Last month, Buzz filed a lawsuit against Andy and his daughter, Jan. The former NASA astronaut has accused his children, along with his longtime manager, Christina Korp, of a barrage of offenses, including taking control of his credit cards, using his money for their own gain, undermining his romantic relationships, and slandering him by telling others that he has dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Filed in Florida state court, the suit alleges fraud, conspiracy, and exploitation of the elderly.
The news of the lawsuit made national headlines last week. Buzz’s lawyer, Robert Bauer, made the rounds with news organizations, including this one, to say his client’s children were manipulating him. Buzz, now 88, appeared on Good Morning America to defend his mental health. “I’m feeling younger and more energetic really than I have ever been in my life,” he said in the interview. “There is less confusion and more clarity.”
Andy, Jan, and Korp released statements vehemently denying the allegations. In a recent interview, Andy rebuked Bauer’s claims that Buzz and his children have long had a strained relationship. Bauer, Andy said, has known his father for a month.
“I think people are taking advantage of him,” Andy said.
Both sides must now prepare for their first court date, which has not yet been set, according to a clerk for Brevard County, Florida, where the suit was filed.
Andy said he believes a new set of managers wants to take control of Buzz’s space memorabilia, which is controlled by a trust that Buzz and his children set up in 2016. The lawsuit seeks to remove Andy from his role as trustee.
Korp, who has worked with Buzz since 2011, agrees. She said in a recent interview that the Apollo astronaut told her in June of last year that he no longer wanted her to book public appearances for him. “He just felt pressured to continue to perform every day,” Korp said. “He loved to keep busy, he loved to do a lot, but he also very publicly has struggled with depression. Over the years, we always tried to find a balance.” Buzz has written about his experiences with depression and alcoholism in the years after his historic moon landing in 1969.
Korp heeded his request. “But that gave him back his time, and he’s not someone who does that well with idle time,” she said. “His mind goes a million miles a minute.”
It was at about this time, Korp said, that Buzz met a business adviser named Lisa La Bonte. A mutual friend had invited all three to dinner in Washington, D.C., to discuss their similar interests; Buzz had traveled to the United Arab Emirates for public speeches, and La Bonte had served as the head of a STEM-education nonprofit group, the Arab Youth Venture Foundation.
Buzz invited La Bonte to an Aldrin family reunion in Florida last August, Korp said. After that, “she just started showing up places,” she said.