Heirs an­gry as Prince tapes moved from es­tate

Master record­ings shipped to Cal­i­for­nia from Pais­ley Park stu­dio

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - ENTERTAINMENT - STEVE KARNOWSKI

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-turned-mu­seum 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 half­broth­ers Omarr Baker and Al­fred Jack­son are on the other. A lawyer for Tyka Nel­son and Baker did not im­me­di­ately re­turn a call seek­ing com­ment.

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