(The following was recovered from Web.Archive.org and was originally posted by Raksha on www.plumed-serpent.com.)

10/19/02 - The following is reposted with permission from Transfandom.com. It describes one of the slimiest, if not the slimiest, act I have ever seen committed in this fandom. Despite the founders taking the high road, I urge every fan not to support this outrage, and to boycott the hijacked convention. Since this is a repost, please note that the "me" referred to in this article is Tony Bacala of Transfandom.net, and not myself.

A Statement from the Hartmans

A couple of days ago, Karl Hartman emailed me about statements regarding BotCon surfacing on the main page of Transfandom.com. Things were not as they seemed, and it was time to at least state what was going on behind the scenes from Karl and Jon's perspective. The following is what they had to say. Most of this is general paraphrasing, as it was casual conversations. All of this has been reviewed by the Hartmans prior to putting this online.

About a month after BotCon 2002, Glen Hallit asked Karl and Jon Hartman to travel to Chicago. They met in the convention center where BotCon 2003 is set to take place. Discussion about BotCon 2002 happened, and Hallit stated that in his opinion this year was the worst due to organizational mishaps. In Hallit's view this was because of orders that had wrong amounts of toys listed, and the Hartmans were responsible on that end. He also felt as if they had lost their creative drive for organizing the convention. So what Glen Hallit decided to do is offer them a release, a contract stating that they renounce the right to participate in any official organization or creative control of future BotCon events, thus giving Glen complete control. This contract was only good for that day, that meeting, in which the Hartmans were not informed about what it was for, nor given an opportunity to gain outside input for their decisions. Both had to sign or the offer was no good. If this did not happen, then Glen implied legal action to remove them from the duties. The aspects that Glen did include in the contract included free copies of the exclusives, transportation to and from future events for them and their collection to display, their own panel, and to be billed as the "founding fathers" of the event. The term "Sounding Board" was used as well, stating that the Hartmans would be used to run ideas and concepts past them, yet nothing they say would need be used, they had no veto power so to say. In this contract, the name BotCon, owned by the Hartmans, would be leased to Hallit on a yearly basis. If all of this was not agreed upon, then the offer goes, and it was implied that it would become a legal battle. Since the Hartmans were not suited for a legal battle, and just wanted the event to live on, the name BotCon to continue on, they signed. Jon found it easier to deal with, as it was a way to recoup prior convention costs, and to not risk anything further. Karl stated that he was actually in tears on the way home from that meeting, a mixture of frustration, anger, and sadness rolled into one.

The back story to that, also important to why the Hartmans did sign, is that they were thinking about getting out of the convention prior to that. Communication of ideas had been gradually decreasing over the last couple years, and tempers had flared as far back as BotCon 1998 when Glen stated that he felt Jon and Karl should either show more effort toward organizing the convention or just come as attendees. Karl was also not involved in any of the planning of the exclusive toys for this year's convention. He saw the convention exclusive Cyclonus toy for the first time when it surfaced on an internet site, completely done in box at a Japanese hobby shop (a leaked pre production version, probably from the Asian production facility). Karl stated that he did not know, at all, that 3H Enterprises, had been officially incorporated and named as 3H Productions Incorporated until Glen announced it at the dinner, as he sat there next to him. So all of that, and many other things, lead to a decision that did not materialize at first. Karl was going to resign from the convention at the BotCon 2002 organizer's panel. The only thing stopping him at that point was the mess with the Unicron Statue. There was enough conflict and anger floating around from it not being there, he did not want to add to that by announcing his resignation. As much as he disliked the way he and Hallit and communicated and worked together for the last year, he still did not want to jeopardize the convention as a whole. So he stayed. Only to have what happened in Chicago occur. During this same time, Jon was in contact with Glen more often, and did know more than Karl on many matters per se. However Jon did express feeling that info to him from Glen was a secondary matter.

To wrap up, the Hartmans have no future plans or desire to run a separate convention. And they actually, without any of this negative stuff, were thinking of retiring from it in 2004, a solid 10 years from when they organized the first BotCon. They just state that they wish their leaving of the convention did not occur like this, not on their own terms. They do plan to attend every BotCon event in one way or another, either as guests or as fans, but their official involvement in 3H Productions, Inc. is done in all regards -- BotCon, the future Fan Club, or anything else planned. Overall, they have no ill will towards the convention as a whole, and do not support any type of boycotting or whatever else has spawned out of the fandom rumor mill. Hopefully the spirit of what they started will live on in one form or another, because that is what this is all about. Having fun, enjoying Transformers for what they are, and sharing it with the people who enjoy the same.

More commentary from Raksha: The Hartman brothers have been friends of mine for many years. They are super-nice guys, consummate diplomats by nature, and tend to dislike public confrontations. In this case, however, the polite approach is not the one to take. We'd not be supporting the founders and creators of BotCon by meekly endorsing the guy who muscled it out from under them. Let's show the Hartmans how much we've appreciated their efforts over the years. I personally urge every fan to voice their objection to this outrage - to vote with their feet, their pocketbooks, and to make their voices heard in protest. If you already have hotel reservations for next year (I do), then cancel them (I will). Encourage all your friends to do the same. And tell the whole fandom why you've done so. Don't attend the hijacked convention! There will be other options. Trust me on this.