Second Arbitration Decision Goes Against Arisia

Nicholas “phi” Shectman, President of Arisia, Inc., reports the other shoe has dropped — the group will owe another large amount from the Westin arbitration decision on top of the penalties already due to the Aloft/Marriott (“Arisia Suffers Reverse in Contract Dispute with Aloft”). The liabilities resulted from the Boston convention’s cancellation of plans to use two strike-affected hotels for their 2019 event.

Shectman’s statement tells the precise liability owed to the Aloft, and the amount of the judgment in the Westin case.

This morning, the Executive Board received notice of the fees and interest due to the Aloft in addition to the $44,417.50 award. These total $16,731.71.

This afternoon, the Executive Board was informed that the ADR with the Westin was decided against us. Judgment was set at $50,000 plus fees and interest, exact amount still unknown but probably similar to the Aloft.

This, combined with the loss in the Aloft case, presents Arisia with obligations that far exceed our reserves and expected immediate income. Whether this is a loss in excess of what Arisia can manage depends a great deal on what terms of payment can be agreed. Paying $125,000 is impossible now, but might be possible over some number of years, even with interest.

The Eboard is continuing to consult with legal counsel and attempting to negotiate with Marriott in order to clarify exactly what our options are and what the costs of these options would be. We will keep the membership informed as the situation develops further.

We recognize and appreciate our community’s willingness to support us with additional dollars. Fundraising is likely to be a part of any scenario. We should have more information there within a few weeks. Fundraising details will depend on pending legal questions, so we would prefer not to speculate on what shape that will take until then.

This matter will certainly be discussed at the upcoming corporate meeting on August 22nd. At this time, the Eboard has no motion or recommendation that it plans to bring. Until we learn otherwise, nothing is off the table.

We would also like to thank the Arisia community for its continued support through the uncertain days ahead.  Your enthusiasm is why we do this, and we couldn’t do it without you.

 — Nicholas “phi” Shectman, President, Arisia Inc.

Spikecon Art Show Awards

By John Hertz:  Spikecon was held on July 4-7, 2019, at Layton, Utah, combining Westercon LXXII (yearly; regional), the 13th NASFiC (North America Science Fiction Convention, held when the Worldcon is not in North America), Manticon 2019 (yearly; fans of David Weber’s Honor Harrington series and its Royal Manticoran Navy, i.e. Space navy), 1632 Minicon (yearly; fans of Eric Flint’s 1632 series).

Attendance about 800.  Art Show sales about $20,000 by about 60 artists.

Art Show director, Bruce Miller.  Judges, Peri Charlifu, Ctein, and me.

There was also a People’s Choice award.

Ctein felt strongly that judges who also happened to be exhibiting should not be considered for awards.  Brother Charlifu and I went along with this.

Best of Show, also People’s Choice

  • Devon Dorrity, “Queen of the Sea”; bronze

Color

               1st: Jessica Douglas, “Ghost Leviathan”; mixed media

               2nd: W.J. Hodgson, “Nebulous”; reverse glass painting

               3rd: Theresa Mather, “White Tiger Angel”; acrylic on feather with onyx, tanzanite, sapphires

Monochrome

               1st: Mark Roland, “Persistence of Memory”; etching

               2nd: Elizabeth Fellows, “Always”; fiber

               3rd: Bjo Trimble, “Aslan”; stone lithograph

Three-Dimensional

               1st: Elizabeth Berrien, “Cloud Unicorn”; wire

               2nd: Vincent Villafranca, “Bane of Thieves”; bronze

               3rd: Melanie Unruh, “Nebula”; ceramic footed bowl

Judge’s Choice

               Dragon Dronet, “Enemy Mine Skull”

               Jacob & Wayne Fowler, “Grey Ghost”; wood scroll-saw

               Kat Trimble, “Mariposa”; zinc plate etching


Ctein is pronounced “k’TINE”; that’s his full name; not “Mr. Ctein” or “Ctein Jones” or “Bill Ctein”, just Ctein.  There should be a circumflex over the “j” in “Bjo”, an Esperantism indicating pronunciation “bee-joe”.

ReaderCon 30 Photos

Neil Clarke

By Daniel Dern: [In addition to his photos taken onsite this weekend, Dern offered this “quotable tidbit” from ReaderCon 30 — ]

The “Remembering Gene Wolfe” session was amazing and wonderful. Howard Waldrop opened with what could easily have been a great first line: “I first met Gene Wolfe at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland…”  C.S.E. Cooney related how she met Wolfe (leading to a long friendship) — when she was still a new writer, her father suggested she might like to meet and talk with one of his parishioners who wrote science fiction…

Hopefully, ReaderCon (or somebody else volunteering to do it) will post the audio of this panel.

The rest of Dern’s photos follow the jump.

Continue reading

NASFiC 2020, Westercon 74 Site Selection Voting Statistics

NASFiC 2020: Ben Yalow, Spikecon Site Selection Area Head, reported the results of the 2020 NASFiC site selection voting held at the joint NASFiC/Westercon.

The information was shared as a courtesy at the Westercon business meeting on July 6, there being no WSFS business meeting at a NASFiC. The complete Westercon 72 Business Meeting minutes are posted here.

Columbus ran unopposed. Yalow said 100 votes were cast.

Candidate Mail Thu Fri Total
Columbus, OH 7 46 34 87
Grantville, WV 1 1   2
Tonopah, NV     2 2
OVFF 1     1
Arcosanti 1     1
Minneapolis in ‘73   1   1
Peggy Rae’s House   1   1
None of the Above     1 1
Total With Preference 10 49 37 96
No preference   1 1 2
Invalid 2     2
Total votes cast       100

With 87 votes, Yalow declared that Columbus had won the 2020 NASFiC.

2021 Westercon Site Selection: Ben Yalow also presented the results of the Site Selection for Westercon 74. With 140 votes cast, 68 votes were required to declare a winner.

Candidate Mail Thu Fri Total
Phoenix, AZ 3 11 37 51
Tonopah, NV 9 32 41 82
Both     1 1
None of the Above       0
Total With Preference       134
Needed to Elect (Majority)       68
No preference     6 6
Total votes cast       140

With 82 votes, Tonopah was declared the winner of the 2021 Westercon.

A video of the Westercon business meeting is available:

[Thanks to Kevin Standlee for the story.]

Arisia Suffers Reverse in Contract Dispute with Aloft

Nicholas “phi” Shectman, President of Arisia, Inc., reports the group has suffered a major setback in litigation over the Boston convention’s cancellation of plans to use two strike-affected hotels for the 2019 event. An arbitrator has made a large award to one of the hotels, the Aloft (under Marriott management). Con organizers are questioning whether the event can survive a second decision of that magnitude.

Shectman’s statement explains the immediate situation:

Last month, Arisia participated in an arbitration hearing for the dispute with the Aloft Boston Seaport District hotel over our strike response and move to the Boston Park Plaza Hotel for 2019.

Yesterday (July 9th), Arisia received notification that arbitration in the Aloft case went against us. The arbitrator agreed with Marriott’s arguments and awarded them $44,000 plus fees. They have 20 days to state an exact schedule of fees they will ask for; we expect it to be in the range of $10,000 – $20,000. As a high end, a penalty of $65,000 is something that Arisia can absorb, but only just. We still expect to win the Westin Boston Waterfront arbitration due to differences in contract wording, and we expect Marriott believes they will win. A loss there would incur a similar cost.

Losing both cases would exceed Arisia’s financial resources. The Arisia Eboard is actively investigating what would happen next, and what we can and cannot do in various dissolution scenarios. We expect to know soon what these scenarios might cost us.  We are also still learning what our legal obligations would be for gracefully wrapping up operations in case we must dissolve, including expenditures like making grants, the 2020 convention, paying our storage costs, and so on. Bankruptcy proceedings themselves can take considerable time, and can involve additional legal costs.

Tomorrow morning (July 11th) is the hearing for the Westin arbitration. We are also in negotiations with the Marriott lawyers for a possible settlement.  We expect to have more news to share publicly on both of those topics in the coming weeks.

Eric Flint Hospitalized During Spikecon

Eric Flint

Eric Flint was taken ill with a bout of pneumonia while attending the NASFiC/Westercon/1632 Minicon in Layton UT last weekend as one of the guests of honor.

Walt Boyes informed Facebook readers on July 7:

He is in the hospital, getting antibiotics and oxygen but he’s doing well and expects to get out and go home in a couple of days. He was able to do Snerking the Plots by Skype from his hospital bed. He’s going to be fine, so no worries, but good thoughts would be appreciated.

Best wishes to him for a full and rapid recovery.

2020 Corflu Awarded to Texas

Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez and John Purcell will bring Corflu, the fanzine fan’s annual gathering, back to Texas.

They have chosen the College Station Hilton Hotel and Convention Center as the site for Corflu 37, which will be held March 13-15, 2020.

Now begins the contract negotiation period, which we hope to finalize before summertime ends. Of course, in Texas that means Halloween, but I mean by end of August so that attendees can begin making reservations this coming September. 

It has been twelve years since Corflu Quire (#24, chaired by Pat Virzi) was held in Austin, Texas.

The committee members to date are –

  • John Purcell: Co-Chair
  • Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez: Co-Chair & Program
  • Valerie Purcell: Hospitality, Award Certificates
  • Bill Burns: Webmaster
  • David Thayer, John Purcell, Brad Foster: Publications
  • Rob Jackson: British Agent & Online Corflu

Corflu Heatwave membership rates (at present, but this may change according to projected membership numbers):

Attending:

  • $ 50 / £ 40 (June 1 – Aug 31, 2019)
  • $ 75 / £ 60 (Sept 1 – Dec 31, 2019)
  • $ 100 / £ 80 (Jan 1 – February 29, 2020 if March or April 30, 2020 if May)
  • $ 125 / £ 100 (from either March 1 or May 1, 2020 and at the door)

Attending membership is inclusive of the Sunday brunch banquet.

  • Supporting $25 /£ 20 from now until December 31, 2019
  • Supporting memberships change to $ 50 / £ 40 on January 1, 2020 up to Corflu 37.

Supporting memberships converting to attending pay the difference during the time frames shown above.

Details for purchasing memberships are available at the Corflu 37 website.  

Columbus Confirmed as 2020 NASFiC Host

The unopposed Columbus in 2020 NASFiC bid has been confirmed by site selection voters. Next year’s NASFiC will take place August 20-23 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio.

A North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC) is authorized by WSFS rules to be held whenever the Worldcon is outside North America. With consecutive Worldcons occurring in Ireland and New Zealand, the 2020 site selection vote was administered by the 2019 NASFiC, Spikecon, going on this weekend in Utah.

Columbus chair Lisa Garrison (Ragsdale) announced the result. The vote count has not yet appeared on the bid’s Facebook or Twitter accounts. However, the 2020 NASFiC guests of honor have been named:

  • Author Guests of Honor are Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
  • Artist Guest of Honor is Stephanie Law.
Stephanie Law
  • Editor Guest of Honor is Christopher J. Garcia.
Christopher J. Garcia
  • Science Guest of Honor is NASA Scientist, Marc Millis.
Marc Millis
  • Fan Guests of Honor are Sue and Steve Francis.
Sue and Steve Francis
  • 1632 Minicon Guest is Eric Flint.  
Eric Flint

Tonopah Wins 2021 Westercon Site Selection

Kevin Standlee posted the unofficial 2021 Westercon Site Selection vote count, showing the Tonopah bid strongly outpolled Phoenix for the right to host Westercon 74. The results were to become official once accepted by today’s Westercon business meeting at Spikecon.

The unofficial pending results were Tonopah 82, Phoenix 51, Write-ins 1. That’s 134 votes with preference, so 67 votes (a majority) were needed to win. In addition, there were 6 No Preference (abstention) votes that do not count toward the total for the purpose of determining a majority.

The Tonopah bid leadership team is Kevin Standlee, Lisa Hayes, and Kuma Bear. The guests of honor have not yet been posted online (if, indeed, they have been announced). The bid website is here.

CONvergence Widens Scope of Code of Conduct Violations

After this weekend’s CONvergence 2019 in Minneapolis is over, the committee will introduce changes to its code of conduct that will consider people’s conduct elsewhere than at CONvergence itself when administering antiharassment and other related policies.

They regard the changes as part of the effort to encourage diversity, inclusion, and to make people feel safe when they attend the con.

The committee outlined the effects of the new philosophy in a mass email:

…Our purview will no longer stop at the end of the convention, but rather we will hold our members to account for their behavior and themselves year round.  Unacceptable actions and behavior will not be tolerated whether they happen at the convention or abroad; if it is harming people, if it is damaging to our community, it is not acceptable, and we will address such actions and behaviors swiftly and fairly.

At the same time, we will handle with compassion those of our members who do not intend to, but nevertheless, transgress some boundaries through ignorance or failing to evolve with the times.  We will assist, as far as possible, our members who need extra help and guidance in changing and becoming better. We stand the best chance of helping our members to evolve constructively and will compassion and our goal will be to assist in the redemption of those honest and sincere enough to recognize their issues and seek assistance….

Lauren Sindt, Director of CONvergence’s Hospitality Division previewed some of the new language, and also explained to File 770 why the new policy will be implemented after this year’s event:

We do have new language for that section of our policy language.  However, unfortunately, it was not finalized until after our 2019 guide went to press.  As such, we will not be updating the language that you reference until after the convention.  It is important that all of the published policies are consistent during the convention itself, 

However, the new policy will state that CONvergence is not responsible for solving disagreements and interpersonal problems that may arise between individual members outside of the convention but that CONvergence reserves the right to deny membership to any individual found to have behaved in a manner contrary to the Core Values of CONvergence and any event within or adjacent to the local community, or who is deemed to pose a legitimate threat to the safety, inclusivity, or overall health of CONvergence, its membership, its parent organization, or event venues. 

We will also be encouraging members to contact the CONvergence Operations department or the Board of Directors with any concerns that they may have about specific individuals or their presence at the convention.

Sindt gave several reasons for the change:

There are a variety of factors that went into the decision to make this statement to our membership. There has been an overall philosophical shift within our organization that has been building momentum, often behind the scenes, for the past several years.  With our move to a new location and the overall theme of reinvention for the 2019 convention, this seemed an appropriate time to make our current perspective, expectations, and philosophical underpinnings clear to our membership.

As more and more conventions rolled out antiharassment policies this past decade, committees have generally taken the position of enforcing their codes of conduct only on those trying to join their specific convention. That has caused some fans to question why they should feel safe attending their local con if someone banned elsewhere is still able to join. But another aspect is: Can their local con get the information they need to evaluate someone’s CoC violation at another convention? It will be interesting to learn how CONvergence works out all the issues involved.  

[Thanks to TYP for the story.]