Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Curator Charged with Conspiracy After Attempting to Sell Stolen Don Henley Lyrics Valued at $1M
Image via Don Henley’s Facebook
Yesterday, three men, including a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator, were charged with conspiracy for allegedly attempting to sell stolen handwritten Don Henley lyrics meant for the Eagles. The lyrics were initially stolen back in the 1970s by an unnamed biographer who was attempting to create a book on the band–though it never came to fruition–and included 100 pages of Henley’s penmanship from Hotel California valued at over $1 million.
Tuesday’s court proceedings revealed that in 2005, the unnamed author sold the lyrics to Glenn Horowitz, a rare book dealer, who sold them to Edward Kosinski and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Incidardi. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg showed evidence that the three men conspired to sell the documents they knew were stolen to auction houses, including Christie’s and Sotheby’s, forging proof of authenticity and attempting to sell the lyrics back to Henley, himself.
After the shameless and injudicious attempt, the Eagles co-founder reached out to the police saying the documents were stolen. Horowitz also attempted to credit the lyrics to Glenn Frey, Eagles co-founder and lead singer, before his death in 2016, writing an email to co-conspirators that “identifying [Frey] as the source would make this go away once and for all.”
Horowitz, Kosinski, and Incidardi were all charged with conspiracy in the fourth degree, which has a maximum sentence of four years in prison. Horowitz also faces charges of attempted criminal possession of stolen property and two counts of hindering prosecution, all in the first degree.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame President and CEO, Joel Peresman informed the Hall’s board members and public shortly before the charges were announced that Inciardi has been suspended from his role at the esteemed institution.
“At this time we do not know whether Craig engaged in any wrongdoing,” he 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.”
Rolling Stone also reached out to Henley’s manager, Irving Azoff, who shared his joy over the indictments, and stated that Henely was looking forward to the documents’ long-awaited return.
“This action exposes the truth about music memorabilia sales of highly personal, stolen items hidden behind a facade of legitimacy,” Azoff said. “No one has the right to sell illegally obtained property or profit from the outright theft of irreplaceable pieces of musical history. These handwritten lyrics are an integral part of the legacy Don Henley has created over the course of his 50-plus-year career.”
Similarly, Bragg also wrote about the cultural importance and moral responsibility behind historical items like the lyrics in a press release announcing the indictments. “New York is a world-class hub for art and culture, and those who deal cultural artifacts must scrupulously follow the law,” he shared. “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.”