Monday, March 31, 2008

President of Wharton Estate Resigns

From the Associated Press

President of Wharton Estate Resigns

By MARK PRATT – 23 hours ago

BOSTON (AP) — The president and chief executive of the financially troubled estate of author Edith Wharton has stepped down rather than assume a different position in a restructured management hierarchy, trustees announced Sunday.

The five-member board of trustees at The Mount in Lenox said in a statement that they have accepted the resignation of Stephanie Copeland "with regret."

The organization that owns the estate, Edith Wharton Restoration, has borrowed $4.3 million for operating costs, but in January missed a $30,000 payment, prompting a bank to start foreclosure proceedings.

The estate made the payment with a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, but it still trying to raise $3 million. So far about $570,000 has been raised, trustee Gordon Travers said Sunday.

An anonymous donor has promised another $3 million over five years if the fundraising goal is reached.

"Right now, we're month to month," he said.

The board determined that the future of The Mount lay in restructuring management.

"We concluded that if we made it through this fundraising campaign, if we had a future, we needed to separate finance and administration from the creative side," Travers said.

Copeland had essentially been fulfilling both tasks, but under the restructuring was offered the position of creative leader, which she rejected, the trustees said in a statement.

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