B.B. King estate controversy continues after his passing

The death of blues legend B.B. King last week prompted heartfelt tributes around the world. Musicians from the famous to the obscure shared their memories of King’s playing, singing, showmanship, and warm personality.

But there was a dark cloud hovering over the end of the bluesman’s life, one that still hasn’t been resolved. The long-running dispute between several of King’s 11 remaining children and his longtime business manager Laverne Toney continues unabated.

The trouble has gone on since at least last fall, when King’s daughters Karen Williams, Rita Washington, and Patty King accused Toney of elder abuse and burglary. The allegations were eventually thrown out by a Las Vegas judge after two separate investigations.

That hasn’t stopped the trouble, though. Williams went on to claim that King’s celebrity friends were being kept away from the singer by Toney. King’s daughter Shirley further claimed that Toney had denied her a final chance to see her father.

Toney, for her part, claims that all of these accusations, including the one that she is in the middle of stealing tens of millions from King’s estate, are all about the Benjamins. Her attorney called the King daughters’ actions “all about money,” saying that because King was at that point too ill to tour, “[t]he only way they can get money now is by filing a frivolous type of action.”

There is no small amount of money at stake. King’s estate is estimated to be in the $10 million range, and with his Spotify streams increasing almost 10,000% since his passing, his extensive catalog and intellectual property rights may increase that number significantly.

This is far from the first time that a music legend’s estate has become contentious. James Brown’s holdings have been caught up in court battles for the past seven years, and Michael Jackson’s estate has been sued by the singer’s longtime producer Quincy Jones.

Attribution:

B.B. King Estate Controversy Continues After His Passing
Shawn Setaro
May 18, 2015
Forbes.com
http://www.forbes.com/sites/shawnsetaro/2015/05/18/b-b-king-estate-controversy-continues-after-his-passing/

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