DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – An attorney claims a judge and two lawyers involved in a long-running dispute over civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks’ estate conspired to drain the estate’s cash.
Attorney Stephen G. Cohen said in court papers Tuesday that Wayne County Probate Judge Freddie Burton Jr. conspired with John Chase Jr. and Melvin Jefferson Jr. to rack up more than $507,000 in mostly unnecessary legal fees. Cohen claims the estate is $88,000 in debt.
Jefferson told The Detroit News the court action was a “great fabrication.” Burton declined to comment to the Detroit Free Press. An email seeking comment was sent Thursday to Chase.
A hearing is set for May 22.
Parks left almost all her estate to the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute — which Cohen represents — that was founded to teach young people leadership and character development. Relatives challenged Parks’ will after her 2005 death.
Parks became a civil rights pioneer for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955. She later lived in Detroit and died at age 92.
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