Celebrity guests of comic con feel they've been scammed by local promoter
Celebrity guests of 2016's Brazos Valley Comic Con at the Brazos County Expo feel they've been scammed by the event's organizer and promoter.
Some of the stars have left messages on social media that accuse Ben Fritzsching of STX Events, LLC of failing to pay them for their appearance at the 2-day event.
Melendy Britt, voice of "She-Ra, Prince of Power," wrote on Facebook last week that she and others were contracted to be paid at the end of the weekend, but when it came time to collect their paycheck they were told by Fritzsching there was no money available.
"Yes, just like that. We were stunned," wrote Britt on her Facebook page.
An image on Britt's Facebook page is captioned with the cartoon character Skeletor saying "She-Ra! WE WERE CONNED AT Brazos Valley Comicon!!!"
Actor and voice of Skeletor from the 1980's animation show He-Man, Alan Oppenheimer, says the same thing happened to him.
In a telephone conversation with KBTX's Rusty Surette on Monday, Oppenheimer said money isn't the issue. He's simply disappointed that a promoter failed to keep a promise.
"I was given a contract and then he gave me a handwritten I-O-U after telling me there was no money. Weeks later I was also billed for the hotel room that he promised to pay for," said Oppenhiemer.
Oppenheimer provided KBTX copies of the contract and the handwritten note showing the promises that were not fulfilled by Fritzsching.
Online records show Fritzsching lives in Waller, and is listed as 'managing member' of STX Events, LLC - the company that organized the event.
Records also show Fritzsching was convicted on theft charges in the mid-90s in Harris County, but details of those crimes were not immediately available for review.
On its website, STX Events, LLC says the Brazos Valley Comic Con was made possible in part through Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue funded through the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Bryan-College Station CVB Executive Director Shannon Overby tells KBTX Fritzsching applied for the grant in early 2016, but received only a fraction of what was originally approved.
"We provided 25% of the money up front to help market the event. That's what those funds are earmarked to do," said Overby.
"However, our panel that approves those grants felt the promoters didn't satisfy all the conditions and requirements required by all grant recipients in order to receive the remaining amount."
Overby says the panel's decision is part of the process in place to help protect the tax paid by visitors staying in local hotels.
Calls and emails to Fritzsching for comment on this story were not returned.