A reporter at the centre of a new legal dispute in the ongoing fight over James Brown's estate has urged the soul star's feuding family to honour the late legend's final wish and use his millions to help educate disadvantaged children.
The Godfather of Soul's estate is estimated to be worth $100 million (£62.5 million) and his will stipulated that nearly all of his assets be left to bosses at a kids' education foundation to fund scholarships.
However, the charity has yet to receive anything since Brown's death in 2006 as his relatives have been embroiled in a court battle over who is legally entitled to his fortune.
The dispute has been further complicated by the singer's partner, Tommie Rae Hynie, who insisted her 2001 marriage to Brown was legal, even though she was already married to another man. The South Carolina judge overseeing the estate battle recently ruled Hynie, who had a son with Brown, was the star's wife as her ex-husband had committed bigamy, therefore voiding the union and paving the way for her to lay claim to a chunk of the musician's estate.
Hynie's marital status was further scrutinised last week (ends30Jan15) after local reporter Sue Summer obtained a copy of her old diary, in which she wrote about her desire "to be married" to get "the respect I deserve", and posted excerpts online.
Summer was subpoenaed to surrender the journal and notes she had made by Hynie's lawyer, and had been summoned to court on Monday (02Feb15), when she was due to be ordered to reveal her source.
The hearing was cancelled at late notice after higher officials at the South Carolina Supreme Court stepped in, and now they are reviewing the matter to determine if Summer has to surrender her source. She maintains she was sent the diary anonymously.
The freelance writer has now spoken out, insisting she will fight to uphold press freedom laws, stating, "I don't want the Freedom of Information Act to fall through the cracks."
Summer, who previously worked with foster children and has been covering the Brown estate battle for years, claims she simply wants to ensure the Godfather of Soul's dying wish is recognised, so his money can help deserving kids.
She tells the New York Times, "These are kids whose lives could be changed if they only would let the James Brown estate do what it is meant to do. They have names and faces, and if they had more hope about what was possible for them, it might make a huge difference."
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