“My only other job was borrowing from people,” he said. “The main thing was survival.”
Beagle has been married three times, but he has had the same best friend since he was five, a painter named Phil Sigunick. One of his first books, “I See By My Outfit,” was about a cross-country motor scooter ride the two friends took in the 1960s. Beagle recalled that over the years Sigunick liked to say, “The things you do for a dollar and a half always amaze me.” (But with a salty curse word thrown in.)
When Beagle met Cochran in 2001, he was in the middle of a divorce and in debt. The two men began working together, and eventually Cochran began managing Beagle’s finances, paying Beagle’s bills and rationing money to him as if “it was a parent managing an allowance for a child,” court documents say.
Cochran, who is also a writer, has created a company called Avicenna Development Corporation to house both his intellectual property and that of Beagle. The two men would split the property 50-50, but according to court documents, it was structured so that Cochran controlled the company. Beagle said in court he never knew about some of the money made from his creations, including a $100,000 payment over a rights dispute involving “The Last Unicorn.”
“I trusted Connor,” Beagle said. “What a mistake it was.”
In 2015, Beagle sued Cochran in California Superior — a difficult trial in which two of Beagle’s children testified against him, he said. At the end of his daughter’s testimony, Beagle said, he looked down and realized his attorney, Kathleen Hunt, had been holding his hand.
Cochran was charged with financial elder abuse, fraud and breach of fiduciary duties. He was also found guilty of defamation for telling Beagle’s friends, relatives and business associates that the writer had dementia.