Wizard World has fired Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Shamus. A subsequent lawsuit filed by company alleges that Shamus used his position as an organizer for celebrity guests at Wizard World conventions to illegally obtain and sell autographed merchandise valued in the lawsuit at over $1 million.
Shamus was fired on October 27, with a letter of termination given to his lawyer (via Comics Beat) demanding the return of the items which the then-Wizard World CMO allegedly sold. The company cited his alleged involvement with the theft of the items as one of the reasons for his firing.
The subsequent lawsuit, first reported by The New York Post, seeks an injunction to prevent Shamus from selling any further material obtained from Wizard World conventions, as well as the return of all property sold in this manner. It further names 10 unnamed "John Doe" defendants who are said to have aided Shamus in obtaining and selling autographed merchandise. In legal terms, " John Does" are persons that cannot be identified by the plaintiff - in this case, Wizard World - at the time of the lawsuit's filing.
According to the suit, Shamus “often negotiated money losing deals for Wizard World in order to gain access to celebrities whom he could exploit for his own enrichment." Shamus then allegedly used that access to "illicitly obtain" autographed memorabilia from these celebrity guests which he would then sell for large sums of money.
Shamus was one of Wizard's earliest employees, having worked for the magazine and convention organizers since January 1991. His brother, Gareb Shamus, the founder of Wizard World, has not been associated with the company since 2011.
The New York Post reports that Shamus could not be reached for comment.