How the Eagles and ‘Hotel California’ became the center of a million dollar scheme

If you were writing a heist movie script, you might find a lot worse than “three men try to stay one step ahead of Don Henley as they try to sell the original handwritten lyrics stolen from ‘Hotel California’.” And now that movie even has an ending: the three accused Eagle-nappers have been charged in a New York court with trying to sell Henley’s tickets for more than $1 million.

The New York trial is the culmination of a years-long odyssey, in which “rock auctioneer” Edward Kosinski and his co-defendants (rare book seller Glenn Horowitz and director of acquisitions at the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Craig Inciardi) allegedly obscured the origins of the materials and actively worked to prevent Eagles member Don Henley from retrieving them. According to TMZ, the men had about 100 pages of Henley lyrics to three songs from their hit 1977 album, which sold more than 32 million copies worldwide: the title track, “Life in the Fast Lane” and “New Kid in Town”. According rolling stone, they had contacted major auction houses like Sotheby’s and reportedly sold some pages to Henley himself for $8,500.

According to the AP, Horowitz first came into possession of the lyrics in the mid-2000s, purchasing them from an anonymous writer who allegedly took them while he was interviewing the band for a book. Over the years, this writer has given inconsistent explanations of how he acquired the lyric sheets. (His most recent alibi, given to him by Glenn Frey, did not emerge until 2016, the year Frey died.) Horowitz then sold them to Kosinski and Inciardi, who allegedly worked to create a storyline. consistent background on the origins of the documents.

Inciardi has since been suspended by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame until an “internal third party investigation” is conducted and the “extent of the charges” is known, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame CEO has said. , Joel Peresman. Rolling stone.

Since becoming aware of the trio’s actions, Henley had contacted them to tell them that the lyrics had been stolen and that he wanted them back. New York prosecutors said “rather than making any effort to ensure they actually had the rightful property, the defendants responded by engaging in a years-long campaign to prevent Henley from recovering manuscripts”.

“This action exposes the truth about sales of highly personal stolen item musical memorabilia hidden behind a facade of legitimacy,” Henley manager Irving Azoff told TMZ. “No one has the right to sell illegally obtained goods or profit from the outright theft of irreplaceable pieces of musical history.”

Kosinski, Horowitz and Inciardi all face fourth-degree conspiracy charges, as well as individual charges, including “first-degree criminal possession of stolen property” (Inciardi and Kosinski) and “obstructing prosecution in second degree” (Horowitz).

“The prosecutor’s office is alleging crime where there is none and unfairly tarnishing the reputations of highly respected professionals,” attorneys for the three defendants said in a joint statement. “Despite six years of investigation into the case, the prosecutor has not included a single factual allegation in the indictment showing that my client did anything wrong,” Kosinski’s attorney added, Antonia Apps.

Nicholas E. Crittendon