In June, the 84-year-old owner of Scholastic Corp, the popular publisher of many children’s books, suddenly died while out on a walk on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. M. Richard Robinson Jr. served as the longtime head of the $1.2 billion Scholastic Corp. but shocked his family and friends when he decided to leave control of the company to his former lover, Iole Lucchese, an employee at Scholastic, rather than a member of his family.
Scholastic published popular book series including the “Magic Schoolbus” and “Clifford the Big Red Dog.” But Robinson’s decision to give control of the company to Lucchese came as quite a shock to people in the industry – as well as his family – because he chose to hand over control to his former romantic partner, who still works for the book publisher.
Robinson died suddenly and unexpectedly during a walk on June 5, 2021. Despite being eighty-four years old, he was thought to be in good health. Nevertheless, he left the company to this former lover rather than his two sons, his siblings, or his ex-wife, The Wall Street Journal reported in a shocking article.
Not only did Lucchese inherit power in the book publishing company, but she also inherited the billionaire’s personal possessions – all of them. The Wall Street Journal was able to obtain this information about the assets belonging to Robinson because they obtained a 2018 copy of his will that outlined the succession plan of the children’s book publisher. His family members, including his ex-wife, are very unhappy with the way things have progressed following the sudden death of the billionaire.
Those who knew Robinson knew that it was an open secret that he had a romantic relationship with Luccesse, 54, although it was believed that their romance ended a few years ago. Nevertheless, the 2018 copy of Robinson’s will described Luccesse as “my partner and closet friend.” She has worked for the book publisher for the last three decades and has made a marvelous impact on the company.
In addition to the titles listed above, Scholastic is also the publisher of the “Harry Potter” series as well as “Captain Underpants” both of which are huge sellers to this day.
Scholastic Magazines Inc. was founded by Robinson’s father, Maurice Robinson. The pair worked together.
Following Robinson’s death in June, Scholastic issued a statement that said: “We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Dick Robinson. Dick was a true visionary in the world of children’s books and an unrelenting advocate for children’s literacy and education with a remarkable passion his entire life. The Company’s directors and employees, as well as the many educators, parents, and students whose lives he touched, mourn his loss.”
Son, Maurice ‘Reece’ Robinson, 25, said the results of the will were “unexpected and shocking.” His other son, Ben Robinson, 34, told The Wall Street Journal that “What I want most is an amicable outcome.”
Are you surprised that the billionaire behind Scholastic publishers left his fortune to his former lover instead of a member of his family?
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