Promoter disappears with almost $500,000

SYDNEY — A promoter of an Oz national “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” conference has disappeared with up to a half-million dollars, leaving nearly 1,000 local fans fearing they have been the victim of a real-life bloodsucker.

Edward Schumacher, topper of Scooby Gang Promotions — who organized Slayercon 2005 in Adelaide for July 2-3 — is under investigation by South Australia’s Office of Consumer and Business Affairs after dropping off the radar in late April with all the event coin.

“We are trying to contact him to see if he has a bona fide intention to hold the convention in October or to see if we can get the money back,” said Mark Bodycoat, OCBA topper. “But it doesn’t look hopeful, in my experience if things start to happen like this it is not going to happen at all.”

Schumacher has been out of contact for weeks.

The first fans knew of any problems was a message posted on the Scooby Gang Promotions Web site: “SGP regrets to inform you that Slayercon ’05 has been postponed. A new dated is being arranged. This will hopefully be sometime in October.”

They are told they may obtain a refund, but only after a new date is fixed. Some fans are out big bucks. The OCBA has 12 complaints so far ranging from A$175 ($136) to $354. Tickets to the con were $136 a day, but a “dinner with the stars” package was as high as $183.

“Buffy” and “Angel” cast members touted as attending were Amy Acker, Iyari Limon, Julie Benz, Clare Kramer, Camden Toy and Mark Lutz.

Those who have paid have little recourse, SGP only accepted payment via money order or direct bank debit. In hindsight, that may have been a tipoff that things were going to get bloody.

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