Friday, May 27, 2016

B.B. King's Estate War: 15 Kids, 15 Moms and a 'Totally Haywire' Fight

When bluesman B.B. King died last year, he bequeathed to the world a body of work spanning six decades that brought joy and comfort to millions. The crooner of "The Thrill Is Gone" and "Sweet Sixteen" transformed American music, inspiring such rockers as Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson and Buddy Guy. King was 89 when he succumbed to congestive heart failure in his Las Vegas home and died peacefully in his sleep on May 14, 2015.

The year since then has been decidedly less peaceful. While neither of King's two marriages resulted in children, he managed to leave behind a vast family: 15 kids from 15 women. If that family history weren't complex enough, King's authorized biographer Charles Sawyer wrote in his book, The Arrival of BB King, that doctors found the musician's sperm count too low to conceive children.

In 2015, Sawyer told The Guardian that he had given King the option to remove the reference and that King declined. Either way, King claimed 15 kids as his own - never disputing his paternity - and of the 11 who survive, many now are fighting with King's appointed trustee over his estate, a fortune that family members tell THR could be worth between $30 million and $40 million when royalties, asset sales and rights are taken into account.

Many of the kids point to a 2007 will and trust that they claim grant them generous allowances. But King's longtime business manager, LaVerne Toney, who is now the legal trustee of King's estate, asserts that she merely is following a 2014 trust, which names the children but doesn't provide for them with specific monetary gifts.

According to the trustee's own legal filings in Nevada, King's estate also is far smaller than the children allege: $5 million and change spread across a few Wells Fargo bank accounts. But the kids have assembled teams of lawyers to fight the estate's guardians. The litigation could continue for years.

While the value of King's estate is the subject of great contention, observers say it hardly is a case like Michael Jackson's estate, which has gone up in value roughly $1 billion since the enigmatic singer's death. In King's case, he wrote few of his hits, sold records for decades to a segregated America and made deals at a time in which black artists were hardly paid handsomely. According to analysis conducted for this story by Billboard, King's publishing and recording assets - including his catalog - are valued at roughly $7 million to $8 million, based on Nielsen Music data and consultation with a financial executive who buys publishing and master recording catalogs.

Full Article & Source:
B.B. King's Estate War: 15 Kids, 15 Moms and a 'Totally Haywire' Fight 

See Also:
BB King: coroner says there is no immediate evidence of poisoning 
Guardianship for Blues Great BB King Rejected

1 comment:

Charlie said...

The greed and the need for money knows no depth. It's a good thing he doesn't know about it and was able to enjoy his money while he lived.