*James Brown’s former record producer claims his children have hijacked his estate and subverted the Godfather of Soul’s final wishes, reports the New York Post.
Jacque Hollander is in the midst of a court battle to carry out what she says are Brown’s true intentions — to make sure his estate went to a trust for needy kids.
She is seeking in federal court to stop a settlement agreement that gives Brown’s children a share of a fortune estimated at some $100 million, including royalties and marketing rights. Brown’s original will acknowledged six children — there were more purported heirs — but left them only personal and household effects.
Hollander says the Rev. Al Sharpton — who had a long friendship with Brown and referred to him as his surrogate father — is backing Brown’s children for his own gain.
“He was left out of it. He always felt that he would walk away with a pretty sizeable chunk of James Brown and was left nothing,” the Illinois resident claims.
But Sharpton, who is set to open the 20th anniversary conference of his National Action Network in Manhattan this week — with President Obama in attendance — denies he’d benefit financially from the Brown estate.
The fighting has hardly missed a beat since The Hardest Working Man in Show Business died of heart failure on Christmas Day 2006 at age 73.
The first lawsuit was filed within days. Tomi Rae Hynie, who claimed to be Brown’s wife, staged a tearful scene outside the singer’s South Carolina home, saying she was locked out of the property where she lived with Brown and his son, James Brown II.
Brown’s remains were placed in a crypt on daughter Deanna Brown Thomas’ South Carolina property. Then another woman claiming to be his daughter said the body disappeared. A trustee of his estate, David Cannon, went to jail after he refused to pay back $373,000 from cashing a royalty check sent to him by mistake.
Brown’s will said that if he failed to provide for any relatives, “such failure is intentional and not occasioned by accident or mistake.”
Other than the personal effects, everything was to go into two trusts — one for the education of his grandchildren and the other being the James Brown “I Feel Good” Trust. The latter was to fund the education of needy children in Georgia and South Carolina.
Deanna Brown Thomas told The Post she and her siblings sought to overturn the will because they believed it did not accurately reflect their father’s wishes.
As for Hollander, Thomas said she expected people to “come out of the woodwork” seeking a piece of the estate after her father died.
Sharpton accompanied the siblings to their first court hearing on the case, but Thomas insisted he won’t reap any financial reward from the settlement.
The 2009 agreement reached between the trustee of the estate and the heirs calls for the children to get 25 percent of the estate; for Hynie to get 25 percent; and for the rest to go to a charitable trust “substantially similar” to the one created in Brown’s original will. At least $2 million would go to another trust to educate the Brown grandchildren.
Hollander’s and other legal claims have stalled all payouts.
Hollander says she and Brown formed the “I Feel Good” Trust in 1987 and, as the surviving founder, wants control over it. She is continuing to pursue what she says the singer wanted despite falling out with him in 1988 after she claimed he raped her at gunpoint while high on PCP.