In a bid to gain control of their father’s affairs, three of Blues legend B.B. King’s 11 surviving children bought a suit alleging elder abuse on behalf of King’s long-time manager, Laverne Toney, in front of a Las Vegas Judge. With no evidence to prove the allegations, however, King’s family lost the case, and Family Court Hearing Master Jon Norheim tossed the dispute out.
The three children, Karen Williams, Rita Washington, and Patty King, petitioned the court to have King’s assets, which they claim to be in excess of $5 million, removed from the control of his manager and turned over to them, due to their concerns that B.B. King was being neglected and abused by Laverne. The allegations included neglecting his medical care, withholding his medications, and refusing to take him to the hospital after Williams, who lives with King, noticed her father’s urine was orange.
Williams also claims that Toney and her assistant swindled between $20 million and $30 million from King and stole several Rolex watches, in addition to a ring valued at $250,000, as previously reported by theInquisitr.
William’s petition also claims that his manager has prevented King’s family and friends — musicians like Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana, and Eric Clapton — from visiting the ailing musician. Toney and Brent Bryson, King’s lead attorney, vehemently deny the claim, stating that visits could continue to be scheduled as they always had been. Bryson also calls the family’s petition a “money grab.”
“It’s all about money. Mr. King is no longer out able to tour at this particular time so there’s no money coming in. The only way they can get money now is by filing a frivolous type of action.”
After two investigations by both police and social services in October and April, Judge Jon Norheim said he found no evidence to back up King’s family’s claims and found no need to take the control of B.B.’s affairs away from Toney.
“There is no evidence of need for guardianship. Mr. King has counsel. I don’t have anything here that says he lacks capacity. He has some serious health issues. But he has counsel. If he feels like he’s being taken advantage of, he has remedies.”
B.B. King’s daughters can re-petition for control of their father’s affairs once all of his family — which includes the other nine surviving children, as well as dozens of grandchildren — have received legal notice of the action. Until that time, Norheim says, he is unable to consider Williams’ petition to take control of King’s assets and become his power of attorney.
When asked her opinion on the court battle, B.B.’s eldest surviving daughter, Shirley King — who tours as “Daughter of the Blues” — said she was unsure about the whole situation, but that the dispute was very upsetting and has brought “disrespect” to B.B. King’s name and memory.
“I’m not too sure things are right. But my dad would never want this. I’m crying about what people are doing.”
[Photo Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images]