Lee Bailey’s eurweb.com (Electronic Urban Report) has once again picked up Sue Summer’s latest article from The Newberry Observer on the questionable actions surrounding administration of James Brown’s estate. The article is introduced as follows:
For those who’ve been keeping track of the James Brown probate case, or if you’re simply interested in know where things stand now 6 years after his death, this report for the Newberry Observer, from writer Sue Sumner, should bring you up to date on all the drama.
Summer’s new article reports how Adele Pope, an attorney who acted as a Brown trustee from late 2007 to 2009, was recently served with a subpoena related to the diaries of Brown’s former companion, Tommie Rae Hynie – a central figure in the activity surrounding Brown’s estate administration. Specifically, Summer writes, Pope is being asked to “turn over all written communications related to the Hynie diaries, including any communications with this reporter, any ‘blogger, website or media outlet.’”
Through the state of South Carolina’s revision of James Brown’s estate plan, the entertainer’s property rights appear to have been posthumously disregarded while his designated beneficiaries’ inheritance rights appear violated. The state’s failure to respect Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests creates concerns over its commitment to transparency and open government as well as its approach to taxpayer accountability. This latest development seems now to flirt with free speech and freedom of the press issues which further heighten the case’s ever-intriguing nature.
Estate of Denial® continues to find this case quite compelling. That those seeking to question the manner and justification for actions taken are now being targeted with subpoenas only enhances our interest.
The recent Newberry Observer article explains the “Hynie diaries” significance:
The Observer has requested a copy of the diaries from Attorney General (AG) Alan Wilson under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but the request was refused in March.
In a telephone interview in November, 2011, a longtime friend of music icon James Brown characterized the Hynie diaries as “explosive.”
After Brown’s death in 2006, Hynie claimed to be Brown’s wife and sued his estate for a share of his $100 million music empire. The two had exchanged vows in 2001, but Hynie was married to another man at the time. When Brown discovered her marriage, he sued Hynie for an annulment. The Aiken County case was settled when Hynie signed an agreement that she would never claim to be Brown’s common-law wife.
Brown’s will and trust contain clauses that say anyone who challenges his estate plan receives nothing—but those clauses were not enforced by former Attorney General (AG) Henry McMaster. Instead, McMaster worked a settlement deal that gave away over half of Brown’s music empire to those he specifically disinherited, including Hynie and about half of his alleged children.
In the meantime, we find Brown’s 1967 recording of America is My Home an interesting testament to what perhaps Brown was trying to accomplish with his estate. The song includes these lyrics:
The sun don’t come out in rainy weather
But when you ball it down they are still together
Now let’s not overlook the fact that we are, we are still in reach
You got to chance to make it and you got a freedom of speech
Say what you wanna, tell ‘em how you feel
There may be a lot of places, a lot of places that you like to go
But believe me if you get an education you can blow
You can all it blow, dig this
…he issued a patriotic single, “America is My Home”, which was a “rap” about how he felt people, particularly in the African-American community, were neglecting the country that he said “could give (them) opportunities” explaining how at one time he was shining shoes and the next, he was greeting the President of the United States as he did when President Lyndon B. Johnson thanked him for donating money to school drop-out prevention programs.
This sentiment certainly offers credibility for Brown later reportedly designating his estate plan to provide scholarships for poor children in South Carolina and Georgia through the “I Feel Good” Trust.
For now, this case is not largely being reported in traditional media sources. One has to wonder if issuance of these media-targeting subpoenas isn’t designed to help keep it that way. Stay tuned!