Connor Cochran Bankruptcy Update

U.S. Bankruptcy Court has granted the trustee’s motion to convert the Avicenna and Conlan Press bankruptcies from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7, a liquidating bankruptcy. The orders were entered April 30.

Peter S. Beagle sued his former manager Connor Cochran in 2015 for $52 million in damages, disgorgement of illegal gains and restitution, and dissolution of two corporations he co-owns with Cochran, Avicenna Development Corporation, and Conlan Press, Inc. Cochran and his companies filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 4, one day before trial was scheduled to begin in Beagle’s lawsuit against them.

Whether liquidating the corporations’ assets will financially benefit anyone is a question. Several of Cochran’s creditors allege he has converted their assets to his personal use.

However, as reported here in March, the court lifted the automatic stay that took effect when Cochran filed bankruptcy, and allowing Beagle to proceed in California state court against Cochran, Avicenna Development Corporation, and Conlan Press, Inc. and obtain a final judgment.

Then, in April, the court also lifted the stay for Sandbox LLC and Justin Bunnell, investors in The Last Unicorn Tour, allowing them to proceed with state litigation against Avicenna Corporation.

And last month Patrick Lake filed with U.S. Bankruptcy court a “Complaint To Determine Dischargeability of Debt and Related Declaratory Relief” which allowed him to publicly rehearse the grounds for his defamation suit against Cochran. Over the course of several years, Cochran issued updates about his efforts to identify the anonymous source of some allegedly libelous blog posts and tweets, a person he ultimately claimed was Bay Area resident Patrick Lake.

Lake’s statement to the court (see the link below) argues:

…The true facts were that Plaintiff had not forged a contract with Plaintiff; that he does not engage in an “ongoing pattern of deception” in his attorney-client relationships or in his other business relationships; he is not a “stalker” nor “crazed” i.e., mentally unstable, mentally incompetent, or insane; and he was not fired from his employment as an art instructor when he left that employment over five years ago.

…As a proximate result of the defamatory statements of Defendant, Plaintiff has been harmed in that he has suffered past and future loss of income, as well as shame, mortification, emotional distress, public opprobrium, and humiliation, as well as attorneys’ fees incurred to attempt to correct the misleading and false statements of Defendant that have been repeated by others relying on Defendant’s widely published false and defamatory statements. Said damages are in an amount subject to proof at trial.

Lake’s attorney seeks a court ruling that Cochran’s debts to his client are nondischargeable in Cochran’s Chapter 11 proceeding.

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5 thoughts on “Connor Cochran Bankruptcy Update

  1. The mess continues…

    (I do wonder about the competence of whoever drew up that document; phrases like The true facts were that Plaintiff had not forged a contract with Plaintiff (I think the 2nd “Plaintiff” should be “Defendant”) and The above-quoted libelous statement falsely accuses Plaintiff of the crime of forgery, which constitutes slander per se. are sloppy at best. No, I haven’t read the entire document — the 2nd just jumped out as I was scanning.)

  2. Dear Lis and Chip,

    Yes, that word does seem to sum it up. I am saddened by this all, because Connor is one of my oldest friends in fandom. Yet, I’ve been told too many stories in recent years from different people who have done business with him that have the same pattern: he promises, doesn’t deliver, and they get screwed over.

    Some think he’s simply a con man. Maybe. I don’t think so, but I am not emotionally impartial. I’m inclined to think he goes into ventures with good (and far too grandiose) intentions, finds he can’t deliver what he’s promised, and in trying to dig himself out digs the hole ever deeper.

    It doesn’t matter whether his intentions are malign or benign. People are getting screwed either way. I can’t recommend doing business with him, based upon the sum of what I’ve heard.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. 
    — Digital Restorations. 

  3. I knew him close to 40 years ago, and remember plausible people (e.g., Mike Ford) speaking to his character when some publications weren’t delivered (which gives some idea how long there have been problems, as Mike died 12 years ago). I always knew (or mostly knew of) him as a creative type; I suspect that he never had a sufficiently solid understanding of the inflexibility of numbers, let alone how to come up with realistic numbers, and that he’s been sinking into that tarbaby for a long time — flailing more and more wildly as he does so. He’s hardly alone in this — his dreams were much less grandiosely implausible than others discussed here (e.g., Universal FanCon) — but instead of just scraping bits of money from lots of people, he’s seriously hurt one of the genre’s most beloved figures. (I had a wonderful talk with Beagle at the 2011 WFC banquet, and was taken aback at how worn he was a few years later when I saw him on the Last Unicorn tour.)

  4. Pingback: Conlan Press shuts down internet sales, faces lawsuit by Lake  | FANS AGAINST FRAUD

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