Three men charged with selling lyrics to Stolen Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’

A Manhattan prosecutor has announced that three men have been charged in a New York court with conspiring to sell Don Henley’s original lyrics and liner notes for the Eagles’ 1976 album ‘Hotel California’. from Henley’s hands in the late 70s and eventually came into the possession of the charged trio in the 2000s, after which they allegedly attempted to sell the items to top auction houses, and even Henley itself.

The indictment of Glenn Horowitz, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski was announced Tuesday by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., who said in a statement, “These defendants attempted to retain and sell these unique and valuable manuscripts, even though they knew they had no right to do so. They made up stories about where the documents came from and their right to own them so they could profit from them.

The allegedly stolen materials were described as comprising 84 pages of Henley’s raw materials for “Hotel California”, widely considered the Eagles’ signature work and on many lists of the greatest rock albums of all time, including the handwritten lyrics for the title track “Life in the Fast Lane” and “New Kid In Town”. A statement from the DA valued the manuscripts at approximately $1 million.

A statement from lawyers for the three defendants denied any wrongdoing: ‘The prosecutor’s office alleges crime where there is none and unfairly tarnishes the reputations of highly respected professionals. We will vigorously fight these unwarranted accusations. These men are innocent. The statement was released by attorneys Jonathan Bach, representing Horowitz; Stacey Richman, representing Inciardi; and Antonia Apps, whose client is Kosinski.

One of the defendants, Inciardi, is a curator and director of acquisitions at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who was recently interviewed for a Variety story in March about the opening of the Hall’s Beatles ‘Get Back’ exhibit. According to Rolling Stone, he has been suspended from the museum pending the results of further investigation. “At this time, we do not know if Craig has committed any wrongdoing,” Hall President and CEO Joel Peresman wrote in a letter obtained by Rolling Stone. “He will remain on leave pending the resolution of the third-party internal investigation and the extent of the charges once the indictment is unsealed.”

A website for Horowitz lists a number of premium sales he was involved in, including purchasing Bob Dylan materials for the recently opened Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, OK. He is described as “an agent in the sale and placement of culturally significant archives to research institutions nationwide” who has represented Norman Mailer, David Foster Wallace and Vladimir Nabokov, among others.

Henley manager Irving Azoff said in a statement, “We are grateful to New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his team for pursuing this case and are confident that justice will be served. This action exposes the truth behind musical memorabilia sales of highly personal stolen items hidden behind a facade of legitimacy. No one has the right to sell illegally obtained goods or profit from the outright theft of irreplaceable pieces of music history. These handwritten lyrics are an integral part of the legacy that Don Henley has created over his 50+ year career. We look forward to the return of Don’s property, so that he and his family can enjoy it and preserve it for posterity.

The evolution of the case has continued quietly for years, as search warrants were executed from December 2016 by the Manhattan prosecutor to recover the manuscripts from an auction house, Sotheby’s, as well as from Kosinski’s home in New Jersey. Both Inciardi and Kosinski were described in the prosecutor’s statement as having tried to sell the documents to Sotheby’s and Christie’s, even though Henley informed the auctioneers that they belonged to him, even though they had been missing for decades. in the possession of the musician.

Court documents claim the manuscripts were stolen in the late 1970s by a biographer who was working on an apparently unpublished book about the Eagles; this person has not been identified by DA or band officials. It is alleged that this anonymous writer sold the collectibles in 2005 to Horowitz, who then sold them to Inciardi and Kosinski.

Henley learned of the attempted sale and demanded the return of the manuscripts. Horowitz and Inciardi are then described in the indictment as attempting to “fabricate the provenance of the manuscripts” and “coerce Don Henley into ransoming his stolen property”, even as Inciardi and Kosinski simultaneously attempted to sell it. at the two main auction houses. good.

The DA statement says the defendants concocted a story to hide the provenance of the documents, telling others in recent years that they were in fact from the late Glenn Frey, who died in 2016. The court documents cite an email Horowitz allegedly sent saying that Frey “alas, is dead and identifying him as the source would make this go away once and for all”.

“New York is a world-class hub for art and culture, and those selling cultural artifacts must strictly follow the law,” said DA Bragg. “There is no place for those who would seek to ignore basic expectations of fair dealing and undermine public trust in our cultural commerce for their own ends.

The three defendants are charged in an indictment by the New York State Supreme Court with one count of fourth-degree conspiracy. From there, additional charges were laid: Inciardi (a Brooklyn resident) and Kosinski (of Franklin Lakes, NJ) also face a first-degree criminal possession of stolen property charge, while Horowitz (of New York) is charged with three additional counts: attempted criminal possession of stolen property in the first degree and two counts of obstruction of prosecution in the second degree.

Nicholas E. Crittendon