Leonard Cohen had already been burned. Thus, in the years preceding his died in 2016The “Hallelujah” singer and poet has worked to secure the bulk of his multimillion-dollar estate for the benefit of his heirs – who are now fighting for full control of the Canadian musician’s assets, The Post has learned.
It’s a battle that includes accusations of forgery, secrets and allegations that the singer didn’t trust his own brood to run his estate.
Cohen’s two adult children — daughter Lorca Cohen, 48, and son Adam Cohen, 50 — have been fighting for more than a year in Los Angeles Superior Court to remove court-appointed attorney Robert Kory. musician before his death, as a trustee of the Leonard Cohen Family Trust, according to court documents reviewed by The Post.
The trust controls tens of millions of dollars in royalties for Cohen’s music as well as poetry, novels, photographs and 243 journal notebooks that Cohen, 82 at his death, had kept since his teenage years. The so-called Leonard Cohen Archive is valued at more than $48 million, according to court documents.
Cohen died on November 7, 2016, after falling in the middle of the night at his home in Los Angeles. “The death was sudden, unexpected and peaceful,” Kory said at the time.
The Cohen children say their father “came to realize in his final days that he had made a grave mistake in allowing Kory to insinuate himself into Leonard’s affairs and take control of virtually every aspect of the finances. and Leonard’s legacy,” according to court documents.
Lorca and Adam claim they were not kept informed by Kory of recent efforts to monetize his estate, including the posthumous publication of a Cohen novel, “A ballet of lepers“, released earlier this year, and the opening of “Everyone knows“, an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, which opens to the public on Tuesday.
The siblings also complain in court papers that Kory employed his son, Ryan Kory, among other things, to archive Cohen’s personal papers, which include numerous notes about his greatest hits — including “Alleluia”, for which he originally wrote 82 verses – according to court records. The archives would also contain more than 8,000 photographs.
Now, a lawyer hired two months ago by Adam, a musician, and Lorca, a photographer, says he has proof that Kory forged documents in 2005 in order to control the singer’s inheritance.
“Leonard Cohen’s lawyers and manager forged his trust so they could steal the estate of millions of dollars and steal the Hall of Famer’s legacy from his own children,” attorney Adam Streisand told the Post.
Streisand, who is a cousin of singer Barbra Streisand, said there are two versions of the trust document Cohen signed before his death. In the version that benefits the children, the trust document names Lorca, Adam, and Anjani Thomas – Cohen’s former lover and Kory’s ex-wife – as trustees after his death. Streisand told the Post that after Cohen’s death, an attorney “swapped … the page that says Adam, Lorca, and Anjani, with a new page … that says Kory is the named trustee.”
“The one and only true version of the Trust names Adam, Lorca and Anjani Thomas,” according to court documents seen by The Post.
For his part, Kory, 72, vehemently denied any wrongdoing in the court documents and attributed any confusion in the documents to “a clerical error”. He said he went to great lengths to keep Lorca and Adam up to date, providing monthly statements about LCFT’s finances and work, according to court documents. He also said in a statement to the court earlier this fall that he held numerous meetings informing Lorca and Adam about the art exhibit as well as the publication of Cohen’s novel.
The copyright in “A Ballet of Lepers” is Old Ideas, LLC, a corporation equally controlled by the LCFT, Lorca and Adam, according to court documents, which also say the children receive annual salaries of more than $400,000 each more. to undisclosed royalty income as a result of Kory’s tax planning for the estate.
“In 2016, without Mr. Kory’s request, Mr. Cohen asked me to replace the successor trustee with Mr. Kory,” writes Cohen’s attorney Reeve Chudd in an April 8, 2021 letter included in court documents. . “He [Cohen] worried that his children did not have a comfortable enough relationship to work together through the complexities of the artist’s estate.
Cohen wanted the change to remain secret, according to court documents. “While Mr. Cohen did not want this change in guardianship succession revealed to his children, Mr. Kory insisted, and it was explained to Adam and Lorca at a meeting in September 2015,” Chudd continued. in his letter.
During his lifetime, Cohen, born in Montreal in 1934, was generous to his children, buying Adam a house and Lorca a Los Angeles store valued at more than $1 million, according to court documents.
“Later in life, seeing the abundance of wealth he had already passed on to trusts for his children, Mr. Cohen complained, half-jokingly, that Mr. Kory had turned him into King Lear” , Chudd noted in the letter.
Reached by The Post at its Los Angeles bureau, Chudd declined to comment.
Kory did not respond to the Post’s calls for comment. Adam and Lorca Cohen declined to comment via Streisand.
In 2005, the musician sued his former longtime manager Kelley Lynch, claiming she stole more than $5 million from a fund set up for his retirement. The theft allegedly took place while he was attending a five-year retreat at a Zen Buddhist monastery in California. Lynch, also a Buddhist and a former love interest of Cohen, denied the allegations.
“What can I do?” Cohen told the Canadian news magazine macleans at the time. “I had to go to work. I have no more money.
Cohen returned to touring, performing in concert halls around the world as a septuagenarian in order to recoup his losses.
Later, in 2012, Lynch was sentenced to 18 months in prison and five years probation for what a Los Angeles court judge described as “a long, relentless barrage of harassing behavior” towards Cohen who became so serious that he said it made him fear for his life.