Brown estate hearing continues

AIKEN – A proposed settlement in the estate of the late James Brown remains tied up in court today as an estate trustee faced her second round of questioning this week.

Adele Pope, who was appointed to manage the estate of the world famous performer who died in 2006, said Wednesday and again today that she would appeal the proposed settlement as it stands. She contends that it leaves out some essential parties and undermines two earlier wills and trusts established by Mr. Brown.

Questioning so far in today’s proceeding has involved such issues as the value of Mr. Brown’s estate – with varied asset figures of $65 million, $86 million and $100 million being brought into questioning – the validity of Tomi Rae Brown's marriage to the singer at the time of his death, and the fact that the South Carolina attorney general favors the proposed settlement.

On the issue of Ms. Brown, “We think it is more likely she is not the spouse,” Ms. Pope said today from the stand.

Just before a recess for lunch, Ms. Pope also accused an opposing lawyer of having contacted one of her lawyers in another case and advising that things would get “nasty” if she didn’t resign her post.

Judge Jack Early, presiding over the case, immediately called for a break to meet with lawyers from both sides in his chambers.

According to the proposed settlement, the parties would acknowledge Tomi Rae Brown as the singer’s legal wife at the time of his death. It also states that all children and grandchildren it lists are Mr. Brown’s lawful heirs and would not have to undergo DNA testing.

It stipulates that any assets and proceeds received through the estate will be divided -- 50 percent to the charitable trust; 25 percent to Ms. Brown, which includes any share to James Brown II; and 25 percent to Larry Brown, Daryl Brown, Venisha Brown, Deanna Brown Thomas and Yamma N. Brown.

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