Leonard Cohen’s Heirs Accuse Former Manager and Lawyer of Counterfeiting (EXCLUSIVE)
Leonard Cohen‘s children and heirs, Lorca and Adam Cohen, have filed a motion accusing the legendary singer-songwriter’s former manager Robert Kory and his legal representatives of forgery and asking the court to remove him from the role of trustee remove to compel him to turn over the assets of the estate and return the money he earned from serving in that role.
The movement that follows a Probate application filed last fallcites an affidavit in which Kory’s former attorney admits removing a page from Cohen’s signed trust after the singer’s death and replacing it with a page stating Kory is the primary trustee — a crime.
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It cites Kory, who blames the forgery on his former attorney, Reeve Chudd, who he alleges “modified a document without anyone’s knowledge”; The motion states that Kory’s claims “burden the credulity.” In the past, Kory has blamed a “typo” for the discrepancy between drafts of Cohen’s trust documents. He has stated that he has put a tremendous amount of time and energy into generating income for the estate that has made Adam and Lorca “tremendously wealthy”. A trial is scheduled for March 29 in Los Angeles.
The motion seeks to have the court confirm that Kory is not, and has no right to act as, a trustee and that Lorca and Adam Cohen assume the trust and be returned the money Kory earned as trustee.
At the heart of these earnings is a deal negotiated by Kory for 2022, in which Hipgnosis Songs acquired the rights to 278 songs and derivatives written by Cohen for what a previous court document put as $58 million, including songs such as “Hallelujah,” “Suzanne,” “Bird on the Wire,” and others; The lawsuit states that Cohen was “dying and heavily medicated” when he signed an agreement in July 2016 that gave Kory a 15% commission on any such sale.
Cohen passed away in November 2016 aged 82 after a battle with cancer.
As cited in the filing, Kory claims he did not view or read trust documents before signing them; The heirs say even if that’s true, it’s further evidence he’s unfit to be a trustee. The filing also alleges that Kory backdated a document allowing him, as purported trustee, to stage and benefit from an exhibition and book featuring Cohen’s drawings, poems and other ephemera at the Art Gallery of Ontario, alleging that the trust alone owns the materials when they are actually owned by the heirs and the trust. It is also alleged that Kory paid himself and others, including his son, hundreds of thousands of dollars to store and maintain Cohen’s archive. The exhibition opened in December and is scheduled to run until April.
While the two parties have been locked in legal disputes for several months, the information and admission regarding the forged document is a recent development. The filing alleges that Kory entered into unlawful business ventures and arrangements on behalf of the Trust without Adam and Lorca’s consent; refuse to provide Adam and Lorca with material information about these transactions; embezzling assets belonging to a company that Adam and Lorca control and transferring those assets to the trust and refusing to distribute tens of millions of dollars worth of trust assets to the heirs’ trusts “in order to continue to unlawfully enrich”.
The lawsuit quotes Chudd, Kory’s former attorney, from a deposition by the Cohens’ attorney, Adam Streisand, which includes the following exchange:
Q. Well, Leonard Cohen did not sign this version of the Leonard Cohen Family Trust restatement; correct?
A. That is correct.
Q. And if you look at the next page, PET 1-28, you see your notarization of Leonard Cohen’s signatures, right?
Q. You did not notarize Leonard Cohen’s signatures for this version of the Leonard Cohen Family Trust’s reformulation, correct?
A. Yes. It was a terrible mistake on my part to create this document.
*** Q. Apparently Leonard Cohen never knew of the existence of Exhibit 1; correct?
Q. Because you created this document after the death of Leonard Cohen; correct?
A. That is correct.
*** Q. How did you physically create this document?
A. I replaced pages in the original document.
Q. Which pages did you replace?
A. Not sure, but obviously the one that includes 3.2.
Q. Did you design the paragraph 3.2 page we just looked at in Exhibit 1 after the death of Leonard Cohen?
A. Yes, I have.
The motion asserts, “There is no valid instrument of Leonard designating Kory to serve in this capacity. Since Leonard’s death in 2016, Kory has been posing as a trustee and exercising control of the trust and its assets solely on the basis of forgery and fraud.”
The lawsuit includes several changes to Cohen’s restatement of the trust beginning in 2005, initially naming his two children and ex-girlfriend Anjani Thomas as the successor co-trustees, and replacing him with Kory, his longtime manager, later that year . as sole first successor trustee and his children as second successor trustees.
However, in July 2016, Cohen rescinded the changes and reinstated Adam, Lorca and Thomas as trustees. In October 2016, less than a month before his death, the singer “wrote to Kory,” the filing reads, “complaining that he had given Kory far too much control over his affairs.” In testimony on February 8, 2023, Chudd admitted under oath that he “created a forgery of Leonard’s 2005 restatement” which “purports to appoint Kory as the successor trustee based on a false Section 3.2 that Chudd drafted after Leonard’s death.” has”. the states of motion.
diversity has reached out to Kory for comment and will hear more about the situation as it develops.
Additional reporting by Gene Maddaus.
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https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/leonard-cohen-heirs-accuse-former-162328982.html Leonard Cohen’s Heirs Accuse Former Manager and Lawyer of Counterfeiting (EXCLUSIVE)