Dr. Martin Luther King & Corretta Scott King Estate Litigation

From today’s CNN comes this distressing story

Bernice King and Martin Luther King III, two of Dr. Martin Luther King’s children are suing their brother, Dexter, the Executor of their father’s estate, accusing him of wrongfully taking money from both of their parents’ estates.

They allege that Dexter took “substantial funds” out of Coretta Scott King’s estate and “wrongfully appropriated” money from their father’s estate.

Bernice King is the administrator of their mother’s estate. Dexter King, the suit says, controls their father’s estate, which is registered as a Georgia corporation.

All three children are shareholders in that corporation.

The lawsuit names Dexter King and the corporation as defendants. It alleges that last month, the defendants “converted substantial funds from the estate’s financial account at Bank of America for their own use.”

“I can’t tell you that he’s gone out and used corporate assets for his own living expenses,” the attorney said. “What I can tell you for certainty is that by not providing Martin and Bernice with information about how the corporation is using its assets, he is essentially using those assets, appropriating those assets for his own benefit.”

The plaintiffs’ attorneys would not estimate the size of either estate. But one, Jock Smith, noted that a collection of King’s manuscripts and other items was sold in 2006 for a reported $32 million.

I (and I imagine most of my colleagues) will be keeping an eye on this one. While not likely to produce any revolutionary precedent, its hard to argue against these estate’s notability.

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