COLUMBIA — Chief U.S. District Judge Margaret Seymour has dismissed a complaint from a man who said he was the “brother/cousin” of the late soul singer James Brown.
Kevin Jones had filed a complaint in November with the U.S. District Court, leveling charges against South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and 2nd Judicial Circuit Judge Doyet “Jack” Early.
Jones accused the circuit judge and attorney general of going against Brown’s wishes by rewriting the legendary entertainer’s last will and testament. Jones’ complaint also targeted Lab Corp. and Dr. George Maha for allegedly giving him fraudulent DNA test results.
Jones was misled and “put through a horrific ordeal” at the hands of the two South Carolina officials, according to a statement Jones submitted to the court last November. He also said Adele Pope, a former state-appointed trustee, had provided legal representation to Lab Corp.
Brown, known as the Godfather of Soul, died at 73 on Christmas Day of 2006. A tangle of lawsuits involving his surviving family members and trustees followed, prompting intervention from the office of the S.C. Attorney General. The office is charged under state law with protecting all charitable trusts.
In 2000, Brown had signed an irrevocable trust and last will and testament, designating almost all of his assets to educate disadvantaged children in South Carolina and Georgia. Remaining family members have accused Brown’s advisers of taking advantage of him at the time he was laying out his legacy plans.
In 2008, Brown’s assets were estimated to be $100 million, with $40 million to $50 million assigned to publicity rights for his image and likeness, according to South Carolina Supreme Court documents. Up to $45 million was tied to royalties for his more than 800 published and unpublished songs.