Son, 2nd wife of Teddy Pendergrass at odds over control of late singer’s estate

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Son, widow of Teddy Pendergrass battle over estate

PHILADELPHIA — The son and second wife of Teddy Pendergrass are locked in a battle over the late R&B singer’s estate.

Teddy Pendergrass II and Joan Pendergrass have produced conflicting wills since the singer died in January.

The son claims a will from May 2009 names him executor and sole beneficiary. The widow claims a later document on which she signed her name as the singer’s attorney gives her control.

Teddy Pendergrass II tells The Philadelphia Inquirer that his father left him in charge of the family. Joan Pendergrass’ attorney denies a money grab, saying the estate has few assets.

Attorneys for both sides met with a judge last week about the case.

Teddy Pendergrass is best known as the singer of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” which he recorded with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes in 1972, and other hits.

Pendergrass’ seductive, smoky baritone propelled him to fame in the 1970s, but his career stalled after a 1982 car crash in Philadelphia left him paralyzed.

In 2008, he married Joan Williams, a New Balance shoe company executive from Boston. He had three adult children and she had two.

Pendergrass was diagnosed with colon cancer in mid-2009, and spent most of his last eight months in a hospital until his death on Jan. 13. Two friends say he was lucid until the end.

His survivors organized separate funeral receptions, one hosted by his widow, the other by his ex-wife.

The divide is less about money than the singer’s legacy, a lawyer for Joan Pendergrass said.

“To say it’s a money grab is ludicrous — there’s just no money to fight about,” lawyer Kevon Glickman said.

Pendergrass did not write most of his songs so his estate has little royalty income.

A bank next month is set to auction off his home in Penn Valley, now worth perhaps half its former $1.5 million sale price.

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