B.B. King probate hearing in Las Vegas postponed to June 22

LAS VEGAS (AP) – An initial court date in the battle over B.B. King’s estate has been pushed back to June 22.

Clark County District Court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price said Thursday that resetting the hearing from Friday will put the case before the judge who heads probate courts in Las Vegas.

Four of King’s 11 surviving children are trying to block the blues legend’s longtime business manager from becoming executor of his estate.

King died May 14 at age 89.

His will names LaVerne Toney to continue handling his affairs.

Four of King’s adult daughters – Patty King, Karen Williams, Rita Washington and Barbara Winfree – accuse Toney of looting King’s accounts and endangering his health in his dying days.

A lawyer representing Toney and the estate says the allegations aren’t true.


B.B. King probate hearing in Las Vegas postponed to June 22
Associated Press
June 11, 2015

Additional coverage:

4 B.B. King daughters raise possibility of ‘missing’ will
Ken Ritter/Associated Press
June 11, 2015

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Four of B.B. King’s 11 surviving adult children are raising the possibility that a second will exists, and they’re again accusing the blues legend’s longtime business manager of stealing his wealth and endangering his health in his dying days.

Probate court documents filed Tuesday in Las Vegas by a lawyer for Patty King, Karen Williams, Rita Washington and Barbara Winfree stop short of repeating previous allegations that LaVerne Toney and another personal aide, Myron Johnson, poisoned B.B. King.

But they allege ahead of a court hearing Friday that Toney — King’s trusted business agent for 39 years who had power of attorney — is unfit to become executor or personal representative of King’s estate.

Brent Bryson, a lawyer representing Toney and the estate, dismissed the allegations as “completely ludicrous” and “unsubstantiated by any true facts.”

The daughters allege that Toney moved more than $1 million out of various bank accounts, denied King proper medical care and changed the locks at his Las Vegas home so that the King of the Blues died “alone without any friends or family by his side.”

Toney didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Johnson, who is accused in the documents of pocketing cash, jewelry and funds during King road shows, declined to respond.

“They’ve been making allegations forever,” he said. “This is just the next step.”

King’s physician and the coroner in Las Vegas said King died May 14 at age 89 of natural causes — a series of small strokes attributable to his longstanding battle with Type 2 diabetes. The medical term was multi-infarct dementia.

After Williams and Patty King alleged more than a week later that their father had been murdered, the coroner conducted an autopsy. Toxicology test results are expected in several weeks.

Bryson denied any impropriety by Toney or Johnson and said he had no knowledge of what the daughters’ court filing referred to as a missing will.

A will dated Jan. 18, 2007, and filed May 20 under King’s birth name, Riley B. King, names Toney as sole executor of the estate. Another daughter, Riletta Mitchell, was listed second, but she died in September.

Attorney Larissa Drohobyczer, who filed the 77-page objection to Toney on behalf of the four daughters, didn’t immediately respond to messages.

Drohobyczer has said she represented the entire family and five adult King children dubbed a family board. The five included son Willie King, but he wasn’t named as a party in the court action and didn’t immediately respond to messages Wednesday.

Patty King, Williams and Winfree declined to comment.

Washington said she believes there is plenty of money in her father’s estate, and that her father provided for Toney and Johnson.

“He knew someone would disagree with his wishes,” Washington said. “What he didn’t count on was … LaVerne Toney attempting to mislead his family on his finances.”

“I hope and pray that the judge will grant us a third, noninterested party to handle my father’s estate,” Washington said.

B.B. King was married twice and had 15 adopted and natural children.

Bryson said Monday the value of King’s estate was being tallied but isn’t expected to amount to the tens of millions of dollars suggested during a failed court bid by Williams to wrest guardianship from Toney before King died.

Fight over B.B. King’s estate looms between family group, longtime aide
Ken Ritter/Associated Press
June 8, 2015

LAS VEGAS — Just days after blues legend B.B. King was laid to rest near his birthplace in the Mississippi Delta, a battle over his estate is moving from the headlines to the courthouse in Las Vegas.

Attorneys for King’s designated executor, LaVerne Toney, have filed documents in a Nevada court to fend off allegations that King family members were kept away in his dying days, that he was mistreated medically and that his money was siphoned off before he died May 14 at his Las Vegas home at age 89.

“We’re asking the probate commissioner to approve (Toney) as executor and personal representative of the estate,” attorney Brent Bryson said Monday.

“The spurious and unjustified allegations made against Ms. Toney by Patty King, Karen Williams and Larissa Drohobyczer will be dealt with at a later time,” he added.

Among King’s 11 surviving adult children, Williams and Patty King have been most outspoken about the music icon’s care in his final days. Through their attorney, Drohobyczer, they accused Toney and B.B. King’s personal assistant, Myron Johnson, of poisoning him to hasten his death.

Toney and Johnson denied the claims, and Bryson dismissed them as ridiculous, defamatory and libelous.

But the allegation prompted an autopsy by the Clark County coroner the day after a King memorial at a Las Vegas funeral chapel. Results of toxicology tests are expected in several weeks. Police said there was no active homicide investigation.

King was buried May 30 at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Mississippi.

Toney, who managed King’s road show business for 39 years and had power-of-attorney over his personal affairs, is the executor named in his will. She declined on Monday to comment. A King daughter, Riletta Mitchell, was second in line, but she died last September

Bryson said Monday the value of King’s estate was being tallied, but wasn’t expected to amount to the tens of millions of dollars suggested during Williams’ failed court bid to wrest guardianship from Toney a month ago.

One court document filed April 29 said one King bank account was believed to have had $5 million in May 2014, and his home was valued at $330,000. It said family members were unable to obtain updated figures or determine the value of King’s road show business or the rights and royalties from his music.

Drohobyczer has said she represents at least five of King’s children who refer to themselves as a family board. She said Monday she’ll file papers this week challenging Toney as executor, and didn’t want to comment before documents are filed.

Three daughters — Williams and Patty King, both of North Las Vegas, and Barbara King Winfree of Houston — declined to comment Monday about the upcoming probate hearing.

They’ve said previously that they want Toney out of the picture.

“We are the King family,” Patty King said. “We are fighting for the King estate.”

Son Willie King of Chicago didn’t immediately respond to messages.

Daughter Rita Washington, the fifth family board member, denied the fight to remove Toney is about money. She accused Toney of misleading family members about King’s finances and blocking them from visiting when King was dying.

“Dad died by himself,” Washington said. “If it was his wish not to let us see him in that condition, she still could have allowed us to visit him.”

In documents filed late Friday, Bryson provided an affidavit from one granddaughter who visited King the day before he died, and sworn testimonials from three doctors saying King was properly cared-for before he died in his sleep.

“Mr. King was able to smile, eat, laugh and watch westerns on television up until the time he fell asleep on May 13, 2015,” the court document said. It noted he never awoke.

King’s personal physician, Dr. Darin Brimhall, said drops that King’s daughters said they saw being administered to King in recent months were atropine, a drug commonly administered to people in hospice care to prevent respiratory congestion and difficulty swallowing.