The “Godfather of Soul,” James Brown, certainly made R & B fans feel good for a long time. Brown was truly a legend in his own time, and it is probably safe to say that we will never see another performer quite like him. He was acclaimed for his high energy live shows and he certainly played a lot of them, earning the title of “Hardest Working Man In Show Business.”
James Brown passed away on Christmas Day back in 2006, and at the time he was married to a woman named Tomi Rae Hynie and according to her they had a child together, James Brown II. She was allegedly legally married to another man when she and Brown were married, and this muddies the waters from the start, but that marriage was apparently annulled.
Brown left behind a trust that is intended to provide for poor children. He had trustees in place, and a woman who is a former producer of his, Jacqueline Hollander, claims to have entered into an agreement with Brown to manage the trust. Both the trustees, who have now been removed, and Hollander state that Brown left his wife and their son nothing quite intentionally. Brown also had at least eight other children, and they too were not provided for in any way.
Both Hynie and the Brown children are contesting the estate, claiming that the existing trust document did not reflect Brown’s true wishes. At one point the South Carolina Attorney General’s office provided a solution that was agreed to by the family which would have given half of the estate to the charities and one-fourth to Hynie, with the other one-fourth being split among the children. But the former trustees sued to prevent this.
The case is still being contested, and the $100 million estate of James Brown is hung up in legal limbo.