We recently blogged about the legal battle that has followed the Rosa Parks estate since her death. Though it had appeared as if the estate battle was drawing to a close, a new complication has arisen which may further prolong the situation.
An attorney representing The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development and its cofounder, Elaine Steele, filed a petition in a Detroit area probate court claiming that the judge and court appointed attorneys involved in the case have been colluding to essentially rob the estate of its money. The lawsuit accuses probate judge Freddy G. Burton Jr. of abuse of office and asks that he recuse himself from further proceedings in the case. It also accuses the judge and lawyers Melvin D. Jefferson Jr.and John M. Chase Jr. of financial misconduct.
The lawsuit alleges that the two attorneys the court appointed to the case have, over the course of their three years of representing the estate, spent more than $500,000 even though the estate was only worth $511,000. Most of this money has gone towards attorneys’ fees. The lawsuit also alleges that the two attorneys racked up over $80,000 in debt on behalf of the estate.
The lawyer filing the petition, Stephen G. Cohen, has requested a jury trial in probate court. However, legal experts are very doubtful about the claim and its chances for success. A probate court judge is expected to hold a hearing on the matter in mid-to-late May.