Do Some of Ryan Kopf’s Conventions Break the Law? Quite Possibly

Update: Since posting this article, Chrono L.C. has registered with the State of Minnesota and the State of Illinois (not directly linkable – but easily found). The original article appears as follows.

The Complicated Web of Ryan Kopf, Chrono LC, Black Materia Inc and State Lines

This was all supposed to start simple enough: I was going to write a follow up on Ryan Kopf’s new ventures run through Black Materia Inc. I had discovered that Black Materia Inc was a completely seperate corporation from Chrono LC, and I was going to reveal who Kopf’s new business partner was.

I figured I’d be done with it under 300 words, and likely never think of it again.

But as I took my stroll through Google searches and public records, things started to feel off. Something wasn’t quite right, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. — so I kept digging even after I found the answer.

And what I found blew me away.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This all began with discovering Ryan Kopf’s involvement with Black Materia Inc through domain whois information. Ryan normally runs events doing business as AnimeCon.org. AnimeCon.org is a name that Ryan Kopf’s LLC “Chrono LC” operates under (as even Ryan Kopf realizes Chrono LC is a dumb name). As Black Materia Inc has, well, “inc” in the name, I suspected it wasn’t also an alias for Chrono LC.

And I was right.

After a few quick searches, I found that Black Materia Inc is incorporated in the state of Tennessee (the state where Anime Kaiju is being run). It has an “office” in Sweetwater, TN (where mail is supposed to go to “RON”), and after a quick search I found it was the same address as “The Country Bear’s Diner” via a single Tripadvisor review.

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Obviously, whoever owned this diner was either involved or related to whoever was involved with Ryan Kopf’s new venture.

I did a quick search for the phone number listed on the Tripadvisor page, and found it was the cell phone of one Shadowwalker Bear. I figured, dollars to doughnuts, that Ryan’s business partner was going to be named “Ron Bear” — so with a couple of searches, I found a LinkedIn profile for a Ron Bear… who was quite obviously Shadowwalker Bear based off the personal history.

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This, of course, shouldn’t be a shock as a contributer to Ryan Kopf’s UpcomingCons.com is one “RS Bear.”

(You may also notice the Tripadvisor review is by a “RSBear1” — in all likelyhood, Ron Bear reviewed his own family’s restaurant. What an honest guy.)

So there we go, Black Materia Inc is a business venture between Ryan Kopf and Ron Shadowwalker Bear. Mystery solved.

But… there was something else.

Now, what some of you might not know is that when you have a corporation, you actually need to file a few things when you do business in a state other than the one you’re incorporated in. Most importantly, you need to register as a “foreign” corporation with the other state to do business there. It’s actually not that hard, you just file some paperwork, pay a few fees, and bob’s your uncle. This is important for a few reasons: firstly so you can get protection in that state’s court system, and secondly so you can pay any required sales tax obligations in that state.

(Fun fact: If you live in State A, and make money in State B, you have to pay income taxes in both state B and state A on that income)

If you don’t register with the state, you are breaking the law.

Now when I was tracking down Black Materia Inc’s registration information, I just went down the list of the three states we know they’re running events in: Virginia (Star City Anime), Georgia (Taiga Con) and Tennessee (Anime Kaiju). I searched both Virginia and Georgia before I looked at Tennessee though – and it dawned on me that I should have found Black Materia Inc’s registration as a foreign entity in those other two states.

But I didn’t.

Now, as their Virginia and Georgia events haven’t taken place yet, I realized it was entirely possible that Black Materia Inc fully intends on getting its ducks in a row before it runs its events. But what occurred to me next was that Ryan Kopf has been running Iowa based Chrono LC events in Illinois and Minnesota for years.

…and I wondered if Chrono LC had ever been registered as a foreign entity in those states.

So I pulled up the Illinois and Minnesota websites and began to hunt for any variation of Kopf’s corporate names I could think of. From partial keyword searches, punctuation changes, aliases — I looked for anything and everything.

And I found absolutely nothing.

As far as I can tell, Ryan Kopf has never registered Chrono LC with either the state of Illinois or the state of Minnesota (if it were, I should have found something like this). I don’t know who is signing the contracts with the hotels his cons are held at, but at the very least Chrono LC is operating events in two states right now where it does not appear that they have the legal right to do so.

I honestly question how any required state sales and/or entertainment taxes are being paid, if at all.

Edit: Based off the responses I’ve seen on Facebook, I think some people are missing the point – regardless of any tax obligation, an out of state corporation or LLC is required to register in any state they wish to do business. If an out of state business has not registered with the state, they are not in compliance with the law. Chrono LC (an Iowa LLC) does not appear to be registered in Minnesota or Illinois, so by running events and doing business in those states (again, regardless of the tax obligations) Chrono LC is violating state laws.

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That’s really the meat of the situation, but there’s a small little confusing coda to all of this. Something I found on both the Illinois based Anime Midwest and Minnesota based Animinneapolis sites was that they say they are run by a company located at “1210 N Orange Ave, Chicago, IL 60634” (or 1201 in Animinneapolis’s case). In fact, it’s on AnimeCon.org too, strangely enough — which is super weird, as that particular brand is literally a registered name for Chrono LC.

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Searching for that address, the only thing you’ll find is Ryan Kopf’s “cosplaystore.co” website. I originally tried to find out whose address that is but kept failing. I went so far to try to pull up property records… only to be told it was an invalid address.

So I finally got around to doing the easy thing, and checked Google Maps. What I discovered shocked me, as it was evidence of an exceptionally weird thing for even Ryan “I made up a fake staffer named Molly Blue” Kopf to do.

I discovered there is no 1210 N Orange Ave, Chicago, IL.

In fact, there is no 1200 block of Orange Ave. It only goes down to the 3200s before it changes into 79th Ave. There isn’t a 1200 block of 79th Ave either, as it ends well beforehand in a T intersection. This address does not exist in any adjoining suburb, and is completely made up as far as I can see.

Seriously, what the hell?

It’s almost as if Ryan Kopf is trying to hide something, and I have absolutely no idea what that is.

And it’s super weird.

  • Zaero

    This feels like someone’s trying to avoid a “my name is mud” situation. I couldn’t imagine why he’d want to reimage tho…

    • BitterAlmonds

      Aside from that pesky police report about how he raped someone? The numerous anecdotes about him creeping on teenaged girls? How he was banned from the con I used to regularly attend because he was such a fucking creeper? How he was so hated in the regional anime community here that I once walked into a room at a con and instantly bonded with four women about what skeevy rapey trash he is?
      Can’t imagine why he would want to escape that, really.

      • Zaero

        I know the checkered past that is one Ryan Kopf. I was dancing round the point.

        • BitterAlmonds

          That’s the joke. (Also I’m happy to recap for anyone who’s read this article but hasn’t googled his name by the end.)

          • Zaero

            I expected that to be the case, but internet skepticism.

      • Dragonessa

        Another article about this guy? I swear more crap about him comes up these days ever since that “police report” came out. He’s obviously trying to avoid all the rumors that came up about him in the time since that incident last summer but I think that’s proving impossible. I’m really regretting the fact that I became friends with this guy. When I met him back in 2012 he seemed like a nice enough guy and wasn’t creepy at all to me… aside from the moment when we were joking around and he pretended to bite my neck a la a vampire because he was cosplaying Alucard. He did back off politely when I told him not to do that though, so clearly he knows some semblance of right and wrong.

        I think if he actually told the truth and came totally clean about everything maybe the internet would stop dragging his name through the mud but that probably won’t happen. Also there’s a lot of stuff regarding the rape incident that we just don’t know. He wasn’t ever formally charged so by law he isn’t a rapist – though morally speaking he very well could be. Also the girl in question didn’t press charges or get a rape kit so there’s that too although there’s a variety of valid reasons as to why she chose to not do anything about that.

        I’ve only been to one of his conventions (Anime Midwest 2013) and it was actually a lot of fun and it seemed like people were enjoying themselves. However for a third-year con, it looked like it needed a lot of work. It seems to have improved a lot this year though from what I’ve read from those who went. Steam Powered Giraffe was probably the only good thing about that event though and I refuse to attend anymore of his cons until he steps up and changes for the better.

  • Paul Langland

    This guy is trying to run but he can’t because no matter what he does, articles and blog entries like this pop up and point out just how shady this guy really is. His days are numbered. He’s going to get a big payback for all the crap he’s been doing and I’m sure the web will celebrate.

  • Lothos

    I wonder if the diner even exists. The only record of it is on Trip Advisor. There is nothing in Sweetwater pages. The landscape in the picture does not match the landscape of the area. It would have to be right down the road from the US Army National Guard Armory. Even the appearance on Trip advisor is only from June of this year. I wonder if Ron bear is taking tips from Ryan Kopf on fake business. It would be interesting if someone could verify truly the address, as so far it does not appear to exist.

    • I think it does? It’s a new property that was built in (if I recall correctly) 2012. SOMETHING is located on that spot, and the photo resembles the undeveloped land which still shows up on google (it took google five years to get images of a fairly large commercial development in the town I live in, so yeah).

      • Joseph Opsahl

        The restaurant does exist.
        The whole bear family is actually working with Ryan.

      • Coderjo

        It still looks like there is nothing there via any view that google maps or bing maps provides (I checked bing for their “birdseye” view, which is not available here). Google Earth shows nothing there with imagery dated 3/7/2017.

        Also interesting… Since your published this, in January of 2015, the number of shares was changed from 999999999 to 100, and the name “RON” was dropped in Feb 2015.

  • Joseph Opsahl

    He has removed the address from the websites.

    • Figured he would, hence why I always take screenshots. It was super weird that it was there in the first place though.

  • Lothos

    I also think it is interesting that Anime Zap and Anime Kaiju are happening the same weekend and they are both listing Chris Patton as a guest… Sorry Ryan, but I doubt you can do this. Not unless you have perfected Transporter Tech. I doubt Chris would book the two shows on the same weekend.

  • Alexis

    With Meta Con just around the corner, I’m working my ass off trying to get an opinion piece published in the University of Minnesota’s newspaper. Thank you for sources.

  • Brian Trahan

    Something to consider; in the state of Illinois, For Profit events are required by Illinois State Law to pay their staff for work (and providing food, hotel rooms, and badges doesn’t count), just ask C2E2 and ReedPop if you don’t believe it. Ryan does not pay his staff.

  • So I stumbled across this article while doing a related search (long story) and I followed the links in it (as I tend to when reading such things). On a whim, I tried doing my own search for “Chrono LC” on the Illinois state database that you linked to, and… it comes up empty. Here’s a screen cap: http://imgur.com/a/uccI8 (also attached)

    Seems kinda strange, as Chrono LC still seems to be active: https://www.iacompanies.com/company/328257/chrono-lc

    I realize this article is about dated, so maybe Chrono pulled out of Illinois? If so, that would explain their lack of presence in the database. If not, then some further digging may be called for.