James Brown's family speaks out about Arena trouble

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, February 27, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, performed to sold out crowds around the world. Even when it was clear he'd danced his last step, there was standing room only at his funeral. Now the arena that bears his name is having trouble packing the house.

"Sometimes you have some problems in the house. You gotta get them fixed up," said daughter Deanna Brown.

The Brown family is speaking out for the first time. They say they're not asking for much: "Some hard work. Gotta get that elbow grease working. That's all," said Brown.

But some say the problem is too many chiefs and not enough Indians. The general manager and finance director are coming under fire by the 12 member Coliseum Authority.

"It really would run smooth if we had proper staffing then the work load would be much more easily distributed," said Margaret Ellis.

The finance department is a one woman operation. Margaret Ellis is also director of human resources with 107 employees on the payroll. After four months of Ellis pulling double-duty, the Coliseum Authority wants an audit.

"Sometimes you would have to be on the scene and in the department to see what actually goes on," said Ellis.

It's been about two years since the James Brown Arena sign was unveiled, and now this. What would James Brown would say?

"He wouldn't start singing 'I feel bad'," said Deanna Brown. She says the family is putting their confidence in the general manager, and they are hoping he'll get the arena back on the good foot. "Don't think the godfather ain't in heaven asking the Lord to make sure it gets worked out," said Deanna.

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