February 9, 2007
BEECH ISLAND, S.C.---While Aiken Judge Jack Early didn't decide on the issue of the trustees of James Brown's estate, he did rule Tomi Rae Hynie Brown could go back into Brown's Beech Island home for the first time in two months to collect her belongings.
News 12 was there as she did just that.
The widow arrived around 3:30 this afternoon to a sea of security guards and television news cameras.
Her mission was a simple one: get in, get her stuff, and get out.
"And the judgment, I'm very happy with it," Tomi Rae said. "Happy to be going into my home."
It's something she's wanted to do since her husband, James Brown, died on Christmas morning.
Until now, only his trustees have been allowed inside the Beech Island home.
"You know, I wasn't able to be here after he passed, and I'd like to sit on his bed for a minute where I know he was last at," Tomi Rae said. "And I'd like to kind of just say a prayer for him."
Her court petition requested that she be granted access to the following items: a bedroom set and linens, china, two couches, pictures, artwork, a laptop computer, and half of James Brown, Jr.'s clothing and toys.
She said all of those things were inside the estate.
"And I'd just like to get inside there and see what kind of damage has been done already," she said.
Of course, Tomi Rae wasn't alone. Trustee Buddy Dallas entered the home 45 minutes before she did. James Brown's daughter Deanna also entered in a white Expedition.
Today was a turning point for Tomi Rae and her legal team as she collected things from her high-profile relationship.
She now awaits an even bigger decision: whether or not she'll receive an elective share of the estate.
Tomi Rae claims the trustees have quote "mismanaged" some assets and "failed to perform their duties."
Tomi Rae did not go to court empty-handed.
Among the documents she brought was a copy of her marriage certificate to Mr. Brown and her petition for the appointment of special administrator.
Today's court hearing is the latest in a series of developments regarding Mr. Brown's estate.
James Brown died Christmas morning, and that night, Tomi Rae says she was locked out of the house.
The will was read to the adult children on January 11. Tomi Rae and her son were not mentioned.
The adult children filed their suit against the trustees on January 24. They had a dispute with the trustees at the house four days later.
Tomi Rae filed her court challenge just over a week ago.
On Tuesday (February 6), the trustees fired the security guards at the house.