Three Men Charged for Possessing Don Henley’s Stolen Lyrics From the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’

One of the defendants, Craig Inciardi, is a curator and director of acquisitions for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame foundation

The Eagles Hotel California Cover
Hotel California

More than 40 years ago, a manuscript containing Don Henley’s hand-written lyrics and other notes from the Eagles’ seminal album “Hotel California” was stolen. Now, the Manhattan District Attorney has announced that three men have been charged in connection to that theft.

Glenn Horowitz, 66, Craig Inciardi, 58, and Edward Kosinksi, 59, have all been charged with one count of conspiracy in the fourth degree Inciardi and Kosinksi have also been charged with first degree criminal possession of stolen property, while Horowitz has been separately charged with one count of first degree attempted criminal possession of stolen property, and two counts of second degree hindering of prosecution.

Inciardi is a curator and the director of acquisitions for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.

In a statement Tuesday, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said that the manuscript, approximately 100 pages of notes and lyrics related to “Hotel California,” was first stolen by an unnamed individual, hired to write The Eagles’ biography, at some point in the late 1970s. Among other things, the manuscript contained Henley’s original lyrics to the songs “Hotel California,” “Life in the Fast Lane,” and “New Kid In Town.”

In 2005, that individual sold the manuscript to Horowitz, a rare book dealer, who subsequently sold the manuscript to Inciardi and Kosinski. The matter came to light when Henley learned that Inciardi and Kosinski were attempting to sell parts of the manuscript and filed a police report. According to the DA’s office, “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.”

The DA’s office accuses Hororwitz and Inciardi of attempting to fabricate the provenance of the papers between 2012 and 2017, and it accuses Inciardi and Kosinski of subsequently using that false certification in an attempt to sell the manuscript back to Henley.

“Despite knowing that the materials were stolen, the defendants attempted to sell the manuscripts, manufactured false provenance, and lied to auction houses, potential buyers, and law enforcement about the origin of the material. The manuscripts are collectively valued at over $1 million,” the office said in a statement.

“New York is a world-class hub for art and culture, and those who deal cultural artifacts must scrupulously follow the law. There is no room for those who would seek to ignore the basic expectations of fair dealing and undermine the public’s confidence and trust in our cultural trade for their own ends,” District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement. “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.”

“We are thankful to New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his staff for pursuing this case and have faith that justice will be served. This action exposes the truth about music memorabilia sales of highly personal, stolen items hidden behind a facade of legitimacy,” Irving Azoff, Henley’s manager, said in a statement. “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.  We look forward to the return of Don’s property, for him and his family to enjoy and preserve for posterity.”

Released in December, 1976, “Hotel California” became the Eagles’ second most successful album, selling more than 32 million copies worldwide. The compilation album “Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)” is the best-selling American album released in the 20th century, having sold nearly 38 million copies to date.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.