Billionaire’s Family In Shock After Learning To Whom He Left His Fortune

Stuart Ramson/InsiderImages for Scholastic, The Movie Times

Publishing company Scholastic was founded in 1920 by Maurice Robinson. Later, after his death, his son, Richard “Dick” Robinson, took over the reigns of the company and served as CEO

It would be natural to think that one day Robinson would leave the company to his own sons, or perhaps to his ex-wife, Helen Benham, the mother of his children and a former Scholastic employee who worked for the company for 30 years. According to Benham, Robinson once told her, “You care more about Scholastic than I do.” That’s saying a lot considering Robinson was passionate about the company and was known for working long days.

In June 2021, Robinson was at his home in Martha’s Vineyard along with Benham and their children, his 25-year-old son Maurice “Reece” Robinson, and his 35-year-old son John Benham “Ben” Robinson. While on a walk with his younger son and Benham, he collapsed and ended up dying of a heart attack. He was 84 years old.

While Robinson’s death was a shock, what was even more shocking to Robinson’s family was the reading of the will. He didn’t leave one penny to his son’s or his ex-wife. Instead, he left all of his possessions and his controlling shares of Scholastic to a woman named Iole Lucchese.

Robinson’s older son described the news as “salt in an open wound.” Meanwhile, his younger brother explained, “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.”

Benham also expressed shock at the will. She said, “I was shocked and we were not expecting this.”

While Robinson’s family was shocked at the will, which was drawn up in 2018, employees at Scholastic were not shocked at all. In fact, one employee said, “We all knew.”

Robinson first met Lucchese in 1992. She was a junior book club editor based out of Scholastic’s Toronto branch. According to a former Scholastic employee, “She was extremely attractive and she knew she was attractive, and she used that as best she could.” 

What followed was an affair between Robinson and Lucchese that ended up causing Robinson and Benham’s divorce. Along with their romantic relationship, Lucchese also ended up quickly rising up the ranks at Scholastic.

According to one source, Lucchese and Robinson were both “passionate” about Scholastic, which may be why he left her the company. The source claimed that Robinson’s sons were not interested in the company, yet, according to his obituary, he had been talking to his sons and Benham about “moving the company in the digital age to reach parents directly.”