President of Edith Wharton Restoration Quits Amid Financial Trouble


The president of Edith Wharton Restoration, Inc., the organization that owns and maintains the Mount, the author's landmark estate in Lenox, Massachusetts, has stepped down, the New York Times reported. Stephanie Copeland, who served as president since 1993, led the restoration of the Mount, which began in 2001 and has received awards for preservation. The site is now on the register of National Historic Landmarks.

The property is facing foreclosure, however, as the organization has defaulted on payments on a $4.3 million loan from a local bank and $2.5 million from a private lender. Charles McGrath of the New York Times reported that a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities enabled the organization to secure an extension from the bank until April 24, and that the board of directors is trying to raise $3 million, which an anonymous donor has promised to match. According to the organization's Web site, $568,363 has been raised so far.

Copeland says she was offered the post of creative director, but that she declined because the board intends to hire both a director of finance and a development officer. "There's no money to fund those two other jobs," she is quoted as saying, "so I would have wound up doing what I do now, only without the authority of being president and CEO."