by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground e-Magazine
Tired of digging all around the Internet to find information about TAPSCon2? What is Brent Fair’s explanation? What do Jason and Grant have to say? What is happening to all of the ticket holders who got screwed? I’ll put all of it here. Take a look at what all parties have to say, and you decide. Was TAPS Con 2 actually TAPS Screw 2? Or is it all legit?
We’ll start with HSPR’s videos about what has happened at TAPS Con.
Here is what Brent Fair had to say (taken from the TAPSCon2 website):
“Hi, my name is Brent Fair, Founder and Sole Proprietor of “tapscon”. It is with deep regret that I feel I have to make the following announcement and updates to you. I feel that given the situation happening behind the scenes of the event, all of the package purchasers have a right to be informed about the looming situation unfolding between the hotel and myself.
It is evident that the Belleview Biltmore has taken it upon themselves to make phone calls to my customers and announce that “the tapscon folks” have cancelled the 2009 event. The Belleview Biltmore also took it upon themselves to tell folks that “tapscon still owes them money from last year”. They made these two primary statements via incoming telephone inquiries and on their own time by calling guests from our successful July 2008 event.
My answer to their statements:
The fact of the matter is that the Belleview Biltmore has breeched contract for 2008 resulting in their faliure to uphold a 2009 contract. On December 28, 2009, I retained a corporate litigation firm to issue a complaint against the hotel. Why? The Belleview Biltmore effectively demanded tens of thousands of dollars in incidental charges to me, that occurred over the weekend of the last event. While I do agree that there was a minimal amount of charges that I take responsibility for, the hotel felt that it was good business practice to fraudulently (without authorization from myself, their customer) tack on thousands and thousands of dollars to my master account.
Upon being presented with the weekends invoices, I immediately disputed some unrecognized charges and after a long weekend at “tapscon”, took the invoice home to review it. After reviewing the invoices, I naturally began disputing the charges that I did not authorize and knew nothing about. To give you an idea about what kind of charges they demand I pay are:
* Nearly $3,000 in additional banquet charges for a dinner that happened at the event on Saturday July 20, 2008. They alleged that I Ok’d an additional 70 people be allowed to dine. The stated to my attorney that I was down on the banquet floor at 7PM that date, demanding that they seat these additional people. Yet, it is well known throughout the staff, celebrity talent and some guests in attendance that weekend, that I was incapacitated with illness from 3PM until 11PM that night and never appeared outside of my room between those times. The hotel took it upon themselves to seat additional people, beyond my guarantee. They expect full payment for this unauthorized billing.
* The Biltmore allowed a minor, under the age of 18 years old, to enter the hotel gift shop and charge $400 in designer sun glasses to my master account. What business would allow that sort of practice to happen? Of course I later came to dispute this unfair and unauthorized charge to the hotel through my attorney. This specific complaint went unanswered and of course the hotel still demands payment for it.
* The Belleview Biltmore effective invoiced me for THOUSANDS of dollars in liquor charges that occurred at the hotels two main bars. Not once throughout the event did I “Ok” approval for everyone at the event to attach their bar charges to my hotel master account. When the hotel was questioned by my lawyer about this matter, the hotel simply stated that I was “unavailable” for approval so that they took it upon themselves to (and I quote from their statement) “work” the event for us. This resulted in thousands of dollars in alcohol being charged to me, without my knowledge. The hotel demands payment for this. What kind of a business does that?
* The Belleview Biltmore allowed some of their guests checking into the hotel on Sunday, to be placed on my master bill, further invoicing me for charges that I obviously did not authorize. Showing their lack of record keeping and their unfairness of just passing the bill onto me, thinking I wouldn’t notice or care.
* The Belleview Biltmore guaranteed a certain amount of guest rooms by contract. Upon event time, they withdrew 7 rooms from our guest queue forcing me to purchase multiple rooms at off site hotels. They even forced us to move into non-guest accommodations, sleeping on floors and settling for far less than what was agreed upon. Our contract, under the “renovations” portion of the 2008 contract, stated that we were entitled to all of our guest rooms or we were due back ALL deposits given to the hotel. They breeched the contract but failed to provide relief at that point, resulting in further expense and loss to myself.
Now, I need to make something very clear here. The Belleliew Biltmore made it clear to some of my customers that I “didn’t pay the bill” last year. I want you to know, that it is a matter of solid fact, that every penny of the event bill was paid to the hotel. So this deserves some clarification. It is charges like the above (and the above is just a small portion) that they say I “owe”. I paid the actual event bills. Just not the unauthorized charges above.
That’s just the half of it.
The Biltmore effectively stripped my ability to sell tickets at the door last year for general admission, just four days (the Tuesday before the event) before tapscon. The hotel will tell you that this is not true but it is. Why would I order shuttle services to transport thousands of people to the hotel from downtown Clearwater? I specifically ordered the shuttle service for folks wanting to purchase general admission, because parking on the hotel lot was for hotel guests and our staff only. So, I hired shuttles at THOUSANDS of dollars each to drive for two days, only to have a good portion of those folks turned away at the door.
The hotels response is that I agreed with them NOT to sell tickets at the door and that I made arrangements to have them sold physically elsewhere. This is the furthest thing from the truth. They just blatantly told me that I couldn’t sell general admission at the door, four days before the event. Period. It resulted in a loss of revenue mounting in the tens of thousands of dollars range. Well before that point, I had already invested much of 2008 sales, as well as 2009 sales into upgrading the July 2008 event and paying for he hotels negligence. I anticipating being able to generate revenue at the door, like any other person has the right to. This unfair practice by the Belleview Biltmore resulted in the snowballing situation it is today.
You and I(my customers) have injected tons of money into the Belleview Biltmore to make both events happen. The hotel itself has taken it upon themselves to laugh in my face when it caused loss at the door. All the while handing me invoices for fraudulent charges and expecting me to fulfill the contract for next year.
Essentially, my attorney has been negotiating and mediating with their attorney, to come to some sort of a resolution. They say I owe them money. I say the charges are fraudulent and that they owe damages for loss of profit from last year. Both myself and the Biltmore, have drawn our lines in the sand.
Lastly, (for now) I want to address some of the folks that have recently taken it upon themselves to tarnish the event and anyone involved in it on the internet. First, “tapscon” is owned solely by myself. I am a sole appropriate of the event and it is not ran or managed by anyone other than myself. The event is not ran by anyone at “TAPS” or anyone else. The name “tapscon” was instituted and used because of “TAPS” being the focus of the guest list.
The Founders of “TAPS”, while having nothing to do with the event itself, where informed about my decision to move forward legally against the hotel, when that decision was actually made. The Founders are aware of the complaints against the hotel and have been very supportive of me seeking damages from the hotel and moving forward to ensure that I satisfy all of the 2009 customers.
None of the other talents or persons listed on the web site, have any affiliation with the operations of the event. I am a sole propriater and the event is not held by a company and is held without partnership. I did have some folks helping me with the event itself but I am just a lone entity, who tried to provide a great event.
There is a few people taking it upon themselves to make videos on MySpace and YouTube about how I “left town” with your money. One person even took it upon himself to plaster my personal phone number all over his video, as if I’m hiding from my customers. He stated that inquiries to the “email@example.com” account have gone unanswered and that I have “left town with your money”.
Inquiries about the status of the event have went unanswered under legal advisory. I was told not to comment about the event until a legally appropriate time. I apologize to my customers for not being able to address the rumors and the hotels statements but my silence was for legal purposes. Now, since the hotel has done everything in it’s power to tarnish the hopes of a 2009 event by engaging folks on their own, I thought it was time to make this statement and offer my side of what is going on, thus far.
I am offering a copy of our attorney drafted (letter head) civil complaint notice, to any of our 2009 customers who request it. If you are a current customer and would like a copy of the complaint, please send a written request letter to us at:
PO Box 6094, Palm Harbor, FL 34684
We will only provide copies of the complaint to customers in our database.
We will be proceeding with litigation against the hotel for breech of contract and hereby have to postpone the “Tapscon” event. The postponement of the event is covered by the purchase terms that customers agreed to before purchasing. By definition, this is considered a “change in schedule”. 2009 admission holders will be given a full credit for like on-site accommodations at an alternative Florida venue and date. Again, the event is not cancelled but postponed.
I deeply apologize to the customers that this has effected and for any inconveniences this may have caused. More importantly, I apologize for any disappointments this has brought to you and yours. Just know, this situation is beyond my control and I will see to it that everyone is satisfied and that the Belleview Biltmore is held accountable for their breech of contract.
Here is what Jason and Grant had to say in Grant’s MySpace blog in March:
“Jay posted this blog on his myspace page and I think he explained it all perfectly. So, I am just copying his blog and pasting it here.
‘TAPSCON and TAPSCon2
Lets discuss Tapscon and Brent Fair. There are some people out there trying to stir stuff up about Brent fair canceling TAPSCON2 and I want to explain my thoughts, feeling and involvement.
As for TAPSCON, Legally it probably should have never been called that, It was never cleared by TAPS for an event to be called that. This concern was brought to Brent’s attention and he states he will change the name of his Con for next year so there is no legal issues for him to contend with.
TAPSCON is not a TAPS hosted event and is held by Brent Fair personally.
Now I am not saying that Brent did anything wrong with using TAPSCON as the name, it just should not legally have happened. The reason Brent called it TAPSCON was because it was supposed to be for the TAPS family groups to all get together and talk, hang and get to know each-other on a personal level.
I and the rest of TAPS were asked if we could clear our production schedule and show up to the first TAPSCON. We thought it sounded like a blast so we did.
Well from what I can gather it started rolling into something a lot bigger then was ever thought and we were asked if we would be opposed to the fans showing up as well. Anytime we can hang with the fans it is a plus in our books so we again agreed.
There are some out there claiming we gave Brent money to hold TAPSCON, this is not true at all. We never gave Brent any money(Not even a penny) for anything and Brent has never given myself or Grant any money for anything, this statement can be verified by Brent Fair! We attended TAPSCon on our own dime and actually spent our own money to get there.
It was about having a good time and hanging with almost 1000 people with the same interests as us.
Now on to TAPSCON2
Brent Fair has had to postpone in his words TAPSCON2 for certain issues he has run into with the hotel. I called and spoke to Brent about my concerns on this and have personally asked him to make sure anyone who wants a refund gets a refund. Brent states for those looking for a refund to go to TAPSCON.com and fill out the form on that page requesting a refund.
Again this is not a TAPS hosted event! This is a Brent Fair event.
We at TAPS hope this all works out for everyone and are sorry for any issues this may have caused. We would love nothing more then being able to meet and greet with all the fans and have a good time.
TAPSCON (Which name will be changed) is not in anyway a part of TAPS or The Atlantic Paranormal Society. TAPS is a registered trademark of The Atlantic Paranormal Society.’
There you have it.”
I am attempting to contact the Belleview Biltmore for their side of the story.
We have heard from the Belleview Biltmore here.
Here is Jason Hawes’s response.
Here is clarification from the Belleview Biltmore’s attorney.