Brown's widow will get decision

AIKEN --- By spring, James Brown's disputed widow could have a decision on whether she'll receive a portion of the late singer's estate.

A deadline of 120 days was set Friday to address whether Tomi Rae Hynie Brown was the singer's common law wife during what was termed a housekeeping session of the James Brown court proceedings, according to Judge Jack Early's office and Robert Rosen, Mrs. Brown's representative.

Though no decisions were made, some of those present said the two-hour closed session dealt with upcoming legal issues to settle Mr. Brown's estate, including:

- Attorney services and fees for overseeing the trust

- A request for special administrators of fees

- Pre-trial arrangements to disperse tangible personal property, including the Beech Island estate

- Possible release of documents previously sealed

Because Judge Early was suffering from the flu, the session was closed to the public and took place in a grand jury room instead of open court. However, the clerk of court's office said transcripts of the proceedings would be made available.

More paperwork disputing court-appointed trustees Adele Pope and Robert Buchanan over the James Brown trust also was filed Friday by Grace Lewis, Georgia's senior assistant attorney general, on behalf of the Georgia Attorney General's office.

Former Spartanburg County Probate Judge Raymond Eubanks Jr., who reviewed Mr. Brown's will and irrevocable trust in 2000, stated in that affidavit that the special administrators' appointments as trustees last month was a conflict of interest for them to serve in two capacities.

Filings also stated that only current assets of the estate that are documented should be willed to the children. The next public session scheduled in the trial is Jan. 9.

Reach Julia Sellers at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106 or julia.sellers@augustachronicle.com.