Part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Inc. Estate lawsuit has been resolved in house.
The brothers, Martin Luther King III and Dexter, decided to drop one of the lawsuits against sister, Dr. Bernice King,
The case was scheduled to go to trial next week.
However, the lawsuit filed against Bernice last year by the estate over ownership of King’s traveling Bible and 1964 Nobel Peace Prize is still pending and is set to go to trial next month. Dexter King said he hopes those issues will also be resolved before a public trial.
According to Dexter King, his older brother, Martin III, chairman of the estate, did not want to haul their sister to court. Dexter said he agreed with his brother to abort the suit in hopes the three can resolve their intra-familial strife in private.
“I understand my brother’s apprehension days before a public trial, and I share those concerns,” Dexter King said in a statement. “None of us want to see the legacy of my parents, or our dysfunction, out on public display.”
The Estate of MLK is headed by King’s younger son Dexter, dismissed a lawsuit it had filed in August 2013 against the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, headed by sister and CEO Bernice King.
The estate said in its suit that it had granted the King Center a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license to use King’s name, likeness and image and to publicly exhibit his writings and spoken words. But an audit done in April 2013 revealed that artifacts were being held in unsafe and unsecure conditions and that the terms of the licensing agreement had been violated, the suit said. The suit sought to have the estate’s property returned safely.
The King Center lawyer James Commons said, “There remains much work to be done in terms of forging a long-lasting resolution between the estate and the center in terms of a licensing agreement between the two entities.”
The three surviving King children are the sole shareholders and directors of their father’s estate. At a board of directors meeting a year ago, the two brothers voted 2-1 against Bernice to sell their father’s Bible and Peace Prize medal.
Bernice King considers the Bible and the Nobel Peace medal among her father’s most treasured possessions and refuses to sell them at any cost.