A T-shirt seller had a verbal go-round Sunday with a woman who claimed to be a Paisley Park surrogate as a steady stream of fans continued to add mementos to the fence that is becoming a shrine.
The seller reluctantly removed merchandise he had draped across a barricade installed as a buffer between traffic and fans outside the studio and residence where Prince died.
I was shooting video of memorials, when in the background I heard: "Excuse me. You can pack up and leave now! You are illegally selling his image, [copyrighted] image, without his authority. You need to go!"
The woman told me her name was Vera, "a friend of his of over 30-something years." She said she is among those given approval to handle distribution of Prince's CDs.
Another bystander defended the T-shirt seller's position, noting that Prince was no longer able to give permission, and the T-shirt guy was not doing business on Paisley's property.
"No, there is a way to have [Prince's permission] if you already had it previously," Vera told them.
"Most friends don't say stuff like that," the T-shirt seller replied. "You['re] just mad. This is a souvenir. Why are we renting so much space in your mind?"
"I'm yelling so people know this is not approved by Prince, so [they] know not to buy it. That's why I'm yelling," Vera said.
Her efforts really didn't work. As soon as Vera walked away, people were trying to find out if the guy had their size.
Later two Carver County Sheriff's deputies, in separate vehicles, arrived to check the identifications and chide two men who seemed to be selling what I think were T-shirts. The deputies told the men they could go to the city of Chanhassen to get permits to sell merchandise or give away products free.
Kate Aanenson, community development director, told me a temporary permit has a base cost of $50. Merchandise cannot be sold "on city property and you have to have the owner's permission. Someone selling T-shirts would have to get the owner's permission to do that."
So to be authorized to sell T-shirts with Prince's likeness on them, permission must be obtained from Paisley Park. "They are the underlying property owner, that is correct," said Aanenson, and "you can't do it on city property." She said the streets are considered "city property." Really?
T-shirt sellers are going to have to be creative in Chanhassen and I have every confidence they will be.
Prince family matters
It's a week of Hot Topics on the "Wendy Williams Show," and the talk host seriously wants to hear from Prince's sister, Tyka Nelson.
Twice during Monday's show Wendy shouted out to Tyka. In the first remark, Wendy said, "Tyka, I wish you well. If there's anything you want me to add to this story …"
Although I shared no love connection [there's video] with Wendy when I interviewed her at Fox 9, we have many identical world views. For example: She is absolutely flabbergasted that Prince allegedly had no will.
"Told you so," Wendy said to her unpaid "co-hosts," also known as the studio audience. "I told you Prince's siblings would come [after] each other. The fighting started earlier than I thought, though. Good thing it's 'Hot Topics Week.' Remember Prince didn't leave a will, which I STILL am just like, damn! So his fortune will be split between his sister Tyka, who's his only [sibling] with the same mother and father. And then he's got five [note, nobody is sure yet of this number] half siblings."
Wendy kissed up big time to Tyka by saying she should be in charge: "Shout out at all half siblings every place, but when the occasion comes that your wealthy sibling dies without a will, it's the whole sibling, to me, [who] should be the captain of the team." The audience applauded approvingly.
Noting reports that Tyka stormed out of some gathering of siblings "crying," Wendy said, "I just see this fighting going on and on unfortunately. This is just really, really bad. I want a nice legacy for Prince."
Wendy is firmly in Tyka's corner unless a Prince heir turns up, in which case Wendy said, "Well, if he is Prince's love child, his DNA overrides even Tyka so he gets everything!"
Wendy thinks one guy has a credible story — although she noted he's "one of hundreds to come forward to say they are Prince's kid."
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9's "Jason Show" and "Buzz." E-mailers, please state a subject; "Hello" does not count. Attachments are not opened.