Special administrators appointed to look into the handling of James Brown’s estate have told a judge that a former trustee may have misappropriated up to $7 million of the late soul singer’s money.
The judge agreed that Brown’s heirs could pursue those claims and ordered the ex-trustee to pay $370,000 back to the estate, on top of $350,000 the man repaid last month.
State Circuit Judge Jack Early gave David Cannon, who has resigned as co-executor of Brown’s will, 10 days to repay the additional $370,000 and 20 days to pay $30,000 for attorney fees and to produce other documents.
Cannon, who sat away from Brown’s two other trustees during Monday’s hearing, did not show any reaction to the rulings. He refused to talk with reporters.
Louis Levenson, an attorney for several of Brown’s adult children and grandchildren, said the other trustees also mishandled Brown’s money.
“You can’t turn your back on your responsibility and say it’s his fault and then point your finger at Mr. Cannon,” Levenson said.
Levenson’s clients are trying to remove all three trustees and have special administrators appointed to handle Brown’s estate.
The judge also ruled Monday that the attorneys general in South Carolina and Georgia can intervene on behalf of needy children who are supposed to benefit from Brown’s “I Feel Good” Trust.
“We want to make sure that any money that is supposed to go to that trust will go to that trust and be properly administered,” said Sonny Jones, a South Carolina senior assistant attorney general.
Early did not hear a motion filed by a Houston woman claiming to be the Brown’s daughter, who seeks to have everyone named in the will as Brown’s child take a DNA test.
Brown died in an Atlanta hospital on Christmas at age 73.