Family of James Brown settles 15-year battle over his estate

Jul 23, 2021, 6:40 PM | Updated: 7:12 pm
FILE - In this July 6, 2005 file photo, James Brown performs on stage during the Live 8 concert at ...

FILE - In this July 6, 2005 file photo, James Brown performs on stage during the Live 8 concert at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland. The family of entertainer James Brown has reached a settlement ending a 15-year battle over late singer’s estate. David Black, an attorney representing Brown’s estate, confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday, July 23, 2021 that the agreement was reached July 9. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The family of entertainer James Brown has reached a settlement ending a 15-year battle over the late singer’s estate, according to an attorney involved in the mediation.

David Black, an attorney representing Brown’s estate, confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday that the agreement was reached July 9. Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

Legal wrangling over the Godfather of Soul’s estate has been ongoing since his death at the age of 73 on Christmas Day 2006.

The performer’s death touched off years of bizarre headlines, beginning with Tomi Rae Hynie — a former partner who claimed to be Brown’s wife — being locked out of his 60-acre (24-hectare) estate, while photographers captured her sobbing and shaking its iron gates, begging to be let in.

More than a dozen lawsuits have been filed over the years by people trying to lay claim to what’s left, which courts have estimated to be worth anything from $5 million to more than $100 million.

Brown was renowned for hundreds of iconic musical works including hits like “I Feel Good” and “A Man’s World,” and was known around the world for his flashy performances and dynamic stage presence. But years of drug problems and financial mismanagement caused his estate to dwindle.

Last year, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that Hynie had not been legally married to him and therefore did not have a right to his multimillion-dollar estate.

Justices also ordered a circuit court to “promptly proceed with the probate of Brown’s estate in accordance with his estate plan,” which outlined creation of a trust that would use his music royalties to fund educational expenses for children in South Carolina and Georgia.

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Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.

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Family of James Brown settles 15-year battle over his estate