Leonard Cohen’s kids claim lawyer fraudulently took control over his estate

Adam and Lorca Cohen are waging legal battle against Robert Kory, alleging he forged a document to ‘steal the Hall of Famer’s legacy from his own children’

Leonard Cohen performs at Ramat Gan Stadium, September 24, 2009. (Marko / Flash90)
Leonard Cohen performs at Ramat Gan Stadium, September 24, 2009. (Marko / Flash90)

Leonard Cohan’s children are embroiled in a legal battle for control over the legendary singer’s estate, charging that an attorney forged the document that handed him trusteeship over the $48 million enterprise, according to a report Monday.

Adam Cohen, 50, and Lorca Cohen, 48, are arguing that Robert Kory, an attorney who controls the Leonard Cohen Family Trust since the “Hallelujah” singer’s death in 2016, has kept them out of the loop on its finances and allegedly took control of it by fraud, The New York Post reported citing documents from the Los Angeles Superior Court.

The trust manages royalties for the late Jewish Canadian singer’s music as well as over 8,000 photographs he took and poetry, novels and 243 journal notebooks he wrote.

“Leonard Cohen’s lawyers and manager forged his trust so they could fleece the estate of millions of dollars and steal the Hall of Famer’s legacy from his own children,” Cohen’s children’s attorney Adam Streisand — singer Barbra Streisand’s cousin — told the US outlet.

He alleged that the original 2005 trust document designates Adam, Lorca and Anjani Thomas — Kory’s ex-wife and Leonard Cohen’s former lover — as trustees after his death, and that after Cohen’s death at the age of 82, Kory “swapped out… the page that says Adam, Lorca and Anjani, with a new page… that says Kory is designated trustee.”

Court papers filed on behalf of Cohen’s children reportedly claim that “the one and only true version of the Trust appoints Adam, Lorca and Anjani Thomas.”

They also argue that their father “came to appreciate in his waning days that he had made a grave error by allowing Kory to insinuate himself into Leonard’s affairs and take control over virtually every aspect of Leonard’s finances and legacy.”

Adam and Lorca say Kory hasn’t updated them on recent efforts to monetize Cohen’s estate, including the publication of a novel written by him, “A Ballet of Lepers,” and the introduction of an exhibit at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario, titled “Everybody Knows.” They also complain Kory has worked to archive Cohen’s personal papers with extensive notes on his greatest hits.

Kory has countered in court that he has done nothing wrong, saying any confusion in the documents is due to “a scrivener’s error,” the report said. He says he has gone to great lengths to keep Adam and Lorca Cohen abreast of the estate’s finances via monthly updates, and that he set up numerous meetings about the art exhibit and the publication of the novel.

The New York Post added that a 2021 letter by former Leonard Cohen attorney Reeve Chudd, shown in court, says that “in 2016, without Mr. Kory’s request, Mr. Cohen instructed me to change the successor trustee to Mr. Kory. He [Cohen] was concerned that his children didn’t have a sufficiently comfortable relationship to work together upon the complexities of the artist’s estate.”

“While Mr. Cohen didn’t wish for this change in succession of trusteeship to be revealed to his children, Mr. Kory insisted, and this was explained to Adam and Lorca at a meeting in September 2015,” the letter said.

Chudd claimed that after buying his son a home and his daughter a store in Los Angeles worth over $1 million, “later in life, viewing the abundance of wealth he’d already passed down to trusts for his children, Mr. Cohen complained, only half in jest, that Mr. Kory had turned him into King Lear.”

Adam and Lorca Cohen, Kory and Chudd all refused to comment on the report.

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