NYC rare book dealer, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator tried to sell Don Henley’s stolen ‘Hotel California’ lyrics, DA says

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The “Hotel California” was a less than lovely place for a Manhattan rare book dealer and two accomplices — who are accused of plotting to sell the stolen, handwritten lyrics to the Eagles classic written by Don Henley.

The three suspects, who also include a curator for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, are charged with a years-long scheme to auction about 100 pages of Henley’s handwritten notes and lyrics, worth about $1 million.

The lyrics, according to the indictment, were stolen in the late 1970s by an author hired to write a biography of the Eagles.

“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,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.

The bizarre plot began in 2005 when the biographer, who is not named in the indictment, sold the handwritten “Hotel California” lyrics to the book dealer, Glenn Horowitz, 66, prosecutors say.

Horowitz then sold the material to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Inciardi, 58, of Brooklyn, and Edward Kosinski, 59, of Franklin Lakes, N.J.

Bragg says the trio knew the manuscripts, which also included developmental lyrics to the songs “Life in the Fast Lane” and “New Kid in Town,” were stolen. Once Henley got wind they were in the accused crooks’ possession, he filed police reports demanding them back, the DA alleges.

But instead of simply returning them, Inciardi and Kosinski tried to sell the lyrics to Henley, while also trying to set up an auction through Christie’s or Sotheby’s, according to the indictment.

Emails between the trio cited in court documents show they were dismissive of Henley.

“Don Henley is one of the most litigious people on earth,” Kosinski wrote in 2014. “He will threaten but he has no claim.”

Horowitz and Inciardi are accused of concocting various cover stories over e-mail about how they received the documents. The scenarios allegedly included persuading the source of the stolen documents to claim he found them discarded backstage, or to say they were “destined for the scrap pile.”

In another e-mail to Inciardi, Horowitz wrote of the original seller, “He merely needs gentle handling and reassurance that he’s not going to the can. You can see that between the lines I’m sure, yes?”

Horowitz even sought to exploit the death of Eagles frontman Glenn Frey in 2016, suggesting in an e-mail that they could claim Frey himself provided the manuscripts, prosecutors allege.

“(Frey), alas, is dead and identifying him as the the source would make this go away once and for all,” Horowitz wrote in 2017, according to the 38-page indictment against the trio.

The charges were announced roughly five and a half years after authorities recovered the lyrics from Sotheby’s auction house and Kosinski’s New Jersey home.

Horowitz is charged with conspiracy, first-degree attempted criminal possession of stolen property and hindering prosecution, while the other two men are charged with first-degree criminal possession of stolen property and conspiracy. They all pleaded not guilty and were released.

“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. These men are innocent,” the three suspects’ lawyers said in a joint statement.

A spokeswoman for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame said it has suspended Inciardi.

“When we became aware of this matter, we suspended the employee and retained experienced outside counsel to conduct an internal investigation,” said Dawn Wayt, vice president of marketing and sales, adding: ”We do not tolerate conduct that compromises the integrity of our collection or our institution. The employee remains on leave pending resolution of our investigation.”