ATLANTA, Georgia. — The three surviving children of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. complied with a court order to meet Monday as shareholders of the civil rights leader’s estate. The court-ordered meeting was the latest step in a legal battle involving the civil rights leader’s estate. Bernice King and Martin Luther King III have sued their brother, Dexter King, accusing him of taking money from their parent’s estates.
The three surviving children of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King are shareholders of a corporation that controls King’s estate. Yet the corporation had not held a shareholders meeting since 2004, one of several issues that worried Judge Ural D. Glanville of Fulton County Superior Court here. The judge said this month that “the court is extremely troubled about the governance” of the estate. He ordered the three siblings to meet as shareholders Monday.
“Parties to the case are continuing to negotiate differences in an effort to resolve the litigation,” the judge said in a statement from the court.
The judge had warned that the court could dissolve the corporation that controls the estate if the siblings did not operate it according to state law. Bernice King and Martin Luther King III sued Dexter King in 2008, a year after the death of a fourth sibling, Yolanda King. They accused Dexter King of wrongfully taking money from their parents’ estates.
Dexter King and the corporation filed a counterclaim, asking the court to force the other two siblings to turn over some documents that belonged to their parents.Lawyers for Dexter King have said in court that they would like previously unpublished love letters between Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King; they also have argued that Bernice King was trying to derail a book deal the estate was pursuing based on the letters.
Numerous “assertions, filings and arguments” in the case “have contained unfavorable allegations” about all three siblings, Glanville wrote in a recent court order. He warned that the siblings could lose control of the estate if they are unable to resolve their differences.