Back in June, during a casual walk through Dukes County’s Martha’s Vineyard, the chairman of America’s biggest publishing company Richard “Dick” Robinson Jr, faced a sudden death. The Scholastic’s mogul was responsible for the Harry Potter craze that took over the nation. But when it came to his will and succession, his family was shocked that the whopping $1.2 billion business was left for someone other than his kin.

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Though the grief of their father’s sudden death was certainly a shock for Robinson Jr’s sons, the seemingly unorthodox plans for his succession only made the difficult situation even more complicating.

Instead of handing over control of Scholastic Inc to his children – twenty five year old documentarian Maurice “Reece” Robinson and thirty four year old John Benham “Ben” Robinson – the late chairman had other plans. Control over the firm was granted to his past lover, Iole Lucchese.

Lucchese and Robinson were enthralled in a long term relationship that was nothing of a secret to other members of the company. Maybe that’s why he left 53.8% controlling stake ($70 million in common shares) and all of his personal possessions to her in his 2018 will, which was obtained by The Wall Street Journal. In his will, Robinson describes Lucchese as his “partner and closest friend.” Though a reliable sources says that the two weren’t in a relationship during the time of his death.

Ben Robinson laments that his late father’s decision, “served as salt in an open wound.”

Seemingly, the rest of his family members aren’t too happy about his decision either, with some even going as far as to look into legal action.

“”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,” says oldest son Recce in a statement, “What I want most is an amicable outcome.”

Lucchese has been a pivotal fixture of Scholastic for thirty years. She began her journey with the firm by working on the Scholastic Canada Book Clubs. By 2014, she was granted the title of chief strategy officer and, in 2021, she became the chair for the board of directors.

“Iole has a long record of pursuing innovation, focusing on the needs of customers, and ultimately strengthening the Scholastic brand,” a representative told Fox Business.

So far, she’s yet to comment on her controversial, new position.

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Sources: The Wall Street Journal, The Sun,  Fox Business

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