Family members of B.B. King allege that he is being abused and held captive by his longtime manager, Laverne Toney.
Earlier this month, TMZ spoke to King’s daughter Patty, who claims that Toney has been blocking her father from receiving proper medical assistance. The 89-year-old singer/guitarist has been repeatedly hospitalized over recent months due to diabetes. Patty told the gossip website that when she demanded to check him into a hospital, Toney refused. Toney has power of attorney over the ailing blues icon.
Patty has also accused Toney of swindling tens of millions of dollars from King and denying him medication. The police were called to King’s Vegas home, and he was taken to a hospital for a short stay. Patty and her boyfriend had previously called the police late last year, similarly claiming theft and abuse.
“There is an incident from November that [detectives] are investigating, however we’re not releasing anything about that report,” Jesse Roybal, public information officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, told The Daily Beast. He confirmed that the more recent incident occurred on April 30th, and that the call came in at around 4:30 p.m. local time. Police responded on the 200 block of Plaza De Cielo.
“It came in as a dispute over medical treatment,” Roybal said. “Officers responded, and determined that it was a civil matter. One of our ambulance services…transported the subject to Saint Rose Dominican Hospital, San Martín…There was no determination of a crime on the 30th when the officers responded.”
Toney’s attorney has issued a statement, which includes King’s doctor stating that he has “seen no signs of any mistreatment of Mr. King.”
But on Tuesday, TMZ reported that another one of King’s children, Karen Williams, is claiming that Toney is barring family and friends—including guitar legends Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana—from visiting King at his residence. Among the troubling allegations is that Toney hired a caregiver who got drunk and passed out while King collapsed and injured his face.
B.B. King is consistently ranked as one of the best guitarists of all time, and one of our most influential bluesmen. “Before B.B., everyone played the guitar like it was an acoustic,” fellow guitar great Buddy Guy has said. Here’s footage of King performing with Mick Jagger and Buddy Guy (and President Obama) in 2012: