News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Jan. 15, 2016
AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- It's a waiting game now for a settlement surrounding the estate of the Godfather of Soul.
Thursday, four of Brown's adult children were back in a courtroom to get the judge to sign off on a settlement.
Daryl Brown was not one of them. He is against the settlement. He sat down with News 12 to explain why.
For eight years, Daryl was his father's right hand man, playing guitar for the Godfather of Soul.
"Matter of fact, I'm the only child to ever grace the stage," he said.
They're memories he cherishes.
"I love my father. I was very close with my dad," he said.
He says that's why he's fighting for him even nine years after his death.
"You just can't change a person's will! What did they write it for? So, if they change James Brown's Will, they can change anybody's Will," Daryl said.
Thursday, four of Daryl's siblings brought a settlement to court.
It would end the legal battle over property and do away with the in terrorem clause that says anyone who contested the Will gets nothing.
"It's a bunch of garbage," Daryl said.
Now, there are two sides.
Deanna Brown Thomas, Larry Brown, Yamma Brown Lumar and Vanisha Brown want the settlement. Terry Brown and Daryl Brown don't.
The legal response to the settlement filed by Terry's attorney explains why they're against it.
It says, "These individuals have caused nine (9) years of pain, suffering, litigation and expense in this matter. Rewarding such groundless undue influence claims is not only unjust but unfathomable. Decedent would not "feel good" as a result of these proceedings."
"So you have to understand. It's just a lawyer's game now. They're all trying to make money. It's just greed," Daryl said.
The settlement would let the four who contested the Will keep their share of the property originally awarded to them, plus pay them $147,000 collectively. Additionally, $1,000 would go to each of their kids. That's all to end this fight.
Meanwhile, Terry and Daryl, the two who want the original Will carried out, would be paid nothing.
"You have destroyed this man's will. You're executing him from the grave," Daryl said.
He says what's most upsetting is what's happened to the money that was supposed to go to underprivileged kids through the "I Feel Good" Trust.
"They destroyed the whole trust," Daryl told News 12. "They'll tell you a bold-faced lie that there is (money left), but there isn't. There's no money there."
As things stand now, Judge Doyet Early gets to say whether the settlement can go through. He said he'll have a ruling "soon."
So, what would happen If they just enforced the original will the way it is written?
Technically speaking, five of the six siblings have contested the Will and stand to be cut out of the Estate. In that case, hypothetically, Terry Brown could get it all.