James Brown estate trustee refuses to ‘play nice’ as judge seeks additional trustees (SC)

Friends at national Watchdog Wire site posted a new Sue Summer article describing how Current Trustee In James Brown Estate Refuses Mandate to Serve With Other Trustees:

At a May 29 status conference related to the controversial estate of music legend James Brown, Judge Doyet Early of Aiken vowed to rule the proceedings with a “firm hand.”

The first test of that firmness may be whether he appoints three trustees for the estate, as mandated by the will and trust documents of James Brown–or whether Judge Early allows current trustee Russell Bauknight to serve as sole trustee.

On Sept. 4 five applicants were interviewed by Judge Early for fiduciary positions with the estate. During the interview of Bauknight, a Columbia CPA, he announced he will refuse to serve if other fiduciaries are appointed.

In May the Supreme Court overturned a 2009 settlement deal by former Attorney General (AG) Henry McMaster, and the James Brown estate was remanded to Judge Early for further proceedings. In the Supreme Court opinion, Judge Early was directed to “appoint fiduciaries … in accordance with the provisions for succession outlined in Brown’s trust and estate documents.”

Brown’s estate documents require the appointment of three trustees to manage his music empire for the benefit of the “I Feel Good” Trust, an education charity for needy children in South Carolina and Georgia. Also to be funded by the music empire was a $2 million education trust for some of Brown’s grandchildren.

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