Brown trustee pays up, quits

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AIKEN - A trustee of the estate of the late James Brown resigned Friday amid allegations that he misappropriated $350,000 of the internationally known performer's money.

Cannon (center)  Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Cannon (center)

David Cannon handed over a check for that amount during a court hearing that could have seen a judge remove him from his duties as executor of the singer's will.

That wasn't the only surprise during the four-hour hearing. With nearly two dozen attorneys in court to represent various individuals wrangling over the music legend's estate, it was revealed that:

- Mr. Brown's estate might be broke. The court-appointed attorneys who are helping settle the estate told other lawyers behind closed doors Friday that the estate and trusts that will be funded by his music royalties appear to have a "zero balance." Louis Levenson, the Atlanta attorney representing several of the singer's children, said it's not yet clear how much money is left or where it went.

- Before he died, Mr. Brown was given an "allowance" of $100,000 a month, though Mr. Levenson said his firm is still trying to find out where the singer's money went.

- Mr. Brown's former pastor has filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the needy children who are supposed to benefit from the James Brown "I Feel Good" Trust, which was created to pay for the educational needs of poor children in South Carolina and Georgia. The Rev. Larry Fryer said he's worried the money is being squandered by all the court battles.

- One of the singer's grandsons said all the legal battles over his grandfather's estate have created a rift in the family, and he accused his aunts and uncles of trying to break the trusts to get their father's money.

"People are greedy," said Forlando Brown, a student at the University of West Georgia.

He said that he, his brother and his father, Terry Brown, have been ostracized by the rest of the family for siding with the trustees.

He said his grandfather wanted needy children to be taken care of after his death and that "greed" has caused many of the arguments since Mr. Brown died on Christmas Day at age 73.

The Rev. Fryer also said he is concerned about all the squabbling. Mr. Brown created two educational trusts: one to pay for school expenses for his grandchildren and the other for needy youngsters. But many of the legal bills will likely be paid by any money in those trusts.

"If we're paying all of the money to all of the legal sources," the Rev. Fryer asked, "what's left for the children? Why have a will if you're not going to respect the wishes of the one who wrote the will?"

That was one issue that was not addressed during the court hearing in front of 2nd Judicial Circuit Judge Jack Early, who had to schedule another hearing for Sept. 24 to follow up on concerns raised previously and on Friday.

He did accept Mr. Cannon's resignation as both the singer's personal representative - essentially co-executor of the will - and as trustee of the two trusts.

The court-appointed attorneys, Adele Pope and Robert Buchanan, had accused Mr. Cannon in papers filed recently of possibly misappropriating $350,000 of the singer's money just before he died. That money was returned Friday.

The other two trustees - Buddy Dallas and Alford Bradley - have been allowed to stay on, although their removal could be one of the issues argued at the September hearing.

Mr. Levenson still has a pending motion that accuses them of violating a court order not to sell off assets of the estate, and he said Friday that they have also not been adequately complying with an order to turn over financial and legal documents.

Judge Early didn't rule on that accusation - instead ordering that documents be turned over - but he said he would rule accordingly if it's proven.

"If I find any records that have been hidden or destroyed, somebody's going to answer," he said.

Reach Sandi Martin at (803) 648-1395, ext. 111, or sandi.martin@augustachronicle.com.

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Miss Soul
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Miss Soul 08/13/07 - 12:09 pm
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Bone, I know Fred, Jabbo,and

Bone, I know Fred, Jabbo,and Clyde as well as most of the eary band members both living and dead ( Country, Dixion, Sinclair, Macceo Charles sherrill, Matha High to name a few and Bobby & Vicki Byrd, Lyn Collins & Marva) I am not saying that there were not disagreements out on the road and as with any business harsh words between the boss and employees but I bet if you ask anyone of those you mentioned they would tell you they still respected him.

sasafraz
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sasafraz 08/13/07 - 12:21 pm
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Man you people on here have

Man you people on here have nothing to do but bash each other! I guess since the temperature is a little cooler, you have to heat yourselves up in other ways.

RichmondCountyResident1
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RichmondCountyResident1 08/13/07 - 01:19 pm
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G.R.I.T.S. what have you

G.R.I.T.S. what have you given to this community?How do you know what James had in his bank account?How do you know he did not pay for the turkeys or toys?The only joke in Augusta is ignorant fools like you ,oh forgot you don't live in Augusta.Good, that's one ignorant, judgemental, lowlife we don't have here. It takes a big man to talk about a dead person. He's not here to defend himself. You have done yourself proud.

Localfan
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Localfan 08/13/07 - 03:33 pm
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James Brown was heavily in

James Brown was heavily in debt when these trustees started working for him. He would not have had any money if they had not taken care of his financial situation. His family for the most part have been part of the problem because all they want to do his spend every dime he had. Move on to something else and let the man be gone. His family members should move on as well, get jobs that they can support themselves and quit hoping that his money will always take care of them.

GOD almighty1
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GOD almighty1 08/13/07 - 04:46 pm
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You'd be a dead man then

You'd be a dead man then owensjef.

GOD almighty1
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GOD almighty1 08/13/07 - 04:50 pm
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intheknow, are you deaf or

intheknow, are you deaf or blind or has something prevented you from picking up a newspaper or watching the news? There were starving, injured dogs found in Michael Vick's house. There were doggy treadmills found in the man's house. The lowlife was busted for carrying pot in a secret compartment of his water bottle at the airport. What more proof do you want?

intheknow
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intheknow 08/13/07 - 06:39 pm
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First of all person who think

First of all person who think he is god, what have Vick been found guilty of? And you are either stupid or a straight up liar, they did not find anything illegal in that bottle.

intheknow
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intheknow 08/13/07 - 06:44 pm
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grits, you do not know what

grits, you do not know what Mr. Brown did or did not pay for. You have a problem with this man, who your supposed donation once a year, pales to in comparison with Mr. Brown's. it a shame that you need to put down a deceased person in order to make yourself feel better.

FLgirl
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FLgirl 08/14/07 - 04:24 am
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I've been saying for years

I've been saying for years that the blood sucking lawyers, and that incudes the men that were supposed to be "managing" his estate, were sucking James Brown dry...

Localfan
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Localfan 08/14/07 - 10:08 am
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It was his children and other

It was his children and other family members that were sucking James Brown dry. The trustees were the ones working to save what he had because when they took everything over his was broke. His children were submitting day care bills totaling over $5,000 and higer as well as other crazy expenses that they expected their father to take care of. Don't those children work and they should take responsibility for their own expenses. By the way several years ago one of his own children filed a lawsuit against him - go figure. I think this whole thing is totally over greed and nothing else.

watching
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watching 08/14/07 - 04:41 pm
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Localfan, et al., the story

Localfan, et al., the story is about the crook David Cannon; not the kids or anyone else...lets stay focused in here....

Localfan
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Localfan 08/15/07 - 07:28 am
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There are crooks that just

There are crooks that just one and I am referring to classifying his children crooks as well as anyone else.

God save America
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God save America 08/15/07 - 01:07 pm
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james brown did drugs ,beat

james brown did drugs ,beat his wives ,and did other bad things.yeh he helped the poor but ne is not a hero for people to live their lives like he did.

FLORIDAChild
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FLORIDAChild 08/15/07 - 01:50 pm
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Where are the facts?

Where are the facts?

GOD almighty1
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GOD almighty1 08/15/07 - 08:41 pm
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thank you tigerinquire. you

thank you tigerinquire. you are absolutely correct

lokalloudness
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lokalloudness 08/17/07 - 10:18 pm
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G.R.I.T.S. I would have to

G.R.I.T.S. I would have to possibly agree with you when you say that Mr. Brown would not have done anything unless it got him on radio or TV. After all, just about every chance he got to get on TV he mentioned Augusta, Georgia and the people of Augusta and in a positive light. Can't say I ever remember Augustans like Amy Grant, Hulk Hogan, or anyone else from the area "talk up" Augusta like Mr. Brown did. He could have said he was from Atlanta or where ever but he never did. So he had issues. It only means that he was human. Augusta almost named a baseball stadium after Ty Cobb because he is so special to Augusta but he was an alcoholic, a drug abuser, womanizer and rascist but I guess that's OK since he is much lighter skinned than Mr. Brown. I guess if it's not white or green it's just not Augusta.

GOD almighty1
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GOD almighty1 08/18/07 - 11:03 am
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but you see lokallloudness,

but you see lokallloudness, Augusta never named a baseball stadium after Ty Cobb. The AUGUSTA RICHMOND COUNTY CIVIC CENTER is currently named after a drug abusing, womanizing man named James Brown.

lokalloudness
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lokalloudness 08/20/07 - 12:32 pm
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You make it sound like they

You make it sound like they didn't name the stadium after Cobb because of his "faults". They didn't name the stadium after Cobb because that was put in as a choice with other choices and it didn't come out as the top choice. But it was a considered choice. See the thing is that this town has failed to move forward because of people like GOD almighty to prefer to focus on the negative aspects of Augusta as opposed to the postive in an effort to think they have the omnipotent right to judge others. Millions around the world look at Mr. Brown as an innovator in the music world and cherish his contributions to music as opposed to his lifestyle. After all, in the end that's just rock & roll. His worldwide affect on music is why he is a member of the US Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the UK Music Hall of Fame and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. I think that exempts Mr. Brown from being merely a talentless fluke don't you think. The musical legend of Mr. Brown is a rare light for Augusta and we should embrace it if for anything to show the rest of the world that Augusta is more than just Golf and old boy politics. Negative people like GOD almighty are what keep Augusta stagnant.

GOD almighty1
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GOD almighty1 08/22/07 - 02:52 pm
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This story is 11 days old and

This story is 11 days old and all these comments at this point are starting to get stupid. James Brown was a drug user and a wife beater and it is naive to ignore that. Augusta should focus on golf, seeing as the Masters is respected in most parts of the world today. It is universally good, in the PAST, it is good NOW, and its FUTURE will be even better. James Brown was the "self-proclaimed" godfather of soul in the PAST. He beat his wife, slept with numerous women, and did drugs in the PAST. As of NOW, his dead body is useless and causing problems for the FUTURE.

Sharky
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Sharky 08/29/07 - 10:50 am
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James Brown is dead and gone.

James Brown is dead and gone. All praise the future of the almighty rascist aura that is the Augusta National. May the predudice cloud of the Masters long hang over GOD almighty and our beloved city of Augusta for all of the free (and unfree) world to behold. Good point GOD almighty. Maybe we can bury Brown at the Augusta National and put him to rest as well as the years of Masters controversy. Now excuse me. I have to go and hit the links while listening to "Live at the Apollo" on my ipod.

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