King Siblings Avoid Jury Trial; Agree to Independent, Court-Appointed Custodians for Estates of Father and Mother

The surviving children of Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King, from left to right, Dexter, Bernice and Martin III; its not over till theyre over (Courtesy: BlackAmericans.com)

The surviving children of Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King, from left to right, Dexter, Bernice and Martin III; it's not over till they're over (Courtesy: BlackAmericans.com)

The dirty laundry on both sides won’t get aired. Or is this just a respite? No matter what anyone says, it is a lose, lose situation for Dexter King. From The Grio:

Martin and Bernice had accused Dexter of wrongfully taking money from the family, alleging that he took “substantial funds” out of their mother’s estate and “wrongfully appropriated” money from their father’s. I am not sure what the difference between “wrongfully appropriating” money and good old fashioned stealing is, assuming that there is one, but perhaps I am not wealthy enough to know the distinction. Of course Dexter denied the accusations.

It has been reported that between 2004 and 2009 he did not call the family together for a shareholder meeting. It just so happens that such a meeting would have been a necessary step toward removing Dexter as the administrator of his father’s estate. The suit also claimed that Dexter refused to release documents showing how the estate was being run.

Dexter King counter-sued his sister Bernice, the administrator of their mother Coretta Scott King’s estate, for private papers owned by their mother which he needed for a $1.4 million dollar book deal that he signed. Some of Dr. King’s key possessions, including his Nobel Prize and the letters written by his wife, were turned over to the court until a decision was made.

As I said before in a previous post, I don’t think that this has as much to do with Dexter’s so-called mismanagement of the King Estate, as it has to do with Bernice and Martin III’s wanting to siphon off money to their own black Christian right-wing foundation that will either swallow up or supersede the King Center. They want to use it to promote their views over the bones of their parents, whose beliefs when alive ran counter to Bernice and Martin III. Just because Dexter King’s wrongdoing (with Martin III as a close second) has been exposed, doesn’t mean that this As I wrote earlier:

These two are angry not just because Dexter made a deal with Steven Spielberg to film the biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., but really because Coretta Scott King made Dexter the executor for the estate of his father. I’m sure there is a reason why Coretta made this decision, because it stands to reason that Martin III and Bernice certainly haven’t been living up to the politics of their father. Martin III and Bernice, it appears, are under the thumb of black conservative Bishop Eddie Long, who feels that Martin King tilted the black church too far towards social activism and rather than proselytizing (and filling their pockets). Martin III and Bernice want to use the money and their parents’ legacy for their own pursuits and aims, which in contrast to their father’s, seem rather questionable.

It was Long who influenced Bernice to have her mother’s funeral at his megachurch, to turn away singer/activist Harry Belafonte, who supported her family in those first terrible years, from saying final words over Coretta, and to stymie the surviving civil rights hierarchy from saying their goodbyes to the woman who tried to keep Martin’s spirit alive. It’s Bernice who went against her mother while alive, and with her cousin Alveda, marched against gay rights and gay marriage, even as rumors swirled that she is a closeted lesbian. It’s Martin III who had to be upbraided by his mother for making homophobic remarks, and who is seen as much less of an activist and more a conservative than his parents. It’s been rumored that Bernice dragged her mother to Mexico–not for alternative cancer treatments–but to push the dying woman to change her will.

When his sister, Yolanda, who was closest to his points-of-view, died of undiagnosed heart disease just a year after their mother died, Dexter lost his most stalwart ally to keep the King Center, and King, Inc. from falling into Bernice and Martin III’s hands. This is not to excuse Dexter’s financial excesses, of which there were many. It was Coretta who named him the head of King, Inc., which will subsequently be administered by a court-appointed custodian, and he will remain so. But he has lost control of the money, and of course, CREAM, or in this case, Dexter.

Dexter is not in very good health at this moment. He sustained a leg injury during an auto accident recently, and he was either on crutches or in a wheelchair throughout these deliberations, which in the case of the last minute settlement discussions, ran up to fifteen hours. Dexter King, who greatly resembles his father, is a sometime actor, documentary filmmaker, vegan, and animal rights activist who lives in Malibu, California most of the time. He, who once drew $146,000 a year for “working” 40 hours a week for King, Inc., may find the decision both onerous and a release.

Much earlier, Dexter wanted any money the estate made to shake him loose from the King legacy, from the King Center, and to live his own life, albeit one of relative ease (Dexter, who dropped out of Morehouse, has no other career or degree, according to Lynn Green). Dexter wanted to make the King Center something of a multimedia center and museum–in effect, more Hollywood, with corporate sponsorship. (This could have coincided with his filmmaking aims.) But he allowed the King Center to fall into decay, and discontinued the classes and symposiums in nonviolence training, which greatly upset the activists of his parents’ generation. Dexter, who never saw himself as a civil rights leader, then wanted the King Center sold to the government. He did not want to be a part of the black Christian conservative movement that Martin III, Bernice and even his cousin Alveda King were embracing, which was why this faction was so adamant about holding onto the King Center as a pulpit for their cause. His late sister Yolanda, though, felt the same about selling to the government, which is why they both made their homes in the West. Yolanda, however, was more of a doer and advocate for her interests, like gay rights, storytelling, Habitat for Humanity, peace, and stroke awareness, than her younger brother. At least, she tried to walk her talk, emulating her mother.

What will happen now? I predict the books will probably be opened to much discussion in the media as to the extent of the corruption by not only Dexter but all the children. As a result, I think the children will be given set sums per year on which to live the rest of their lives and to set up whatever foundations or businesses they wish to run and to promote. I think the King Center, and the gravesites of Martin and Coretta as well as Martin’s birthplace and Ebenezer may eventually go to the government. It may indeed turn into that interactive museum and media center that Dexter envisioned, but there may be no deeper discussion there of the nonviolent creed and progressive activism connected with the ultimate Saint of the Sixties, which is what Bernice and Martin III grew to disdain and reject. And then perhaps, we will hear no more of their periodic squabblings. Maybe then, they will do something more with their lives that will be productive and affirming.

Knock on wood.

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~ by blksista on October 14, 2009.

 
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