Singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen may never see $9.5 million a court ordered his former business manager to pay after she failed to respond to allegations of stealing from his retirement savings, Cohen’s attorney said yesterday (March 2).
A California Superior Court judge granted Cohen, 71, the default judgment Monday against Kelley Lynch in response to a lawsuit alleging she siphoned $5 million from the musician’s personal accounts and investments. By late 2004, the suit alleges, his nest egg was reduced to about $150,000.
Cohen, known for such reflective songs as “Suzanne,” may never be able to collect, according to his attorney, Scott Edelman.
“She’s hard to get in touch with. I don’t know where she lives now, and I don’t have a phone number for her,” Edelman said. “We don’t know what she did with the money … But she knows what’s going on because she leaves me phone messages at all hours.” Lynch could not be located for comment.
Edelman said Lynch, who worked for Cohen for 17 years until he fired her, also refused to return photographs, records and memorabilia, even after a court order. “We went into her home four months ago with a sheriff and a moving truck to get his stuff,” the lawyer said.
Another defendant in the suit, tax professor and lawyer Richard Westin, reached an out-of-court settlement with Cohen on Feb. 13, details of which were not revealed.
Lynch allegedly hired Westin to help defraud Cohen. Westin’s attorney did not immediately return calls for comment.
“Leonard is sad that this whole thing took place, but glad that this leg of the litigation is completed,” Edelman said. “He would prefer to spend his time on his creative endeavors.”
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