Ray Charles' Legacy at Stake as Family, Manager Brawl

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Ray Charles' Legacy at Stake as Family, Manager Brawl

Fri May 02, 2008 @ 10:57AM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

Charlesray Ray Charles' children and longtime manager have volleyed lawsuits against each other, each accusing the other side of mismanaging the late singer's estate and tarnishing his legacy.

Two weeks ago, the family (known collectively as Ray Charles Legacy Corporation) filed a lawsuit accusing manager Joe Adams of disrespecting the wishes and mismanaging the finances. One of the bigger beefs was Adams' decision to release two posthumous CDs, the payment of $1.2 million in "improper compensation" to Adams, and Adams' role as chairman, president and treasurer of the Ray Charles Foundation. The family claimed this was in violation of California state law and asked the California attorney general, the Los Angeles County prosecutor's office and the FBI to investigate.

On Wednesday, Adams used the Ray Charles Foundation to strike back, filing a lawsuit against the family. "This case arises out of the unfortunate yet predictable acts of defendants who have exploited the death of Ray Charles for personal gain through misrepresentation and extortion of Dickensian proportions," the complaint reads.

The suit further claims that the family has made steps to steal the licensing rights to Charles' music from the foundation.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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