Three men – including a curator for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – have been indicted over allegedly possessing a selection of stolen notes containing lyrics and other material handwritten by Eagles co-founder Don Henley. The notes are estimated to be worth more than $1 million.
Craig Inciardi – who has been suspended from his role at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, according to Rolling Stone (opens in new tab) – as well as Glenn Horowitz and Edward Kosinski, are accused of conspiring to sell nearly 100 pages of Henley’s stolen notes – which include lyrics for Hotel California and Life in the Fast Lane.
The handwritten notes were reportedly stolen in the 1970s by an unnamed biographer, who sold them to Horowitz in 2005. Henley has been attempting to recover them since.
According to the indictment, Horowitz recruited Inciardi and Kosinski, whereafter the three men went about selling the notes to various auction houses – including high profile auctioneers such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s – and even tried to “coerce” Henley into buying them back.
Shortly before the death of founding Eagles frontman Glenn Frey in January 2016, the New York County district attorney’s office started investigating the case, alleging that Horowitz had planned to claim the notes belonged to Frey, with the intention of making any criminal investigation against the men crumble.
Rolling Stone alleges that Horowitz once wrote in an email that “identifying [Frey] as the source would make this go away once and for all”.
In terms of charges, all three men are facing one count of conspiracy in the fourth degree – which carries up to a four-year prison sentence – while Horowitz also faces one count of attempted criminal possession of stolen property in the first degree, and two counts of hindering prosecution. Both Inciardi and Kosinski have been charged with first-degree counts of criminal possession.
Regarding Inciardi’s current employment status, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President and CEO Joel Peresman wrote in a recent letter to board members: “At this time we do not know whether Craig engaged in any wrongdoing. 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.”
“This action exposes the truth about music memorabilia sales of highly personal, stolen items hidden behind a facade of legitimacy,” Eagles manager Irving Azoff tells Rolling Stone. “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.”
Echoing Azoff’s statement, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg writes in a press release: “New York is a world-class hub for art and culture, and those who deal cultural artifacts must scrupulously follow the law.
“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.”