Buzz Aldrin participates in the National Space Council, Users advisory group meeting on June 19, 2018 at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. Credit: Joel Kowsky/NASA
Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin has filed a lawsuit against two of his children, his former manager and family foundation, alleging fraud and seeking to control his estate, including his space memorabilia and artifacts, as well as “all the elements of the Buzz Aldrin brand.”
Aldrin, 88, filed the lawsuit on June 7 in the 18th Circuit Court of Brevard County, Florida, to demand the removal of his son, Andrew, of his capacity as curator of his estate and power of attorney. Further, Aldrin wants his son, his daughter, Jan, and long-time personal manager (and the “Mission Control Director”), Christina Korp, to stop representing its interests, including the Buzz Aldrin Space Foundation, also known as the ShareSpace Foundation, and the Florida Institute of Technology Aldrin Space Institute in Melbourne.
Aldrin claims that his son and ex-manager abused his personal credit cards and social media accounts for their personal gain. He also claims that his son, his daughter and his manager forbid him to marry, have undermined his “personal relationships.” The lawsuit states that they have been, him for a year by declaring that he has dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. [Photos: Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Moonwalker and Astronaut Icon]
“We are deeply disappointed and saddened by the unjust lawsuit that is filed against us individually and against the Foundation that we, together as a family to carry on Papa’s legacy for generations to come,” Andrew and Jan Aldrin said in a statement provided to collectSPACE on Saturday (June 23). “When we determine that the current structure several years ago, this was done in Buzz’s request and with his full support.”
“We love and respect our father very much and hope that we can rise above this situation and restore the strong relationship that has built this foundation in the first place,” the two brothers said.
Aldrin has a third child, James Michael, who is not named in the lawsuit.
The ShareSpace Foundation, which in the current iteration was founded in 2014 as a non-profit dedicated to inspiring children’s passion for science, technology, engineering, art and math, provides interactive tools to educators in the United States. On the website of Buzz Aldrin Ventures, a limited liability company (LLC) is registered in May in Santa Monica, California, Aldrin is described as no longer an officer or a member of the ShareSpace-a.k.a. Buzz Aldrin Space) of the board.
In his lawsuit, Aldrin claims that the Foundation has with the help of his finance to finance “future educational efforts, that his goal is to “fund current educational efforts.”
The lawsuit came to light soon after Aldrin’s Twitter account, @TheRealBuzz, became active again after a month-long break. One of the first tweets posted by the account on June 18 declared that Korp “was ended and does not represent, Buzz Aldrin, in any capacity.”
The Buzz Aldrin Space Foundation contested the tweet in a statement on the website NASAWatch.com stated that Korp remained in her role as a member of the board of the family foundation, and the ShareSpace Foundation.
“We are not sure who is responsible for the tweet about Christina, but we are convinced Buzz to write,” a spokesman for the family foundation said. “It turns out, as many have speculated online that the management of the Twitter account @TheRealBuzz has indeed been allocated without proper monitoring.”
Paperwork submitted in support of Buzz Aldrin Ventures and accounts that are linked to Aldrin’s Twitter account to point to Lisa La Bonte and former ShareSpace Foundation executive director Linn LeBlanc as connected with Aldrin renewed online presence. An April 17 stop included with Aldrin the lawsuit further identifies La Bonte as Aldrin representative.
With respect to his space artifacts and memorabilia, Aldrin told collectSPACE in 2013, that he had “no intention of selling more of the historical Apollo 11 items” for the rest of his life and that he is intended to be a part of these items on to my children and to loan the most important items for permanent display in suitable museums.”
Aldrin, together with the late Neil Armstrong, became the first people to land on the moon on 20 July 1969. In the cease and desist letter included with the lawsuit, Aldrin’s lawyer, Robert Tourtelout, cited the upcoming 50-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, demanding Korp cease all plans for gala’s and celebrations that relate to Aldrin, individually or in connection with his brand.
Original article on Space.com.