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Delaware judge refuses to dismiss lawsuit over Prince’s estate

DOVER, Del.—A Delaware judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former business advisers to the late pop music icon Prince against two of his siblings and other heirs in a dispute over his estate.

The judge also ruled in favor of plaintiffs L. Londell McMillan and Charles Spicer Jr., supporting their claim that an agreement aiming to replace them as managers of a limited liability company established by three siblings was invalid.

Prince, who died of an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2016, had no will. His six siblings inherited equal interests in his estate.

Three of Prince’s siblings assigned their combined 50% interest to Prince Legacy LLC. They granted McMillan and Spicer each a 10% interest in Prince Legacy, along with broad and exclusive management authority.

However, one sister, Sharon Nelson, later regretted the decision and led an effort to remove McMillan and Spicer as managing members by amending the LLC agreement.

Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick ruled that the initial LLC agreement’s terms are unambiguous and prohibit the defendants’ attempts to amend it. She stated the agreement remains in effect, and McMillan and Spicer continue as managing members.

“As a matter of contract law, this is the only reasonable interpretation,” the judge wrote.

McCormick also ruled that the plaintiffs can pursue a claim that the defendants breached the LLC agreement by acting without authorization to amend it and remove McMillan and Spicer.

The lawsuit stems from disagreements involving Tyka Nelson, Prince’s sister, and five half-siblings: Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson, John R. Nelson, Omarr Baker, and Alfred Jackson.

Tyka, Omarr, and Alfred, the three youngest siblings, sold their stake to a music publishing company called Primary Wave Music, LLC, which then assigned its interests to an affiliate, Prince OAT Holdings LLC. Alfred has passed away since then.

The older siblings, Sharon, Norrine, and John, assigned 20% of their collective interests to McMillan and Spicer before John’s passing in 2021. His interests were transferred to a trust managed by Breanna Nelson, Allen Nelson, and Johnny Nicholas Nelson Torres as co-trustees. Breanna and Allen are defendants in the lawsuit along with Sharon and Norrine, while Nelson Torres has sided with the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit claims, among other things, that Sharon improperly tried to involve herself in management decisions and once demanded that the entire staff of the Paisley Park Museum in Minnesota be replaced. She also accused McMillan and Spicer of fraud and attempted to sell her interests in Prince Legacy without the required consent of the other members.

This lawsuit is part of an ongoing, complex legal battle concerning both the valuation and the beneficiaries of Prince’s estate. In 2022, nearly six years after his death, the Internal Revenue Service and the estate’s administrator agreed to end a court battle by valuing the estate at roughly $156 million.

Source: Albert Lea Tribune