Posted July 17, 2008 – Dexter King, the youngest son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., says he is angry about the way his siblings have “maligned” him in a recent lawsuit claiming that he pilfered funds from his mother’s estate, and he wants to restore his “good name.
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They [claim] that they’re being injured,” King told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But the money’s in their bank account. If you think you’re being injured, go get the money out of your bank account. I don’t mean to be flip about it, but it’s so ridiculous. I’m still reeling over the ridiculousness of it, the recklessness of it.”
The Journal-Constitution said that King provided bank statements and other documents Dexter said proved that his siblings, Martin Luther King III and Bernice King, has been benefiting as much from their late parents’ estate as he has. Thus, Dexter told the newspaper, the elements of their lawsuit – which accuses him of taking money from Coretta Scott King’s estate for personal use and mishandling estate funds – are patently false. Dexter is president and CEO of King Inc., which controls the intellectual property rights of Dr. King’s papers.
“I believe that it’s important to set the record straight, and at this point I can only think about clearing my good name,” Dexter said. “Frankly, I’m very angry in the way they’ve maligned and damaged me. “You can call me a lot of things, but I am not a thief.”
According to the Journal-Constitution, the bank statements Dexter provided show that King Inc. made the following disbursements to the Martin III, Bernice and Dexter: $477,772.15 was transferred to Bernice King; another $377,772.15 went to the account of Martin III — $100,000 less because, according to a separate document, he had borrowed that amount from King Inc. a month earlier; a third distribution of $477,722.15 went to Dexter King.
“Whenever there’s a distribution it has to be equal — that’s what really counts, and that’s what happened,” Dexter King said.
Jock Smith, the attorney for Bernice and Martin III, said the controversy erupted because Dexter King has refused to call a meeting of King Inc. in at least four years. “It has been years since there has been a meeting,” Smith said. “No information has been provided to Bernice and Martin, so you must begin to wonder what is happening with the corporation,” Smith said. “How are they to know what he is doing? And what they know he is doing is not good. If he would spend time talking to his brother and sister, instead of the press, progress would be made.”