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Aldrin Family Responds To Wall Street Journal

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
June 26, 2018

“Matt Murray, Editor-in-Chief – Gretchen Morgenson, Senior Special Writer, Investigations
Re: Buzz Aldrin
Our firm represents Andrew Aldrin and Jan Aldrin. Your recent article, “Buzz Aldrin Fights Family for Control of His Space Legacy,” was riddled with inaccurate and unverified claims which, given the usual high standard of Wall Street Journal reporting, warrant substantial correction on the record. That the subject’s name was given incorrectly in a corresponding caption (Edward “Buzz” Aldrin v. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin), is an early indication of the general carelessness with which the article presents multiple inaccurate and false claims made by Col. Aldrin’s handlers, many of them corrected herein. Additionally, our clients were not provided with any reasonable opportunity to specifically respond to the many false allegations made against them in this article.
1. First, it is germane to the overall discussion to recognize that public disclosure and discussion of court proceedings to determine competency is against the wishes of the Aldrin family. The family has specifically requested full confidentiality in the interest of their father. This request is currently under consideration by the court.
2. The Buzz Aldrin Space Foundation was established in his name and created specifically to support new activities beyond the primary education focus on the Share Space Foundation. The foundation has sponsored several workshops on Mars habitation and numerous articles on Mars transportation concept. Col. Aldrin participated in many of these activities.
3. The management and distribution of funds has always been completely controlled by business management company Callas & Carlson, who oversees distribution of set salaries and expenses according to strict criteria. Neither Andy Aldrin nor Christina Korp have had the ability to pay or reimburse themselves in any way.
4. Andy has never used his father’s personal credit card. Those who have served as his executive assistants were on his card to pay his expenses, but never used for personal use – a fact that can be easily confirmed. Christina was taken off of Buzz’s account by Lisa LaBonte, recently, who changed the billing address to her business address in Virginia.”

5. Col. Aldrin’s annual salary of $36,000 was above and beyond the value of his considerable personal expenses. It was the alarming growth of Buzz’s increasingly lavish personal expenses, exceeding an average of $70,000.00 per month, that led to the transfer of monies from his savings account to pay his bills, and contributed to Andy and Jan Aldrin considering guardianship proceedings for the protection of their father. 6. Andy’s salary is $80,000/yr. Christina’s salary has been $120,000/yr. without increase at any time.
7. The booking agency was not fired but augmented with other agencies. The agency’s last booking was in June 2017, after which Col. Aldrin refused to be committed to any further appearances. He always knew about every appearance booked with the full right to decline prior to making commitments.
8. Col. Aldrin asked Andy to run the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at FIT. He was hired as an Associate Professor. The last time he was a graduate assistant was more than 30 years ago.
9. Col. Aldrin has been to meet with his business managers twice in the last 8 months to go over finances, most recently in the presence of his attorney, Randy Leff. Andy provided detailed documentation of the last 24-30 months of transactions to two different attorneys working on his behalf. On one other occasion in December of last year, he was invited to meet again with the business manager, but he refused.
10. The space memorabilia and artifacts have been under the control of a Trust, separate from the Foundation, which was established at Col. Aldrin’s request, himself, in order to protect them from others that he believed were attempting to exercise undue influence at the time. The memorabilia are bequeathed to the foundation in Col. Aldrin’s will. Any proceeds from exhibits, etc. will go to charity, and cannot be used for personal gain.
11. The media-sponsored trip to the South Pole had nothing to do with the Buzz Aldrin Space Foundation and did not generate revenues for the Foundation in any way. Furthermore, he was not reluctant to take the trip at all. In fact, he personally encouraged the opportunity to meet a long-expressed life goal of having traveled to both poles, the depths of the ocean and to the moon.
12. Col. Aldrin was counseled in writing by his doctor to discontinue scuba diving, not his children. The reasons are considered personal medical information not available for public release.
Furthermore, the article failed to consider the scores of anecdotal reports and observations of individuals in the space industry and colleagues of the Foundation expressing serious concern to the family for Col. Aldrin’s mental state over the past several years. The decline of his mental capacity has been well known and discussed widely among his colleagues for some time.
If you are interested in further pursuing this story, we recommend contacting our clients’ communications agency, Griffin Communications Group, with adequate time and opportunity to respond to your needs.
Very truly yours,
Bernard R. Given II
cc: Andrew Aldrin
Jan Aldrin

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.