B.B. King: No Evidence of Abuse, Says Las Vegas Judge

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A Las Vegas judge denied a request that would have given B.B. King’s family control of his affairs, saying there was no evidence that the guitarist’s manager was abusing him or stealing his money and property.

Three of King’s children appeared in court last Thursday to seek control of their father’s affairs. They contend that his manager, Laverne Toney, stole $20 to $30 million as well as watches and a ring from King and denied him his medications and medical care. The children—Karen Williams, Patty King, and Rita Washington—also say they were blocked from seeing their father.

But the judge—Clark County Family Court Hearing Master Jon Norheim—said he has no reason to believe King lacks the capacity to manage his own health care decisions. In addition, police and social services investigations uncovered no evidence that Toney was abusing King or taking advantage of him.

“I don’t have anything here that says [King] lacks capacity,” Norheim said. “He has some serious health issues. But he has counsel. If he feels like he’s being taken advantage of, he has remedies.”

Despite the ruling, King’s daughters can still petition to take over as the guitarist’s guardian, though they will have to legally notify all of King’s children and grandchildren for that to happen.

King was admitted to a Las Vegas hospital on Thursday, April 30, after suffering a heart attack. He has been in home hospice care since returning home shortly afterward.

Patty King says that on the day of that hospital visit, while still at home, her father showed signs of illness that went ignored by Toney. Patty reported the incident to the police, who sent paramedics to check on King. The paramedics agreed King needed medical care.

B.B. King has been suffering complications of Type II diabetes since last October, when he was forced to cancel a tour. He was admitted to the hospital for diabetes-related dehydration and exhaustion in early April of this year.