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B.B. King’s Family, Manager Fight for Control of Ailing Bluesman’s Affairs

Las Vegas judge rules that business manager Laverne Toney can retain power of attorney

Karen Williams

Karen Williams, daughter of B.B. King, speaks outside of Clark County Family Court in Las Vegas on May 7th, 2015.

John Locher/AP

A Las Vegas judge ruled that B.B. King‘s business manager, Laverne Toney, will retain power of attorney over the blues legend, following allegations of neglect and financial theft from the 89-year-old bluesman’s family. Investigations by police and social services found no evidence of elder abuse, according to The Associated Press, as well as no reason to revoke Toney’s guardianship.

Three of King’s children had come forward with concerns, but the judge said that he could not appoint King’s daughter Karen Williams as his guardian until every family member got legal notice. The singer is currently in home-hospice care.

Williams and a legal adviser filed a petition on April 29th asking to be made co-guardians, claiming that more than $5 million in assets was at stake, according to a separate AP report. They claimed that Toney had put some of King’s family members on payroll and that substantial amounts of money, “in excess of $1 million,” have gone missing. They also claimed that Toney would not allow visits from some of King’s friends, including Willie Nelson, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy.

A representative for Guy confirmed to Rolling Stone that the iconic singer-guitarist had been blocked. “When Buddy was on tour in Nevada last month, he attempted to visit B.B. and was denied,” she said. Reps for the other musicians either denied comment or did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

King was hospitalized last week after his daughter Patti called the police with concerns about his condition. The authorities made no arrests, and AP reports King returned home on Friday.

Another one of his daughters, Shirley King, told the AP that the standoff between his family and business manager were long in the making. “I’m not too sure things are right,” she said. “But my dad would never want this.” She also added, “I’m crying about what people are doing. I’m afraid it might get ugly. This is disrespect to him.”

Toney has been in charge of King’s affairs for four decades, and her lawyer said that the bluesman was being cared for as he had requested.

King had 15 biological and adoptive children over the years with several different marriages. Four of his children have died.

The singer canceled tour dates in 2014 due to dehydration and exhaustion.

In This Article: B.B. King

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