Three men who turned themselves in to Manhattan authorities to face charges of stealing handwritten notes and lyrics from the classic rock and roll album ‘Hotel California’ include the CEO of an auction house based in the Bergen County.
An indictment issued by a grand jury in Manhattan accuses Edward Kosinski of Franklin Lakes and two alleged co-conspirators of conspiring to profit from stolen material produced by singer-songwriter Don Henley, who co-founded the Eagles with the late Glenn Frey in the early 1970s.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Brooklyn’s Kosinski and Craig Inciardi knew the ‘development lyrics’ to ‘Hotel California’ were stolen when they tried to resell them after buying them from the rare book dealer of New York, Glenn Horowitz.
Bragg pegged the value of the materials at around $1 million.
“These defendants attempted to preserve and sell these unique and valuable manuscripts, despite knowing they had no right to do so,” the prosecutor said Tuesday. “They made up stories about where the documents came from and their right to own them so they could make a profit.
Lawyers for the three men released a joint statement on Tuesday affirming their innocence.
“The DA’s office alleges crime where there is none and unfairly tarnishes the reputations of highly respected professionals,” he said. “We will vigorously fight these unwarranted accusations.”
It’s no surprise that the 100 pages of liner notes and lyrics to tracks like “Life In the Fast Lane,” “New Kid In Town,” and the album’s title track become objects of desire.
When musicologists discuss American equivalents of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” inevitably begin with the Eagles’ seminal recording, which was as commercially successful as it was critically received.
Half a century after its 1976 release, “Hotel California” is so entrenched in culture that the Eagles are still filling arenas two years after they began a world tour of playing the album cover to cover. another with a full orchestra.
The manuscripts were stolen in the late 1970s by an author hired to write a biography of the Eagles, Bragg said. He then sold them to Horowitz in 2005, the DA said.
Horowitz, 66, who once received $20 million for Bob Dylan’s massive archive, sold the “Hotel California” notes to Inciardi and Kosinski, according to the indictment filed against the trio.
Inciardi, 58, from Brooklyn, works as a curator for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. A spokeswoman said he had been suspended.
“We do not tolerate any conduct that compromises the integrity of our collection or our institution,” Vice President Dawn Wayt said. “When we became aware of this matter, we suspended the employee and hired an experienced outside attorney to conduct an internal investigation.”
Kosinski, 59, who is married to New York real estate heiress Jacqueline LeFrak, has negotiated high-profile deals through Gotta Have Rock And Roll, a Franklin Lakes-based auction house specializing in music and sports memorabilia.
His most recognized items include Elvis Presley’s 1942 Martin D-18 “Sun Sessions” guitar ($1,320,000), the piano on which John Lennon composed “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and “A Day In The Life” ($725,000), and a 1957 Goldtop Gibson Les Paul that belonged to Duane Allman ($1,050,000).
Kosinski once hit out at Madonna for selling personal items, including a breakup note from the late Tupac Shakur. He was also surprised two years ago when a black Fender Stratocaster once owned by Eric Clapton failed to attract bids after opening at $1 million.
After buying Henley’s work from Horowitz, the other two men turned around and attempted to sell it, according to the New York indictment. It was then that the famous drummer got wind of what was happening.
“When Don Henley learned that Inciardi and Kosinski were trying to sell parts of the manuscripts, he filed police reports, told the defendants the documents had been stolen, and demanded return of his property,” Bragg said. in a press release.
You could say they didn’t see the stop sign and got worse.
“Rather than make any effort to ensure they did indeed have rightful ownership, the defendants responded by engaging in a year-long campaign to prevent Henley from recovering the manuscripts,” the prosecutor said. district.
At one point, they attempted to induce Henley to redeem the documents, although they were also trying to launder them through Christie’s and Sotheby’s, according to the indictment returned in Manhattan Criminal Court.
Bragg’s office executed a series of search warrants that produced manuscripts from Kosinski’s home at Franklin Lakes and Sotheby’s, the 38-page indictment says.
The documents include emails between the men discussing the cover stories. In one, Horowitz wrote that they could claim they were from Frey, then recently deceased.
“(Frey), alas, is dead and identifying him as the source would make this go away once and for all,” he wrote.
In another email included in the indictment, Kosinski told a Sotheby’s employee, “Don Henley still wants this back. Please don’t tell any potential bidders that (Henley’s) lawyers find out about the lyrics.”
In yet another, he said, Kosinski called Henley “one of the most contentious people in the world” but insisted he “had no pretensions.”
Guess again, Henley manager Irving Azoff said.
“This action exposes the truth about musical memorabilia sales of highly personal stolen items hidden behind a facade of legitimacy,” Azoff said Tuesday. “No one has the right to sell illegally obtained goods or profit from the outright theft of irreplaceable pieces of musical history.”
Horowitz is charged with conspiracy, attempted criminal possession of stolen property and obstruction of prosecution. Inciardi and Kosinski are each charged with criminal possession of stolen property and conspiracy.
All three pleaded not guilty and were released after Tuesday’s first court appearance in the city.
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