Statement by Patrick Lake
Hello, for an introduction, I’m not known by many people in this story and have said little directly about myself so far. That’s how false impressions have been spread, but the simple truth is I was pulled in like many who found themselves cheated. My background is in animation, with art credits in TV and movies. Independently I started a business as a book dealer, which lets me provide support for others. Making a donation in response to a call for help for creators rights led to certain business dealing with Connor Cochran, but little did I know the lengths that people will go to cheat others. Nobody knows the costs I paid to prevail in a situation of breathtaking abuse, but my personal stake was always about stopping it and not going quiet because of retaliation. At this point I think we all know who the good guys and bad guys are, and there never should have been false impressions about that. Now here are a few words about legal matters:
Peter S. Beagle, creator of The Last Unicorn, has been in legal battle with his ex-manager Connor Cochran since late 2015. And in 2014, as a result of efforts by Fansagainstfraud.com to publicize certain business practices of Cochran and his Conlan Press, Cochran entered a public relations and legal battle with one of the persons who was critical of him in the past. That is me, and I sued Cochran with a cross-claim. I was supported by Peter Beagle and witnesses who responded to a public call for help. For more details on that, go here.
On February 17, 2019, after years of threats and running through five different lawyers, and after repeatedly asking the court to continue the trial date since May 2017 — even though he publicly claimed to want to get me into a courtroom — Connor Cochran agreed to dismiss his claims after the court wouldn’t give him one more continuance. Cochran agreed to dismiss his claims against me, in exchange for dismissal of my claim based upon Cochran’s unfounded public statements that I had forged, or “caused to be forged,” his signature and that of his assistant, decade-long suspended attorney Charles Petit, on a contract between myself and Cochran.
Cochran only claimed his signature had been forged once I hired an attorney — several months after I had already sent Cochran a copy of the allegedly forged document with a request for payment due, to which Cochran had replied by promising payment. Until Cochran dismissed his claims against me, a handwriting expert with over 30 years’ experience (including with the U. S. Treasury Department and the California Dept. of Justice) was scheduled to testify in court that it was a virtual certainty that the signatures were authentic, not forgeries.
I took a default judgement against Conlan Press on the date of trial, February 19, 2019, with a $32,000 claim open to future pursuit. Conlan Press is in bankruptcy. The end of the legal battle allows both sides to return to their lives. My side has never been fully told until this statement, and I’m not interested in adding further public comments. My gratitude goes to those who supported me and continue to support Peter Beagle.