Document: cheated Last Unicorn buyers frustrated by Conlan Press claims attrition process.

If you’ve previously seen cases of fraud, you may know how delay and denial is used to stifle claims, drain costs, and run out the clock for timely solutions.  Uncovering the story is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.  It’s a forensic process of comparing many sources.  It requires asking victims to step forward.

This consumer rights campaign is calling for public input.  10 years of broken promises means it’s time for public light.  People of conscience need to call for REAL solutions to end ongoing harm.  Our goal is fairness for fans.

In Victim list of “extra deluxe” Last Unicorn book buyers, we outlined the claims attrition process used by Conlan Press to get away with fraud.  Now, we’re sharing details of how it’s done.

In the 10 year chain of broken promises, a delay and attrition process has happened over and over. It’s a consistent experience corroborated by many victims.

When buyers ask for goods, instead they get a chain of delaying excuses: Someone died, someone put their back out, an employee left, an employee was stealing, the post office lost the book, the post office lost the check, we’ll send a replacement (but it doesn’t come…)

Excusing fraud from 2004 to 2014.

At each step, Connor Cochran shifts responsibility. He puts claims off to shed more and more of them.  Each time, fewer persist. (The below claim persisted through three house moves.) The Statute of Limitations is run out to make them powerless. If a few make it through- paying them off costs a small portion of the total take.

The Better Business Bureau has a new corroborating complaint, just noticed and attached here after completion of this article:

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 2.06.03 PM

In the chain of excuses, the common denominator is Connor Cochran.  He’d like you to believe that he’s a victim of circumstances beyond his control – but supposed coincidence after coincidence tells a different story.

Since we began reporting, new victims have come forward. One writes:

Hi, I have some tales to tell about Connor Cochran and his scam company. I ordered the Last Unicorn audiobook way back in 2005 and stuck with my order for 8 long years and 3 moves. I ate the BS he shoveled at me regarding why the CD’s never materialized and continued to be patient. So patient that when Connor personally called me to let me know about the deluxe Last Unicorn book with Peter’s extra story and a sketch to be done by Connor, I jumped at the chance to purchase it. It was 2009 when I ordered that one.  Here’s the string of emails I sent and received regarding the status of and cancellation of my orders. I did eventually get my money back for the CDs and the book, but I still have yet to get the book despite Connor telling me finishing his sketch and mailing it to me was “the least he could do” for me waiting so long.  That was last year.

Feel free to use these emails on your site.

The emails are below. This is only one case of countless others.

NOTE:  Conlan Press insiders refute claims made by “unreliable narrator” Connor Cochran in his emails.  Timing clues even indicate Connor posed as employees he then blamed.  Uncovering truth requires comparing consistently bad experiences of victims.  IF IT HAPPENED TO YOU, PLEASE STEP FORWARD.

Names are edited by request to protect identities of victims.

Connor Cochran <> 4/27/10


This is just a quick note to let you know that your LAST UNICORN comic book order shipped out yesterday from California, and is now on its way to you. Sorry about the slight delay — IDW printed the issue later than planned, so we didn’t get our shippable copies in until just last week. Thanks for supporting Peter S. Beagle’s work by shopping with us.

All best,
Connor Cohran
Conlan Press

<> 4/27/10

Excellent, thanks Connor. I was wondering if you had news about hardcover version of The Last Unicorn that I ordered late last year. Do you have an estimate of when that might be shipping? I was excited to hear the audiobooks will be coming out late this year.  Thanks!

Connor Cochran <> 4/27/10

Working on the extra deluxe TLUs. They are taking longer than I’d like, obviously, but I hope to be done with all of them before midsummer, and maybe sooner.

<> 4/27/10

Thanks very much!

Connor Cochran <> 7/30/10


Just a quick note to let you know that your current LAST UNICORN comic order shipped earlier today. I have to apologize — It would have gone out sooner, but I was away doing necessary business at Anime Expo and then Comic Con, and my part-time assistant <FirstEmployee> wasn’t able to come in to work because she threw her back out while on a family vacation. When one of us is gone, things slow down. When *both* of us are gone…well…we try not to let that happen very often. Now I’m back from Comic Con, and <FirstEmployee> is back in the office working, so shipping is once again under way. When your order arrives, please let me know by email so I can cross it off the list.

All best,

<> 9/27/10

Hi Connor,

The first issue of the comic was beautiful, but I still haven’t received the second issue.  If it went out in July then I’m afraid it must’ve gotten lost.

Connor Cochran <> 9/27/10


I’ve filed a complaint with the Post Office and they’re going to run a search. Supposedly I’ll get a report in a couple of days. Meanwhile, I’m shipping out a replacement comic to you today. Thanks for letting me know about the problem.


<> 1/25/11

Hi Connor,

I just got the newest issue of the Raven and I’m really excited to hear the bluray of The Last Unicorn is coming out! I also saw that the graphic novel of The Last Unicorn will be coming out soon. I ordered the 6 issue comic series, but I only received issues 1 and 2. Would you be able to check and see if there was a shipping problem? Also, I thought I’d ask about the status of the hardcover novel I ordered.


<> 2/14/11


I have your Extra Deluxe scheduled for sketching on the 21st. The comics are still on order as well as the Graphic Novel. Once we have them in our hands I’ll be able to give you a rough estimate for timing on shipping. We are excited about the blue ray as well! I’m not sure if you got my email about your comic order, so I’ll tell you now.

In mid-December we sent an email out to all our LAST UNICORN comic subscribers explaining the delay which had taken place with issues 3-6. (Recapping briefly: thanks to a communications problem, IDW only printed enough copies of issues 3-6 for their comic shop outlets, and none for us. They *are* reprinting the ones we need, but it is going to take a while, possibly even a few more months.)

In that email we offered everyone two options for dealing with the remainder of their subscriptions.

1) Wait for IDW to complete the reprinting, and get a special LAST UNICORN art print along with the remaining issues as thanks for their patience, or

2) Cancel the remainder of their subscription and take a signed, personalized copy of IDW’s hardcover graphic novel version instead. This hardcover (which is now shipping) contains all six issues, interviews with Peter S. Beagle and Peter Gillis, and a gallery of additional art.

Unfortunately, we haven’t heard back from you about your choice. Please write or call and let me know which option you’d prefer — and if you are going with option #2, please also tell me how you would like Peter S. Beagle to personalize your copy when he signs.

You can reach me at 650-728-8098 during my normal work hours (M-F from 11 AM to 5PM, California time) or email me.

<> 2/15/11

Thanks! I look forward to seeing Connor’s drawing and reading what Peter wrote. I guess my email crossed in the mail, so I would like to cancel the comic subscription and instead get the graphic novel.

Thanks again!

<> 2/16/11


Thanks for that! I’ve updated your comic order. I look forward to sending you all of your items!

<> 3/6/12

I thought I would check in to find out the status of the hardcover version of The Last Unicorn I ordered a few years ago. Last year you mentioned it was due to be sketched around the 21st of January, which I believe was the only thing holding it up from being shipped.


<> 3/6/12

Thank you for writing.

<SecondEmployee> quit their position with Conlan Press last April in order to deal with personal matters involving a divorce. The departure was extremely abrupt. Some of the cascading problems this created are still being sorted out, so I ask your patience while I put everything on the product shipping/customer service side back together, and hire and train suitable replacements.

Meanwhile, all customer support queries should be sent directly to Or you can call the office at 650-728-8098 between 9 AM and 5 PM California time. If I’m not in (or can’t pick up), just leave a message and I’ll return your call as soon as I can.

All best,

Connor Cochran

<> 3/7/12

Thanks for contacting us about this. I apologize that you were quoted an incorrect turnaround time that Conlan press was not able to honor. We’ve had problems with former employees making promises they could not keep so I’m going to refrain from making that mistake again.

I see that the last time we spoke you mentioned that you were planning to move soon. If that has happened please let us know so we can update our database. I currently have XXXXXX as your current address.

Again, thank you for your patience.

<> 3/7/12

Thanks for getting back to me.  You’re correct, I actually just recently moved.  Here’s my new address: XXXXXX.

I’m not trying to be a jerk, but can you tell me if I can expect the book this year at least? Is it possible to just forget the sketch and send me the book with what Peter wrote in it? The sketch was a cute idea, but what I really want is the book and the extra writing that Peter wrote into it. I ordered the book 3 years ago now and I’ve been patient, but, unlike the audiobook, which I’ve had on order for 7 years, the book has already been manufactured and, unless I was told incorrectly, Peter’s already done his part of the order. Would you be able to look into it and see if Peter did finish his writing and, if so, could you ship the book to me?

Thanks for your help.

<> 3/8/12

Thanks for being patient. I wanted to double check with Connor before replying to you and yes, we’re planning on completing all outstanding Deluxe Last Unicorn books and the Last Unicorn audio CDs this year. Connor thinks your sketch request is a creative one and is looking forward to finishing it. Unfortunately the agreement with these books was that they were to be released with both the hand written chapters and the sketch. Connor plans to finish his sketches as quickly as possible but if for whatever reason this does not sit well with you, you are always welcome to a full refund at any time.

Again, thank you for your patience.

<> 3/24/13

I would like to cancel my orders for the Deluxe Last Unicorn hardback and the Last Unicorn audiobook cds. Previously, I heard that I would be getting them by the end of last year, but it is now March of 2013 and according to the answer I received via the Peter Beagle handle on Twitter, there is no longer an anticipated manufacture or delivery date. I have been waiting for the audiobook since 2005. If/when it is actually manufactured I may reorder, but as of now I am asking for a full refund.

As mentioned below, I would very much like to receive the hardback book with Peter’s writings, which has been manufactured and that I have also been waiting years to receive, but as that is apparently impossible without waiting for Connor to complete his drawing, I would also like a refund for that product as well.

<> 5/5/13

Thank you,

I can only assume that <ThirdEmployee> has also quit Conlan Press as I never received a reply to the email below. Again, I would like to cancel my order for the Last Unicorn audiobook, which I have been waiting for now for 8 years. I do not know if I will reorder if/when it ever comes out.  I would also like to cancel my deluxe hardcover Last Unicorn book order unless I can get it without Connor’s art as I understand that’s the hold up on me getting it. I’ve also been waiting several years for that order.

Please issue a refund check to the following address: xxxxx

Connor Cochran <> 5/5/13

We had to terminate <ThirdEmployee> ‘s employment last October when we discovered they were stealing from the company – something which would have been difficult enough to deal with under any circumstances, but since the company operates out of our house it was particularly traumatic for my wife. Shortly after the termination I had to go to New York with Peter for a convention and other business, and the entire time I was gone she was unable to sleep properly because she was scared that <ThirdEmployee> might come back to the house to steal something else and/or commit some major act of vandalism. Because of what he did, we determined that there would be no more Conlan press employees until the company was big enough to have its own office somewhere other than where we lived. As a result I’m doing everything, which means that a short work-week for me is 80 hours, and more than once since last fall I’ve actually hit 100+.

Through all of that I have continued to finish drawings and send out books, though obviously at a reduced pace.

Thanks for writing to my email address instead of <ThirdEmployee> ‘s old one, since that account had to be closed as part of the new security measures and password changes put in place after <ThirdEmployee> was fired. I never received the 3/24/2013 email you included in your newest message. If I had, I would have responded as promptly as I am to this one.

Regarding THE LAST UNICORN audiobook, regular updates on our progress have been posted to the UPDATES page All we are waiting on is for John Howe to complete his illustrations for the TWO HEARTS book, which he says he will be sending soon (though obviously I have to wait for him to fit our drawings in around his work on THE HOBBIT movies). If you are certain you want to cancel, please confirm that you want a refund and it will be sent immediately.

Regarding the extra-deluxe LAST UNICORN, although Peter has completed his handwritten pages and the inscription on your copy, I can’t send it to you without my sketch. That’s not my call, but Peter’s: he is adamant that none of these special copies ship incomplete. Given that, please let me know if you are willing to wait a little longer or would prefer a refund now.

I do apologize for how long things are taking, but the delays are all for reasons outside my control, and I am doing my best to bring both projects to the quickest possible conclusion.

All best,

Connor Cochran

<> 5/7/13

Hi Connor, I’m very sorry to hear about <ThirdEmployee> ‘s stealing. I’m sure that must’ve been really traumatic and I’m glad he was sacked. I appreciate your getting back to me so fast. Yes, please refund me for the audiobook. As I mentioned, I may reorder once it’s manufactured and complete. I do still want the deluxe hardcover The Last Unicorn so I can wait until July, which is when I may be moving again. If I don’t have it before then, I will unfortunately have to cancel.

<> 6/3/13

Hi Connor, please see my previous email (below) and refund me for the Last Unicorn audiobook.  I will wait until July 1st for the deluxe hardcover The Last Unicorn.

<> 7/5/13

Hi, Connor, as I mentioned in my previous email, I am canceling my Last Unicorn audio book order and, as it is now July and I have still not received it, my order for the deluxe Last Unicorn hardcover with Peter’s story and your artwork.

Please send me a refund now for both items to XXXXX.

Connor Cochran <> 7/8/13

I am in Pittsburgh with Peter right now, so I can’t do anything about this until I get back home later this week. Will do so immediately on return.

<> 8/5/13

Hi Connor, has my refund been mailed?  I have not received it yet.

Connor Cochran <> 8/5/13

Mailed it, as promised, the day I got back from Pittsburgh — July 10th. If you haven’t gotten it by now then the post office has clearly mislaid it somewhere. This is not annoying, but not entirely surprising. Since I started shipping products in 2005 I’ve encountered an average USPS failure rate of around .5%, meaning that 1 in 200 things that are mailed either never show up, show up months past when they should have, or eventually show up back home in some mangled state. (I actually got one book shipment back that was literally in tattered chunks, and the pst office returned them to me in a sealed plastic bag.)

Will stop payment on the 7/10 check and send a new one today. Please note: the new check will be #2270 on the Conlan Press account. Should the original check (#2236) show up at your place someday instead of coming back to me, please tear it up.

By the way: I’m going to complete your book anyway and send it when it is done. Least I can do. And I really want to do your suggested drawing.


The Last Unicorn “Extra Deluxe” edition (sold since 2009) and audiobook (sold since 2004) have STILL not been produced at the end of 2014.

AGAIN: Conlan Press insiders refute claims made by “unreliable narrator” Connor Cochran above.  Uncovering truth requires comparing consistently bad experiences of victims.  IF IT HAPPENED TO YOU, PLEASE STEP FORWARD.  You are not powerless!

Fraud story views rise – Connor Cochran scrambles to cover up.

 “They shouldn’t be selling stuff and taking your money unless the product is ready for shipment IMO. Those hundred books with the special pages and illustrations etc should have been all done before they announced they were selling them.” link

Cochran has been very upset by fan anger about 10 years of scams.  He’s had a few short days to react since this expose went public.  In private discussions, people close to him have started asking questions he can’t answer.  So far, he has responded with a liberal helping of denial – calling these numerous sources and documents “lies”.

Cochran quickly scrambled to mount a defense for fraud, and smooth things over on the fan email list.  It offers nothing new.  It’s the same old story… he can only send excuses, instead of what fans paid for these past 10 years.  

The scams continue: Cochran’s email to the Peter Beagle fan list on 12/1/14 –


…But even as extraordinary things that have been years in preparation finally come to pass (the Kubo prints, the screening tour, the prospect of a Broadway-bound Last Unicorn musical, and more)…

TRANSLATION: COCHRAN HAS BEEN GROWING HIS BUSINESS PROPERTIES TO ENRICH HIMSELF.   Peter Beagle has no ownership of Conlan Press. Quote- he is “not connected to” the publisher.  

… there are some things which are still making their way out the door. Here’s a quick update for those who are waiting:

The Last Unicorn Audiobook/ Two Hearts hardcover combo — ready to send to press just as soon as John Howe (the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit artist) finishes his final two drawings.

WE SPOKE to involved parties.  Confidential communication leaves responsibility for this old, many-times repeated excuse with Connor Cochran. More info forthcoming.

… The Special Beagle Double and Green-Eyed Boy — ready to send to press when Peter is finally satisfied with the stories in these books. (Seventeen drafts and counting, in one case. But that’s Peter. We know he’ll get there, eventually, and it will be great when he does.)

Writing Sarek — new research sources have become available which might require changes in this manuscript. We’re looking at them now to see if that’s the case…

LOOKING AT THEM NOW is the same thing Cochran said about new sources, when he promised Writing Sarek to be fully completed in 2013.  Nondelivery was blamed on a death in 2006!

Conlan Press’s expired promises – website screenshot on 12/2/14:

Screen Shot

… The Extra-Deluxe Last Unicorn hardcover with handwritten Schmendrick text by Peter and uniquely-personalized unicorn sketches by Connor — every month a few more of these go out, as Connor completes more drawings despite the demanding schedule Peter and he are on. Eventually all copies will be finished and shipped. Since each sketch is based on the buyer’s suggestion, some pictures take as much as 6-8 hours to complete. When these are done Connor will have put in more than 2000 hours of drawing time! …

Please step forward if you have seen a single copy of The Extra-Deluxe Last Unicorn.  THE LIST OF 79 CHEATED BUYERS SAYS NO SINCE 2009!  If a few copies had gone out every month as claimed, for 5 years- all of these buyers would have goods they paid for but were never produced.

… The last of the delayed 2014 Canadian Screening Tour print and book orders — all the bureaucratic tax and banking tangles that got in the way are now cleared. Many of these purchases have already been shipped, and by the end of December the rest will be. As for customers whose credit cards were never charged back in April and May, even for things they collected at the shows, we will get in touch personally to finalize all arrangements.

If you have any questions about the above, please email We’ve just added two new customer service team members to improve our email response time, and they look forward to helping you.

Buyers are complaining that they paid for goods not delivered, not “collected at the shows”.  

Is delivering goods sold in early 2014 supposed to fix scam sales that fans paid for 10 YEARS AGO, and never received?

Is adding new team members going to deliver the scam sales?  Will these workers be stiffed on wages, like those who came before, so they can be blamed when they quit?

Watch this site.  We’ve got many more documents to release.  

Document: victim list of “extra deluxe” Last Unicorn book buyers, cheated since 2009.

If you are one of the scam victims who paid $85 for at least 261 sales of this book in 2009, please step forward. You are not alone!

Forum topic: Was anyone else here ripped off (purchased Last Unicorn Deluxe Edition)?

UPDATE: 182 additional sales are documented, with a list provided by a reader, raising total known sales from 79 to 261. There may be more.

Sales are documented below. 79 x $85 = roughly $6700 for this scam alone. And this is from ONE offering (out of how many offerings?) of ONE title out of many.

For 10 years, Connor Cochran has consistently offered “reservation” pre-sales for “special”, “deluxe” goods that are never intended to be produced.

The scam method starts by offering something that sounds almost “too good to be true”. (It is.) Buyers extend trust because of the name Peter Beagle attached to it. That’s the CONfidence that CONnor counts on for a CON game.

After the sale, the goalposts move. Connor makes promises of extended delivery times: later, “soon”, “end of the year”.  They move again… and again… hanging from a fraying thread of buyer confidence.

Connor strings victims along until the Statute of Limitations runs out to bring claims to court. He counts on attrition of claims by delaying them.

If an angry buyer does run out of tolerance, and makes pressure- Connor promises to send a refund check or replacement goods. Nothing arrives. If a buyer complains AGAIN… oops, it was lost in the mail! Wait again for another promise. And the process repeats. (This site holds piles of private emails documenting it.  We are preparing to release some. If you are one of the victims, please share. EDIT: here.)

If an angry buyer wants to take it to court, Connor has free service from disgraced ex-lawyer Charles Petit to fend them off.

If the claim persists through this attrition process, Connor counts on the amount of sale being less than the effort to legally pursue a claim. Few will go that far.  The cost to pay off a few claims will be only a small portion of the total take.

That’s the method of these scams: keeping them under the radar in size, spreading the net widely, and keeping individual claims isolated from one another. This is why fans need to help each other and tell their stories.

What a way to raise $6700 at a time! The saddest part is, if a person worked an honest job… they’d probably make twice as much in honest pay for the work.

What made you go bad, Connor? Why did you stoop to this? How did you go from being a fan, to scamming them? Where did your conscience go?

In late 2014, the Conlan Press website refers buyers to a long-expired promise, in a string of broken promises of delivery.


Buyers (of this title) have been strung along since 2009.  As a buyer said in 2010:

“They shouldn’t be selling stuff and taking your money unless the product is ready for shipment IMO. Those hundred books with the special pages and illustrations etc should have been all done before they announced they were selling them.”

Documents of sales:

From: Connor Cochran
Subject: Your Extra-Deluxe LAST UNICORN reservation request
Date: October 25, 2009


You are getting this email because you sent in a reservation request for the Extra-Deluxe LAST UNICORN hardcover.

Good news! Your request came in while we still had copies. So you are now officially on the Reserved List.

Send your payment via PayPal to For those of you who live within the United States, payment will be $75 each for your books and $10 for shipping/handling. If you live outside the United States, payment will be $75 each for your books and $15 for international shipping/handling. When you pay, make sure you use the message portion of your payment form to send (a) your correct mailing address, (b) how you would like Peter to sign your book, and (c) a conceptual cue for me to use as a starting point for your unicorn sketch. You can also send all that information via separate email, to, if the form doesn’t have enough room.

Peter and I will add our material to these Extra-Deluxe copies in the order that they are purchased, so the sooner you pay, the sooner you will get your special books.

By the way — even if you pay right away, I’ll still be calling you in person to chat and thank you for diving in to get this extra-special book. I’m looking forward to speaking with as many of you as possible.

All best,
Connor Cochran
Business Manager for Peter S. Beagle
& Publisher, Conlan Press

And then the goalposts moved…

From: Connor Cochran
Date: December 29, 2009


Peter and I have been working through these, in order, as fast as we can. It’s taken much longer than either of us thought it would, for which we both apologize. The simple truth is that we both seriously underestimated how much time it would take for us to make our additions to all these copies. Now that we’ve been at it a while we know better.

For all of you receiving this email, here’s where things stand: because we are working through these in purchase order, Peter hasn’t yet gotten to adding his extra material to your books. He is taking one day a week out of his writing schedule to work on this, and finds that he can usually get through 15 copies before his hand starts to cramp up. Based on that you should be able to look at where you are on the list, below, and see roughly when he will be getting to your copy.

After he completes his part, your book will go on the sketch stack for me to make my addition. But there are still a lot of books ahead of you, even then– it usually takes longer for me to add a sketch to each copy than it does for Peter to do his part — so it could be several more months from now before your finished copy ships to you. Peter and I think you in advance for your continued patience.


1) If you see asterisks next to your name, below, it’s because I’ve never gotten a cue/suggestion from you for personalizing your unicorn sketch. If there is anything you’d like me to keep in mind when doing your drawing for you, something that might make it a little more specifically your own, please get that to me ASAP.

2) Please send me a quick note verifying your best current shipping address. Some of you have moved since making your purchases — and for those of you who haven’t, I still want to make sure the shipping address I have on file is the correct one.

All best
Connor Cochran
1 Juliet Fox
2 Bob Kennett 2 ***
3 Kwok Ting Lee 1 ***
4 Kwok Ting Lee 2 ***
5 Jane Ludgate
6 Elizabeth Larsson 1
6 Elizabeth Larsson 1
7 Elizabeth Larsson 2
8 Honora Foah 1
9 Honora Foah 2
10 Honora Foah 3
11 Melissa P. Mosley
12 Sabeen Mapara
13 Art Morris
14 Geoff Guthrie
15 Robert Neal Coulter
16 Veronica Victoria Hough
17 Lorian Taylor
18 Rachel Baker 1
19 Rachel Baker 2
20 Rachel Baker 3
21 Patrick Lake
22 Angela Dalton
23 Katherine Stokke
24 Meghan Martin
25 Eliza Coleman 1
26 Eliza Coleman 2 ***
27 Eliza Coleman 3 ***
28 Jennifer Allen
29 Jill D. Horne ***
30 Erin Osborne-Martin
31 Kristen Cass
32 Sean & Laura Holland
33 Nicole Monelle ***
34 Natasha Christenson
35 Joshua Villines 1
36 Joshua Villines 2
37 Kim Holec 1 ***
38 Kim Holec 2 (for Mike Langford) ***
39 Ashley Armstrong
40 Ashley Armstrong
41 Sherry Bovee
42 Deirdre McLeod
43 Charles Hill
44 Alesia Tom
45 Amanda Tripple
46 Heather Boyer
47 Eva Richeson
48 Jeanine Holscher
49 Marysia Przeslawski-O’hear
50 Aziza Khan
51 Edward Geoghegan ***
52 Seth Breidbart
53 Sarah Rosenthal
54 Linda Williams
55 Linda L. Pang ***
56 Linda L. Pang ***
57 Erin Murphy ***
58 Edward Ecklund
59 Edward Ecklund
60 Marvin Prather
61 Cody A. Aichele
62 Kenn Quist
63 Annie Williams
64 Charles E. O’Bryan 1
65 Charles E. O’Bryan 2
66 Charles Edward Hardin gift
67 Ivan Yakubovich
68 Rebecca Edgeworth 1
69 Rebecca Edgeworth 2
70 Margaret May C. Lambert
71 Susan Kanner
72 Amanda Grosvenor
73 Angela Clayton
74 Marty Sandler (for Alyn Darnay) ***
75 John Mooney
76 Larry Womack
77 David Ray
77 David Ray
78 Jose Gabriel Dominguez Reyes
79 Anita Thomaston

5 years and many broken promises later, still waiting…

UPDATE: 182 additional sales are documented, with a list provided by a reader, raising total known sales from 79 to 261. There may be more.

Open letter to Chris Rickert, of Rickert and Beagle Books.


It must be one of the most wonderful experiences of your life, to have your indie book store partnered with loved author, Peter Beagle.

You seem like a passionate person. Many Beagle fans are. It seems part of your commitment to justice.

On 11/28/14, your Twitter account retweeted public comments that show your concern for justice. It’s noticed as part of the issue at hand.

Chris – you must be working with Peter Beagle’s manager, Connor Cochran. He holds Peter’s copyrights.

Did you know that Connor has run his business by stiffing wages to under-the-table workers?

Really… we’ve had the conversation with former workers, corroborating multiple sources. We’ve compared to defenses that Connor has made in piles of private email we hold. And They Just. Don’t. Add. Up.

Imagine: you’re a fan of Peter. You see Connor advertising for company helpers. You apply, dazzled by the prospect of working for a loveable cause. You’re hired with promise of full time pay. That’s so exciting! But pay doesn’t come. You’re treated as an intern. “That wasn’t the bargain”, you think… but the company is poor, says Connor. You’ll get paid later… whenever the money comes.

Later becomes months and tens of thousands owed. As you work, you start to notice a pattern of broken promises to others, never intended to be kept. You’re under financial strain from no pay… barely getting by and only doing it for Peter. Just as Connor counts on. Finally, disillusionment sets in. You admit to yourself you’ve been conned, too. It’s a bitter feeling.

Conlan Press holds the records of your labor, plus you’re afraid that under-the-table work means tax trouble. (It does, but the EMPLOYER is the ower of withholdings to the IRS.) You can do nothing but quit.

And you’re silenced. Connor has a new con… he’s blaming YOU for causing problems. That’s so convenient, isn’t it? It’s the oldest story in the book when it comes to employer abuse. But it’s not just you… there’s coinciding others. The common denominator is Connor. Isn’t that curious?

This is the story corroborated by multiple sources we’ve consulted.

Chris, Peter Beagle’s work is being put out using the very labor exploitation that you care about changing.

Have you asked Connor about this? Would you rather not rock the boat when things are so close between you and Peter? Please, think… what does it mean if you indirectly benefit from stiffed labor in his name?

Records of these very sensitive matters are being held in confidence, because some named in them are sickened by the experiences and want to put it behind them. It’s like court cases where victims don’t want to be re-victimized. But you CAN ask questions.

Please, do the right thing, and ask those questions.

We wish you success in business, and hope for change with Peter’s management and fairness for his fans.

Document: Charles Petit, legal advisor for Conlan Press, stripped of license for fraud.

Conlan Press puts the work of Peter Beagle and the rights of customers in the hands of Charlie Petit.  His license was taken away in 2007 for scamming $10,000 from the estate of John Steinbeck. 

Petit is , and   He’s named here as attorney for Peter Beagle.  This site holds official Conlan Press legal documents signed by Petit. Here’s a 2013 DMCA Takedown Request that Petit issued on behalf of Cochran’s Avicenna Development corporation, forcing a Last Unicorn fan site to remove content “after 17 years on the web.”

Connor Cochran, owner of Conlan Press, fends off scam victims with free legal service from Petit.  Petit isn’t allowed legitimate lawyer work.  A scam victim can not hope to get justice without paying high fees, while the scammer gets it free.  This chills complaints – leaving it up to fans and victims to help each other.

This record shows Petit’s rare and extraordinary discipline.  License loss only happens in very egregious cases.  The Illinois News-Gazette says: “Although he was only suspended for six months, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that he would not be allowed to practice law until further order of the court. That’s legalese suggesting it’s highly unlikely the 1995 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law ever will be allowed to return to his profession.”  The Illinois State Bar says he is Not Authorized To Practice since 2007.


Filed May 14, 2007

In re Charles Emil Petit

Commission No. 06 SH 30

Synopsis of Hearing Board Report and Recommendation

NATURE OF THE CASE: 1) engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; 2) breaching fiduciary duties to a client; 3) obtaining an unreasonable fee; and 4) engaging in conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute.

RULES DISCUSSED: Rules 1.5(a) and 8.4(a) (4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and Supreme Court Rule 770

RECOMMENDATION: Suspension from the practice of law for six (6) months and until further order of the Court

DATE OF OPINION: May 14, 2007

HEARING PANEL: Richard W. Zuckerman, James R. Mendillo, and Carolyn Berning




In the Matter of:



No. 6230038.

Commission No. 06 SH 30



The hearing in this matter was held on November 14, 2006, at the offices of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, Springfield, Illinois before a Hearing Board Panel consisting of Richard W. Zuckerman, Chair, James R. Mendillo, lawyer member, and Carolyn Berning, public member. The Administrator was represented by Deborah Barnes. The Respondent appeared at the hearing pro se.


On May 2, 2006, the Administrator filed a two-count Complaint against the Respondent. Count I of the Complaint alleged that in January 2002, Nancy Steinbeck consulted the Respondent about representing her. Nancy Steinbeck was the former wife of John Steinbeck IV, the son of author John Steinbeck. John IV died in 1991, Nancy was the beneficiary of John IV’s will, and as such had received substantial royalty payments from the literary works of John Steinbeck. The Respondent agreed to represent Nancy in regard to her claims against the literary agent for the beneficiaries of John IV’s estate and/or other beneficiaries thereof. On January 15, 2002, they signed a representation agreement that provided the Respondent would receive $115 per hour for “investigation and research,” $195 per hour for “appellate matters, appearances in court, or before arbitration panels or mediators,” and $165 per hour for “all other hours expended.” The Respondent did not file any action related to Nancy’s claims after January 15, 2002.

On numerous occasions between January 15, 2002, and July 17, 2003, Nancy had numerous telephone conversations with the Respondent. During the telephone conversations, the Respondent told Nancy that he had filed a complaint with the New York Disciplinary Committee regarding the conduct of McIntosh and Otis employees Winick and Pinkus, and that the Committee was actively investigating the matter. He advised Nancy not to file any action while the disciplinary matter was pending. The Respondent knew or should have known his foregoing statements to Nancy were false because he had not filed any complaint with the New York Disciplinary Committee.

Sometime between October 2003 and February 2004, the Respondent told Nancy that he had obtained documents, specific letters and memoranda, relating to her claims against McIntosh and Otis, and other beneficiaries. The Respondent knew or should have known his foregoing statement to Nancy was false because he had not received any of the documents and had fabricated their existence.

In February 2004, Nancy asked the Respondent to send her copies of the above documents. The Respondent told her that he had sent some of the documents to an expert document examiner. The Respondent knew or should have known his foregoing statement was false because the documents did not exist and he had not consulted with an expert document examiner.

On February 26, 2004, Nancy telephoned the Respondent and told him she had learned from the New York Disciplinary Committee that no complaint had been filed against theMcIntosh and Otis employees.

She also told him she did not believe he had the documents as he had claimed. The Respondent acknowledged to her that he had been misleading her for more than two years about the purported New York Disciplinary Committee complaint and the documents.

Count II of the Complaint alleged that between January 2002 and July 17, 2003, the Respondent sent bills to Nancy Steinbeck stating that he had worked approximately 54 hours on the matter described in Count I, including 25 hours of “investigation” of McIntosh and Otis, and requested payment in the amount of $10,899.12. Nancy paid the Respondent the $10,899.12. However, the Respondent did not perform sufficient services to justify a fee of $10,899.12, and did not perform 25 hours of legal services on an investigation of McIntosh and Otis. [Emphasis added.]

Based upon the factual allegations, the Administrator charged that the Respondent engaged in dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation (Counts I and II); breached his fiduciary duty (Count II); obtained an unreasonable fee (Count II); and engaged in conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute (Counts I and II).

On July 19, 2006, the Respondent filed an Answer. He admitted some of the facts alleged, denied others, and denied the charges of misconduct.


 The Administrator presented the testimony of Nancy Steinbeck, Dr. Lawrence L. Jeckel, and the Respondent as an adverse witness. The Administrator’s Exhibits 1 through 13 were received into evidence. (Tr. 7, 65) The Respondent testified on his own behalf, and his exhibits 1 and 2 were received into evidence. R. 9, 67)

Nancy Steinbeck

Nancy Steinbeck testified that she is 61 years of age and resides in the State of Arkansas. She was formerly married to John Steinbeck, IV, the son of John Ernest Steinbeck, the famous author. John IV died in 1991 and, pursuant to his will, Nancy was to receive the royalty payments that John IV had been receiving from his father’s estate. (Tr. 11-12)

In 2001, Tom Steinbeck, the brother of John IV, filed an action in the probate court in California against Nancy, seeking a portion of John IV’s estate. The New York agency that was handling the John Ernst Steinbeck Estate, McIntosh and Otis, then withheld the royalty income Nancy had been receiving. Nancy said she then looked for an attorney who “understood agency fraud” and contacted the Writer’s Union. The Writer’s Union referred her to the Respondent. (Tr. 12-13, 42, 44-46)

During her first conversation with the Respondent, which occurred in November 2001, he appeared to be very angry about how she had been treated. He told her he was the “perfect lawyer to handle this case,” he had “handled many high profile copyright cases;” he had “connections in the literary world;” and he “was an expert in extracting information in nefarious ways.” He voiced the opinion that McIntosh and Otis “had no right to withhold that money [from her].” Two of the people who ran McIntosh and Otis, Eugene Winick and Samuel Pinkus, were attorneys. The Respondent explained that he had a duty to report any ethical violation by an attorney and that the “first thing he was going to do was to report” Winick and Pinkus to the New York Bar Ethics Committee. Nancy and the Respondent signed a Representation and Fee Agreement (Adm. Ex. 1) on January 15, 2002. (Tr. 13-16)

Sometime prior to February 20, 2002, the Respondent filed a Complaint on behalf of Nancy with the Association of Authors Representatives (AAR) against Winick and Pinkus. AAR is the “only governing board for literary agents.” The Respondent provided Nancy with a letter dated February 20, 2002 (Adm. Ex. 13, p. 2), that he had sent to attorneys in New York regarding the AAR complaint. (Tr. 39, 45)

In March 2002, the Respondent sent a letter to the Disciplinary Committee in New York (Adm. Ex. 2). The letter requested an “ethics opinion” based on a factual situation without including the names of any individuals. He provided Nancy with a copy of this letter. About a “couple of months” later, the Respondent told her that the New York Ethics Committee was very interested and that he had sent a letter to the Ethics Committee naming Winick and Pinkus. He also told her that the Ethics Committee asked him for papers pertaining to the matter. Subsequently, the Respondent “constantly” told her there was a “flow of paper back and forth” with the Bar Committee, but that it was “confidential” and he could not “tell [her] what it’s about or it will endanger [her] legally.” (Tr. 16-18)

Nancy also testified that the Respondent told her the New York Bar was “essentially gathering” evidence for her, which could be used in support of a lawsuit against Winick and Pinkus. He said the New York Bar could “put pressure on Winick and Pinkus to release my money.” He also told her that she “could not file suit or take any other action while the [New York] disciplinary complaint was pending.” He did not tell her that it is an ethical violation in Illinois to file a disciplinary complaint in order to gain an advantage in a civil action. (Tr. 18-21)

The Respondent also told Nancy that he had “spies at McIntosh and Otis,” and the spies were going into the files to obtain information for him. (Tr. 19)

In July 2003, Nancy and her adult children met with the Respondent in Little Rock, Arkansas. She described the meeting as “a complete waste of time.” The Respondent “regaled [them] with stories about his counter-terrorism escapades” and said he “had spies at McIntosh and Otis getting stuff out of the files to prove [Nancy’s] case.” The Respondent also mentioned specific letters and other documents showing that people were “colluding … to take away [her] royalty payments” and that there was a breach of fiduciary duty. One of the reasons the Respondent asserted for not giving the documents to Nancy was that he had sent them to a forensic documents examiner. (Tr. 22-26)

After meeting with the Respondent, Nancy was “scared” and “disturbed.” On August 8, 2003, she sent an e-mail to the Respondent and demanded to see several documents that he had mentioned. (Adm. Ex. 7, p.1) She said that she never saw any of the documents “because they don’t exist.” During a telephone conversation shortly after she sent the e-mail, the Respondent told her that he had been diagnosed with depression and named the medication he was taking. He continued to tell her that he could not get the documents because they were still with the document examiner. (Tr. 26-31)

In February 2004, Nancy sent an e-mail to the Respondent expressing her doubt whether the documents previously described by the Respondent actually existed. (Adm. Ex. 7, p. 2) The Respondent replied and apologized for misleading Nancy. (Adm. Ex. 7, p. 3) He added, however, that he did not intentionally mislead her (Adm. Ex. 7, p. 4) Thereafter, Nancy contacted the New York Bar Ethics Committee and learned that no complaint had been filed against Winick or Pinkus. She then telephoned the Respondent, told him that she knew he had lied to her, and fired him. The Respondent “started crying” and said “I can’t believe I’ve done this.” On that same date, February 26, 2004, the Respondent sent Nancy a letter resigning as her attorney (Adm. Ex. 4). (Tr. 31-35)

At some point, Nancy told the Respondent she would let the matter rest as long as he cooperated with her and her new attorney. She then hired attorney Sandy Housler, and the Respondent turned over some records. However, the Respondent “continued to lie to” Nancy and, she filed a complaint with the ARDC. (Tr. 35-36, 41-44)

The Respondent sent Nancy four billing statements. The statement, dated April 20, 2003, billed 10.9 hours for the “investigation” and “integration” of McIntosh and Otismaterials (Adm. Ex. 5, p. 1). The statement of July 16, 2003, billed 10.4 hours for the “investigation” of McIntosh and Otis and 6.1 hours for the “integration” of the investigation materials (Adm. Ex. 5, p. 2). The statement of October 21, 2003, billed 5.1 hours for the “investigation” of McIntosh and Otis (Adm. Ex. 5, p.2a). A final statement was sent to Nancy on March 17, 2004 (Adm. Ex. 5, p.4). She paid the Respondent $312 in November 2002, $5,413 in July 2003, and $5000 in September 2003. Nancy telephoned the Respondent and told him he could refund the fees she paid or she would pursue a malpractice suit against him. The Respondent said he could not make a refund. She has not filed any civil action against him. (Tr. 37-39, 46)

Finally, Nancy stated that the probate matter in California was eventually settled. (Tr. 42)

The Respondent

The Respondent admitted that he committed the misconduct charged in Count I of the Complaint. (Tr. 76) Specifically, he admitted that he “improperly deceived” his client, Nancy Steinbeck, about a “number of matters,” and that his “misrepresentations were not acceptable.” (Tr. 63, 69) He stated that he regretted his actions and that his misrepresentations were intertwined with his mental condition at that time. (Tr. 63, 69, 76, 77) [Emphasis added.]

He said that his first contact with Nancy Steinbeck was in late October 2001. When he was hired by her, he agreed to investigate the matter of McIntosh and Otis, a literary agent, withholding royalty payments she had been receiving through the probate estate of her former husband. (Adm. Ex. 1) He also told Nancy that he would file an ethics complaint in New York against attorneys Eugene Winick and Samuel Pinkus, who were principals and/or employees of McIntosh and Otis. (Resp. Ex. 1, p. 1-3) He said he “may have” told Nancy that the filing of the ethics complaint “was a way to exert pressure on [McIntosh and Otis] to release her money.” (Tr. 49-50)

In March 2002, the Respondent sent what he described as a “sanitized inquiry to the New York bar” (Adm. Ex. 2). By “sanitized” the Respondent said he meant that it “included no identifying information concerning any individual involved.” He received a telephone call from the New York Bar about three weeks later indicating that “any further action would need to be unsanitized, so to speak, with specific details.” The Respondent did not file any complaint, did not send any other document, and did not receive any other communication from the New York Bar in this matter. Nevertheless, he told Nancy that he had filed a complaint with the New York Bar and that there was a “continual flow of paper back and forth regarding the subject area of the inquiry.” (Tr. 51-53)

The Respondent told Nancy he was having certain documents reviewed by a handwriting expert. In a sworn statement to the ARDC on February 1, 2006, the Respondent similarly said that he had documents reviewed by a handwriting expert. He identified the handwriting expert as “Walter Wilson,” and said that Wilson had moved to Florida. However, the Respondent acknowledged that he had not sent any documents to be examined by a handwriting expert and that the purported expert named Walter Wilson does not exist. (Tr. 53-57)

On February 3, 2006, ARDC counsel sent a letter to the Respondent requesting him to provide certain documents he had mentioned in his sworn statement two days earlier, and which Nancy Steinbeck had requested from him in August 2003. (Adm. Ex. 6, p. 4; Adm. Ex. 7, p. 1) ARDC counsel sent a second request for the documents on February 24, 2006. (Adm. Ex. 6, p. 5) The Respondent acknowledged that he did not respond to either the foregoing letters or disclose, at any time, that the documents did not exist. (Tr. 55-57)

In his Answer to the disciplinary complaint, the Respondent admitted for the first time that the above documents did not exist. (Adm. Ex. 7, p. 1; Adm. Ex. 8, par. 7-9, p. 6-8) He also admitted, for the first time in his Answer, that the purported handwriting expert Walter Wilson did not exist. (Adm. Ex. 8, par. 11-12, p. 8-9) The Answer was filed on July 19, 2006. (Tr. 56-57, 59-60) [Emphasis added.]

On July 25, 2006, ARDC counsel sent him a request to produce documents, including “correspondence and accompanying documents sent to and received from the expert witness you identified as Walter Wilson in your sworn statement given on February 1, 2006.” (Adm. Ex. 12, p. 3) In an affidavit submitted on August 28, 2006, in response to the foregoing request, the Respondent failed to disclose that Walter Wilson did not exist, but rather stated that a search of his paper and electronic documents “thus far has not recovered any responsive documents,” and that responsive documents “probably” will not be discovered. (Adm. Ex. 12, p. 10). (Tr. 57-58, 60)

When asked why he did not disclose in his response to the request to produce that Walter Wilson did not exist and that there were no documents pertaining to Wilson, the Respondent said: “At that point I was not entirely certain. I believed that the probability was very high at that point. With hindsight I should have disclosed directly in so many words that I did not, that I suspected Walter Wilson did not exist and that there were no documents…. At that point I had not reviewed all of the available electronic files. I was being forced to recover damaged media and I wanted to be sure that I reviewed everything that would be available before I gave you a definitive answer. In hindsight I should not have been so reticent.” When asked again, the Respondent said: “It appears that I overread the Administrator’s request…to mean that [it] also included anything that I might have intended to send [to an expert].”

Finally, the Respondent was asked why he did not tell ARDC counsel that Walter Wilson did not exist, he replied: “embarrassment as much as anything else. Shame may be a better word.” (Tr. 59, 61-62) The Respondent explained that Nancy Steinbeck “was not the easiest client to deal with” and that he later realized her “situation was beyond my capabilities to represent.” When asked why he told Nancy he had certain documents that he did not have, he replied: “I can’t give any single definitive answer to that. My belief is that I told her that from a combination of…attempting to deal with a client who frequently descended into hysteria during telephone calls and misestimation of my own abilities and responsibilities.” (Tr. 62, 69) [Emphasis added.]

On February 26, 2004, following a telephone conversation with Nancy Steinbeck, the Respondent reported his misconduct to the ARDC. (Resp. Ex. 1) He said that in February 2004, Nancy was not aware that he was going to or had reported the matter to the ARDC. However, on at least two occasions Nancy told him he needed to cooperate with her or she was going to report him to the ARDC. (Tr. 70, 78, 84-85)

It was pointed out to the Respondent that in his report to the ARDC in February 2004 (Resp. Ex. 1), he used terms, such as “apparent misrepresentations” and “I appear to have represented,” and did not expressly state that he made false statements about documents which did not exist. He explained that his “self report” was the “best information that I had available to me at that time in the state I was in.” At that time, he “didn’t have direct recall of what” he had told Nancy, and he was not “prepared to accept” that he had lied to Nancy. He was “confused at the time” and “felt that my judgment was so impaired that I did not want to draw that kind of conclusion [making misrepresentations to his client] as impaired as I was feeling.” He further said “I didn’t have direct memory of much of what had been going on.” (Tr. 70, 78-80, 117)

In regard to his mental condition, the Respondent said that he has had migraine headaches that lasted “anywhere from 6 to 36 hours.” During those attacks he is “essentially incapable of functioning” and “everything is so jumbled during the attacks that I can’t sort it out at a later time.” For example, “I honestly can’t say if someone had spoken to me during that time period whether I would remember that person or not.” He currently takes painkillers that “significantly reduce the frequency of the migraines.” (Tr. 116-17, 121-22)

The Respondent mentioned the “personal stress” and even “despair” he has suffered from his family situation and his own health problems. He noted that his oldest son has received inpatient psychiatric care on more than one occasions. He said he is receiving “substantial assistance in therapy,” and believes he is “much more aware of the potential warning signs in which I might be vulnerable to making any kind of misrepresentation to anyone.” (Tr. 63, 82, 117)

The Respondent further testified that he has “changed the nature of [his] practice” in order to prevent a repetition of misconduct. He said he has other attorneys and/or experienced literary agents available to review his files. When there is “even a hint that there will be litigation forthcoming, I immediately onsult with other counsel.” He works out of his home and “severely” limits the amount of work he does so that he will not become overburdened. He estimated that he spends about 12 to 15 hours a week on legal work. (Tr. 83, 118-20)

Finally, in regard to Count I, the Respondent pointed out there was a stipulation that Nancy Steinbeck’s present counsel would testify the misrepresentations the Respondent made did not adversely affect any of Nancy’s litigation. (Tr. 66-67, 70-71; Resp. Ex. 2)

In regard to Count II, the Respondent denied that he obtained an unreasonable fee from Nancy Steinbeck. He said that while some of the charges in his billing statements (Adm. Ex. 5) were not proper, such as the charges relating to the investigation of McIntosh and Otis, Nancy paid him about $4,000 less than the amount he billed. He noted that the charges relating to McIntosh and Otis were less than $4,000. He also said that he promptly attempted to correct his billing invoice (Adm. Ex. 5, p. 4). He further noted that he assisted Nancy’s counsel, Mr. Bond, in the California probate litigation and, when Mr. Bond withdrew, the Respondent “assisted Ms. Steinbeck in a transition to new counsel, Mr. Thomas Munson.” The Respondent also participated in a mediation hearing for the probate matter and a “general settlement was reached.” He said it then “took us collectively several months to work out specific language in that general settlement agreement.” (Adm. Ex. 5, p. 2, 2a, 4) Further, he said he “provided all necessary documents to opposing counsel” in a copyright matter involving Nancy. (Tr. 71-73, 76-77) [Emphasis added.]

Lawrence Lee Jeckel

Dr. Jeckel testified that he is a physician specializing in psychiatry. He briefly described his background and his curriculum vitae was received into evidence. (Tr. 86-88; Adm. Ex. 10)

Dr. Jeckel was asked by the ARDC to evaluate the Respondent. He met with the Respondent on two occasions, March 29 and July 18, 2006, considered various materials, and prepared a report. (Tr. 88-92; Adm. Ex. 11)

Dr. Jeckel made a diagnosis of the Respondent. First, the Respondent has a Mixed Personality Disorder. This is a “pervasive, usually lifelong pattern of maladaptive thinking and behavior which … would cause a social and occupational impairment.” Second, he has a “Dysthymic Disorder.” This is a depression that “comes and goes,” and sometimes impairs sleep and appetite. Third, he has a Major Depressive Disorder. This results in the Respondent feeling “suicidal, helpless, very depressed and I think required hospitalization at one point.” The Respondent’s “primary problem” is his personality disorder. (Tr. 93-94; Adm. Ex. 11, p. 10)

The Respondent is currently prescribed Wellbutrin by Dr. Luke Yang, and he has a session with Harry Vandervelde, MSW, at the Champaign County Mental Health Center every other week. However, Dr. Jeckel voiced concern that the Respondent is not addressing any of his issues. The Respondent has not been forthcoming about his problems to Mr. Vandervelde. Also, Mr. Vandervelde “provides mostly a sounding board” and is “just listening to” the Respondent. Dr. Jeckel explained that the sessions with Mr. Vandervelde are “not therapy.” The Respondent has not improved while having these sessions. (Tr. 96-97, 101-02; Adm. Ex. 11, p. 6, 7)

In regard to the Respondent’s “self-report” letter to the ARDC (Resp. Ex. 1), Dr. Jeckel said it contained “a lot of impressionistic language,” “a lot of [his] equivocation,” and few “real facts.” He also noted that after the Respondent acknowledged he fabricated Walter Wilson, he “then turned around and said there was a Walter Wilson.” Dr. Jeckel said it is “very mysterious again why he would do that when the truth would serve him better.” In regard to the Respondent’s continuing misrepresentations to disciplinary counsel, Dr. Jeckel said “it’s lying upon lying upon lying and I think it’s a sign of very serious and unique personality disorder.” (Tr. 95-96, 99, 102-03)

Dr. Jeckel noted that the Respondent had “serious external stresses,” such as his son being mentally ill, but that his inability or unwillingness to provide detailed factual answers “is due to a larger problem in the way [Respondent] thinks about things and act.” (Tr. 114)

Dr. Jeckel voiced the opinion that the Respondent’s psychological condition affects his ability to practice law, and that his misconduct relating to Nancy Steinbeck was “related to his current mental health condition.” Dr. Jeckel also voiced the opinions that the Respondent is presently at risk to repeat his misconduct and that he “is not fit to practice law.” (Tr. 93-94, 103-05; Adm. Ex. 11, p. 12)

In order for the Respondent to become fit to practice law, Dr. Jeckel recommended that the Respondent be evaluated for at least six months and possibly a year by a psychiatrist or a psychologist who works with personality disorders. It is important for the Respondent to be asked “very hard questions about his thinking and behavior” and to “talk honestly and openly about his feelings and his behaviors.” During the period of evaluation, the Respondent would also receive “beginning therapy.” Once there is a better understanding of the “extent of [his] problems,” an appropriate course of treatment could be pursued. (Tr. 103, 110-13; Adm. Ex. 11, p. 12-13)


In attorney disciplinary proceedings, the Administrator has the burden of proving the charges of misconduct by clear and convincing evidence. In re Storment, 203 Ill. 2d 378, 390, 786 N.E.2d 963, 969 (2002). This standard requires a high level of certainty, greater than a preponderance of the evidence but less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Bazydlo v. Volant, 164 Ill. 2d 207, 213, 647 N.E.2d 273, 276 (1995). In determining whether the burden of proof has been satisfied, the Hearing Panel has the responsibility of assessing the credibility and believability of the witnesses, weighing conflicting testimony, drawing reasonable inferences from the evidence, and making factual findings based upon all the evidence. In re Howard, 188 Ill. 2d 423, 435, 721 N.E.2d 1126, 1133 (1999); In re Ring, 141 Ill. 2d 128, 138-39, 565 N.E.2d 983, 987 (1990). In assessing the evidence, the Hearing Panel is not required to be “naïve or impractical” or to believe testimony that is “beyond human experience,” “an unreasonable story,” or “an inherent improbability.” In re Discipio, 163 Ill. 2d 515, 523-24, 645 N.E.2d 906, 910 (1994); In re Holz, 125 Ill. 2d 546, 555, 533 N.E.2d 818, 821 (1989); Tepper v. Campo, 398 Ill. 496, 504-05, 76 N.E.2d 490, 494 (1948).

Additionally, an admission in a pleading is a formal judicial admission that is binding on the party making it, may not be contradicted, has the effect of withdrawing the fact admitted from issue, and dispenses with the need for any proof of that fact. See In re Estate of Rennick, 181 Ill. 2d 395, 406-07, 692 N.E.2d 1150, 1156 (1998); El Rincon v. First Mutual Insurance. 346 Ill. App. 3d 96, 100, 803 N.E.2d 532, 535-36 (2004); Caponi V. Larry’s 66, 236 Ill. App. 3d 660, 671, 601 N.E.2d 1347, 1355 (1992). Thus, when a respondent in a disciplinary matter admits in his or her answer some or all of the facts alleged in a complaint, it is unnecessary for the Administrator to present evidence to prove the facts so admitted. See In re Harris, 97 SH 88, M.R. 16300 (January 24, 2000) (Hearing Board Report at 42); In re Carlson, 98 CH 880, M.R. 17398 (June 20, 2001) (Hearing Board Report at 11).

With the above principles in mind, and after considering all of the evidence, we make the following findings.

Count I

We find that the misconduct charged in Count I was proved by both the evidence presented at the hearing and the Respondent’s admissions in his Answer.

As charged in Count I, the Respondent repeatedly and knowingly made false statements to his client Nancy Steinbeck during an approximate two-year period, January 2002 to February 2004. Specifically, the Respondent made the following false statements.

The Respondent told his client that he had filed a complaint against attorneys Winick and Pinkus with the New York disciplinary authorities. (Tr. 17-18; Answer, p. 6, par. 6) However, the Respondent never filed such a complaint and he clearly knew that he had not done so. (Tr. 51, 64; Answer, p. 6, par. 5 & 6)

The Respondent told Nancy Steinbeck that New York disciplinary authorities were conducting an investigation of his complaint against Winick and Pinkus and gathering evidence against Winick, Pinkus and their employer, McIntosh and Otis. (Tr. 18, 21, 51-52) However, the Respondent knew there was no such investigation because no complaint had been filed. (Tr. 63-64; Adm. Ex. 3; Answer, p. 6, par. 5)

The Respondent told Nancy Steinbeck that there was a “flow of paper back and forth” between the Respondent and the New York disciplinary authorities. (Tr. 18-20, 51) However, the Respondent knew that there was no such exchange of documents. (Tr. 52, 64; Adm. Ex. 3)

The Respondent told Nancy Steinbeck that his communications with the New York disciplinary authorities were “confidential” and, thus, he could not discuss them with her. (Tr. 18, 20, 51) Clearly, the Respondent knew there were no confidential communications between him and the New York disciplinary authorities because he did not provide information about any named individual, there was no disciplinary investigation, and there was simply no exchange of information. (Tr. 63-64; Adm. Ex. 3)

The Respondent told Nancy Steinbeck that she could not file any suit or take other action while the disciplinary complaint in New York was pending. (Tr. 21) The Respondent knew that the foregoing representation was false and misleading because he knew no disciplinary complaint had been filed. (Tr. 51, 64)

The Respondent told Nancy Steinbeck that he had obtained copies of letters between attorney Winick and two of Nancy’s relatives, showing attempts to defraud Nancy out of certain royalties. (Tr. 24-25; Adm. Ex. 7, p. 1; Answer, p. 6-7, par. 7) However, the Respondent knew that he never had such letter or copies thereof. (Tr. 57, 60; Answer, p. 7-8, par. 8 and 9)

The Respondent told Nancy that he had obtained a copy of a letter Thomas Steinbeck wrote to attorney Winick, showing Thomas’ desire to see Nancy receive no additional royalty payments. (Tr. 25; Answer, p. 6-7, par. 7) However, the Respondent knew that he never had such letter or a copy thereof. (Tr. 57, 60; Answer, p. 7-8, par. 8 and 9)

The Respondent told Nancy that he had obtained a copy of a memorandum onMcIntosh and Otis letterhead, showing that McIntosh and Otis was forging documents. (Tr. 26; Answer, p. 6-7, par. 7) However, the Respondent knew that he never had such a memorandum or copy thereof. (Tr. 57, 60; Answer, p. 7-8, par. 8 and 9) The Respondent told Nancy that he had sent some of the above mentioned documents to a document examiner or handwriting expert. (Tr. 26-27, 53; Adm. Ex. 7, p. 2; Answer, p. 8, par. 10) However, the Respondent knew that he never had such documents; knew that the purported examination expert did not exist; knew he never sent any documents to a document examiner or handwriting expert; and knew the statements that he sent documents to be examined were false. (Tr. 54-57, 60, 63; Answer, p. 8-9, par. 11)

It is well established that an attorney engages in dishonesty and deceit by knowingly making false or misleading statements to a client. See In re Ring, 141 Ill. 2d. 128, 143, 565 N.E.2s 983, 988-89 (1990); In re Levin, 101 Ill. 2d 535, 539-40, 463 N.E.2d 715, 717 (1984) Furthermore, an attorney who acts in a dishonest or deceitful manner, particularly toward a client, tends to bring the legal profession into disrepute. See In re Stern, 124 Ill. 2d 310, 314-15, 529 N.E.2d 562, 564 (1988). In this case it is clear that the Respondent repeatedly and knowingly made false statements to and acted with dishonesty toward his client Nancy Steinbeck.

Therefore, we find that the Administrator proved by clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent committed the following misconduct as charged in Count I: (a) engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and (b) engaged in conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute, in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

Count II

In regard to Count II, we find that the Respondent engaged in dishonest and deceitful conduct, and breached his fiduciary duties to his client.

Fraud and dishonesty include “any conduct, statement, or omission that is calculated to deceive.” In re Gerard, 132 Ill. 2d 507, 528, 548 N.E.2d 1051, 1059 (1989).

An attorney-client relationship creates a fiduciary relationship between the attorney and client. Because of this fiduciary relationship, the attorney owes the client a high “measure of good faith,” undivided fidelity,” and “loyalty.” In re Winthrop, 219 Ill. 2d 526, 543-44, 848 N.E.2d 961, 972-73 (2006); In re Imming, 131 Ill. 2d 239, 252-53, 255, 545 N.E.2d 715, 721, 722 (1989).

In this case, the evidence showed that the Respondent sent to his client, Nancy Steinbeck, three billing invoices in which he claimed to have worked a number of hours on an investigation of the New York literary agent McIntosh and Otis (M & O).Specifically, his invoice of April 20, 2003, listed 6.2 hours of work for the “investigation of M & O” and 4.7 hours for the “integration of M & O investigation results and materials.”(Adm. Ex. 5, p. 1; Tr. 37) The Respondent’s invoice of July 16, 2003, listed 10.4 hours of work for the “investigation of M & O” and 6.1 hours for the “integration ofM & O investigation results and materials.”(Adm. Ex. 5, p. 2; Tr. 37) The Respondent’s invoice of October 21, 2003, listed 5.1 hours of work for the “investigation of M & O.” (Adm. Ex. 5, p. 2a; Tr. 37) Clearly, the Respondent sent the foregoing billing invoices to Nancy for the purpose of having her pay him for the hours of work listed.

The evidence, including the Respondent’s own admissions, showed that he did not conduct an investigation of M & O, and that the hours of work relating to the purported investigation of M & O listed on the three billing invoices were false. In other words, the Respondent completely fabricated his purported investigation of M & O. For example, the Respondent told his client he had spies looking through files; that he had obtained certain M & O documents; and that he had sent those documents to a handwriting expert named “Wilson.” In reality, he had no spies; he never received any M & Odocuments; the documents he identified do not exist; and the handwriting expert he identified does not exist. (Tr. 19, 23-24, 28-29, 34-35, 54, 56-57, 60, 62, 77; Answer, p. 6-8. Par. 7-9; p. 11-12, par. 17-18; Adm. Ex. 5, p. 4; Adm. Ex. 7, p. 1; Resp. Ex. 1, p. 3-4). Consequently, by knowingly sending his client billing invoices listing hours of work that he had not performed, for the purpose of receiving payment for those hours, the Respondent engaged in dishonest and deceitful conduct, and breached his fiduciary duties to his client.

Also in Count II, the Respondent was charged with “obtaining an unreasonable fee.” (Complaint, p. 6, par. 19(b)). The Respondent denied this charge. (Tr. 76-77) Although the Respondent sought to obtain a fee for purported work relating to an investigation ofM & O, which did not occur, we do not believe there is clear and convincing evidence that he actually obtained a fee for work relating to that investigation.

As noted above, the evidence showed that the Respondent sent Nancy Steinbeck three billing statements requesting fees for work relating to the non-existent investigation ofM & O. (Adm. Ex. 5, p. 1, 2, 2a) The billing invoice of April 20, 2003, charged $125 per hour for 6.2 hours of work on an investigation of M & O, for a fee of $775. The same invoice also charged $175 per hour for 4.7 hours of work on the “integration” of the investigation results, for a fee of $822.50. In light of the fact that there was no investigation of M & O, the Respondent improperly charged Nancy $1,597.50 on the invoice of April 20, 2003. (Adm. Ex. 5, p. 1) However, on the same invoice, he billed a total of $8,235,23 for fees, which included $6,637.37 for other work performed for Nancy. This invoice also showed $4,885.39 due from previous invoices. (Adm. Ex. 5, p. 1)

Nancy Steinbeck testified that she made three payments to the Respondent. (Tr. 38; Adm. Ex. 9) Her first payment, of $312, was made in November 2002 (Adm. Ex. 9, p. 1), which was before the Respondent sought to obtain improper fees on his invoice of April 20, 2003. Thus, the payment of $312 in November 2002 was unrelated to the fabricated investigation. Also, Nancy made no other payment to the Respondent until after July 16, 2003. (Adm. Ex. 9)

On July 16, 2003, the Respondent sent another billing invoice. (Adm. Ex. 5, p. 2) On this invoice, he charged $125 per hour for 10.4 hours of work on an investigation of M & O, for a fee of $1,300. The same invoice also charged $175 per hour for 6.1 hours of work for the “integration” of the investigation results, for a fee of $1,067.50. Thus, the total amount of improper fees for which the Respondent billed on the invoice of July 16, 2003, was $2,367.50. However, on the same invoice, he billed $7,360.23 for other work performed for Nancy. This invoice, as did the invoice of April 20, showed that Nancy still owed him $4,855.30 from invoices prior to April 20, 2003. (Adm. Ex. 5, p. 1 and 2)

In summary, the Respondent’s billing invoice of July 16, 2003, showed that Nancy Steinbeck owed him current fees in the amount of $9,727.73, plus unpaid fees (from prior to April 20, 2003) of $4,885.39, for a total of $14, 613.12. Only $2,367.50 of the total amount was related to the non-existent investigation of M & O. Thus, when the improper fees are deducted, Nancy still owed the Respondent $12,245.62. (Adm. Ex. 5, p.2)

On the billing invoice of July 16, 2003, the Respondent also set out a “proposed payment schedule” for Nancy to pay him $5,413.12 immediately, and then to make two payments of $4,600. (Adm. Ex. 5, p. 2) On July 17, 2003, Nancy paid the Respondent $5,413.12 (Adm. Ex. 9, p. 3; Tr. 38), as the Respondent had proposed. Following the foregoing payment, Nancy still owed the Respondent $6.832.50 for fees unrelated to fabricated investigation of M & O. Nancy then made one additional payment to the Respondent, and that payment, on September 30, 2003, was in the amount of $5,000. (Adm. Ex. 9, p. 2) The $5,000 was less than the amount Nancy still owed the Respondent for work unrelated to the M & O investigation.

Consequently, Nancy Steinbeck paid the Respondent $312 before she was billed for any work that the Respondent had not performed. (Adm. Ex. 5, p. 1; Adm. Ex. 9, p. 1) She also paid him an additional $10,413.12 (Adm. Ex. 9, p. 2, 3), which was less than the $12,245.62 the Respondent had billed for work unrelated to the non-existent investigation of M & O. (Adm. Ex. 5, p. 1, 2; Tr. 77) There was no proof that any of the work for which the Respondent billed Nancy Steinbeck, other than that related to the investigation of M & O, was not performed. Thus, the evidence failed to establish that the Respondent obtained any payment for work he had not performed.

Finally, we note that the evidence showed the Respondent did perform services on behalf of Nancy Steinbeck. For example, he filed a complaint against Mr. Winick and Mr. Pinkus with the Association of Authors Representatives (AAR) and prepared correspondence relating thereto (Tr. 39; Resp. Ex. 1, p. 3; Adm. Ex. 13, p. 2, 10, 13); he reviewed copyright regulations and prepared documents on behalf of Nancy (Tr. 73; Adm. Ex. 13, p. 3); he reviewed documents relating to royalties claimed by Nancy (Adm. Ex. 13, p. 11); he participated in a settlement conference in the probate proceeding where a general agreement was reached (Tr. 72); and, over “several months,” he helped to work out specific language for the settlement agreement (Tr. 72; Adm. Ex. 13, p. 9).

Therefore, we find that the Administrator proved by clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent committed the following misconduct charged in paragraph 19 (a), (c), and (d) of Count II: breached his fiduciary duties to a client; engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and engaged in conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute, in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770. We also find that the charge of “obtaining” an unreasonable fee, in paragraph 19(b) of Count II, was not proved.


The purpose of the attorney disciplinary system is not to punish an attorney for misconduct, but rather “to protect the public, maintain the integrity of the legal profession, and protect the administration of justice from reproach.” In re Winthrop, 219 Ill. 2d 526, 559, 848 N.E.2d 961, 981 (2006). In determining the sanction to recommend, the Hearing Board Panel is to consider the seriousness of the misconduct, any aggravating and mitigating circumstances shown by the evidence, the deterrent value of the sanction, and whether the sanction will help preserve public confidence in the legal profession. See In re Gorecki, 208 Ill.2d 350, 360-61, 802 N.E.2d 1194, 1200 (2003). Although each disciplinary case “is unique and must be resolved in light of its own facts and circumstances,” the sanction imposed should be “consistent with those imposed in other cases involving comparable misconduct.” In re Howard, 188 Ill.2d 423, 440, 721 N.E.2d 1126, 1135; In re Chandler, 161 Ill.2d 459, 472, 641 N.E.2d 473, 479 (1994).

In this case, the Administrator requested the sanction of suspension from the practice of law for one year and until further order of the Court. (Tr. 125, 129) In support thereof, the Administrator cited the following cases: In re Bourgeois, 25 Ill. 2d 47, 182 N.E.2d 651 (1962); In re Hogan, 93 CH 234, M.R. 9161 (September 27, 1993); and In re Sutherin, 03 CH 646, M.R. 20636 (September 20, 2006). (Tr. 126-27). The Respondent requested a suspension of one year, stayed in its entirety for a two-year period of probation (Tr. 132), and cited the following cases: In re Olton, 05 SH 27 (Hearing Board Report); In re Aulston, 98 CH 101, M.R. 19331 (May 24, 2002); In re Forsberg, 02 CH 111, M.R. 19331 (May 17, 2004); In re Hubbard, 04 CH 135, M.R. 20917 (September 20, 2006); and In re Spak, 188 Ill. 2d 53, 719 N.E.2d 747 (1999). (Tr. 130-31)

The misconduct of the Respondent consisted of knowingly and repeatedly making false statements to his client, and breaching his fiduciary duties by attempting to obtain fees for work that he had not performed. Clearly, the Respondent’s misconduct demonstrated a lack of honesty and integrity.

An attorney is required to possess “good moral character,” and “honesty” is an “important element” of good moral character. In re Polito, 132 Ill. 2d 294, 303, 547 N.E.2d 465, 469 (1989); In re Glenville, 139 Ill. 2d 242, 255, 565 N.E.2d 623, 629 (1990). The Supreme Court has stated that “purposeful misrepresentations” are “contrary to honesty intrinsic in a lawyer’s oath of office” (In re Crisel, 101 Ill. 2d 332, 243, 461 N.E.2d 994, 998 (1984)), and that any conduct showing “a want of personal honesty or integrity” is “reprehensible” and demonstrates an “unfitness to practice law” (In re Chandler, 161 Ill. 2d 459, 473, 641 N.E.2d 473, 479-80 (1994); In re Vavrik, 117 Ill. 2d 408, 412-13, 415, 512 N.E.2d 1226, 1228-29 (1987)). Thus, the Respondent’s misconduct was very serious.

There is also aggravation in this case. The Respondent’s misconduct did not arise from a single incident or involve a brief lapse of sound judgment. Rather, the Respondent made numerous false statements to his client over an approximately two-year period. For example, he knowingly and falsely told Nancy Steinbeck: he had filed a complaint against two attorneys with the New York disciplinary authorities; the New York disciplinary authorities were conducting an investigation of the attorneys and were gathering evidence helpful to Nancy; he was exchanging information with the New York disciplinary authorities; he could not discuss his communications with the New York disciplinary authorities because they were “confidential;” he was conducting an investigation into the New York literary agent McIntosh and Otis (M & O); he had a “spy” going through the files at the office of M & O; he obtained certain documents favorable to Nancy from M & O; he could not give Nancy a copy of the documents because he had sent them to a handwriting expert; and he sent Nancy billing invoices stating that he had worked numerous hours related to the investigation of M & O. In fact, the Respondent filed no complaint with the New York disciplinary authorities; there was no disciplinary investigation; he had not exchanged paper work with the New York disciplinary authorities; he had no spy at M & O; he had received no documents from M & O; he sent no documents to a handwriting expert; and neither the documents he claimed to have received nor the handwriting expert he named even existed.

Moreover, the Respondent’s misrepresentations continued during the investigation by the Administrator. At a sworn statement to the ARDC in February 2006, the Respondent falsely claimed that he had received certain documents from M & O; that he was having the documents examined by a handwriting expert; that the handwriting expert was “Walter Wilson;” that Wilson had moved to Florida; and that he had inadvertently forgot to bring the above documents to the sworn statement. (Tr. 53-56) However, the Respondent knew that the documents and the handwriting expert named Walter Wilson did not exist. (Tr. 56-57) Even after the Respondent finally admitted in his Answer, filed on July 19, 2006, that neither the documents nor the expert existed (Tr. 57), he still claimed, in his response to the Administrator’s request to produce, that he was searching his files for correspondence and documents exchanged between him and the handwriting expert. (Adm. Ex. 12, p. 3, 8, 10; Tr. 58-62, 102)

It should be apparent to every attorney practicing in Illinois that he or she “has an obligation to cooperate with [the Supreme] Court and its agency, the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, in the performance of its duty to police the legal profession in this state.” In re Zisook, 88 Ill. 2d 321, 331, 430 N.E.2d 1037, 1041 (1981) Furthermore, the Supreme Court has indicated that providing false information in a “sworn statement to the Administrator” demonstrates the “unfitness of an attorney to practice law.” In re Bell, 147 Ill. 2d 15, 39, 588 N.E.2d 1093, 1104 (1992).

There is also mitigation in this case. The Respondent has been licensed to practice law since 1995 and has no prior discipline. (Tr. 133) He acknowledged he committed the misconduct charged in Count I. (Tr. 76, 129) He admitted that he “improperly deceived the client concerning a number of matters” and that his misrepresentations are “not acceptable under the rules of professional conduct.” (Tr. 63, 69) It was stipulated that Nancy Steinbeck’s current attorney would testify that the Respondent’s misconduct did not cause her to lose any claim against M & O or its employees. (Resp. Ex. 2) As discussed below, the Respondent’s misconduct was related to his mental health condition. (Tr. 69, 103)

It is also mitigating that the Respondent self-reported misconduct in February 2004, which was before his client indicated to him that she would file a disciplinary complaint against him. (Tr. 35-36, 70, 78) However, the weight of this factor is diminished because, in his letter to the Administrator reporting his misconduct (Resp. Ex. 1), he sought to lessen his culpability by making vague, ambiguous, and misleading statements. (Tr. 95) For example, he referred to his false statements to Nancy Steinbeck as “apparent misrepresentations.” (Resp. Ex. 1, p.1) He said “[s]o far as I have been able to determine the misrepresentations were not made with the intent to deceive or to harm client interests.” (Resp. Ex. 1, p. 1) He suggested that he had prepared a complaint to file with New York disciplinary authorities, and said “[m]y files do not reflect any proof that the complaint was actually filed.” (Resp. Ex. 1, p. 3) He also stated “I appear to have represented to Nancy that I had obtained documents that tended to demonstrate bad faith [by M &O]” and a “significant majority of those documents do not appear to have been received here.” (Resp. Ex. 1, p. 3) As discussed above, the Respondent knew he had not filed a complaint in New York, knew he had not received any documents from M & O, and, nevertheless, he told Nancy Steinbeck he had filed such a complaint and had received such documents. (Tr. 51-52, 56-57, 60, 62)

In addition to the above, Dr. Lawrence L. Jeckel, a psychiatrist, evaluated the Respondent, prepared a written report (Adm. Ex. 11), and testified about his findings and recommendations. Dr. Jeckel diagnosed the Respondent with a “Mixed Personality Disorder,” which is an enduring, usually life-long, pattern of maladaptive thinking and behavior that “significantly impairs one’s life.” (Adm. Ex. 11, p. 10-11; Tr. 93-94) Additionally, he diagnosed the Respondent with a “Dysthymic Disorder,” which is chronic depression, and with a “Major Depressive Disorder.” (Adm. Ex. p. 10-11; Tr. 93) Dr. Jeckel said that the personality disorder is the Respondent’s “primary problem.” (Tr. 94)

Dr. Jeckel voiced the opinion that the Respondent’s psychological conditions affect his ability to practice law (Tr. 93), and that his misconduct was related to his mental problems (Tr. 103, 105). He voiced the further opinion that the Respondent “is not fit to practice law.” (Tr. 94, 104; Adm. Ex. 11, p. 12)

The Respondent is apparently taking medications, Wellbutrin and Flexeril, prescribed by Dr. Luke Yang, and is attending sessions with Harry Vandervelde, MSW, a counselor at the Mental Health Center of Champaign County. (Adm. Ex. 11, p. 6-7, 9) However, Dr. Jeckel stated that the Respondent has not yet addressed any of his mental issues in therapy. Mr. Vandervelde is not providing “real therapy” for the Respondent, but is “mostly a sounding board for Mr. Petit.” (Tr. 97-98)

Finally, Dr. Jeckel recommended that, in order for the Respondent to be mentally fit to practice law, he should be evaluated “for at least six months to a year” by a psychiatrist or psychologist who works with personality disorders. The Respondent could obtain “beginning therapy” during the period of the evaluation. After there is a better understanding of the “extent of [his] problems” an appropriate course of treatment could be implemented. (Tr. 110-13: Adm. Ex. 11, p. 12-13)

In light of Dr. Jeckel’s expert opinions, which we found very knowledgeable and credible, and our own observations of the Respondent during his testimony, we find that the Respondent is currently unfit to practice law, that his mental or psychological problems have not been sufficiently addressed or treated, and that he poses a threat to the public and the integrity of the legal profession.

As noted above, the Respondent requested that we recommend a term of probation for him. We do not believe probation is appropriate in this case. Supreme Court Rule 772(a) provides that an attorney may be placed on probation if the attorney “has demonstrated” that he: “(1) can perform legal services and the continued practice of law will not cause the courts or the profession to fall into disrepute; (2) is unlikely to harm the public during the period of rehabilitation . . . ; [and] (3) has a disability which is temporary or minor and does not require treatment and transfer to disability status . . . .”

The Respondent has not demonstrated that he meets any of the above requirements, and, in fact, the evidence showed the contrary. Thus, probation is not appropriate. See In re Sutherin, 03 CH 61, Review Board Report at 13-16 (Petition to file exceptions to the Review Board Report denied in M.R. 20636, September 20, 2006); In re Handy, 03 SH 118, Hearing Board Report at 44-45 (Hearing Board Report approved in M.R. 19825, January 14, 2005).

We also note that the evidence in this case would support a finding that the Respondent is incapacitated from continuing to practice because of a mental disorder, warranting a transfer to disability inactive status. However, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 758(a), only the Inquiry Board can initiate the filing of a petition to transfer to disability inactive status. (Tr. 127-28) We suggest that the Administrator consider seeking a revision to Rule 758 so that the disposition by the Hearing Board in matters like this could include a recommendation for transfer to disability inactive status.

The cases cited by the Respondent do not support probation in this case. The Supreme Court has granted probation when an attorney has obtained appropriate treatment for his or her mental disorder, addiction, or other impairment that was related to the misconduct and there is evidence that the attorney is fit to practice law while undergoing the course of treatment. See In re Ackermann, 99 Ill. 2d 56, 67-69, 457 N.E.2d 409, 413-14 (1983); In re Harrison, 02 SH 84, Hearing Board Report at 44-45, 47 (Hearing Board Report approved in M.R. 19281, March 15, 2004). Three of the cases cited by the Respondent are classic examples of the above situation. In In re Aulston, 98 CH 101, M.R. 18122 (May 24, 2002), the attorney’s misconduct was related to his depression, he was receiving treatment, and his doctor said “with continued treatment and medication, [the attorney’s] condition should not interfere with his ability to practice law.” (Review Board Report at 5, 12) In In re Forsberg, 02 CH 111, M.R. 19331 (May 17, 2004), the attorney’s “depression and anxiety” contributed to her misconduct, she “sought and continues to receive treatment for those conditions,” and according to a psychiatrist, “her anxiety and depression are much improved.” (Petition to impose discipline on consent, p. 1, 5-6, 9) Finally, in In re Hubbard, 04 CH 135, M.R. 20917 (September 20, 2006), the attorney was “suffering from mental health and [alcohol] abuse conditions” at the time of her misconduct (a DUI and failure to report the conviction to the ARDC), she had maintained sobriety for about 16 months, she was taking anti-depressant medication and otherwise participating in psychotherapy, and “she appears to be in solid recovery.” (Petition to impose discipline on consent, p. 1, 4) Unlike the foregoing cases, the Respondent in this case has not received and is not receiving necessary treatment for his mental conditions, which were related to his misconduct, and he is simply not fit to practice law at this time. (Tr. 93-94, 102-05, 110-11; Adm. Ex. 11, p. 12-13)

The Respondent also cited the Hearing Board Report in In re Olton, 05 SH 27 (April 28, 2006), in which there was a recommendation of suspension, stayed by a period of probation. (Tr. 130) We note that subsequent to the hearing in this case, the Review Board issued a report in the Olton matter, on February 14, 2007. The Review Board concluded that probation was not appropriate, and recommended a suspension for 60 days. In any event, unlike in this case, the attorney in Olton did not have any mental problems or addiction impairments that adversely affected her ability to practice law. (Olton, Hearing Board Report at 34-35; Review Board Report at 16-17).

Lastly, the Respondent cited In re Spak, 188 Ill. 2d 53, 719 N.E.2d 747 (1999), in which the sanction of censure was imposed. However, the misconduct in Spack did not involve dishonesty. The Court stated “we find no reason to disagree with the Hearing Board’s finding that respondent’s actions . . . did not involve a dishonest or fraudulent motive.” Also, when considering the appropriate sanction, the Court stated “[w]e rely most heavily upon the Hearing Board’s finding that respondent did not act with any fraudulent intent.” (Spak, 188 Ill. 2d at 66, 69, 719 N.E.2d at 754, 755). The Respondent’s misconduct in this case included numerous false statements to his client, plus additional false statements to the ARDC, and is much more egregious than in Spak.

We believe that based upon the nature of the Respondent’s misconduct, in light of the aggravating and mitigating factors, a sanction of suspension is appropriate in this case. The cases discussed below support a suspension for the Respondent.

How a Wolf pretends to be a Sheep:


Gaining $15 million while cheated buyers wait ten years for goods.

Cheated customers of Conlan Press are still waiting for goods they have been promised since 2004.  Owner Connor Cochran has claimed to be unable to honor promises for ten years, while he lines his pockets with a growing company., 19 Sep 2014:  “The Last Unicorn” as Broadway Musical – 

Cochran and Beagle are currently crossing the country with a screening tour of “The Last Unicorn” that began in 2013 and runs through 2016. It is expected that the screening tour will play roughly 500 cities over the next several years.  A $15 million offer from Asian producers is on the table to stage the production there, Cochran said.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for those books!

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 3.54.15 AM





Fans of Peter S. Beagle: cheated by Conlan Press and The Last Unicorn movie tour.

“There are countless consumers who have never been given the items they ordered.

This is not an occasional failure on their part, but a way of business. They are fleecing fans, and that’s shameful”.

Better Business Bureau complaint against Conlan Press

  • “The problem is, if you buy it from Conlan Press, you might never get it. I know people who have been waiting for their purchases for /years/.” – link
  • “I am so freaking sick to my stomach with Conlan Press and the absolutely horrible business they run that it isn’t even funny. – link
  • “We waited and waited and waited, and kept corresponding, and then–nothing. I think we gave up after about a year and a half – I was really really disappointed with Conlan and I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.”link
  • “I’ve been waiting 6 years for the Two Hearts Hardcover/Last Unicorn Audiobook with squat!  I’m about to blow a gasket on Connor Cochran- a no good, rotten, dirty worm who steals from people” – link
  •  “So many people have been scammed by CONnor.  Some people have honestly been waiting over 5 years and are still getting the runaround.” – link

VISIT the forum topic for more:  Was anyone else here ripped off (purchased Last Unicorn Deluxe Edition)?” 


Dear robbed customers of Conlan Press:  WE NEED HELP!  

Connor Cochran is the operater/owner of Conlan Press and manager of The Last Unicorn movie tour.  He has taken our money for many years without producing goods.  When we complain, we get no goods or refunds.  There have only been excuses that keep changing – a string of broken promises.

These titles, sold by Conlan Press and listed on their site, have been undelivered starting as early as 2004:

  • THE LAST UNICORN Audiobook — 8 CD Edition
  • THE LAST UNICORN Audiobook — MP3-on-CD Edition
  • TWO HEARTS — Collector’s Illustrated Hardcover
  • WRITING SAREK — Hardcover Edition
  • … and others …

See a list of victims. If victims buzz too loudly, Cochran blasts them for causing problems… as if these complaints aren’t harm he did to many independent sources.  Please share them and demand help NOW.

Goods are undelivered since 2004, while Connor Cochran is robbing us to make himself RICH.

In 2009, Cochran moved into a million-dollar home.  In 2011, he boasted about business expansion to Publisher’s Weekly.  In 2013, he took control of the millions-valued Last Unicorn movie for an international tour.  He boasted of a plan to spend “five million dollars” and attracting 15 million in investment.  BUT STILL NO GOODS!

His home and Conlan Press address through 2014:  897 Jordan Street, Montara, CAValue estimate:  $1,251,582 – Rent estimate: $4,366/mo

Call Connor: 650-267-9651 – – Conlan Press:  650-728-8098 or 650-563-9421

Connor Cochran is a predator hiding behind Peter S. Beagle.

Cochran is exploiting fan love for a poor, innocent writer.  Peter Beagle appears unaware of the scams done in his name, because he only wants to write, and avoids business.  Since the 1970’s, Beagle was exploited by businessmen who didn’t pay him.  In the 2000’s, Cochran fought them to take control of Beagle’s rights.  After getting them, Cochran switched exploitation from Beagle… to his fans.

Remember: Peter Beagle DOES NOT OWN Conlan Press.  Cochran does.  He constantly acts as if Beagle is in poverty, and begs us to support him. (Actually – to buy goods that support Cochran’s own expanding properties.)  He excuses non-delivery by blaming the death of Beagle’s mother… all the way back in 2006.

The excuses always play on our heartstrings, while Cochran says they come from Beagle… but Beagle tells fans seeking undelivered goods that he’s “not really connected to” the publishing house.


Cochran, on left - placing himself next to Beagle in messages to fans
Cochran on left – placing himself on Beagle’s level in his messages to the fan email list.

It gets worse:  Cochran’s partner is disgraced ex-lawyer Charles Petit, who scammed $10,000 from the estate of John Steinbeck.

Cochran is aided by disgraced former lawyer, Charles E. Petit.  Petit lost his license for ripping off $10,000 from the estate of John Steinbeck. An unlicensed lawyer is not allowed to give legal services.

Petit is , and   He’s named here as attorney for Peter Beagle.  This site holds official Conlan Press legal documents signed by Petit.  In 2013, 6 years after his license was lost, Petit forced a Last Unicorn fan site to remove contents “after 17 years on the web” with a DMCA Takedown Request that he issued on behalf of Cochran’s Avicenna Development corporation.

Cochran has been sued for scamming publishers and authors:

Cochran formed multiple corporations in 2008 to hide his activities:

  • Connor Cochran Inc. is listed as suspended by the CA Secretary of State (do a name lookup.)
  • Avicenna Development is suspended but still used for business.
  • Conlan Press is active with the CA Secretary of State.

Smokescreen of employee abuse:

Cochran ripped off over $10,000 in unpaid wages from a worker. They were consulted for this report.  The Conlan Press insider shares this description of Cochran:

  • “Makes promises to everyone that he has no intention of keeping: sales, pay”
  • “Used money gained for Peter to do things: go out to eat, take trips”
  • “Claims to be what he is not: there to help Peter, generate income for Peter”
  • “Refuses real solutions to his problems for organization, time management, aid in completion of projects.”

This site holds private email documents where Cochran blames multiple workers for mismanaging his business. It’s a convenient excuse to hide his own abuse of workers and buyers.  He even sent email posing as former employees.  The common denominator in the excuses is Connor Cochran.  

Is Cochran in the business of taking estates from elderly authors?

Conlan Press “has the time and resources to add authors to its list, authors much like Beagle, acclaimed writers with past commercial success who have been ‘abandoned by their publishers and agents as they got older.’”  – Publisher’s Weekly –   (There was time to increase Cochran’s properties – but NOT TO DELIVER GOODS!)

  • Parke Godwin “was placed in a close care facility in 2012 due to a decline in his long- and short-term memory. He died in 2013.”   Cochran: “I’m handling most things for him… and we’re taking the steps necessary to get me appointed as his guardian and conservator.”Weird Tales magazine, 8/15/12 – see also here
  • Edgar Pangborn “became particularly close to Peter S. Beagle.  Edgar’s sole heir, his older sister Mary… bequeathed the entire Pangborn estate to him.”wikipedia
  • Conlan Press authors: wikipedia

Cochran’s most recent property gain: The Last Unicorn movie tour

The movie is reaping money for Cochran on tour from 2013-2016.  He said on 7/26/13:

“Something absolutely astonishing happened yesterday. Because of how well LAST UNICORN screening tour plans are coming together, ITV just gave complete authority over worldwide theatrical distribution for THE LAST UNICORN to our team. This is definitely an “only in the internet age” story, and I can’t think of any other film of equivalent stature that is being handled in remotely the same way.”

Read some of Cochran’s lies to excuse fraud:

On 8/5/11, Cochran sent email to the Peter Beagle fan list with one of many excuses that failed to materialize:

 “GOOD NEWS DELAYED PRODUCTS UPDATE:  Nearly all of them will be done and shipped by the end of the year. Those that aren’t will be at the printing plant and on their way for shipping in early 2012.” – They’re still not delivered in 2014.

Conlan Press maintains a web listing of sold but undelivered items.  Delivery dates have changed over many years, with new excuses each time it’s updated.  Cochran promises angry customers that they will always be informed about their missing goods there… but in 2014, it only has a failed promise of 2013 delivery for products sold as long as 10 years ago.  Complaints are still being referred to a long-expired excuse.

In late 2014, the Conlan Press "News" page. Since 2006, "unexpected turns of events".
In late 2014, the Conlan Press “News” page. Since 2004, “unexpected turns of events”.
Excusing fraud from 2006 to 2014.
Excusing fraud from 2004 to 2014.

Demand solutions NOW from Connor Cochran.  BEWARE of Conlan Press. 

Please spread this report among fans, to protect each other – and writers!

After years of broken promises, it’s time for pressure to demand accountability  – and refunds to every deceived customer.

File a complaint with the Attorney General:  Link

Document abuse on Ripoff Report:  Link

Report your story:


WHY HELP? Cochran’s “Last Unicorn Tour” website gives a look at new and future fraud against fans:

(Site comment screenshot:)

Dominique Audet Benoit November 10, 2014 at 9:45 am

Hi, I came to see the show when you came in Montreal, Quebec in may last summer and I bought one of the prints after the show. A while after I read that you were having trouble with shipping and customs and that the merchandise would be delayed. I was wondering how is the situation with all that and if I can expect to receive the print soon.

  • Connor Cochran November 22, 2014 at 11:16 am

    It was an incredible bureaucratic tangle that is still being cleaned up, but I expect to have everyone’s prints out to them before the end of the year. (We learned a lot from what happened, which thankfully means we should be able to prevent it from ever happening again.)

Never again?  Late 2014 website update: