Charles Peters

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What are Charlie's greatest moments as a small businessman?

Steven Waldman
I was once doing a story that required me going through the financial statements of various senators. Ploughing through the very long filing from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, I went past page after page of things like, "Exxon -- Over $1,000,000" or "Chase bank -- $1,000,000." Deep in, I came across "Washington Monthly Company.... No known value." I was proud.
Walter Shapiro
About 18 months ago, as I was telling Charlie about my book on my con-man great uncle, he reminded me that he rented a room when he was going to Columbia from (as I recall) the ex-wife of Harry Golden. Afterwards, in the late 1950s, Golden became famous for writing nostalgic books on the Jewish experience like "Only in America" and "For 2-Cents Plain."

But more relevantly, Harry Golden was a major-league con-man who did five years in federal prison in the 1930s for mail fraud. Only belatedly did I realize that Harry Golden was the original inspiration for Charlie's idiosyncratic approach to bill paying for the Monthly.
Michelle Cottle
Tales of his business acumen are legion. My personal favorite: his back-against-the-wall strategy of paying creditors with unsigned checks--which of course had to be returned, thus buying the magazine a few extra days to get its accounts in order.