Ray Charles Foundation sues singer’s children

By Laurie Bennett

April 2, 2012 at 5:44am

A charitable foundation started by Ray Charles has sued seven of his children, accusing them of violating an agreement not to make claims on the late singer’s estate.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, says Charles established a $500,000 trust for each of his 12 children two years before his death in 2004.

Each son and daughter was asked to waive any additional claims on his estate.

The suit charges that the seven offspring named in the suit collected their $500,000 and then took legal steps to obtain ownership of their father’s music copyrights. The foundation relies on income from those copyrights to operate and distribute grants.

The foundation, with assets of nearly $54 million, spent $4 million in 2010, according to tax returns. Its biggest grant was $3 million to Morehouse College. It collected nearly $2 million during the year in income from royalties, publishing and albums.

Joe Adams, Charles’s former manager, is chairman of the foundation.

In an earlier lawsuit, Mary Anne Den Bok, mother of Charles’s youngest child, Corey Robinson Den Bok, claimed Adams was overpaid by $1.2 million in the years after Charles’s death.

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