It has been almost two months that M. Richard Robinson Jr., the billionaire owner of $1.2 billion Scholastic Corp, has died. However, it has only been revealed now that Robinson has given the control of the company to his past flame Iole Lucchese, and not to his family.
Lucchese has been working with Scholastic, which publishes books like 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' and 'Magic Schoolbus', for long time and will now take control over the entire property, with Robinson' sons, siblings and ex-wife being deprived of the huge fortune, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Inheriting His Fortune
Robinson Jr., 84, died suddenly on June 5 during a walk in Martha's Vineyard. Since then speculation has been rife that there will be many contenders for his huge fortune. However, it came as a surprise on Sunday after the WSJ reported that Robinson has left Scholastic to Lucchese, 54, the company's strategy officer and not either of his sons, siblings or ex-wife.
Not only will Lucchese inherit the company but all his personal possessions, according to the outlet, which reviewed the 2018 will that outlined the succession plan. Needless to say, Robinson's family and relatives are reportedly unhappy about his decision to give control of the company to his past flame.
According to the Daily Mail, Robinson's son John Benham 'Ben' Robinson told in an interview that his father's decision to pass his fortune was "unexpected and shocking." "What I want most is an amicable outcome," he said.
They are also reviewing other legal options so that a part of his fortune is inherited by them too.
Scholastic Corp. publishes some of most-well known titles like 'Harry Potter,' 'Clifford,' 'Magic Schoolbus', 'Captain Underpants,' among others.
Rich In a Month
The fortune going to Lucchese may have come as a shock to Robinson's family but many of the staffers at Scholastic aren't surprised given the relationship the two shared. According to the Daily Mail, Robison had said in his 2018 will that Lucchese, who has been with the company for more than three decades, is "my partner and closest friend."
Former colleagues of Robinson and also a few of his family members said that it was an open secret that they were in a longtime romantic relationship, but said they believed the couple broke up years ago. However, not much is known about their relationship beyond that.
She has She is a native of Canada and her first job was with the Scholastic Canada Books Club, when she joined the company in the 1990s. Lucchese was appointed the Executive Vice President of Scholastic Corporation in 2016 and was made the Chair of the Board of Directors in 2021, according to Scholastic.com.
The company's website states: "Born in Toronto, Ontario, Ms. Lucchese is a first-generation college graduate, having received her degrees from the University of Toronto. "
"Iole is also responsible for the company's digital content and e-commerce strategy, including the use of social media and new ways of approaching parents directly," the website further reads.
On the other hand, Robinson has left behind two sons - Maurice 'Reece' Robinson, 25, and John Benham 'Ben' Robinson, 34 â 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 WSJ that the entire fortune going to Lucchese is "unexpected and shocking."
The WSJ also reported that Robinson and his Benham became good friends again during the pandemic. The two had first met at Scholastic after she started worked in the art department in 1974. However, they started dating only in 1980s and the couple got married in 1986.
The finally and finally split in 2003. The same year Benham also left the company. While she declined to talk about Lucchese, she told the WSJ, "I was shocked and we were not expecting this."