The organizer of Jefferson’s Warriors & Wizards Festival has pleaded not guilty to a charge that he tried to pay for more than $50,000 in 2018 festival costs with worthless checks and credit cards.
Scott W. Cramer, 59, of 105 N. Catlin St., Edgerton, appeared briefly in Jefferson County Court on Monday accompanied by his attorney, Scott Wales of Milwaukee.
Cramer, owner of HP Fans, is charged with theft by false representation greater than $10,000 but not exceeding $100,000. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 if convicted.
Cramer brought Harry Potter Fest to Edgerton in 2015 and moved it to Jefferson two years later under the name Warriors & Wizards Festival.
Cramer had asked Edgerton to pay about $100,000 in festival expenses. Edgerton declined, and Cramer then entered into an agreement with Jefferson.
The city of Jefferson is suing HP Fans for failure to reimburse the city for its investment in the festival, which was Oct. 19-21.
Jefferson agreed to pay $25,000 for marketing and provide police, fire and ambulance services, and HP Fans was to reimburse all those costs, but it never did, according to the lawsuit.
HP Fans paid only $6,000 and owes a balance of $33,183, the lawsuit alleges.
The criminal complaint accuses Cramer of paying for more than $50,000 in festival expenses with worthless checks or credit cards that later were declined.
Businesses that received worthless payments included the Jefferson Area Business Center, Bon Ton Bakery, Jefferson County Fair Park, WSLD radio, Red Square Audio, Kobussen Buses, AmericInn, Wine and Roses retail store, and Country Inn and Suites.
Cramer reportedly admitted to Jefferson County sheriff’s Detective Leah Meyer that he had written bad checks, according to the complaint.
Cramer is scheduled for a plea and sentencing hearing at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 14.