Locked in a bitter legal dispute with his own children, Buzz Aldrin was a no-show at a gala event on Saturday designed to raise money for the ShareSpace Foundation he created and to celebrate his signature achievement.
Aldrin skipped the black-tie Apollo Celebration Gala held at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The event kicked off a year-long countdown to the 50th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing, which was accomplished by Aldrin and Neil Armstrong aboard Apollo 11’s lunar lander, Eagle, on July 20, 1969.
Aldrin is involved in a dispute over control of the foundation with two of his children, Andrew and Jan Aldrin. Buzz Aldrin has sued his children and his former business manager, Christina Korp, alleging misappropriation of funds, misuse of credit cards and slandering him with claims of dementia.
It has been our wish from the beginning, to avoid public discussion of our efforts to try to protect our father and his reputation from the debilitating effects of his worsening condition. We sought confidentiality through a motion with the court which held both parties responsible for maintaining confidentiality pending a formal judgement on the motion.
Legal counsel representing our father chose to defy the motion and make this effort part of a public spectacle designed to stir undue sympathy and support for the ridiculous lawsuit that they have brought on Dad’s behalf.
We have refrained from discussing the lawsuit publicly other than to debunk specific aspects of it that could hinder the ongoing operation of the Foundation. The time has come to recognize where the elder exploitation is truly occurring and address the flawed foundation of the lawsuit.
Let it be clear that every one of these allegations are products of the increased confusion and memory loss that Dad has demonstrated in recent years. Every one of them can be easily refuted by witnesses, bank and corporate records and, if necessary, we will prove this in court. But the responsibility for this outrageous lawsuit rests with those would seek to leverage his condition for their own agenda.
Although Dad’s current handlers want to spin this as “Buzz vs Family,” that could not be farther from the truth. We will not attack our father on any basis, for any reason. We are committed to protecting him, his reputation and his legacy. Our work together on this foundation is testament to that. We will not allow opportunistic agents who see an opportunity to grab the spotlight break our family apart.
We dearly love and respect our father and want him to return to us so we can continue our mission together to advance his dreams and legacy within the space program today, and with generations of explorers to come.
“We are deeply disappointed and saddened by the unjustified lawsuit that has been brought against us individually and against the Foundation that we have built together as a family to carry on Dad’s legacy for generations to come. When we established the current structure several years ago, it was done so at Buzz’s request and with his full support. If nothing else, our family is resilient and our ability to work together to solve problems and accomplish great things is strong. We love and respect our father very much and remain hopeful that we can rise above this situation and recover the strong relationship that built this foundation in the first place. We will not be commenting further on the lawsuit and ask your understanding and respect for our family privacy at this extremely difficult time.”
Buzz Aldrin has sued one of his sons, his daughter and the secretary of his foundation alleging misappropriations of funds and slander.
The lawsuit — filed on June 7 in Brevard County, Florida — alleges that Andrew Aldrin improperly transferred $475,000 from Buzz’s account at Morgan Stanley into his own bank account in 2017 and 2018 without the knowledge of the Apollo 11 astronaut.
The suit also alleges that Andrew Aldrin and Christina Korp, who is secretary of the Buzz Aldrin Space Foundation, have each “made monthly business and personal charges of up to $60,000 under the guise of trustee, power of attorney, and/or employee, and without the Plaintiff’s consent and/or knowledge or against Plaintiff’s expressed wishes authorized payment of such bills through Plaintiff’s personal checking account/funds.”
Buzz Aldrin also alleged that Andrew Aldrin and Korp “have effective established a de facto guardianship over Plaintiff” without a legal basis to have rights to his credit cards, bank accounts, trust money and other property.
“In their acting capacities and individually, Defendant Andrew Aldrin and Defendant Christina Korp, have assumed control and access to Plaintiff’s personal credit cards, bank accounts, trust money, space memorabilia, space artifacts, social media accounts and all elements of the Buzz Aldrin brand,” the suit alleged.
The lawsuits said that Buzz Aldrin invoked a revocable trust agreement appointing his son Andrew as trustee. Andrew also has power of attorney and serves as president of Buzz Aldrin Enterprises, Buzz Aldrin Space Foundation, and the Aldrin Space Institute at the Florida Institute of Technology.
The lawsuit also alleged Andrew Aldrin and Korp “have been for the past number of years been slandering Plaintiff in public and/or to other individuals or small groups by stating Plaintiff has dementia and Alzheimer’s. Defendants have used this tactic to gain further control over Plaintiff’s personal relationships business contacts, and assets.”
The suit also alleged that Andrew Aldrin, Korp and Buzz’s daughter, Janice Aldrin, have forbidden the retired astronaut from marrying and “deliberately have undermined bullied and defamed all of Plaintiff’s personal romantic relationships.”
The lawsuit says that Buzz revoked all powers of attorney and fired Korp from her position. However, Andrew Aldrin ignored the plaintiff’s request and Korp continues to be employed.
The legal action also names as defendants a number of organizations the astronaut established to represent him, including the Buzz Aldrin Enterprises, Buzz Aldrin Space Foundation, the Aldrin Space Institute and others.
Two high profile executives — President Andrew Aldrin and Propulsion Vice Pesident Tim Pickens — have left Bob Richard’s Moon Express, the commercial exploration company that has been one of the favorites to win the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize for landing and operating a rover on the surface.
Meanwhile, the only student-led team in the race, Penn State Lunar Lion, has withdrawn from the prize after an independent review found it could not achieve that goal within the competition’s tight deadline of Dec. 31, 2017.
Houston, TX, March 18th, 2014 (MoonEx PR) – Moon Express, Inc. (MoonEx) has named Dr. Andrew Aldrin as President, bringing his 20+ years of business leadership and policy experience in high-profile, aerospace companies to MoonEx as it undergoes accelerating growth on the back of rapid technological progress and business expansion. The announcement was made at the 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.
Dr. Aldrin’s appointment happens as the company enters a watershed year of staff build-up and the construction and test its MX-1 lunar lander system in preparation for a maiden flight to the Moon in late 2015. The company has been successful at attracting high profile investors, raising over $15 million in equity financing since its founding in 2010, and continues on a solid financial path to meeting its corporate objective to become the first private company to reach the Moon. The company has grown to more than 40 employees between its NASA Ames Research Park headquarters in Silicon Valley and its propulsion development and test facilities in Huntsville, Alabama, making it the largest dedicated engineering staff in the U.S. focused solely on returning American spacecraft to the surface of the Moon for science, exploration and commerce.