Bernice King and Martin Luther King III have filed at lawsuit accusing their brother, Dexter King, of improperly taking money form the estate of their late mother, Coretta Scott King, and transferring it to the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc, the estate that Dexter controls.
The company was founded in 1993 to manage the licensing of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s image and intellectual property, among other things.
Dexter King serves as its president while Bernice and Martin Luther King III are shareholders in the company.
Funds come into King Inc. from books and promotional sales of King items. The biggest asset is the $32 million that the city of Atlanta paid to purchase the King papers in 2006.
Jock Smith, an attorney representing Bernice and Martin III, said the siblings have been denied information and documentation concerning the operations, actions and financial affairs of King Inc.
The suit charges Dexter King, who lives in Malibu, Calif., with failing to inform his brother and sister of the company’s financial affairs. It also alleges that Dexter hid documents from them and also alleges that the company’s assets are being mismanaged.
The lawsuit demands that Dexter King produce documents pertaining to the sale of the papers and documents belonging to their late father.
Dexter has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit.
On Saturday, Dexter King told news outlets that he was “shocked” by the lawsuit filed by his siblings accusing him of mismanagement of funds.
“It totally blindsided me,” King told news sources. “I think maybe it was a reckless attempt to express their grievances. They are false claims and I will be addressing them accordingly.”
Dexter King told news sources that one of the reasons he was stunned by the lawsuit is that his siblings never picked up the phone to call him. He said that he has called them repeatedly, but they are not answering the phone.
“He owes Martin and Bernice an accounting of what has happened with all of the money. Where is the money going?” Smith said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’re trying to get an accounting as to the financing and well-being of the (corporation). The way to do that is to get records, books and accounting.”
“I left them a message to call me, so we could talk, and they have not returned the call,” Dexter King said. “I assumed they were busy. I just…don’t understand it.”