Some of blues great B.B. King's heirs are due to ask a judge in Las Vegas on Thursday not to turn over control of the late music icon's estate to the longtime business manager he named as executor.
But a lawyer for the B.B. King estate and designated executor LaVerne Toney says family members' claims that Toney isolated their father, stole from him and poisoned him before his May 14 death at age 89 have no basis in fact.
"We believe the judge will accept the will and appoint LaVerne as executor," attorney Brent Bryson said Wednesday.
In court documents submitted ahead of the hearing, Bryson accuses some of King's children and relatives of "attempting to do what Mr. King would never allow them to do when he was alive, which is to insert themselves into his business affairs."
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King wanted to spend his last days in the comfort of his home, not in a hospital, the document said. It said King, not Toney, chose not to have daughters Karen Williams and Patty King visit.
Attorney Larissa Drohobyczer, who says she represents a five-member family board of B.B. King's 11 surviving children, including Williams and Patty King, said last week she believes the estate is worth between $5 million and $10 million.
B.B. King was married twice and had 15 children. Four have died.
Williams and Patty King accused Toney of preventing them from seeing their father, and Toney and B.B. King's personal assistant, Myron Johnson, of administering an unknown substance to him to hasten his death.
Toney and Johnson denied the claims, and Bryson dismissed them as ridiculous, defamatory and libelous.
The allegation prompted an autopsy by the Clark County coroner the day after a May 23 King memorial in Las Vegas. Results of toxicology tests are expected in several weeks. Police said there is no active homicide investigation. King's physician and the coroner said King died of natural causes — a series of small strokes attributable to a yearslong battle with Type 2 diabetes.
Toney managed King's road show business for 39 years and had power-of-attorney over his personal affairs. She is the executor named in his will of Jan. 18, 2007.
The document filed Tuesday dismissed as "unsubstantiated and wrong" a suggestion made by family members that another will exists.
"There is no missing will," it said.