Three men were criminally charged in a New York City court on July 12 with possessing nearly 100 pages of Don Henley’s stolen handwritten notes and lyrics for the Eagles’ 1976 album Hotel California.
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Glenn Horowitz, 66, of Manhattan, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Inciardi, 58, of Brooklyn, and Edward Kosinski, 59, of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey were charged with attempting to sell the materials, with an estimated value of more than $1 million, and lying to prospective buyers and law enforcement about how they obtained the materials.
When Henley learned of the pending sales, the artist filed a police report and demanded the materials be returned to him, according to court records.
The documents were originally stolen in the late 1970s by an author, who was unnamed in the court papers, hired to write a biography of the Eagles. The items stolen include lyrics to the songs “Hotel California,” “Life in the Fast Lane” and “New Kid In Town,” off the Eagles’ fifth album, according to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Many of the lyrics have been recovered through warrants.
In 2005, the biographer allegedly sold the handwritten Hotel California lyrics to book dealer Glenn Horowitz, who then sold the materials to Inciardi and Kosinski.
Between 2012 and 2018, the defendants allegedly tried to falsify a “statement of provenance” explaining how they obtained the documents and attempted to get Henley to buy them back, while also trying to sell the materials to other potential buyers through Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction houses.
All three suspects were each charged with one count of conspiracy in the fourth degree. Inciardi and Kosinski were also charged with criminal possession of stolen property in the first degree, while Horowitz was charged with attempted criminal possession of stolen property in the first degree and two counts of hindering prosecution in the second degree. The three men pleaded not guilty to the charges, and were released without bail.
“The DA’s office alleges criminality where none exists and unfairly tarnishes the reputations of well-respected professionals,” said the defendants’ attorneys in a statement. “We will fight these unjustified charges vigorously. These men are innocent.”
In a statement, Henley’s attorney Irving Azoff said the Eagles thank the prosecutors for revealing “the truth about music memorabilia sales of highly personal, stolen items hidden behind a facade of legitimacy” and called the items “an integral part of the legacy Don Henley has created over the course of his 50-plus-year career.”
Azoff added, “No one has the right to sell illegally obtained property or profit from the outright theft of irreplaceable pieces of musical history … We look forward to the return of Don’s property, for him and his family to enjoy and preserve for posterity.”
Hotel California earned the Eagles two Grammy Awards, for Record of the Year for the title track and Best Arrangement for Voices for “New Kid in Town.” The album sold more than 26 million copies and remains one of the bestselling albums in history.
Henley, along with Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit, along with Vince Gill, has extended their Hotel California 2022 Tour, which will run through Sept. 9 and feature the 1976 album performed live in its entirety, accompanied by an orchestra and choir. After a short intermission, the band will also perform a set of their greatest hits.
Photo by David Tan/Shinko Music/Getty Images