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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


I knew this would happen

Erik S. Lesser for The New York Times

Memorabilia at the Beech Island, S.C., estate of
James Brown, who died at 73 on Christmas Day in Atlanta.

Gone but Hardly Forgotten, an Idol Isn’t Buried Yet, Either

Published: January 28, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga., Jan. 24 — More than a month after the death of the legendary soul singer James Brown, his body still has not been laid to rest, a circumstance that has dismayed his friends and bewildered residents here in the town that has honored him as a native son.

The grave of Mr. Brown’s third wife, in Augusta, suggests he wished to be buried there. Others want him to be laid to rest in South Carolina.

“He wrote a song about this,” said Charles A. Reid Jr., a funeral director and a lifelong friend who is holding Mr. Brown’s body while his survivors and the trustees of his estate squabble over control. “ ‘Papa Don’t Take No Mess.’ That’s what he’d be hollering now.”

The six children Mr. Brown acknowledged in his will want his body placed in a mausoleum on his 60-acre property just across the South Carolina state line near the Savannah River, an estate they hope will become a museum and memorial park akin to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley in Memphis, which has long been a lucrative tourist attraction. But the children are in a financial dispute with the trustees of the Brown estate, and it is possible Mr. Brown will not be laid to rest until it is settled.

In recent weeks, Mr. Brown’s body, sealed in a gleaming golden coffin, has been kept in a temperature-controlled room at his Beech Island, S.C., home. Since late December, when Mr. Brown was given a star-studded send-off complete with costume changes between memorial services in three cities, his final wishes have been the subject of at least two lawsuits. Still, a spokeswoman for the six children insisted that logistics were causing the wait.

“It’s only been a month since he died,” said the spokeswoman, Debra Opri, a Beverly Hills lawyer. “They’re trying to get engineers out to the site, they’re getting a mausoleum done. The property may have to be rezoned. That kind of thing.”

It is not clear, however, that Mr. Brown’s children will control what happens to the 60-acre property, where they have said they would like his tomb to be placed.

In a will read to survivors on Jan. 11, Mr. Brown left the bulk of his assets, including the Beech Island property and the copyrights to his extensive music catalog, in the care of three of his business managers, who are trustees of his estate.

The six children were left to divide Mr. Brown’s personal effects, a bequest of significantly less value. Those children and eight of Mr. Brown’s grandchildren filed a lawsuit last week in Aiken, S.C., to remove the three trustees, citing mismanagement of their father’s finances and conflicts of interest.

A letter included in the court filings against the trustees suggests that all three men, Alfred A. Bradley, Albert H. Dallas and David G. Cannon, stand to profit from the sale of Mr. Brown’s music catalog, a deal that is already being negotiated.

Complicated life, complicated death

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