First on 12: James Brown Estate may be worth $100 million

By: Gene Petriello Email
By: Gene Petriello Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock; March 4, 2009

AIKEN, S.C. --- First on 12, we find out for the first time since the James Brown hearings started, his estate may be worth $86-100 million.

That huge number came out in court on Wednesday, as an estimate, from current Personal Representative Adele Pope. She says, at the time of James Brown's death, his net worth was about $86 million.

She says, that estimate, came from former trustee David Cannon.

Pope was on the stand today for most of the day, in a tension-filled cross examination, answering questions from parties representing James Brown's 5 children on why she -- and fellow PR Robert Buchanon -- oppose the current settlement agreed upon by the 6 children, Tommie Rae, James Brown II and the James Brown Trust.

Under that settlement, which is yet to be approved by Judge Jack Early, the children would split 25% of James' assets, Tommie Rae and James Brown II would get 25% and the James Brown Trust would get 50%.

The Personal Representatives were not included in the negotiations of that settlement and they think approving the settlement would not end litigation, it would only start it.

In other big news, we learned the James Brown Beech Island home is worth around $1.3 million dollars. But, we're told there are offers for that home that are at $900,000. Pope testified the home is not in great shape and it is costing a lot to keep it up. She says, she would love for the family to take the home.

Also, Pope said on the stand that -- although she does not know James Brown personally -- she knows what he wanted to do with his money.

We caught up with Deanna Brown, James' daughter, after the hearing today and she couldn't disagree anymore. Her attorney says he represents 5 of Brown's children who have spent, collectively, more than 100 years with James.

Deanna told News 12 in an exclusive interview, that compared to Pope, she knows her dad much better.

She also told us in that exclusive interview, she just wants some peace and thinks it is taking too long to get to that point.

News 12 has also learned, one of James' family members is possibly going to testify on Thursday as the hearing continues. That person very well could be Deanna. We're also learning Deanna may be a trustee of the James Brown Last Will and Trust, from 2000. If that is true, it could turn the whole hearing around.

This all happened while Judge Early visibly showed his frustration on the stand.

News 12's Gene Petriello will be back in the courtroom on Thursday to continue to report on this developing story. Tune into News 12 all day to hear the latest, or log onto our website.


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