An APOLOGY about AXACON leads to a question: Did ALEC PETERS personally profit from AXANAR?

Welcome back to another emotionally-charged episode of “As The AxaCon Turns”…the fan film controversy that asks the eternal question: Is Lane ever gonna stop blogging about this crap???

Well, I thought I was finished on Monday when I posted this blog about the detractors trying their darnedest to interfere with any chance of success for AxaCon by inundating the host convention, SphinxCon, and its chairman, DAVID WEINER, with all sorts of negative public and private comments about ALEC PETERS, AXANAR, and the invited guests (including yours truly).

Because it’s important to today’s blog, let me remind you what started the whole upheaval.  Noted Axanar detractor and frustrated New York Mets fan SHAWN P. O’HALLORAN posted this lovely comment onto the SphinxCon Facebook page…

Yeah, that happened.  Then everything else happened.  Then I blogged about it.  That lit up the fan film quadrant of the Internet for many hours on Monday while I took my son to see the King Tut exhibit at the California Science Center.  There were literally hundreds of comments waiting for me to read when I got home!

But one message stopped me in my tracks.  It was an APOLOGY from Shawn O’Halloran to Dave Weiner for disrupting his convention page!

It’s probably best if I let Shawn speak for himself with this screen cap that Dave sent me…

There’s a lot to unpack here, and I’ll get to some of Shawn’s points about the court “ruling” later (as he’s only telling a small and misleading part of the story), but for right now, I’d like to focus on what happened immediately next.

Dave told me that he was very surprised to receive this apology, and at first, he wasn’t entirely certain how to respond.  So he asked me whether or not Shawn O’Halloran had reached out to me in any way with an attempt to apologize, as well.  After all, I was the guy whom Shawn had compared to a homeless person covered in his own vomit.

But no, Shawn had made no attempt to reach out to me in any way with an apology.  And it wouldn’t have been all that difficult to contact me.  Shawn is a member of Fan Film Forum and could easily have posted there.  Likewise, he could post a comment here at Fan Film Factor or even use my “Contact Us” submission form.  He did none of those.

Also, although Shawn and others did move quickly to put the brakes on an ill-advised idea by SANDY GREENBERG to contact the main guest of SphinxCon, DAVID WEBER (author of the Honor Harrington series) and “warn” him about Alec, Shawn didn’t exactly speak up when the name calling and attacks in absentia shifted to Dave Weiner after he had left the Axamonitor Facebook group…

So not feeling much sincerity or commitment in Shawn’s “apology,” Dave wrote the following response…

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to discover that Shawn  then responded with a bit less contrition and a bit more, shall we say, confrontation…

As a side note, I’d like to apologize to you guys for the length of that screen cap.  There was no other way to do it.  But now Shawn NEVER gets to call me verbose again.

Anyway, in Dave’s final response, he pointed out the very obvious: he never threatened to sue Shawn (or anyone)…

And now, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to address a point that many, MANY detractors make again and again about Alec and the judge’s “ruling” (it’s a finding, Shawn, not a ruling—oh, and stare decisis does not mean what you think it means).

Shawn claims that a judge said this about Alec…

“He did indeed profit off the plaintiffs IP”

Shawn’s statement stems from this one short sentence from the 15-page Order on Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

The detractors typically use this in Facebook comments to say two things in tandem:”Alec raised $1.3 million from donors…” (or whatever number they’re using this week) and “…he used it for his own personal profit.”

The implication the detractors want folks who don’t bother thinking to infer is that Alec Peters somehow made off with all that money and lived a jet-setting luxury lifestyle.

But the judge didn’t say that.

The judge didn’t give a number.  Alec’s “profit” that judge was referring to could be as little as a few hundred dollars out of more than a million.  Heck, it could have been $1.  We don’t know.

What we do know, however, is that the judge was basing his finding SOLELY on the declaration from the plaintiffs…as referenced in the parenthetical I highlighted above.  And guess what?  That’s actually a no-no, as I’ll explain in a moment.  After all, the defense team submitted into evidence financial records that showed Alec made no money off of Axanar.  So the judge had conflicting accounts of what actually happened (known as “facts in dispute”),nand he decided to chose one account over the other.  He’s not supposed to do that if it’s a jury trial.

And here’s another problem (also highlighted in yellow)…

Judge Klausner essentially said, “Because I say so!  And if you don’t like it, tough.”  Technically, the judge is allowed to do that.  After all, the trial was set to start in just four more weeks at that point, and he didn’t want any more delays or long motions to deal with.  So if either side had a problem with his findings and the order, they were welcome to appeal.  But discussion in Klausner’s courtroom on the subject was now over.

But the fact is that, by opening the case up to an appeal, the judge had pretty much guaranteed a settlement.  (To this day, I’m still not sure if Klausner made this ruling on purpose because he knew what would happen next and didn’t want to take this case before a jury.)

Many of you know the story.  This order from the judge, issued on January 3, 2017, invalidated the Fair Use defense and took it off the table for the defendants to use in court.  CBS and Paramount had all but won!  There was really no more need for them to settle—better to just go in for the kill.  Alec’s only hope was to try for a jury decision of non-willful infringement—which is still infringement—but that would still have prevented any more Axanar from being made.

Instead, on the “eve of victory,” CBS and Paramount suddenly softened their previous settlement offer in a very major way…finally opening the door for Alec Peters to agree.  The previous settlement offer was simply that Alec would not have to pay any financial penalty and he could leave Prelude up on YouTube.  But no more fan films for him EVER (Axanar or other).  That last stipulation was pretty harsh and one of the reasons Alec wasn’t settling.

The new settlement offer actually allowed Axanar to be made (!!!)…albeit as two 15-minute films rather than a 90-minute feature-length film.  That was something Alec felt he could live with…not love, but live with.  CBS and Paramount felt the same way.  Like many legal settlements, it was a compromise.

Many wondered why CBS and Paramount, just days away from delivering the knockout blow to a guy they quite literally loathed (man, you don’t know the half of it!) back off in such a significant way?  The answer, as I’ve written elsewhere, is that Klausner’s decision to remove Fair Use as a defense opened up the case to an appeal.  And an appeal would keep this lawsuit alive and in the media for another 2-3 years…just as CBS was trying to launch the new Star Trek: Discovery series on All Access.  Doing so while still suing fans was determined NOT to be a wise marketing and PR strategy.  This lawsuit had to go away quickly…not drag on for years.  And so the settlement offer from the studios was softened to finally make it palatable to Alec Peters.

And why was the case suddenly open to appeal, you ask?

In the past, I’ve focused solely on the judge’s decision to exclude the Fair Use defense.  For centuries, Fair Use had been a determination of fact for a jury to make.  Only in the last couple of decades have judges ruled on it as a matter of law.  That is, potentially, a no-no.  Whether or not Klausner’s decision was correct under the law would be decided by a three-judge appellate court panel on the VERY liberal Ninth Circuit.

But interestingly enough—and here’s where I bring it back to Shawn’s comment about the judge’s “ruling”—Klausner determining that Alec Peters profited directly was also a potential no-no that could be brought up on appeal.


In a jury trial, the judge is considered an interpreter of the LAW.  Ask him to decide on legal questions relevant to how to proceed with the trial, and he’s the one to decide.  But the judge is NOT the trier of FACT.  Facts in dispute (the basis of nearly all civil and criminal cases) are determined by a jury.  They decide what they think really happened after listening to both sides’ arguments.

One of the facts in dispute was whether Alec Peters had personally profited from Axanar.  The Defense contended that, no, he was not.  Obviously, CBS and Paramount disagreed.

In a proper trial, such a determination of FACT (did Alec Peters personally profit?) would be left to the jury, not the judge.  But in this case, Judge Klausner did something he should not have done: decided a fact in dispute based on only the declaration of the plaintiff…ignoring the defense counter-argument.  In short, the judge played jury, and that’s a no-no.  Had the case been appealed, I suspect that the defense legal team would have thrown that little snippet in with everything else.

So remember this blog the next time one of the detractors tells you that Alec Peters swindled over a million dollars from fan donors and used it to live the good life…and that “fact” came from a federal court ruling.  You can then answer:

  1. The judge never specified how much or how little Alec profited.  It could have been just $1.
  2. The question of whether or not Alec profited personally was a disputed factual matter for the jury to determine, not a question of law for the judge to decide.
  3. The case settled way back in January of 2017.  CBS and Paramount no longer have a problem with any of this.  Why do you?

61 thoughts on “An APOLOGY about AXACON leads to a question: Did ALEC PETERS personally profit from AXANAR?”

  1. Also, don’t forget the financial report prepared by a chartered accountant (Who by law cannot falsify details, less they face being stripped of their licence) which details what was spent on whom or what. A panel of fan film makers went over it and found all the expenditures to be commensurate with building a studio, sets and related costs. They found nothing questionable. And there is nothing in there about sushi, tires, cars, houses or any personal expenses.

    The detractors love to dismiss it was fake as it completely shoots their main argument out of the water.

    1. Really? What about Alec’s very first report that shows him and his inner-circle TAKING A SALARY?

      When did CBS/Paramount HIRE Alec Peters to produce anything. Yeah, I know, Alec claims to have “paid it all back” – but with what? And WHY did he suddenly settle teh lawsuit with CBS/Paramount on terms that he had been stating for over a year he would NEVER agree to.

      Could it be because the court ruled his financial reports COULD be used as evidence; and once part of the court record would be available for all the Backers and others to see?

      1. “What about Alec’s very first report that shows him and his inner-circle TAKING A SALARY?”

        The first annual report is what started this whole mess when Alec called his reimbursement a “salary.” Legally, it wasn’t. There was never any W4 or 1099 issued, so by law, it was not a salary. It was reimbursement for expenses already paid.

        Salaries were indeed paid to Rob Burnett and Diana Kingsbury (with the proper IRS paperwork)…$5,000 each. But that is because it is illegal in California not to pay someone who works for you. And paying people salaries to work on fan films is nothing new. Star Trek Continues paid over $165,000 in salaries from 2013 to 2015. New Voyages paid certain key people like Walter Koenig, George Takei, and Marc Zicree. The editor for “World Enough and Time” was paid $65,000. Renegades paid people, as well. So paying salaries from fan donations wasn’t limited to only Axanar.

        Please, if you respond, acknowledge that you read and agree with that previous paragraph, Armsman. If you don’t, I won’t be approving any more of your posts.

        “When did CBS/Paramount HIRE Alec Peters to produce anything.”

        CBS hired Alec Peters to prepare their props and costumes and set pieces for auction. He sorted, researched, catalogued, wrote descriptions, and prepared the items for transport. So I don’t think CBS ever hired Alec to “produce” anything other than than descriptions for the items and a fully organized list. But there was a LOT of other work that went into that project. I’m just curious why you phrased your question with the word “produced,” Armsman.

        “Yeah, I know, Alec claims to have “paid it all back” – but with what?”

        Money. Actually, the “salary” was reimbursement for money that Alec had already put into keeping the project afloat. He didn’t pay it back so much as get paid paid. You have your cause and effect reversed, Armsman.

        “And WHY did he suddenly settle teh lawsuit with CBS/Paramount on terms that he had been stating for over a year he would NEVER agree to.”

        CBS changed their terms in early January just before the trial began. Their original terms required that Axanar never be made in any way shape or form. CBS would “allow” Prelude to Axanar to stay up on YouTube (I’m not sure about the Vulcan scene), but they would not permit any additional Axanar to ever be made, and they wanted Alec to promise to NEVER be involved with ANY fan film project even again.

        Don’t you think that’s a little too harsh, Armsman? I do. That’s why I don’t blame Alec for not agreeing.

        After Judge Klausner’s ruling that fair use would not be allowed as a defense, the case was opened up to an appeal on those grounds. Appeals can take 2-4 additional years…and Alec had free legal counsel. CBS didn’t want this case still in the media while it was trying to launch Discovery.

        So CBS changed their settlement offer at the last moment to allow for Axanar to be made, just as two 15-minute episodes instead of one 90-minute movie. Alec was also no longer forbidden from working on other fan film projects in the future. THAT was a settlement offer Alec could live with. So he agreed to it.

        “Could it be because the court ruled his financial reports COULD be used as evidence; and once part of the court record would be available for all the Backers and others to see?”

        Nah, that’s just silly. 🙂

        It also doesn’t follow what actually happened. CBS changed their settlement terms. Why would they suddenly do that, Armsman?

        The fact is that, once the Fair Use defense was excluded from trial, CBS and Paramount essentially won. Alec would have no chance of not being found liable for copyright infringement. The best he could hope for (as Judge Klausner mentioned in his order in January 2017) would be non-willful infringement instead of willful infringement. But Alec would still lose, and Axanar would NOT get made.

        So let me ask YOU, Armsman: why would CBS still offer a settlement of ANY kind if they just WON…let alone a settlement that allowed Axanar to get made? They’d already spent nearly a million dollars in legal fees up to that point. A 2-3 week trial would have cost only another $20-40K. Why run 25 and a half miles of a marathon only to quit just before winning? And not only that, why would CBS suddenly allow Axanar to be made with all the trimmings (veteran Trek actors, industry professionals, salaries, etc.)? To me, that just doesn’t make sense. Maybe you can explain it.

        If you can answer that question convincingly, Armsman, then I’ll post further comments from you. Otherwise, you’re cut off from this topic, since you’re only providing misleading comments and misinformation, and I’m getting sick of whacking the moles.

          1. Not at all. I’m simply getting tired of of the same ol’ b.s. Armsman’s ramblings simply make no logical sense and just bring a heaping pile of misinformation onto this blog. I’m done with the constant whack-a-mole. So if Armsman wants to keep his posting privileges on this topic, he has to answer my question convincingly. If not, he gets no more approvals on comments that reference Axanar in any way. He’s still welcome to post comments on other subjects.

            I’ve only ever barred three people from posting on Fan Film Factor: Charles E. Baxter, Anthony Shuh, and Gabe Koerner. It takes a lot to get a full ban on this blog.

  2. It is so sad you have to keep saying this over and over…and over…and over. The small herd of detractors are just so many sand worms on Arakis, milling about with maws wide open in a primal scream of frustration at not having their pound of perceived flesh. At some point you would think there is a harassment suit. It seems like a never ending need for some kind of attention, just like other people do with other subjects, even when faced with truths and facts they just conveniently ignore. As a funder for Axanar, and the subsequent efforts, I do not fell any animosity for Alec, he did everything he could for it. If those 800 or so malcontents have a valid claim, it would be if they were also funders, and even then, they are just guilty of gross negligence for not reading the statements all over the place that says “you have no guarantee this will ever be made”. They just need to shut up and go solve some other vital issue like borders or something…what a kludge collection…

    1. Well, some of the “detractors” are former donors. Others, like Pedreza, are people in the fan film community who seem to have a personal vendetta. Some I think are just flies on turds. They’re there for the drama and trolling.

    2. 800 malcontents…a look through those 800 members finds a number of questionable accounts…bots, Uganda, Nigeria, Indonesia…a little bit of membership padding, maybe?
      The actual core of detractors is roughly 100, the most fervent (and noisy) is about half of that.

      1. “Uganda, Nigeria, Indonesia”

        Did you know that princes from two of those three countries offered to fund Axanar completely if Alec would simply provide his bank account number and password for the money transfer?

        I’m kidding!!!

  3. What’s the legal definition of profit? Just because someone makes money, doesn’t mean they made a profit. Yes? No?

    1. Profit – “a financial gain, especially the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent in buying, operating, or producing something.”

      That said, Alec has spent $150,000 of his own money on Axanar (possibly more). So perhaps we should be looking instead at the difference between gross profit and net profit. At this point, Alec is running at a net loss.

      1. It also means to gain a benefit. Doesn’t have to be financial necessarily. But for the Star Trek brand name he would not have even begun to build the LA studios project. So while you might be able to argue he came out of it all worse off financially, you can still say he benefited from the Star Trek brand name in raising the funds in the first place to be able to try and build the studio, which he wanted to use for profit making films once Axanar was done.

        Plus, correct me if I’m wrong, but the money Peters has put in resulted from the litigation and having to pay to keep the LA studios going. So if he hadn’t been sued I suspect he would not have needed to invest his own money.

        1. Interesting question. With $180,000 per year in fixed rent and utilities costs for a minimum of three years (length of the lease), Alec would have needed to hold additional crowd-funding campaigns. His first made $638K. His second took in $575K. How would his third and forth ones have done? Keeping in mind that the production would have had costs for VFX, music, make-up, costumes, salaries for the production team and actors, craft service, etc., it’s not a sure thing that Alec Peters wouldn’t have still needed to invest his own money to keep things going. Or maybe releasing the first 30 minutes of Axanar would have created a crowd-funding windfall. We’ll never know.

          Keep in mind that the original defense of Fair Use allows for the alleged infringer to make a profit. Alec and his lawyers felt Prelude was transformative enough to qualify for Fair Use protection. And had the case gone to a jury with that defense, again, who knows what would have happened?

          But in the end, the detractors claim that Alec DID profit from donor funds acquired using Star Trek IP. The fact is that the financials do not show that. Did Alec WANT to profit? Sure. I might WANT to rob a bank. If I don’t actually rob it, then you can’t accuse me of having robbed a bank.

          Once again, remember that Alec had spoken with CBS executives about ALL of this on FOUR different occasions. At no point did they say, “Don’t do this, Alec.” They simply told him, “We can’t tell you where the line is, but if you step over over, we will definitely let you know.” Alec just didn’t expect them to let him know with a lawsuit a couple of days after Christmas.

        2. Happy to correct you.

          I put in over $ 150,000 for a whole host of reasons. And even if not sued, I would have spent a lot of my own money as I wasn’t spending donor money on expenses that were legitimate business expenses, but ones I didn’t want donors to pay for.

          Then there is the $ 26,000 in legal expenses I personally paid, or the over $ 10,000 I spent on the studio move or….

          Yeah, get a little tired of people who have never read the financials trying to talk about them.


  4. Oh and let’s not forget to point out what a liar Shawn is for claiming we raised $ 1.7M, when in every single document it is very clear the number is $ 1.2M. Gets back to Carlos Pedraza math. “Let’s keep raising the number and lying about it to make Alec look bad”.

    Accountants, lawyers and donors have all seen the financials and have no issue with them. But this group of cyberstalkers and bullies, none of whom has any professional credibility, yeah THEY know better.

  5. Well said, Jonathan.

    It also looks to me as if the equine creature is now beginning to resemble a thick, gooey, red paste.

    But, by all means, Axanar Detractors…keep those blunt instruments at the ready.


  6. “The case settled way back in January of 2017. CBS and Paramount no longer have a problem with any of this. Why do you?”

    I swear, sometimes it’s like talking to a wall.

    I think one reason why is many on both sides of the “axa-conversation” overestimate or are unaware of how LITTLE impact this has on the world at large or how few people even know(or care) about it. Remember, most people were unaware that this was happening until the press made a big deal about how “the Klingon language was going to court”. That was pretty much its high profile point. If it hadn’t been taking place during the 50th anniversary, it probably wouldn’t have even gotten that much.

    1. Yep, the vast majority of the world doesn’t care about this AT ALL! If they did, I’d have more than just a few thousand readers and I’d make more than $1.16 in on ad revenue on a good day! 🙂

    2. Kind of enhances the humor of the detractors calling Alec Peters a “public figure” or how still virtually unknown their small group is by the Star Trek fan base at large.
      They might think their recent incursion into the big Star Trek Facebook Group gives them wider reach because of the group’s 100,000+ members…not taking into account the fact that in any message board or Facebook Group, only about 20% or less of the total membership is active, and less than 10% are regularly active. I’d be willing to bet if they went through the members list, for a group of it’s age, there’s likely a couple hundred inactive accounts, and easily 50,000 members or more haven’t received a Notification from the group in ages…

  7. They like to say that they are “OUTRAGED!” when, in fact, they are merely “DISPLEASED!”

  8. As I said on the other editorial, why can’t we just be honest? Peters wanted to use Axanar as a backdoor for a profit making business. He also used some of the donor funds for personal expenses. Now, we can debate whether or not he did these things without malice or knowledge of wrongdoing, but what is recorded in the legal papers is clear – and the judge had the jurisdiction to take the actions he did. You can try and re-run the litigation on this blog until the cows come home, and you can argue that an appeal would have been successful. But at the end of the day there is one set of evidence and one judicial determination and that is what people have to go on…and they reveal that however you dress it up, Peters did want to turn a profit either directly or indirectly through Axanar, even if done through nativity and without any intention to defraud or exploit donors.

    Not that any of that justifies the ridiculously over the top stalking of Peters by Shawn and his cohorts.

    1. As I explained, the judge’s finding was based on the declaration of the plaintiff, even though the evidence submitted by the defense argued otherwise. So the judge became a trier of fact, not of law. The jury is supposed to be the trier of fact when facts are in dispute, as these were. SO that was a legal no-no.

      As it turns out, Alec Peters actually never profited off of Axanar because any money paid to him in the form of a “salary” (an incorrect label) was actually reimbursement for expenses paid by Alec. That’s what the defense’s financial records, prepared by an actual accountant, showed. The judge decided to ignore those records and declare (as it said in the judicial order) based solely on the declaration of the plaintiff’s main attorney David Gross of Loeb & Loeb.

    2. 1) No, I didn’t want to use Axanar as a back door for a profit making business. That is utter bullshit.

      2) I used NO Donor money for ANYTHING personal. A fact proven at length. I never used the over $150,000 I put in for anything personal.

      3) Well at least we can agree that Shawn and his cronies are engaging in over-the-top stalking.


      1. There’s a difference between a profit-making business and a sustainable revenue-generating business. I think that’s a distinction many detractors don’t understand, Alec.

        1. “There’s a difference between a profit-making business and a sustainable revenue-generating business. I think that’s a distinction many detractors don’t understand, Alec.”

          There really isn’t, I don’t know where you’re going with this one Jon or what point that would win. And what was “Industry Studio” supposed to be? It was not supposed to be sustainable? Really! Then why do all the renovation work, sign a lease, advertise the studio??

          Alec used the money to build a studio he planned to use for many future productions.

          Alec was planning 3 or 4 more crowdfunding campaign later that year. That was also DEFINITELY a running a business on recurring revenues, that’s all income for the company.
          So is the donor store, plans to sell models, etc. (the 1.4 million dollar was only for 1/3 of Axanar) Uncertain revenues, perhaps, but all business is uncertain.

          The point is, it’s a running business. it’s got employees and everything. The Axanar-related non-profit was never setup, btw. The companies around Axanar are registered company, must report for taxes, etc.

          It absolutely doesn’t matter if you break-even. Most company want to breakeven. Netflix and Amazon were breakeven and below for a decade.

          You get the money out of a breakeven company other ways.
          Alec had PropWorx selling prop, and it was using another company he also owned, at the same street address, for shipping. PropWorx might make no profit, but it pays another entity for shipping, and that’s how you get the money out. Classic hollywood accounting — and how films like Harry Potter end up being reported as having lost money.

          The same deal was one the way get to get setup around Axanar. The story changed many time. At one point, it was going to be a nonprofit corp paying the for-profit studio for service. It could be the reverse. It doesn’t matter.

          Actually, it kind of does kind of matter. Donors paid something like 600k to make the studio happen, and all that renovation work and set building work is owned by who? Some for-profit company, either the Axanar one or the new OWC studio. Any kind of revenue later doesn’t get back to the donors, it just goes to whoever owns the set now, to be used for whatever purpose they want. The reno work on Industry Studio is just lost since the studio shut down, but if it hasn’t been, again it was going to be a commercial studio with clients.

          The whole Axanar thing was TOTALLY about kickstarting a studio (a sound stage or a production company) that would produce tons of stuff other than Axanar. It doesn’t matter if it’s breakeven after paying all the salaries.

          1. “Any kind of revenue later doesn’t get back to the donors,”

            You realize they were donors, not investors, right? Money isn’t supposed to go back to donors. If my wife and I give $500 to the American Cancer Society this year, we don’t expect a return on investment. And if a cure for cancer isn’t found in the next twelve months, we don’t complain that the ACS ripped us off.

            And yes, Axanar Productions was in the process of filing for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and was already operating as a non-profit organization. Many non-profits generate revenue and pay salaries. That’s perfectly legal The idea is that profits are primarily funneled back into the business, not to investors, owners, or shareholders. That was always the plan for Ares/Industry Studios.

      2. 1) “The studio is the endgame.:”

        2) “Mr. Peters personally profited from Plaintiffs’ intellectual property by paying himself with funds raised from consumers of Plaintiffs’ intellectual property and by spending tens of thousands of dollars of those funds on his own personal expenses. Mr. Peters used fan-raised funds to pay for the tires on his Lexus, to service his car, to pay for his gas, each and every week for nearly two years, to pay for his girlfriend’s gas for the same time period, to pay for two years of personal phone bills for himself, his girlfriend and Robert Meyer Burnett, to pay for his health insurance, his car insurance, his annual A,Al{ memberships, his TSA airport precheck
        fee, and his personal travel to conventions, both in the United States and internationally. Mr. Peters also used these funds to pay for tens of thousands of dollars in restaurant meals.”

        3) Obviously justified given your desire to rewrite history.

      3. Oh Alec, you must subscribe to the idea that if you repeat a lie often enough people will consider it truth.

        1. Your Kickstarter said the goal after Axanar was to use the studio for productions from other people. Do you expect us to believe you’d do it for free? Also, you offered shares of Ares Studios to people in lieu of payment. Shares in a non-profit are useless, they only have value from a profit making business.

        2. Nowhere has it “been proven at length” that you didn’t use donor money for personal expenses. The plaintiffs listed several personal expenses paid for with donor funds. They didn’t make it up, it came from the financial documents you provided the court. Even your own annual report listed personal expenses. Your “independent financial review” was a sham, one person involved didn’t sign off on them, and it’s no longer on the Axanar website. You’ve resisted every call to publish your full financials publicly, you clearly have something to hide.

        Jonny, in answer to your question “why do we still care?” it’s simple. If he even profited one dollar from fan donations it’s wrong. I personally don’t want to see him ever attempt to profit from donations again. It’s really that simple.

        1. We interrupt Jonny’s otherwise very pleasant family vacation to deal with yet another attempt by Sandy Greenberg to make sh*t up and rewrite history so that his arguments can somehow work.

          Ironically, Sandy starts out with the following quote:

          “….if you repeat a lie often enough people will consider it truth.”

          Oh, Sandy, Sandy Sandy. I’m actually overlooking a beach right now that is very sandy, Sandy. And I would very much like to get down there…

          Okay, so before anyone starts believing Sandy’s lies, let’s whack a few moles…

          “Your Kickstarter said the goal after Axanar was to use the studio for productions from other people. Do you expect us to believe you’d do it for free?”

          Alec never said he would do it for free. (Lie #1.) Some fan productions might have been given free access, but most would be asked to pay at least something…much as Starbase Studios had been doing for years at that point. Other professional Hollywood productions would pay industry-appropriate rates to rent the facility. Some film schools could be offered special preference for their students’ productions in exchange for annual “retainers” of the facility (a couple of those deals were actually being discussed when the lawsuit hit). And of course, revenue was going to be made from offering classes taught by sci-fi industry professionals. As a non-profit, generated revenue would go into ongoing operational expenses like rent, utilities, administration, maintenance, marketing, and yes, salaries. (It’s illegal in California not to pay employees.)

          Let me ask you a question, Sandy. Are you trying to imply (or get folks to believe) that just because an organization is non-profit that it can’t generate any revenue? Because that would just be dumb and ignorant…and I know you wouldn’t want people to think you’re dumb and ignorant. Who would?

          “Also, you offered shares of Ares Studios to people in lieu of payment. Shares in a non-profit are useless, they only have value from a profit making business.”

          Lie #2? You’ll have to produce a screen cap of that, Sandy. I don’t recall Alec ever offering shares in lieu of payment. Payment for what?

          “Nowhere has it ‘been proven at length’ that you didn’t use donor money for personal expenses.”

          Nowhere was it proven that he did, either. Not even the judge said “for personal expenses.” Lie #3. Please don’t lie to my readers.

          “The plaintiffs listed several personal expenses paid for with donor funds. They didn’t make it up, it came from the financial documents you provided the court.”

          And as was shown in those financial documents, those were reimbursements from money Alec put in to cover expenses while awaiting cashflow from the crowd-funding campaign. There’s nothing improper about reimbursement to someone who is floating the production costs and keeping the lights on with money out of his own pocket.

          “Even your own annual report listed personal expenses.”

          Check again, boychik. No, it didn’t.

          Here’s the line item list:

          Advertising $6,246.83
          Auto $9,163.62
          Bank Fees $958.00
          Building Renovation $49,674.48
          Cleaning Services $986.00
          Computer Repair $413.32
          Computer Software $684.86
          Convention Expenses $2,670.00
          Corporate Expenses $908.00
          Equipment $20,598.44
          Equipment Rental $14,557.43
          Event Cost $1,061.52
          Facility Fees $271.77
          Film Festival Fees $2,180.88
          Furniture $643.10
          Insurance $9,320.52
          Internet Fees $2,351.19
          Legal $2,728.00
          Perks $25,142.03
          Music $1,950.00
          Office Supplies $1,052.37
          Phone $6,810.45
          Prelude to Axanar Costs $7,000.00
          Printing $8,006.85
          Make Up $15,000.00
          Rent $196,510.41
          Salaries $48,042.31
          Set Construction $36,372.56
          Shipping $5,403.32
          Shipping Supplies $2,388.83
          Supplies $4,324.12
          Travel $9,018.29
          Union Fees $3,099.00
          Utilities $8,446.21

          Do you see “personal expenses” on there anywhere? I don’t. So what are we up to? Lie #4, I think. Again, just because you repeat a lie often, Sandy, that doesn’t turn it into reality. So please consider stopping. The world will be a more honest place if you do. 🙂

          “Your “independent financial review” was a sham…”

          Amusing that you would make such a statement considering that nearly all of what you say is a sham. You remind me very much of Harry Mudd in this classic scene…

          “one person involved didn’t sign off on them,”

          Meaning others DID sign off? How is that a sham if multiple people put their professional reputations on the line to confirm the validity of the document?

          Also, I seem to recall ALL THREE members signing off. I remember that Milton Santiago left the review committee when Carlos started hounding him. But Bing Bailey replaced him. Three sign-offs, dude. Sham? Obviously not. Lie #5. Again, please stop with the lies, Sandy. You really only embarrass yourself…and you exhaust the rest of us.

          “and it’s no longer on the Axanar website.”

          No worries, I’ve got it here…

          Happy now? I’d assumed you’d memorized it by now anyway. 🙂

          “You’ve resisted every call to publish your full financials publicly, you clearly have something to hide.”

          I’m not going to publish my tax returns returns on Fan Film Factor. Do I have something to hide, too?

          As I’ve explained, Sandy, there’s no reason for Alec to share 28 pages of line items as it would only result in a barrage of accusations over minutiae. Who needs that kind of hassle? Did you demand that level of detail from Vic Mignogna, who also paid salaries…or from Sky Conway of Renegades, who took in nearly a million dollars in donations and never released any kind of financial accounting or report to his donors? (Renegades is now going the BitCoin route, by the way…in case anyone is curious.)

          “Jonny, in answer to your question “why do we still care?” it’s simple. If he even profited one dollar from fan donations it’s wrong. I personally don’t want to see him ever attempt to profit from donations again. It’s really that simple.”

          How noble of you. I suppose that you feel the same way about me, as well? After all, your insults to me ad hominem and other Axanar supporters must be equally noble, right? The memes and the insults and the profanity? All for the greater good of making sure Alec Peters never profits from fan donations “again” (I noticed that you said “IF he even profited one dollar from fan donations…” meaning that even you aren’t sure). And yet, you spend so much time and energy on your “crusade.”

          To this I just say…wow. You are such a piece of work, Sandy. Inspector Javert would be giving you a standing ovation right now if his drowned body weren’t floating down the Seine in 19th century France! Such nobility, Sandy! I believe you even tried to contact David Weber (author of the Honor Harrington books) to “warn” him about doing a convention with Alec Peters. After all, if you don’t sabotage everything that Alec Peters might do to ever POSSIBLY ask for donations again…who will, right?

          You’ll never understand this, Sandy, but so many others do: what you have done and continue to do is so much worse than anything Alec has ever done. Your obsession with destroying this one man has spread its infection to you hounding others who have done nothing more than share their opinions and correct your efforts as misleading and stating falsehoods. Am I doing the devil’s work, too, Sandy? Simply speaking up for the truth, sharing my opinions, and publishing a blog? Must you bash, belittle, and cyber-bully EVERY Axanar supporter who doesn’t agree with you in order to fulfill your “noble” holy quest?

          You’re fighting a war of your own making Sandy. And you are NOT the hero in this story. Heroes don’t act the way you do. Villains do.

          (And now I am going somewhere where sandy is a good thing! Surf’s up!)

          1. Wow. That was a bit TL:DR.

            I only skimmed it but I suggest you read Terry’s deposition.

          2. As I expected, Sandy…no real retort. There’s really no way to defend yourself against what I said anyway. We both know it. So dod my blog readers.

            As for reading Terry’s deposition…you saw that I’m on vacation, right? If you have something you would like to quote, please be my guest (although Terry’s deposition should be read with the foreknowledge that he was a hostile witness). But if you’re only going to “skim” something that essentially proves you’re significantly worse than Alec ever was, then why should I do your homework for you, Sandy?

            You’ll never be the hero of this story, Sandy. You’re clearly the villain with actions that even your fellow detractors tried to talk you out of (contacting David Weber to try to sabotage SphinxCon and AxaCon). You embarrassed them. You think you’re doing the world a favor by trying to stop Alec Peters. Instead, you should do your fellow detractors a favor and stop yourself.

  9. “The judge never specified how much or how little Alec profited. It could have been just $1.”

    Or $0.50, or $100, or $1000 or $10,000 or $100,000 or anything really up to the $1.2 million.

    But he did make a profit off the fans – the Judge said so. I reckon this is why some people take umbrage.

    1. “But he did make a profit off the fans – the Judge said so.”

      Actually, you can’t know the first part of that sentence is correct…only the second part. That’s the whole crux of my point in this blog. The judge is not the one who is tasked or empowered to be the decider of facts when they are in dispute. That is the job of the jury.

      Let me give you an example. Let’s say that a person goes on trial for murder and pleads “not guilty.” The defense argues that the police arrested the wrong man. Before a jury can be seated, the judge says, “The defendant pulled the trigger and shot the victim.” That is not the judge’s determination to make; it is the jury’s.

      So you can’t say that Alec made a profit off the fans. You can only say that the judge thought, based solely on the declaration of the plaintiff’s main lawyer, that Alec personally profited. But that doesn’t mean he actually did, since the fact was still in dispute and needed to be determined by the jury, not the judge.

      1. Jon, your understanding is incorrect.

        The judge made that finding in a motion for ruling on summary judgment. The entire legal basis for ruling on the motion of summary judgment is that the material facts are not in dispute and so the judge can rule based on the law. If the judge, in his ruling, stated this as a fact, that means that when looking at all of the evidence there wasn’t enough evidence there was NOT personal profit to create a real dispute as to those facts. In others words there wasn’t any real evidence offered by the defendants to disprove the plaintiffs allegations and evidence that there WAS a personal profit.

        This is something judges are very careful about. It is grounds for overruling a summary judgment ruling if the judge ruled based on his belief that the facts were not in dispute and a higher court finds that the defendant had put forth evidence that disputed the plaintiffs claim.

        1. ” It is grounds for overruling a summary judgment ruling if the judge ruled based on his belief that the facts were not in dispute and a higher court finds that the defendant had put forth evidence that disputed the plaintiffs claim.”

          Which, of course, the defendants did. Note that the judge cited only the plaintiff’s lawyer’s declaration as a basis for his finding and did not acknowledge in any way the financials entered into evidence by the defendant or that he had reviewed that evidence and found it to be inadequate to prove otherwise. As such, I made my point that the judge determined the validity of a fact very much in dispute, which is a no-no, and that this likely would have been brought up on appeal. Remember that the appeal would be based on an argument that Judge Klausner acted improperly by excluding a Fair Use defense at trial. The judge based his decision, in part, on the assumption that the defendant profited personally. Such profit is permitted under fair use, and by using the assumption that such profit should (in part) nullify the fair use defense, the judge acted doubly improperly.

          1. Except it is very likely based on the ruling that the one or both sets of financials submitted to the court by Alec corroborated the plaintiffs claims. Just because the judge didn’t mention it doesn’t mean it wasn’t considered. But we’ll never know that since Alec settled before those financials could be made public at trial.

          2. I saw those financials. All of the expenses were reasonable, and any moneys paid out to Alec were clearly justifiable reimbursements for expenses. The first financials submitted early in discovery had not been prepared by an accountant and did not make clear that the money paid to Alec was reimbursing costs he had paid for things related to the production, the studio, marketing, etc. If the judge were basing his conclusion solely on those first financials, then I could see how he might come to that mistaken conclusion (as did CBS/Paramount) that Alec paid himself a salary. He’d said so himself in his annual report. But that report, likewise, was not prepared by an accountant who knew to take into account that Alec had put tens of thousands of dollars of his own money into Axanar Productions along the way, and that this “salary” was technically and legally a reimbursement of reasonable expenses. But once the revised financials, certified by an accountant, were submitted to the court a few weeks later, those had to be considered as evidence, as well. The judge was not allowed to discount them without an explanation as to why…especially as they by no mean corroborated the plaintiffs’ claim of profit being made. This was stated in later filings and was clearly a fact in dispute.

            Anyway, as Alec has stated, the question of personal profit would certainly have been brought up on appeal. But even if an appeals court did not rule in the defendant’s favor, detractors must remember that Judge Klausner did not specify what kind of profit or how much profit was made. It could have been $1 or $10 or $100. It could have simply been more notoriety in the entertainment industry. I could have been one sushi dinner. It certainly wasn’t hundreds of thousands or over a million dollars, since the financial summary that Alec released publicly showed reasonable costs for everything from rent and utilities to insurance to studio improvements to perk production and shipping to office furniture to set construction materials to costumes to the lighting grid to (the list goes on and on and on) that ate up the vast majority of that one-point-whatever million dollars that was raised.

      2. Jon, I think I clarified some of the legal issues for you but it appears that our entire conversation is gone. Is your considered response to delete my thoughtful and polite comments?

          1. Yeah, that was weird. A few minutes later the comments were back but it didn’t show the comment above as pending.

      3. Actually, I can. The act of using donor funds to build a studio with the intent of making for-profit productions in it after the fact is precisely the kind of profiting from Star Trek IP the judge was talking about. Alec could have never raised that money without the Star Trek name. Without it he’s just some guy.

        For example, let’s say you’re a big fan of Little League Baseball. Some kids want to form a team and has a fundraiser for uniforms, bats and gloves to which you happily donate. Instead of playing at the local field, howeve, they commit to a long-term lease on a piece of land and build a big green scoreboard. They expect to play one season but their long-term plan is to rent the field out to football teams or play soccer and charge admission. They profited by using the LLB name to build their business. Unfortunately, they are so busy sinking money into improving the field (it was swampy) that they only ever play half an inning. Not an exact analogy, but close enough.

        Let me say this in the kindest way possible: Even if you got a look at the financials you are neither impartial nor expert enough to decide what is reasonable. Neither am I. However, some people in my camp have offered in the past to pay for an impartial licensed CPA to review them. I believe that offer still stands.

        1. “The act of using donor funds to build a studio with the intent of making for-profit productions in it after the fact is precisely the kind of profiting from Star Trek IP the judge was talking about.”

          I disagree. The judge used the past tense “profited”…not “intended to profit” or “would likely have eventually profited” or “certainly have profited at some point.” (“would likely have eventually profited”–what is that…the conditional pluperfect future past tense?) 🙂

          No, the judge said Alec “profited.” As Ares/Industry studios had not yet been rented to anyone for revenue (Aliza Pearl used it for free for her Guinan fan film) and money was still being sunk in for improvements, there was no profit that had been made by any stretch of the imagination, Chris.

          As for Alec’s financials, I will certainly admit to not being a trained entertainment industry professional. (There were, however, three trained industry professionals who did examine the expenses very carefully and asserted that they were all reasonable prices to have paid for the items and services listed.)

          “However, some people in my camp have offered in the past to pay for an impartial licensed CPA to review them. I believe that offer still stands.”

          And yet I have to ask…why is that even necessary at this point? The lawsuit is over. It settled. What you and your “camp” are doing is hounding. Why? Just to prove you’re right? What if you are? You’re not, but what if you are? Certainly, there’s many, many hundreds of thousands of dollars in justifiable expenses. Rent and utilities alone were $450,000 (or thereabouts). The new flooring for the studio (five layers); materials for the sets; salaries for those doing the construction; construction on the office area; furniture; lighting grid; new electrical wiring and circuit box; costumes; props; insurance (liability, theft, fire, earthquake, etc.); patches, T-shirts, printing and pressing of Prelude DVDs, and other perks; fulfillment of perks; editing equipment (the stuff that wasn’t donated by OWC Digital); marketing materials for cons; telephone; Internet; office materials like paper, toner, and even toilet paper…the list is almost endless (or at least the spreadsheet seemed to be that way to me!).

          So let’s say you hire this “independent CPA”…what do you want him to do exactly? “Find anything fishy!” “Like what?” he’ll probably ask. (Oh, is he being hired by your “camp” or Alec? Obviously, the CPA must work for someone. If he’s working for you guys, then he’ll show you all the financials anyway…which is just a sneaky way of trying to get access to them. Why would Alec agree to that when he’s argued this entire time that he doesn’t want to die the death of a thousand paper cuts having the detractors pouring over every detail? All of those expenses have receipts. “HA!!! You don’t have a receipt for these 100 padded envelopes you itemized for $90. Did you REALLY buy 100 padded envelopes, Alec? DID YOU???? Or was that $90 really just another sushi lunch???”

          Or are you simply giving Alec money to hire the CPA himself? (You’re gonna give Alec money???) Then the CPA works for Alec, and anything the CPA tells your “camp” is met with, “We don’t believe you because you’re just working for Alec!” See the problem?

          But let’s assume for a moment that a unicorn fairy comes down on a rainbow and figures out a way for this CPA to be paid by you guys and NOT share the financial details with you. What do you expect him to find? Every expense has a receipt. Even if they didn’t, all those things in the studio had to be paid for some way. How much do you expect was left over? The records show it all went somewhere and, in fact, cost more than the total amount donated. The difference, of course, came out of Alec’s pocket. Why put money in if you’re embezzling? That sounds totally backward, right?

          So obviously, the CPA would find that any money Alec paid himself was reimbursement for the $65K he put in. Since he never filled out a W4 or a 1099, it certainly wasn’t a salary, even if Alec called it that in his annual report (which was not put together by a CPA or even an accountant and was, therefore, inaccurate). Once the accountant was brought in, he asked to see Alec’s W4 or 1099, and when Alec said he never filled one out, the accountant said, “Then it’s reimbursement, not salary.” By law, true.

          Anyway, my point is that it’s not your job or your place to hound Alec for his detailed, line-by-line financial spreadsheets. It’s certainly not your “right.” Alec produced a financial summary for the donors. That’s WAY more than ANY other Trek fan project has ever done…including Star Trek: Renegades (which raised nearly a million dollars in total crowd-funding so far without ever accounting for any of it publicly or even to donors like me) and Star Trek Continues, which paid out $165,000 in salaries over a three year period. At best, STC produced a shorter financial summary than Alec did…and it never went to the donors; it went to the IRS and was discovered only via a search someone did through public records when STC filed for 501(c)(3) status.

          Anyway, Chris, I’ll be heading out for the week in the morning and will probably not be monitoring the blog comments much (if at all). I hope this concludes our discussion. If it doesn’t, your next comment might end up having to wait at least a week until it gets posted.

  10. I’m right. No I’m right. No I’m right.

    What the fuck people. I’m siding with Alec because I believe in him and I believe in Axanar. But damn if all this back and forth bullshit doesn’t leave me more confused than I already am.

  11. Those who keep saying we built a studio to make for-profit movies really love re-writing history. We SPECIFICALLY said that we needed to find a way to pay the bills after we finished Axanar and so renting out the studio and making other projects was what we would do. Big difference. It was not our motivation, it was a by-product.

    Some of you need to get a life. The fact that you chose to waste so much time attacking Axanar tells us a lot about you.

    Its two years later, get a life.

  12. Jonathan you have way more patience with these people than I do. Why , after two years, these haters are still spreading lies says more about them than anything else. Their is a sick pathology to their obsession.


    1. What really leaves me scratching my head most about Sandy, though, it that he’s so self-deluded. His “righteous crusade” is nothing more than an excuse to be an asshole to a whole bunch of people who challenge his belief structure…kinda like a radicalized ultra-religious terrorist.

      In trying to claim the moral high ground, Sandy only shows himself to have no moral compass.

  13. The word “forthwith” really isn’t used enough today.

    You say Alec didn’t profit, but I know as a fact from a 42nd hand account of someone who got told he was spotted using Axanar funds to buy a pack of Tropical Fruit Bubblicious and some Skittles in a 7-Eleven down the street from a Convention.

      1. I need I was trying to play for funnies… plus when I started writing the “forthwith” bit a line from a film popped into my head that I just had to commit in comment form 😉

  14. Before any of this Axanar business was even a thing? I talked with Shawn on Facebook. I tried to be civil with the guy. But for an alleged Star Trek fan? The man is so closed minded, rigid in his imagination, so absolute about his personal politics or belief system, so cold in empathizing with others, & just so hateful that I just couldn’t stay his friend.

    From what I have seen of the Axamonitor diatribes & his other screeds, this man has not changed at all. You’d think the heart & humanity of Trek would translate to these folks…. It’s painfully obvious to me that many of the morals, messages, & meanings of Star Trek didn’t filter down to this motley crew.

    It’s like they believe that Alec Peters personally robbed them. It’s so sad. I’ve seen Star Trek licensed toys, products & video games that did more to harm the fandom than Axanar.

    All of this has made me walk away from Trekkies, because I don’t want to be associated with the Axamonitor & the just brutually critical bunch of Trek fans.

    Alec Peters & Jonathan Lane, man you and your friends, coworkers, & colleagues have my sympathies. You guys really don’t deserve this brutal treatment.

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