Update: B.B. King proposed guardianship (NV)

BB King’s daughter sobbed in court today after a judge ruled that legal control of the musician’s affairs must remain with his manager.

Three of King’s 11 surviving children – Karen Williams, Rita Washington and Patty King – suspect the 89-year-old musician’s longtime business manager, Laverne Toney, is stealing money and neglecting his medical needs while blocking them from seeing their father in his hospice home.

But the Las Vegas judge said on Thursday in Clark County Family Court that two investigations found no evidence the blues legend was being abused. 

‘We lost the battle, but we haven’t lost the war,’ Williams vowed.

Toney and B.B. King’s lead lawyer, Brent Bryson, denied the allegations, said visits can be scheduled as they’ve always been, and called the sisters’ efforts a money grab.

‘It’s all about money,’ Bryson said. ‘Mr. King is no longer out able to tour at this particular time so there’s no money coming in. The only way they can get money now is by filing a frivolous type of action.’

King’s personal lawyer, Arthur Williams Jr., and his physician, Dr. Darin Brimhall, said outside court that they saw no neglect or abuse.

Clark County Family Court Hearing Master Jon Norheim said from the bench that police and social services investigations in October and April uncovered no reason to take power-of-attorney from Toney. The reports won’t be made public, the judge said.

‘There is no evidence of need for guardianship,’ Norheim said. ‘Mr. King has counsel. I don’t have anything here that says he lacks capacity. He has some serious health issues. But … if he feels like he’s being taken advantage of, he has remedies.’

Norheim said he can’t consider daughter Karen Williams’ petition to take over as King’s guardian until every one of King’s surviving children and dozens of grandchildren receives legal notice.

Karen Williams and a family-nominated guardian, Fredrick Waid, sought to wrest power-of-attorney from Toney with an April 29 petition asserting that more than $5 million in assets was at stake.

Bryson said he couldn’t comment on King’s estate, which the document said would also include intellectual property rights and royalties.

The petition alleges Toney blocked King’s friends — including musicians Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton — from visiting him, and put her family members on King’s payroll. It also alleges large sums of money disappeared from King’s bank accounts.

‘The family has been unable to account for what is reported to be in excess of $1 million,’ the court document says.

Bryson called the theft allegation ‘almost laughable.’ He said all of King’s spending was legitimate and accounted for.

King was hospitalized a week ago, after police were called to his home in a dispute between Toney and Patty King about his condition. No arrests were made. The musician returned home Friday.

King, born Riley B. King in the Mississippi farm town of Itta Bena, toured and performed almost continually until October, when he canceled the remaining shows in his 2014 tour after falling ill in Chicago with dehydration and exhaustion.

Las Vegas police were called to King’s home in November on allegations of elder neglect and abuse. Officer Jesse Roybal said this week that case remained open, and no details were available.

King is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and a 15-time Grammy winner. He has released more than 50 albums and sold millions of records worldwide. He is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

His guitars, famously named Lucille, have soared and wailed in songs such as ‘Every Day I Have the Blues’ and ‘The Thrill is Gone.’

King was married several times and had 15 biological and adoptive children. Four children have died.

His eldest surviving daughter, Shirley King, who tours as ‘Daughter of the Blues,’ said the dispute between family members and Toney has been months in the making.

‘I’m not too sure things are right. But my dad would never want this,’ Shirley King said by telephone from her Chicago-area home. She did not attend Thursday’s hearing, which she said brought disrespect to her father’s legacy.

‘I’m crying about what people are doing,’ she said.


BB King’s daughter sobs in court as judge rejects her claims the musician is being abused by his manager
-Las Vegas judged ruled King’s manager must retain control of his affairs
-But his daughters accuse her of neglect and abuse of the 89-year-old
-Daughters also claim his manager has siphoned money from his account
Associated Press/Ted Thornhill for MailOnline
May 8, 2015

Additional coverage:

B.B. King Guardianship Fight Goes to Court
Family feud over blues legend B.B. King’s health, wealth heads to court in Las Vegas.
Associated Press
May 7, 2015

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A family feud over B.B. King’s health and wealth is heading to court in Las Vegas.

With the blues legend in home hospice care, one of his 11 surviving children is asking a judge on Thursday to give her and an executor guardianship over King’s money and medical decisions.

King’s longtime business manager, Laverne Toney, has legal control of King’s affairs.

Toney says the 89-year-old musician is home where he wants to be after a brief hospitalization last week.

King was diagnosed with diabetes decades ago.

He toured and performed until October, when he canceled the remaining shows in his 2014 tour after falling ill in Chicago with dehydration and exhaustion.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time.