Entertainment Music

Sunday 25 March 2018

Family battles over B B King wealth

B B King has released more than 50 albums and sold millions of records worldwide
B B King has released more than 50 albums and sold millions of records worldwide

A dispute over B B King's health and wealth has been thrown out of court by a judge in Las Vegas who said two investigations found no evidence the blues legend is being abused.

King's doctor said the 89-year-old musician was in home hospice care.

The ruling keeps King's long-time business manager, Laverne Toney, in legal control of King's affairs.

Three of King's 11 surviving children said they suspect Ms Toney is stealing money and neglecting King's medical care.

But Clark County Family Court Hearing Master Jon Norheim said police and social services investigations in October and April uncovered no reason to take power-of-attorney from Ms Toney.

King's daughter Karen Williams said in an April 29 petition that more than 5 million dollars (£3.2m) in assets was at stake.

Ms Williams and legal adviser Frederick Waid allege Ms Toney has blocked friends - including musicians Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton - from visiting King. They also say she put her family members on the King payroll, and that large sums of money have disappeared from King's bank accounts

"The family has been unable to account for what is reported to be in excess of one million dollars (£655,000)," the court document says.

King was taken to hospital a week ago after police were called to his home in a dispute about his condition between Ms Toney and another of King's daughters, Patty King. No arrests were made.

King returned home on Friday.

King, born Riley B King in the Mississippi farm town of Itta Bena, toured and performed almost continually until October, when he cancelled the remaining shows in his 2014 tour after falling ill in Chicago with dehydration and exhaustion. The 15-time Grammy winner has released more than 50 albums and sold millions of records worldwide. He is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

His guitar, famously named Lucille, has soared and wailed in songs ranging from "Every Day I Have the Blues" to "The Thrill is Gone."

King was married several times and had 15 biological and adoptive children. Four children have died.

His eldest surviving daughter, Shirley King, who tours as "Daughter of the Blues," said the dispute between family members and Ms Toney has been months in the making.

"I'm not too sure things are right. But my dad would never want this," she said before travelling to Las Vegas for the court hearing.

Las Vegas police were called to King's home in November on allegations of elder neglect and abuse. Officer Jesse Roybal said this week that case remained open, and no details were available.

"I'm crying about what people are doing," Shirley King said. "I'm afraid it might get ugly. This is disrespect to him."

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