New York Times about the lawsuit

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jarkko
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New York Times about the lawsuit

Post by jarkko » Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:03 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/06/arts/ ... YFFYfZ6etg

Image
The photo from NY Times website, credited to Dale Gold/Macleans
"The singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen in Los Angeles in August."

Leonard Cohen's Troubles May Be a Theme Come True
By MARC WEINGARTEN
Published: October 6, 2005

Betrayal and bitterness have been running themes in Leonard Cohen's work ever since "Songs of Leonard Cohen," the Canadian singer-songwriter's debut album, appeared in 1968. Now they figure prominently in a sordid legal melodrama engulfing his life.

In August, Mr. Cohen, 71, filed suit against his longtime personal manager, Kelley Lynch, accusing her of stealing more than $5 million over the past dozen years, including five years he spent at a Zen Buddhist retreat. Mr. Cohen is also suing his former tax lawyer, Richard A. Westin, accusing him of mismanaging money Mr. Cohen had set aside as a retirement fund. Mr. Cohen is also seeking damages from Neal Greenberg, his investment adviser from 1997 to 2004, who the singer said allowed Ms. Lynch to steal millions by not telling him what was going on.

The complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, describes a classic case of a creative artist turning over his business affairs to venal backstabbers, who exploit his trust, as the complaint puts it, "through greed, self-dealing, concealment, knowing misrepresentation and reckless disregard for professional fiduciary duties."

Ms. Lynch declined to comment on the charges, saying by e-mail message that Mr. Cohen and his lawyer, Robert Kory, have used aggressive tactics and that they tried to freeze her bank accounts. Mr. Greenberg and Mr. Westin denied wrongdoing.

Mr. Cohen hired Ms. Lynch, an assistant to his lawyer and manager, to oversee his personal affairs after the manager, Martin Machat, died in 1988. She eventually assumed more responsibility for Mr. Cohen's career and became his manager.

Mr. Cohen said he had regarded Ms. Lynch as a trusted confident, even a member of his family. "She was a friend of many years, and she was accomplished at presenting herself as a trusted friend," Mr. Cohen said in an e-mail message. "Her mother worked in the office, and her father did my bookkeeping. Our families were close."

The money at issue in the lawsuit came from two transactions orchestrated by Ms. Lynch. The first was the 1997 sale of Mr. Cohen's publishing company, Stranger Music, to Sony; the other deal, also with Sony, involved the 2001 sale of Mr. Cohen's future royalties from Mr. Cohen's 127-song catalog, which includes often-covered classics like "Bird on a Wire" and "Suzanne."

All told, the two deals brought in more than $13 million - money meant for Mr. Cohen's eventual retirement. "Since my own work requires a fair degree of solitary attention, I was grateful to Ms. Lynch for looking after the business details," Mr. Cohen wrote in the e-mail message. "In this spirit she acquired considerable command over my finances."

In 1993, Mr. Cohen took a break from recording and touring and decamped to the Mount Baldy Zen Center in Los Angeles, where he remained for five years. According to Mr. Cohen's complaint, Ms. Lynch, upset over a loss of income because the singer's career was on hiatus, began to drain money from three charitable trusts established with the Sony profits.

The $8 million windfall from the second Sony deal was also looted, Mr. Cohen says, from a company set up to minimize taxes on the transaction. Mr. Greenberg said Mr. Cohen signed off on giving Ms. Lynch 99 percent of the company and Mr. Cohen 1 percent. Mr. Greenberg says that Ms. Lynch, in addition to taking a $1.1 million commission on the deal, used the company to withdraw huge amounts, often tens of thousands of dollars at a time.

Mr. Cohen said he had not suspected that his money was depleted until October 2004, when an informant tipped off his daughter, Lorca Cohen. "Every month my investment manager, an old friend of Ms. Lynch's, and a successful trader, sent me a report that my savings were safe, intact, even flourishing," Mr. Cohen said, referring to Mr. Greenberg. He says that Mr. Greenberg and Mr. Westin, whom Mr. Lynch had hired to help minimize taxes on the two Sony deals, charged Mr. Cohen $4 million in unnecessary transaction costs.

Mr. Greenberg denies that he overcharged Mr. Cohen for his services. "Those were fees paid to lawyers for the sale of the rights associated with the songs," Mr. Greenberg said. Mr. Westin declined to be interviewed at length for this story, saying, "None of Leonard Cohen's problems have their genesis with me."

Mr. Greenberg disputes Mr. Cohen's claim that he failed to warn the songwriter about his dangerous financial situation, and has filed suit against Mr. Cohen, Ms. Lynch, and and Mr. Cohen's attorney, Mr. Kory. Mr. Greenberg says that Mr. Cohen and Mr. Kory engaged in "fraudulent means and statements, and other torturous conduct" in order to "extort millions of dollars" from Mr. Greenberg when they realized that Ms. Lynch would not be able to pay back the money.

As for Ms. Lynch, parties involved in the suit have expressed concern about her behavior, and Mr. Cohen noted that he had received "dozens of bizarre" e-mail messages from her.

"I wish her family would help her," he said. "I tried and failed."

While Mr. Cohen awaits the outcome of the various lawsuits, he said, he has started to sell his assets and has taken out a mortgage on his house. "There is a great sense of family solidarity, and we are all working hard to keep the ship afloat," he said. "My son said: 'Dad, do whatever you have to do, but don't do it for us. We've had a great life, and we can take care of ourselves.' "
Last edited by jarkko on Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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lightning
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Post by lightning » Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:07 pm

People should check out the picture that goes with this piece as well. He looks thin and bitter, alas, but who wouldn't be?

----I inserted now the pic as well/Jarkko
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Post by lizzytysh » Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:17 pm

He does look thin, and heartbroken [to me] ~ but I know we can project how we would feel, or believe that he feels, onto photos, too. He looks a little 'steeled' against [whatever] may be coming his way, as well.

I hate it that he's having to go through and endure all this. I was glad to read the paragraph about his family's solidarity, and Adam's comment [not that either were a surprize, but just glad to see them in print].

~ Lizzy
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Post by philo » Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:52 pm

my first thought when looking at the photograph was "he doesnt look well, i really hope it is just his diet regime" :( wishing leonard a very healthy jewish new year - shana tova to leonard and to you all x
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Post by mickey_one » Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:03 pm

philo wrote:my first thought when looking at the photograph was "he doesnt look well, i really hope it is just his diet regime" :( wishing leonard a very healthy jewish new year - shana tova to leonard and to you all x
if you are concerned, why don't you send him some of your pastry?
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Post by philo » Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:10 pm

i dont do pastry - not sure if my blintzes will survive the journey from the u.k though. :)
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Post by Dem » Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:51 pm

It's the same photo that was also in the cover
of Maclean's August 2005 issue.

He does look thin (at least thinner than in previous photos)

But thin doesn't equate to unhealthy.
On the contrary
( as the members of the CR Society
would say: http://www.calorierestriction.org)

Dem
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Post by lightning » Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:55 pm

The press seems to have sympathy for him which should help to sway the courts, lead to his reimbursement, and a happy outcome. But what a trial! After all these years of spirtual search it comes down to a scrape for the money.
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Post by mickey_one » Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:57 pm

philo wrote:i dont do pastry - not sure if my blintzes will survive the journey from the u.k though. :)

I am very sad that you have chosen to deny it. everyone has heard of philo pastry.

here is one of my favourite recipes using you as an ingredient



1 package of philo pastry
1 small package of smoked salmon or 1/2 pound cooked barbecued salmon tips (ham can be substituted for the salmon)
2 large eggs per person
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 teaspoon fresh dill, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
salt to taste
pepper to taste
butter, melted
vegetables and fruits for decoration
Instructions:
Thaw one package of philo pastry.


(Leave overnight in the fridge.) Thaw one small package of smoked salmon or use the purchased, cooked barbecued salmon tips (usually available at Safeway on the West Coast).
Scramble the eggs, adding the onion, salt and pepper to taste, garlic clove, and fresh dill. Scramble together until eggs are soft. Do not overcook the scrambled eggs, as they continue to solidify when removed from the heat, which you will now proceed to do. Set aside.

Grate the Monterey Jack cheese. Set aside.

Cut/slice/dice any vegetables and fruits you wish to use for decoration. Take philo from fridge, and take one square. Cut in half. Do the same with four squares so that you have eight small squares lined up on waxed paper. Brush each square with melted butter. Spoon egg mixture in the centre of each square.

Top with a slice of smoked salmon, sprinkle with two or so tablespoons of grated cheese. Take the four corners of the pastry and pull to the centre. Twist them together in the centre to form a small closed "basket," letting the ends at the top fan out. Brush the outside of your creation with melted butter and place in a 350 degree oven about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, make your favourite dill sauce. Decorate a plate with your choice of veggies, dill, etc. Place the "basket" in the centre of the plate and surround it with dill sauce. I often add a dollop of a tasty chutney in two corners of the dill sauce.

A special mustard with the dill sauce is good. Serve and listen to them rave!
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Post by lizzytysh » Thu Oct 06, 2005 6:16 pm

I can attest to its goodness 8) . She made me some while I was there :D .

[Diane ~ You, of course, know that you're dealing with the Master of Windup :roll: :wink: .]

Demetris ~ Yes, I've been hearing quite a bit how calorie restriction is quite a 'proven' life-lengthener. We live such deluded lives, it seems, in that regard. I'm also quite certain that, for the photo, Leonard was duly instructed to look "serious, not happy," or very close to that effect.

~ Lizzy
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Post by John K. » Thu Oct 06, 2005 6:21 pm

lightning wrote:The press seems to have sympathy for him which should help to sway the courts, lead to his reimbursement, and a happy outcome. But what a trial! After all these years of spirtual search it comes down to a scrape for the money.
With all due respect, I hope that nothing the press publishes ever on any topic sways courts in this country. The courts are screwed up enough without having the idiots in the media involved.

Regarding this case, as I've opined before, I hope the truth is in the paperwork and that the truth prevails. If it's on LC's side, then that's all the better, but if it is not, then it is not. It would seem he has a reasonable action against Ms. Lynch, however she may have dwindled her assets away and therefore there's nothing left to get at.

And lastly, yes, the master does look quite thin, but I wouldn't read any more into the picture than that. They probably took two dozen pictures at the photo shoot and then it was up to the photo editor to decide which one to publish, and one of him holding up a Red Needle would certainly have been inappropriate for the story content.

John K.
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He's a pundit and a fraud
He's a lazy banker living in a suit

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Post by Diane » Thu Oct 06, 2005 10:19 pm

Lizzy: Master of wind up, but quite funny with it, here at least, I must admit.

With regard to Leonard's looking thin; I think many people thin down as they get older. I very much hope that all goes well for him.

Diane
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Post by lizzytysh » Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:29 pm

Exactly, Diane. People sure do [typically] thin down, anyway, as they age [that 'silver lining' for some of us].

Yes ~ Well, I thought that the intention of being funny was part of a wind-up, but maybe not? Anyway, his do tend to be funny. [He might argue with that and say they're always funny, but I can't think of all he's done, so I'll leave it at "tend to" :wink: .

~ Lizzy
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Post by mickey_one » Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:31 am

lizzytysh wrote:Yes ~ Well, I thought that the intention of being funny was part of a wind-up, but maybe not? Anyway, his do tend to be funny. [He might argue with that and say they're always funny, but I can't think of all he's done, so I'll leave it at "tend to" :wink: .

~ Lizzy
always
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Post by lizzytysh » Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:33 am

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
I'm glad someone has a good memory.
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