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Siblings Settle Spat in MLK Estate Trial

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'We Disagreed; But We Still Always Loved One Another'

UPDATE 10/13/09: Apparently all is well again in the King family. The siblings, who were embroiled in a bitter dispute over their parents' estates, have averted a public trial over the spat, according to CNN.com. The settlement among Bernice King, Martin Luther King III and Dexter King was announced after 11:30 P.M. Monday, Fulton County Superior Court spokesman Don Plummer said. "We disagreed with each other, but we still always loved one another, and I think that's probably the most important factor," Martin Luther King III said.—ZH

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MLK Estate Trial Gets Underway

For a family who was a key ingredient in uniting people during and after the Civil Rights era, a nasty dispute among siblings is out of character, but unfortunately true.
The estate of Martin Luther King Jr., which is incorporated, is in question as Bernice King and Martin Luther King III accuse brother Dexter King of mishandling the 80 percent of shares he holds, according to CNN. The lawsuit contends Dexter King illegally and fraudulently converted monies from the estate and should pay his siblings' legal fees as well as the money he was accused of taking. The amount was not disclosed.

The court already ordered a shareholders meeting last week, after learning that there had been no meetings since 2004—a point Bernice King and Martin Luther King III argued was reflective of Dexter King's secrecy in their father's estate.
As the majority shareholder, Dexter King can decide how business transactions are made. However, if all three siblings cannot comply with corporation codes, the court could disolve the corporation and select a recipient.

In addition to this lawsuit, there is a countersuit involving Coretta Scott King's personal papers, currently in Bernice King's possession.—JG

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