Music Business

3 arrested for trying to sell Don Henley’s Hotel California notes, lyrics

Law enforcement officials in New York have charged three men, including an employee of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with attempting to sell the stolen archival materials from The Eagles’ seminal 1977 album Hotel California.

via Celebrity Access

According to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., Glenn Horowitz, Craig Inciardi, and Edward Kosinski have been indicted for their alleged involvement in a conspiracy to sell approximately 100 pages of Don Henley’s handwritten lyrics and notes, including lyrics to the songs “Hotel California,” “Life in the Fast Lane,” and “New Kid In Town.”

The indictment alleges that the three men knew the material, which the District Attorney’s office estimated to be worth more than $1 million dollars, had been stolen.

Craig Inciardi serves as the curator and director of acquisitions for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum. According to Cleveland.com, Inciardi was one of the Rock Hall’s first employees and was part of the Rock Hall’s curatorial staff before it opened in 1995.

More recently, he has been based in New York, where he is based in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s offices.

The District Attorney’s office also alleges that in their bid to sell the manuscripts, the defendants manufactured false provenance, and lied to auction houses, potential buyers, and law enforcement about the origin of the material.

All three men have been indicted with one count of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree. Inciardi and Kosinski are also facing a charge of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree and Mr. Horowitz is facing further counts of Attempted Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree and two counts of Hindering Prosecution in the Second Degree.

According to court documents, Henley’s notes and lyrics originally went missing during the 1970s after an author who had been hired to write a biography of the band was alleged to have stolen them. Bragg’s office alleges the biographer sold the manuscrupts to Mr. Horowitz, a rare book dealer, in 2005.

Horowitz then sold the material to Mr. Inciardi and Mr. Kosinski, who attempted to sell the manuscripts through Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction houses or coerce Henley into buying the material back.

The indictment includes extensive email correspondence regarding an alleged multi-year scheme to explain how the three men obtained the manuscript, including a suggestion from Horowitz that they claim the late Eagles singer Glenn Frey was the source.

According to a 2017 email purportedly written by Horowitz, naming Frey, who died in 2016, as the source would “make all of this go away once and for all.”

“New York is a world-class hub for art and culture, and those who deal cultural artifacts must scrupulously follow the law. There is no room for those who would seek to ignore the basic expectations of fair dealing and undermine the public’s confidence and trust in our cultural trade for their own ends,” said District Attorney Bragg. “These defendants attempted to keep and sell these unique and valuable manuscripts, despite knowing they had no right to do so. They made up stories about the origin of the documents and their right to possess them so they could turn a profit.”

Following their arrest, the three men were released without bail.

In a statement provided to Reuters, attorneys for the accused claim the case is without merit.

“The DA’s office alleges criminality where none exists and unfairly tarnishes the reputations of well-respected professionals,” defense attorneys Antonia Apps, Jonathan Bach and Stacey Richman said in a joint statement, noting that their clients intend to “fight these unjustified charges vigorously.”

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