Con Man: Arkansas Convention Organizer Allegedly Took Money And Ran

The Cosplay Con & Anime Experience was held this weekend in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Man, just typing those words, you can tell the direction this is going in, can't you? Here's their blurb from the site:

C.C.A.E. is brought to you by Cosplay Promotion Team and Heinder Healthcare, LLC.  The ultimate community focused convention takes place in North Little Rock, Arkansas for passionate Cosplayers, Comic fanatics, obsessed Gamers, and extreme Anime lovers from all over the United States.  It's a celebration of comic books and pop culture that showcases the exceptional works of talented Cosplayers, writers, artists, illustrators and creators of all types.

The Cosplay Con and Anime Experience is a member of the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. Our four-member staff and many volunteers are putting in countless hours planning. With the assistance of the North Little Rock Conventions and Visiting Bereau (sic), we will be reaching out to the entire business community to make the launching of this annual event enjoyable and unforgettable.  So come enjoy the fun!

Sounds all so official, with government backing as well! And what of organiser Malcolm Fledge?arkansas convention organizer takes money and runs

Guest at the show David Wald posted on Facebook:

Attention, friends! I feel compelled to state loudly and publicly that I was a guest at this past weekend's "Cosplay Con & Anime Experience" in Arkansas. Details are sketchy and still developing, but the bottom line is that it seems the man in charge of the finances, operating under an assumed name, "Malcolm Fledge," (pictured below under what might be his real name) essentially took the money and ran. In doing so, he victimized all the convention's participants, vendors, guests, volunteers, and most importantly, the fans who showed up to support it. This fills me with remorse for all those who were taken advantage of, and I condemn this sad excuse for a man. Little Rock was lovely and its people were very good to me. The organizers, other guests, staff & volunteers, and fans I met while there were all wonderful people and I deeply hope they all get restitution, because they deserve that and a whole lot more for the work they did and the faith they showed. Thank you so very much, Little Rock, and special thanks to Jacob Kelley and Elli Kelley, who are beautiful people, diligent workers, and upright citizens. I love you guys. May justice come swiftly.

Cosplayer Katyusha Lubiani added:

Ran a con this weekend. Did not pay any guests. Card used to pay for guest rooms declined, causing people to be kicked out of their room. 3 guests went to the hospital. Even took money that was to go to a charity for kids with cancer. He took advantage of the AR cosplay community. Let's show him what cosplayers can really do. #suecon2017

And Alyx McNeil posted:

I'm posting this as a warning to those who aren't in the NWA con scene and don't know what went down. This disgusting human took advantage of a lot of people. Guests were not paid, vendors were forced to work in conditions that are absolutely appalling. No food or water allowed unless they left the venue and their booths unguarded. He has been blacklisted from many communities after this weekend.

It is alleged that Malcolm Fledge's real name is Keaton Jacquet Paul and that under another name he ran a similar show in Atlanta — with similar results.

A GoFundMe page has been started to help with those out of pocket for attending the show, specifically a medical emergency for an attending cosplayer that wasn't taken care of by the convention.

Malcolm Fledge has not returned Bleeding Cool enquiries at this time.

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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