Connie Bailout Committee

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Once the size of the Constellation bankruptcy became clear (the news probably broke for most fans in File 770 #44 p21) MCFI, the group which had run Noreascon Two in 1980 set up a Connie Bailout Committee which solicited contributions from fandom, including especially past Worldcons which had money left. The Committee chaired by Mark Olson with Jim Hudson as adviser. Rick Katze was legal counsel (and did the negotiations with the creditors) assisted by Gary Feldbaum.

The Connie committee and the Bailout Committee worked in parallel. The Connie committee raised funds and paid down a part of the debt while the Connie Bailout Committee raised funds and, after Connie had paid off as much of the debt as it could, negotiated with the remaining creditors to purchase the remaining debts at about 80 cents on the dollar. (I.e., it paid $8000 to purchase a $10,000 debt.)

Donations Source Notes
$10,000 MCFI Surplus from Noreascon Two
$10,000 SCIFI Surplus from L.A.con II. (Obviously this donation was not received until late 1984.) As a bow in the direction of an old (and very weak) jest, the contribution came in the form of one hundred individually hand delivered checks for $13.70 each plus a single check for the balance.
$5,000 Chicon IV
$1,250 Westercon 37 (Portland, OR)
$1,000 PSFS
$1,000 WSFA
$425 Fred Isaacs
$200 Ben Yalow
$150 Bill Perkins
$100 Harry F. Leonard
$33 Carl Lundgren and Michelle Lundgren In the form of prints for auction

By the time the Bailout Committee was set up, the remaining debt was about $38,600. (This was after the committee members contributed by forgiving substantial reimbursements owed them.) ConStellation's fund-raising efforts managed to raise about $2000, which was paid out in June, 1984 as a 5% payment to all creditors, leaving $36,670 owed. Early in the process, before most of the funds had been raised, the Bailout Committee contacted each of the creditors and offered them payment of about 29% of the money owed and a share of any future money raised. Several of the creditors agreed (sometimes after considerable persuasion).

As more money was raised, revised offers were made to the holdouts and, eventually, all of the creditors accepted the Bailout Committee's offer. In November, 1984 payments were made to all creditors (except Hour Printer, who did not finally agree until January, 1985) to bring them up to roughly the 50% level. Upon receipt of the last of the pledged money in February, 1985. final payments which brought the total payout to 80% of ConStellation's debt were made to each creditor.

Administrative costs of the effort were $184, almost entirely to pay for endless phone calls to the creditors. The balance remaining (about $19) was donated directly to ConStellation.

Summary of Creditors and Payments
Creditor Owed Payment*
Diamond Vision $12,500 $9,985
Exhibit Aids $11,332 $9,054
Hour Printer $9,300 $7,421
Larry Beck (Badges) $2,000 $1,598
Copy Cat $1,200 $959
Avcom $1,000 $799
Telesaver $725 $579
Gestetner** $514 $514
TOTAL $38,571 $30,909

*Payments include monies paid to creditors by both Connie and the Bailout Committee.
**At the request of PSFS, their contribution was used to pay Gestetner in entirety and the balance remaining was contributed to the general fund.

At the end of the process, legal ownership of the receivables against ConStellation was distributed among the members of the ConStellation Bailout Consortium. While, technically, ConStellation still owes the Bailout Committee's members around $36,000, the committee agreed that any additional money which ConStellation might be able to raise will be distributed first to the original creditors in proportion to the amount they had not yet recovered. (In the event, nothing further was raised.)

In return for the 80% payment, the creditors gave up all rights to demand money from ConStellation, including any right to force bankruptcy.

The consortium did not participate in any way in the claim by the City of Baltimore for about $5500 in damages at the Convention Center. This claim may still be outstanding against ConStellation, though it is moot since the statute of limitation is long past…

Due to the generosity of fandom throughout the country, the Bailout Committee succeeded in what it set out to do.

Contemporary fannish commentary:

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