- The Washington Times - Monday, August 13, 2007

Aretha cools off

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin canceled her hometown concert last night at an outdoor amphitheater in suburban Detroit, citing heat exhaustion. With temperatures hovering above 90 degrees, Miss Franklin decided to call off the show at DTE Energy Music Theatre and hopes to reschedule it at a later date.

Miss Franklin, 65, said that the heat at recent East Coast shows has been “sweltering and all but overwhelming.”

“I am exhausted from the heat and cannot tolerate heat in these extremely high numbers and being in concert simultaneously,” she said.

Case closed

Authorities dropped an investigation into a reported sexual assault at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion because of insufficient evidence, Los Angeles prosecutors said Friday.

No charges will be filed, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

Police investigated claims that a 22-year-old woman might have been raped while unconscious at the mansion in the Holmby Hills area of West Los Angeles, officials said. The allegation involved a 17-year-old boy.

“She recalls at one point having sexual intercourse with the minor and pushing him away,” said Sandi Gibbons, a district attorney’s spokeswoman.

Authorities could not corroborate the woman’s statement, Ms. Gibbons said. The woman also has claimed memory loss and declined to pursue the case, officials said.

Rob Hilburger, West Coast publicity director for Playboy Enterprises, said police told the company Friday that the investigation had ended.

“Safety and security at the mansion remain a priority, not only for those who live there, but for all invited guests,” Mr. Hilburger said. “We thank the LAPD for their quick and thorough investigation into this matter.”

Money returned

A trustee accused of misappropriating $350,000 of James Brown’s money resigned and handed over a check for that amount during a court hearing in Aiken, S.C.

David Cannon also resigned Friday as co-executor of the late soul singer’s will during a four-hour hearing before Circuit Judge Jack Early, the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle reported Saturday.

A follow-up hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 24 as various people wrangle over the late singer’s estate.

It’s not clear how much money is left in the estate, said Louis Levenson, an Atlanta attorney representing several of the singer’s children. Before he died Christmas Day at age 73, Mr. Brown had been on an allowance of $100,000 a month.

Mr. Levenson said his firm is trying to find out where the singer’s money went.

Mr. Brown’s former pastor has filed a motion to intervene on behalf of needy children who are supposed to benefit from the James Brown “I Feel Good” trust. That is one of two trusts Mr. Brown had set up: One to pay for poor children in South Carolina and Georgia to attend school; the other would pay for Mr. Brown’s grandchildren to go to school.

The Rev. Larry Fryer said he’s worried the money meant for poor children is being squandered by the court battles. “If we’re paying all of the money to all of the legal sources,” Mr. Fryer said, “what’s left for the children?”

One of Mr. Brown’s grandchildren, Forlando Brown, accused his aunts and uncles of trying to break the trusts to get their father’s money.

“People are greedy,” the West Georgia University student told the Chronicle.

Forlando Brown said he, his brother and his father, Terry Brown, have been ostracized by the rest of the family for siding with the trustees.

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee from wire reports.

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