According to James Browns attorney, Buddy Dallas, the woman who called herself the late singers wife was already married to a Texas man at the time she married Brown in 2001, making the union null.
Backup singer Tomi Rae Hynie, 36, had her previous marriage annulled. However, she and Brown never remarried in an official ceremony. Dallas also noted that because Hynie was not legally Browns widow, she was locked out of his South Carolina mansion for estate reasons.
Its not a reflection on her as an individual, he told the Associated Press. I have not even been in the house, nor will I until appropriate protocol is followed.
However, Hynie claims she has documentation proving she is Browns legal wife and that Browns representatives are trying to discredit her so she doesnt share in the entertainers estate, which is set to be split by his children.
After arriving at the Browns Beech Island, S.C., home following his death, Hynie was met by security guards who were ordered by Dallas and accountant David Cannon to keep her locked out. She told reporters she was without money and a place to stay, and that James Brown wanted her and the couples 5-year-old son to remain living in the property.
Dallas said Hynie has her own place of residence and she was not left without shelter.
Ms. Hynie has a home a few blocks away from Mr. Browns home where she resides periodically when she is not with Mr. Brown. She is not without housing or a home, Dallas said.
The couple had not seen one another for several weeks before Browns death. Hynie claims he sent her on a California beach retreat to relax.
Hynie said: My job (and) marriage were difficult. He sent me to the beach. He paid $24,000 for me to go.
The couples tumultuous relationship included a 2004 domestic violence incident where Brown pleaded guilty to allegedly pushing her and threatening to kill her. He was fined $1,087.
Hynie is expected to meet with Brown spokesmen to support her claim that she was legally married to the Grammy Award winner. As of press time, the details of that meeting were unknown.
James Brown died on Christmas Day, Monday, Dec. 25, at an Augusta, Ga., hospital from congestive heart failure at age 73. He is survived by at least five children, five grandchildren and two-great grandchildren.
From the Jan. 3-9, 2007, issue