Dispute Over James Brown Mansion Mostly Ends As Heirs Agree on Plan


Ms. Hynie earned income linked to reselling the copyrights of the songs when their ownership became eligible to be reinstated. In 2015, she exercised her revocation rights for five of Mr. Brown’s songs, long before her status as Mr. Brown’s wife was dropped by the court; he and his son, James Brown II, later sold them back to Mr. Brown’s primary music publisher, Warner Chappell, for $1,875 million, according to court documents. Ms. Hynie testified that she spent most of the proceeds from this deal on “living debts”.

Dylan Malagrinò, an associate professor at the Charleston School of Law in South Carolina, said as part of the settlement, Mr Brown’s children and grandchildren may have tried to get back some of the money Mrs Hynie earned from Warner Chappell. Mr. Malagrinò said he may not have the right to exercise the termination rights necessary to enter into this agreement, as the South Carolina court has ruled that she is not a legal spouse. A representative of Warner Chappell declined to comment.

Despite losing her spouse’s heir status, Miss Hynie was able to maintain her connection to the estate through her son, James Brown II, whom other children and grandchildren knew and allowed to be part of the settlement – potentially accessing income as a result of royalties reinstated to her.

The property and its beneficiaries do not automatically benefit from terminated copyrights. They will have to rely on Mr Brown’s children, who have decided to fund the foundation and, under the terms of Mr Brown’s will, decide to give some of the money they receive to pay scholarships for underprivileged children.

Mr. Malagrinò predicts that after all these years of acrimony, the coterie will act quickly to start building a partially positive public relations image.

With a deal that has now settled most of the major property-related lawsuits – only a dispute with one of his former managers – will Mr Brown’s estate become a unified entity like that of fellow music superstars Ray Charles. , Jimi Hendrix and Prince have all endured years of litigation and conflict.

“Probably,” said Mr. Malagrinò, “they will speak with one voice: ‘This is our way forward’.”


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