James Brown’s will and family fight over it

Well, at least the Times has a neat, full-colored photo of James Brown’s performing costumes, which − in a concordance of auctions, I actually saw displayed at Christie’s when the costumes were under the gavel − along with the story about how his children − or his “children” − are fighting over the estate.

Let’s give the Times credit for a pun in the headline − Downbeat Legacy for James Brown, Godfather of Soul: A Will in Dispute – NYTimes.com.

Their story begins:

AIKEN, S.C. — James Brown’s will was meant to be everything his life was not.

The manic energy that fueled a career of funk classics, pyrotechnic dancing and relentless touring as the Godfather of Soul also contributed to a trail of broken marriages, estranged children, tax liens and brushes with the law over drugs, weapons and domestic violence.

By comparison, his will was as orderly as a book of prayer.

The bulk of his estate, worth millions of dollars — perhaps tens of millions — was to go to a trust to provide scholarships to needy children here in his native state and in Georgia, where he grew up. But nearly eight years after his death, at 73, on Dec. 25, 2006, the I Feel Good Trust has not distributed a penny to its intended recipients.

Some of his children, who hope to turn Mr. Brown’s former home into a Graceland-style attraction, have challenged the will, which largely ignored them. So has a woman he treated like a wife, though he later contested the legality of their marriage.

Quel mess.


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