Guests from STX Brazos Valley Comic Con Still Haven’t Been Paid, Organizer Ben Fritzsching Remains Silent

About a month ago we reported that some guests from STX Brazos Valley Comic Con (or Brazos Valley STX Comic Con depending on where you look) were getting charged for “comped” hotel rooms months after the event. Since then, the website has been taken down, the Facebook page has gone quiet, and there hasn’t been a peep from organizer Ben Fritzsching.

Besides the hotel room fiasco, more guests are coming forward and talking about how the event just plain hasn’t paid them the amounts guaranteed in their contracts still. Actress Melendy Britt posted a lengthy statement on her official Facebook page detailing her and fellow guest Alan Oppenheimer’s issues with the event. The two also spoke with KBTX about their experiences.

Effectively, organizer Ben Fritzsching told the event’s guests that there was no money to pay them at the event. Fritzsching then, at several guests’ request, gave them written IOU’s with the promise that the money would be paid by the end of 2016. Agent Nery Nolan Lemus posted a copy of one of the IOUs to the group Rate that Comic Con on Facebook:

As it’s now March of 2017, and we’re writing about this, you can imagine how well those IOUs held up.

Ben Fritzsching has been completely incommunicado too, not responding to any attempts at contact from guests, agents, or other affected parties. Fritzsching has also ignored media requests as well, including our own attempts to contact both the convention and Fritzsching directly.

This is, in all honesty, completely ridiculous.

Trae Dorn

Trae Dorn has been staffing conventions for over twenty years, and is a co-founder of Wisconsin’s longest running Anime convention No Brand Con. Trae also wrote and drew the now completed webcomic UnCONventional, and produces the podcasts BS-Free Witchcraft, On This Day With Trae, Stormwood & Associates, and The Nerd & Tie Podcast. This leads many to ask when the hell they have time to actually do anything anymore. Trae says they have the time because they “do it all quite poorly.”

10 thoughts on “Guests from STX Brazos Valley Comic Con Still Haven’t Been Paid, Organizer Ben Fritzsching Remains Silent

  • March 8, 2017 at 6:32 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever before heard of a person being referred to as the “Owner” of a convention. Makes one wonder about the manner in which the con was legally incorporated. Or *if* it was.

    • March 8, 2017 at 7:17 am

      You’ve never seen that? It’s incorporated as an LLC, and it’s not uncommon to hear about a con’s “owner” with for profit shows.

      • March 8, 2017 at 7:45 am

        Thanks for the info, Trae! In my (lame excuse for a) defense, most of my behind-the-scenes convention experience comes from a con incorporate as a non-profit. Also, Fritzsching referring to himself as “Owner” instead of something more legal-ese makes the handwritten IOU seem even more amateurish. The only way it could look even more so would be if it was written in crayon. On the back of a napkin. Or a McDonald’s placemat.

  • March 9, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Perhaps this will explain where he has been spending his time. I also know that there was another partner that bought into the show and is refusing to pay any of the fees, and there was a grant from a local business organization that was promised but not given due to a paperwork issue. Don’t confuse incompetence with malice.

    • March 9, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Did I at any point ascribe a motive? And I have on two different occasions tried to contact him (and I have the read receipts on one of those to confirm he saw it) with no response.

      Incompetence is only a lesser sin than malice when the person owns up to it.

      • March 9, 2017 at 2:44 pm

        I know you tried to contact him. I even saw the email last month when I saw him. I know he didn’t get the first one for awhile since their services were disconnected for a bit. He was less concerned about a two-bit hit piece from a blogger, than he was with getting his wife out of the hospital and figuring out how to even begin to dig his way out of the hole.

        As far as assigning motive; you may not be doing so, but others are. Don’t take it personally. He has ‘owned up to it’ with those involved as best he can. Some of them think stirring the publicity pot will get them money faster. The public at large doesn’t need an apology. They got to go to the show and lost nothing for it.

        As for the show; there won’t be another one.

        • March 9, 2017 at 3:04 pm

          “I know he didn’t get the first one for awhile since their services were disconnected for a bit.” Funny, because I can tell he read the first message from me February 8th, three hours after I sent it. Read receipts are things.

          Ben ran a convention, and it failed. This site reports on the con scene, so it was news. You can refer to us as “bloggers” and two bit, but frankly sites like this are the main source of news for the con scene.

          Him not paying his bills has hurt people (like the folks who got charged for hotel rooms), and he has refused to respond to any forms of contact from those affected.

          I’m sorry he’s having money problems and that his wife has health issues, but he’s lost people money — including people who make their living appearing at cons. Those people can’t pay THEIR bills if they don’t get paid. He made promises, broke them, and hasn’t issued an apology.

          He refuses to respond to any media outlet (not just us, but other sites and the local news station), so until he does, he doesn’t get to control the story.

          • March 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm

            Well, maybe you weren’t the one that I saw that tried to contact him in December. My bad on the confusion there.

            Yep, he did lose people money. He’s lost himself a lot of money he didn’t have to begin with on trying to build a dream. He f’d that up and I told him as much.

            And yeah, I can refer to you as a blogger. It sounds more legit than King of Finland or Lord of Awesome. I tried to feed you a little info on the situation. You chose to get persnickety about it rather than follow up on the info I did give you like a journalist would. It also looks like you have a bit of a record with doing hit pieces on Cons, so ‘two-bit hit piece’ seemed a nice way to put it. At least Ben probably won’t try to sue you for pointing out his fubar.

          • March 9, 2017 at 4:32 pm

            We report on things that happen, and yes we cover bad news and bad actors — because for decades while bad actors and screw ups in this community get talked about behind the scenes and in private, no one ever went on the record or reported on it in a permanent way. It allowed those who don’t pay their bills, act dishonestly, or just act with complete incompetence to just set up under a new name and continue to cause problems.

            Part of our mission here at Nerd & Tie is to shine a light on this stuff.

            Everything we print is true. They aren’t “hit pieces” (which, by definition would be misleading and false), and to characterize them as such would be inappropriate.

            And I was fully aware of his losing the grant and his wife’s illness. The grant is detailed in the KBTX article linked in the text above, and I thought it inappropriate to drag his ill wife into the story without at least actually talking with Mr. Fritzsching as I thought it would violate his wife’s privacy.

            You contributed nothing beyond accusing me of attributing motives to Fritzsching that I never did, and a couple of mild insults.

            If you don’t like our coverage, no one is making you read this website.

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