James Brown's Cape Man fights to save his home

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

News 12 at 11, December 19, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- At 72-years-old, Danny Ray says if James Brown were still alive he'd be working right beside him, but he's not, and now Danny Ray is struggling to live with no work at all.

He was James Brown's right hand man for more than 45 years.

"Start to finish, that's my job. Start to finish (laugh)" remembers Danny Ray. But, Ray, known famously to some as the Cape Man, may soon be out in the cold, just in time for Christmas.

"It's another ballgame. You're not going on stage, this is for real."

Here's the fine print: an order summoning Ray to court to fight to save his home by December 19th, or get out.

"It's stressful, you know. This kind of thing is stressful. This is the house I've been in and all the sudden somebody says you gotta go. Go where?" says Ray.

He and his niece, who happens to be a real estate broker, both say things started going bad after the Godfather of Soul died on Christmas Day.

"After Mr. Brown passed, some went through a real hardship," Ray said.

"A couple of months ago, I was checking on Danny and I wasn't aware his situation was as extreme as it was," says his niece Georgean McConnell.

Extreme because his only source of income is his social security check and for 8 months, he got behind on his mortgage for the first time in 23 years.

"You just can't catch up 800 dollars a month payments off of $1,300 dollars a month and keep lights on, water, telephone," adds McConnell.

But Georgean says she and Danny were working with Wells Fargo to help him catch up and eventually own his home once and for all.

He only owes 18 thousand dollars, but this month, they say Wells Fargo foreclosed on them and sold the home.

"I'm hoping some way, somehow, he'll be able to keep his home. He's been here, his memories are here," says McConnell.

"I'm not a person that gives up," Ray says.

So for Christmas, he's hoping his first home in life will also, be his last.

Ray and his niece say they met with an attorney today and said they planned on filing an answer to this order by 5 pm today, but Richmond County's magistrate court says that did not happen by the close of business today. Without it, the court says there may be nothing Danny Ray can do.

As for the new owner, Ron Meardy, News 12 spoke with him by phone and he says he's willing to work with Danny Ray.

And Danny Ray also has to pay some back taxes he will also have to settle while also fighting to win back his home.


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