If part of a manager’s job is to arrange a client’s life so he might be inspired to do his best work, then Kelley Lynch is one hell of a manager. Lynch (not to be confused with 90210 actor Kelly Lynch) forced her best-known client, Leonard Cohen, out of retirement by siphoning some $5 million from his accounts, forcing the singer-songwriter to go back out on tour in his seventies. (Battered fedoras and famous blue raincoats don’t just pay for themselves.) In 2006, Cohen was awarded a $9 million settlement in a civil suit against Lynch, but has been unable to actually get his hands on any of the money. Under the circumstances, Lynch probably shouldn’t have been in a hurry to contact her former client, but Cohen just won another court case against her, this time for harassment.
Cohen testified that, as recently as January of this year, Lynch had sent him hundreds of emails and voice messages accusing him of tax fraud and drug abuse and threatening him, causing him considerable distress: “‘Cohen is going to be hung,’” he told the jury, “is not agreeable to hear. Lynch’s attorneys characterized the messages as “cries for help,” because the news that she had bankrupted her client by emptying his multi-million-dollar retirement fund had negatively impacted her reputation and career. (They also accused the prosecutors of including multiple copies of the same brief messages in the binders they set out in view of the jury, to make them look more voluminous.) The jury was also unswayed by the fact that Cohen failed to mention, during a pretrial hearing, having had a sexual relationship with Lynch. As The New York Times’ Dave Itzkoff writes, “Mr. Cohen said he had a ‘brief intimate relationship’ with Ms. Lynch but it was not romantic.” The ability to make distinctions like that separates the true love gods from mere players.
Lynch, who was convicted of harassment and of violating a court order to leave Cohen alone, could face up to five years in jail.
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