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Financial Crime: Trio charged in alleged conspiracy to sell stolen lyrics to the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’

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Welcome to the jailhouse California.

Three men have been charged with attempting to sell nearly 100 pages of handwritten lyrics and notes from the Eagles’ biggest-selling album, “Hotel California,” that had been stolen from singer Don Henley in the late 1970s.

Glenn Horowitz, 66, Craig Inciardi, 58, and Edward Kosinski, 59, were indicted by a New York state grand jury on charges of lying to auction houses and creating false provenances as they  attempted to sell the original lyrics to songs like “Hotel California,” “Life in the Fast Lane,” and “New Kid in Town, prosecutors said. 

“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,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Released in 1976,  the album has sold over 30 million copies and is one of the biggest selling records of all time. Prosecutors said the papers were valued at over $1 million.

According to prosecutors, the manuscript pages were stolen from Henley in the late 1970s by an author who had been hired to write a biography of the band. In 2005, the biographer, who was identified only as “Individual 1” in court documents, sold the papers to Horowitz, a rare books dealer in Manhattan, prosecutors said.

Horowitz, in turn, sold the documents on to Inciardi and Kosinski, who tried to sell them. When Henley discovered that the men were trying to sell pages from the manuscripts, he contacted police and informed the men that the material was stolen and demanded it be returned.

“Rather than making any effort to ensure they actually had rightful ownership, the defendants responded by engaging in a years-long campaign to prevent Henley from recovering the manuscripts,” prosecutors said.

In a statement, lawyers for the three defendants said their clients are innocent.

“The DA’s office alleges criminality where none exists and unfairly tarnishes the reputations of well-respected professionals. We will fight these unjustified charges vigorously,” the statement read.

Henley’s manager Irving Azoff, said his the singer was thankful that the district attorney pursued the case,  

“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,” Azoff said. “We look forward to the return of Don’s property, for him and his family to enjoy and preserve for posterity.”

Between 2012 and 2017, prosecutors said Horowtiz, Kosinski and Inciardi attempted to sell the papers through various auction houses, including Sotheby’s and Christie’s using phony provenance documents They even allegedly tried to get Henley to buy back the stolen pages from them..  

In 2016, prosecutors executed search warrants to recover the documents from Sotheby’s and Kosinski’s home in New Jersey, seizing 84 pages of songs from the album. When the Eagles’ founding member, Glenn Frey died that year, the men attempted to create new provenance documents claiming the materials had come from Frey. 

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