In a move that is likely going to prompt litigation for centuries to come, M. Richard “Dick” Robinson Jr., the late owner of Scholastic Corp., the book company responsible for publishing books like "Harry Potter", has snubbed his family and left his entire fortune - worth $1.2 billion - to his former lover.
Robinson died on June 5 while in Martha's Vineyard and his will directed that his fortune be left to his “longtime romantic partner” Iole Lucchese, according to the NY Post.
Lucchese is Scholastic's chief strategy officer. A copy of Robinson's will was reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, who said it called Lucchese “my partner and closest friend.”
Family members told the Journal they're "unhappy" about the firm being left to Lucchese, who they called an "outsider". They're also apparently upset that Lucchese will have control of Robinson's personal possessions, the report said.
And so goes the the inevitable plunge into the legal system, as the family is reportedly "reviewing their legal options" and seeking to cut a deal with Lucchese.
Robinson's youngest son, who is 25, called the move "unexpected and shocking". “What I want most is an amicable outcome,” he said.
Robinson's 34 year old son said he had never even met or spoken to Lucchese. The family held a call with her last week. The son "operates a sawmill and workshop that produces lumber, flooring and furniture from trees in Martha’s Vineyard," the Post reported.
Robinson's younger brother said: “Our family value was we’d rather not have the financial benefit that we might get from a sale if it means the company won’t be in the future what it was. Everybody knows Scholastic and has a good feeling about it and it does good things for teachers. It’s more than just a business for us.”
One of Robinson's sisters commented to the Journal: “Our first goal is the continuation of the mission and legacy of Scholastic, the vision and brilliant lifework of both our father and our brother Dick, and we are confident that the new management of the company is fully committed to this goal.”
Robinson's will named Lucchese as co-executor of his will, alongside of Scholastic's general counsel, Andrew Hedden. Lucchese is tasked with distributing Robinson's personal possessions “with the request, but not the direction” that she hand out items “as she believes to be in accordance with my wishes,” the Post wrote.
“You might think from the will that he didn’t see his sons. That’s not true. For the last two years I saw him multiple times a week,” Robinson's youngest son said.
Robinson reportedly spoke about how he had to work his way up at the company, which neither of his sons did. Lucchese now owns 53.8% of the company's Class A shares - about 3 million shares - which hold the majority of the the voting power.