Owner of Scholastic leaves the $1.2 Billion Harry Potter publisher to his Lover and cuts out his two sons and ex-wife

From The Daily Mail:

The owner of $1.2BILLION Scholastic Corp. – which publishes books like ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog’ and ‘Magic Schoolbus’ – died suddenly in early June and shockingly left the company to a past flame who works in the company.

M. Richard Robinson Jr., who died suddenly on June 5 during a walk in Martha’s Vineyard, left the the company to Iole Lucchese, the company’s strategy officer; not either of his sons, siblings or ex-wife, The Wall Street Journal reported

She also inherited all his personal possessions, according to the The Wall Street Journal, which reviewed the 2018 will that outlined the succession plan, which family members are reportedly unhappy about.

Family members and former colleagues said Robinson, 84, and Luccesse, 54, it was an open secret that they were in a longtime romantic relationship, but said they believed the couple broke up years ago.

Robison said in his 2018 will that Lucchese, who has been with the company for more than three decades, is ‘my partner and closest friend.’

Scholastic Corp. publishes some of most-well known titles like ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Clifford,’ ‘Magic Schoolbus’, ‘Captain Underpants,’ among others.

Family members told the paper that they’re reviewing their legal options.

. . . .

He left behind two sons – Maurice ‘Reece’ Robinson, 25, and John Benham ‘Ben’ Robinson, 34 – his ex-wife and mother of his boys Helen Benham, and siblings: Sue Robinson Morrill, Barbara Robinson Buckland, Florence (Dover) Robinson Ford and William (Bill) Robinson.

Reece Robinson, who’s done documentary work, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that it was ‘unexpected and shocking.’

‘What I want most is an amicable outcome,’ Ben Robinson, who operates a sawmill and workshop that produces lumber, flooring and furniture from trees in Martha’s Vineyard and lives off the land work, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

He told the paper that he never met Lucchese until they spoke about his dad’s estate last week and said this was ‘like salt in an open wound.’

‘We expect to have a collaborative approach with the estate,’ he said without elaborating.

. . . .

Meanwhile, the woman who’s heading the company now has been there since 1991, when she became an associate editor in book clubs and moved up the ranks until se was named chief strategy officer in 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

Two years later she became sole president of Scholastic Canada and in 2018 she added the title of president of Scholastic Entertainment. 

She’s a Canadian with a home in Ontario and a permanent US resident, according to an affidavit filed in New York Surrogate’s Court. 

Former staffers told the Wall Street Journal that she and Robinson had ‘sweet’ and ‘contentious’ moments, where the battled in meetings about the direction of the company. 

Former staffers said she wanted to expand the company. 

Despite the public bouts, people who knew them say Robinson relied on her and she remained part of his inner circle, the Wall Street Journal reported.  

The company declined comment.   

Link to the rest at The Daily Mail

The New York Times recently released a story about the current succession battle going on for Scholastic, but it’s behind a robust paywall.

6 thoughts on “Owner of Scholastic leaves the $1.2 Billion Harry Potter publisher to his Lover and cuts out his two sons and ex-wife”

  1. Where there’s money, there’s going to be unhappiness of someone who thinks they didn’t get a “fair shake.” One could be cynical and not bother with a will, except to just give everything to some lawyers…

    Sigh. In any case, this looks more like a will made to ensure that his “legacy” – the company – would be in the hands that he trusted to maintain it.

    • One should leave one’s estate however it pleases one.

      That said (minor children aside), there is always something rather mean-spirited about a wealthy person not providing some portion of his estate (assuming that hasn’t already happened while he was alive) to people who have been his direct family (children, wives) and (if generous) his collateral family (siblings, etc.), even if the bulk goes elsewhere.

      It’s not the plight of the non-recipients (who may or may not already be well off) that one deplores, but the self-centeredness of the deceased.

      • As you say, there’s no telling what kind of asset distribution he made in late life–and it would be odd if Scholastic–were his only asset. Just thd only one the OP cares about. But when it comes to adult descendants he would only owe them a good start in life (an education and maybe a house and a car). Most “mere” millionaires provide their spawn with trust funds so unless he was truly ticked-off they probably won’t notice. It may very well be none of the kids were interested in the family business and would simply sell out to Bertelsmann. We really don’t know who tbose people are. Maybe it’s a CROOKED HOUSE (movie) scenario.

        A good benchmark described by Bill Gates in his productive years was giving his kids enough money they could do anything but not enough to do nothing. He may have relaxed that since but his daughter is in Medical School at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Second year. Probably good preparation for eventually joining the Gates foundation.

        https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2021/02/15/jennifer-gates-medical-school/

  2. M. Richard Robinson Jr.is warming himself around the 7th Circle of Hades and laughing himself stupid, still, right now, I suspect.

    Maybe he saw the film ‘Knives out’ before he made his last will?

  3. Oh the horror. Nothing to the ex-wife? I’m sure she got nothing in the divorce. Nothing to the sibling after all that they helped him build the business? Well, maybe that’s true, but it would seem Mr. Robinson didn’t think so. It boggles my mind why the ex-wife and siblings are entitled to a cent. As to the children. They are adults. I have no idea what relationship they had to Mr. Robinson. It would seem that Ms. Luccesse is much closer to Mr. Robinson’s DNA than the kids were. Personally I would be pissed where ever I end up if my will wasn’t honored as I wrote it.

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