The Georgia estate of Martin Luther King, Jr. has filed a federal lawsuit against Howard Ballou, claiming the WLBT anchor has historical documents — including photographs, transcripts and handwritten letters from the civil rights leader — that rightfully belong to the estate.
The lawsuit claims Ballou — who is the son of a former secretary of King’s — has “irreplaceable” archival material valued at more than $75,000, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
“Mrs. Ballou had access to many documents, photographs and other personal effects that belong to Dr. King,” the lawsuit says. “Although she was entrusted with property belonging to Dr. King, as his employee she did not have any personal rights or ownership of these documents.”
Through his attorney, Ballou refused to comment on whether he has the items in his possession. “I plan to get with Mr. Ballou to discuss it and we will file an appropriate response,” Ballou’s attorney, Robert Gibbs, told the Clarion-Ledger.