Middlebury More than a dozen Vermont authors and printers—from Addison, Bennington, Chittenden, Orange and Rutland counties—will be anxiously anticipating what they hope will be the conclusion of the strange case of Peter Campbell-Copp, 62, of Manchester.
This case, which was last before a Vermont judge in 2011, still has legs; justice hasn’t had the final say—yet.
The alleged swindle victims want another day in court. And their day has been approved and scheduled for April 2 in Vermont Superior Court in Bennington.
The wronged authors have told their heartbreaking stories several times in the local news media since the story first broke in 2011; and in their telling, we have heard their frustration in finding Vermont justice as well as the psychic cost of victimization.
Two years ago, Campbell-Copp, a former president of the Manchester Historical Society, publisher, and secondary school dormitory floor proctor, denied wrongdoing in allegedly defrauding authors and printers of over $170,000.
Campbell-Copp promoted himself as an independent book publisher while the authors involved allege that he promised to produce their first books. The money was paid, but their books never appeared, they claim.
A few in the publishing world were already familiar with polymath DeWitt Samuel Copp, father of Campbell-Copp.
At least until 2011, the Copp name had carried weight and authority in the book world. And when the senior Copp died in 1999, he left behind 30 well-received, published books on Cold War and aviation topics.
The senior Copp began his professional writing career at age 19. He wrote network television plays in the Golden Age of Broadcasting for Kraft Theater, the Bell Telephone Hour and the Hallmark Hall of Fame. And as one of the directors of the Weather Engineering Corporation, he created aircraft equipment that used the chemical silver-iodide for the production of artificial rain (the Vermont rainmaker saved many a Great Plains farmer from going bankrupt). That’s why the charges against the junior Copp surprised so many folks. If it was true, why would the son of such a celebrated author and inventor do such a thing?