be mailing checks. Then he fled.

Not being in an actual decorated (pipe and drape) dealer’s room was actually the last thing on the list of the exhibitor’s complaints. Hen Da Nae came from San Deigo to exhibit. Justmanga.com came from LA. Another came all the way from Texas, as I said. They got hotel for 3 nights in Las Vegas to participate in this show. Then they learn on Saturday that there is no Sunday scheduled. It was news to me too. Worse than that, they see that this ‘2000 person’ convention is at the most 60 people. Cut that in half by 2pm. Events were being canceled left and right.

They had all driven hours to do this show, had put a large chunk of money up, and had hotel rooms ranging from $85/night to $160. The Electronics convention thing is still in town. Hotel rooms are scarce. Had they known it was just Saturday they could have at least saved on one night’s hotel.

After all the deception the coup de grâce was not getting our deposits back as promised at the end of the day. One very angry vendor started a sheet to get everyone’s information. They have 30 days to mail the checks or we will all join in a class action lawsuit. I was hesitant to sign, because I don’t want to be ostracized from any Las Vegas events. Then the Anime Vegas rep told me there will be no April show after how they screwed up this one. He would not participate, and they had no other local willing to arrange it. He doubts Tour for the Cure will show it’s face in Vegas again. So I signed.

I hate to say it, but adding insult to injury was MTV. They were there filming the cosplayers, then realized the big scoop about how everyone (dealers, attendees expecting events, guests expecting to be performing events) had been screwed. We had to deal with the camera in our faces as we tore down. It got worse. A musician showed up who had been booked to perform at the show on Sunday. She got there with her band to have the MTV reporter tell her Sunday was canceled. She gave an interview about her disappointment outside, then the reporter instructed her to come in and act like she’d just walked into the dealers hall and was shocked by everyone tearing down. She was to confront Anime Tour for the Cure on camera.

Everyone responsible for the debacle was gone. The dealer’s hall was us dealers trying to get out of the now freezing lounge (heat went off at some point). The girl with the guitar walked in and asked the first dealer, ‘Is this Anime Tour for the Cure?’ Yes, someone told her. Then explained the situation. This person was a dealer, a victim like herself, but apparently she’d been instructed to treat whoever answered her like the culprit. She drove from Burbank, how can you do this, etc. I don’t think the reporter realized the promoters were long gone. The dealer explained fully, while playing along and ignoring the camera, that the promoters had screwed everyone and run.

Some time goes by. I’m almost ready to leave. The girl comes in again with the MTV camera on her. She asks me ‘Is this Anime Tour for the Cure?”

I’m very frustrated at this point. Apparently the reporter hadn’t been satisfied with the first take, and had instructed the girl to do it again. I did not make eye contact with her. I was not playing along. The Anime Vegas guy was there (thankfully) and blocked me from the camera.

As I said, being a local let me come out of this situation ahead. But I sympathize with the other vendors. This was a crock. The word ‘scam’ is being tossed around. If the deposits aren’t returned it will be confirmed.


15 Responses to “Anime Tour for the Cure – Scam?”

  1. January 15, 2007 at 11:41 am

    That’s just simply awful.

    I was working in the gameroom, which is a bit of an overstatement, so I had no idea what happened in the dealer’s room at the end… >_

  2. January 15, 2007 at 11:45 am

    stupid html ate my comment’s end. Someone at Jeff’s office is claiming that Jeff fled because of threats of physical violence from a drunken exhibitor, was this true?

  3. 3 AnimePavilion
    January 15, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    I just want to make a reply to this comment concerning the “Exhibitor” that was intoxicated and making physical threats to Jeff, if this is true. As an exhibitor myself for many years and knowing many other exhibitor’s in this buisness I can not think of one that would honestly do something so drastic. I am not condoning this accuasation if it does end up being true, but simply trying to make the point that not every exhibitor can be grouped by this one person who got trapped in a very horrible situation. I will not try and say that this statement is a lie but only that this is not an action I could see any exhibitor I know taking. Sometimes it just feels like we (exhibitors) are the easiest to pick on, and blame things on. Being looked at as people that are only here to make money and don’t care about the results of the convention, when we actually care very much as it does directly influence us. So at closing I just want to say if this statement does for some reason end up being true that not all exhibitors are typecasted by this one shameless person… If this statement does come out as being the truth that is.

  4. January 15, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    Drunken Exhibitor? I don’t think that’s true. The Yaoi Press booth was across from the registration desk where Jeff was sitting. I didn’t see anything like that. I didn’t even hear raised voices. I know that the knife dealer was the first to tear down, and was very angry. He was asking for his deposit to be returned that day. But he wasn’t yelling or being belligerant. Jeff was saying he was the middleman and we believed him.

    There was no where to get drunk! I seriously doubt any dealer brought booze with them. On Saturday morning everyone had come in hoping for a normal convention. There was no bar. A dealer wouldn’t have left and come back. ???

  5. January 15, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    Wow this is very unfortunate. I don’t know how anything thought that 2000 people would show up. It took AnimeVegas a few years and a much better organized event to get to that point.

    I feel bad for anyone involved with pure intentions like Richard of Anime Vegas who is getting screwed on the entire deal.

  6. February 3, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    My wife and I drove up from LA mostly to take pictures for http://www.animeconpics.com and to enjoy the convention. We rented a car, gas, hotel, meals, etc – not to mention that it was snowing on the drive up (a rare occurance on the drive from LA to Vegas).

    I will say that there were some decent cosplayers and the general mood of the convention-goers seemed good amidst the circumstances. We happened to walk over to the back rooms and sat around waiting for the VA Panel, which actually was VERY enjoyable. While Chris Sabbat cancelling was the BIGGEST disappointment, they did a nice job of making up for it.

    While I had a very hard time giving money to the Breast Cancer (“You can just give ME cash or write a check to ME” is NOT convincing), I would be willing to give ATFTC another chance if they were to hold another event.

  7. February 3, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Unfortunately it looks like the organizers are going to have to be sued by me and the other dealers since they still have not returned our booth deposits. This was supposed to be refunded to us at the show. They said they’d mail a check. I still haven’t gotten that.

  8. 8 Brittany
    February 8, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    I am the cosplayer you mentioned as a “musician” with the MTV crew. Though I understand your frustration with the entire tragedy, I must defend MTV’s intentions during the event. They were not there to film the cosplayers and did not see any “scoop” with the unfolding events. In fact, the convention, of course, did not make it to the final cut of the program. They were there to film my unveiling of a costume for a Guitar Hero 2 special they’re putting together. I did not treat anyone as a culprit and was not instructed to do anything to dramatize the situation. I was just as confused as everyone else and sought answers to those who were kind enough to offer their explanation. I did not ask anyone directly “how can YOU do this?” or that I drove from “Burbank”. I knew very well that Jeff Borncamp had left earlier that day because Richard Stott has informed me of that as soon as I arrived. In the end, I was no different than any other person who got screwed over by the event coordinators. I had spent the money to drive there, the time and effort creating this costume, took time off of work to be there, and gotten my hopes up for a worthwhile convention. I, and the two MTV people with me, were in the same boat as everyone else.

  9. February 9, 2007 at 12:15 am

    I apologize if I misunderstood anything, Brittany. I thought I’d overheard you saying you drove from Burbank when you were talking to the reporter outside the dealer’s hall. The ‘How can you do this,’ was what the first man you spoke to told me after I spoke to him.

    What I did get first hand was the two takes, though. You walked in the first time and asked ‘Is this Anime Tour for the Cure.’ A gentleman explained to you that it was and told you what was going on. Why did you walk back in a second time and ask ‘Is this Anime Tour for the Cure?’ with the camera on you? It really looked like you’d been instructed to do a second take by the reporter. If not, why were you asking the dealers (and as you said, you knew the organizers were gone, you were asking fellow victims) ‘Is this Anime Tour for the Cure?’ As though the first gentleman hadn’t explained anything to you.

  10. 10 Brittany
    February 9, 2007 at 3:12 am

    You are correct, I was asked to go back in a second time. I personally made the mistake, however, of asking the same people the same question. Truth be told, I was almost waiting for someone to give me a different answer because I did not want to believe what was going on. It was not meant to be a re-take because she was unsatisfied with the original, she had not installed a blank tape and got no recording of what had transpired earlier. I really did not ask anyone “How could YOU do this?” I wasn’t out to point fingers at those attending the con itself, Jeff Borncamp on the other hand, I would have LOVED to point a finger at. I trully do apologize any disturbance our presence caused you. It honestly was not meant to irritate or add fuel to the already raging inferno of a fire. Have you had any luck yourself contacting Jeff? theOtaku.com apparently has tried countless times with little success. I know we are on the same side and I do thank you for posting the truth about Jeffrey and the tragedy that was “Anime Tour for the Cure”. Hopefully it will reach a huge audience so that something this awful will never happen again.

    Yours truly,

  11. February 9, 2007 at 3:30 am

    Well, you seem cool. I’m sorry if this post presented you in a bad light. If Anime Tour for the Cure does return my deposit I’m taking this post down, but no, I haven’t tried to reach them yet.

  12. 12 Brittany
    February 9, 2007 at 5:41 am

    You seem cool too 🙂 I hope that our combined efforts along with theOtaku.com can bring this guy to justice.

  13. 13 Inuyasha Fan
    February 10, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    WTF!! That is not fair! For more info go to http://www.theotaku.com

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