A Carver County District judge denied a petition Monday to remove Comerica Bank & Trust as administrator of Prince's massive estate.
Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson and John Nelson, three of Prince's five half-siblings, filed a petition in October to dismiss Comerica, alleging mismanagement that cost the estate millions of dollars. Judge Kevin Eide rejected each of the heirs' complaints.
The estate has been estimated at between $100 million and $300 million before taxes. In addition to the Nelsons, Prince's sister, Tyka Nelson, and half-siblings Omarr Baker and Alfred Jackson, have been declared the heirs.
Eide wrote that the petition for Comerica's removal as administrator was "not in the best interest in the estate," adding that it has needlessly increased costs.
The judge also criticized New York lawyer L. Londell McMillan, whom the three petitioners hired as an adviser. While McMillan had worked for Prince for years before his death and could be an asset to the estate, the judge wrote, he was involved in the negotiation of two significant agreements that were later voided by the estate, Eide noted. He also cited concerns that McMillian hasn't agreed to a nondisclosure agreement with the estate. "It appears to the court that Mr. McMillan, using the heir status of the petitioners, is trying to usurp control of the estate."
Eide appointed retired state Supreme Court Justice James. H. Gilbert to mediate communication disputes between the heirs and Comerica.
The petitioners harshly criticized Comerica for what they called its unauthorized decision to transfer Prince's unreleased recordings from a vault at Paisley Park to a facility in Los Angeles. Eide said there was no evidence of damage or lack of security for the thousands of recordings and videos Comerica had moved.