Heirs angry as Prince tapes moved
Master recordings shipped to California from Paisley Park studio
MINNEAPOLIS — Two sisters and heirs of the late rock superstar Prince said Wednesday they’re angered that the contents of his vault, including master tapes of unreleased music, have been removed from his Paisley Park studio complex and shipped to California.
Sharon and Norrine Nelson, Prince’s half-sisters, told The Associated Press they are prepared to take legal action to bring the music back to Minnesota. The company running the estate, Comerica Bank & Trust, said the recordings are safe at a reputable storage company in Los Angeles.
“We want the music back home in Paisley Park where it belongs,” Sharon Nelson said.
Norrine Nelson called it “extraordinary and unconscionable.”
The recordings are regarded as among the most valuable pieces of an estate that court papers have suggested is worth in total around $200 million.
Sharon Nelson said she was told Sept. 29 by a “Paisley Park representative,” whom she wouldn’t identify, that around four trucks pulled up to the studio-turnedmuseum in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen in early September and removed the contents of the vault.
“It’s just as though Prince passed away again,” she said. “That’s how I felt. I was really devastated by that.”
Norrine Nelson said the music had been safe in Minnesota for more than 40 years and would be again if it’s returned.
The sisters said Comerica, which is serving as the personal representative, or executor, of Prince’s estate, hasn’t told them exactly where the music was taken or why. They said they believe Comerica was obligated to notify them and give them a say under orders earlier this year by Carver County District Judge Kevin Eide, who is overseeing the estate case.
Comerica defended its decision:
“In an effort to ensure the preservation of Prince’s audio and visual content, Comerica selected the premier entertainment storage and archive company, Iron Mountain Entertainment Services,” it said. “On four separate occasions, Comerica discussed the process with the heirs and any suggestion otherwise is not accurate.”
Prince left no will when he died in April 2016 of an accidental overdose of painkillers. The judge this May declared Prince’s six surviving siblings his heirs, but they’ve split into two camps during the legal wrangling. Sharon and Norrine Nelson and their brother, John R. Nelson, are on one side and Prince’s full sister, Tyka Nelson, and his half-brothers Omarr Baker and Alfred Jackson are on the other. A lawyer for Tyka Nelson and Baker did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Prince performs at Super Bowl XLI in 2007. Two sisters and heirs of the late rock superstar Prince said Wednesday they’re angered that the contents of his vault, including master tapes of unreleased music, have been removed from his Paisley Park studio complex and shipped to California.