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Tupac’s Sister Says Trustee Still Has ‘Disregard For Transparency’

In a bitter lawsuit over Tupac's assets, Sekyiwa Shakur says Tom Whalley "embezzled millions" and now is refusing to hand over key financial documents.

Tupac Shakur’s sister told a Los Angeles judge Monday that the executor of their late mother’s estate – music executive Tom Whalley – has refused to fully comply with a key court order in their ongoing legal battle, blasting him for having a “disregard for transparency” and “false sense of entitlement.”

Seven months after Sekyiwa Shakur and The Tupac Shakur Foundation accused Whalley of having “embezzled millions” while running Afeni Shakur-Davis’s trust, she said he had fallen “woefully short of compliance” when he filed a court-ordered report last month on the state of the trust.

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In a strongly-worded filing, Sekyiwa’s lawyers said the judge had ordered the accounting report to address Whalley’s “repeated pattern” of hiding information from the beneficiaries, but that he had done little to fix the problems.

“Instead of remedying these issues, as it was intended to do, respondent’s accounting only further demonstrates respondent’s false sense of entitlement, disregard for transparency and unwillingness to properly comply with his obligation to account to the petitioners and act as a fiduciary,” Sekyiwa’s lawyers wrote.

Following Tupac’s widely-publicized shooting death in 1996, his mother Afeni was named as a beneficiary of his estate. When Afeni died in 2016, Whalley – who signed Tupac to Interscope Records and was a close friend of the iconic rapper – was then named as the trustee of the Afeni Shakur-Davis Separate Property Trust.

Sekyiwa filed her bombshell lawsuit in January, alleging that Whalley had committed “blatant violations” of his duties in that role, including failing to offer annual reports on the trust as required by law. Without oversight, Sekyiwa claimed that Whalley had refused to hand over personal items with “tremendous sentimental value” that belonged to her brother, and had improperly hired himself as the manager of Amaru Entertainment, the record label that released some of Tupac’s music and is “principal income-producing asset of the Trust.”

“He has effectively embezzled millions of dollars for his own benefit,” Sekyiwa wrote. “Whalley has unreasonably enriched himself at the expense of the beneficiaries and in bad faith by taking excessive compensation in a position from which he should properly be barred based on the inherent conflict of interest.”

In a statement to Billboard in January, trust attorney Howard King strongly denied the allegations, saying that Whalley was a longtime “friend and confidant” of both Tupac and Afeni and had committed no wrongdoing. King specifically noted that Whalley had been appointed to manage Amaru by Afeni before her death, not after: “These legal claims are disappointing and detrimental to all beneficiaries of the trust,” King said at the time. “We are confident the court will promptly conclude that Tom has always acted in the best interests of Amaru, the trust, and all beneficiaries.”

In a March court filing, Whalley and the trust’s attorneys backed up that statement with formal arguments that he had acted reasonably. They said he had vastly increased the value of trust, in part by using Tupac’s possessions in an immersive exhibit called “Tupac Shakur: Wake Me When I’m Free” that debuted in January in Los Angeles. But despite those assurances, the judge overseeing Sekyiwa’s lawsuit ordered a full accounting of the trust by June 30.

In Monday’s response, Sekyiwa’s attorneys (longtime music lawyer Londell McMillan, as well as litigators Donald David and Joshua R. Mandell of the law firm Akerman) said Whalley had fallen well short of what the judge requested. For instance, they said the report came without any supporting documents to verify the numbers listed, like key tax papers filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

“Respondent could very easily have provided these documents in support of his accounting, but has refused to produce any,” Sekyiwa’s lawyers wrote. “Respondent has chosen to keep his actions and the status of the assets in the Trust and Amaru in the dark, rather than allow reasonable review and comment.”

To fix the problem, Sekyiwa’s attorneys asked the judge to appoint an independent CPA with fiduciary accounting expertise to oversee the review of the trust and “ensure that it is completed timely and in compliance with all applicable requirements.”

“Respondent should not be allowed to continue spending the Trust’s assets to pursue a self-serving, drawn-out litigation campaign with the aim of withholding as much critical financial information as he can until forced to produce it, and falsely promoting himself in the process,” Sekyiwa’s lawyers wrote. “If the Trust’s money is to be spent, it should be spent efficiently on an independent CPA who will move expeditiously and account to the beneficiaries and the Court fairly and objectively.”

An attorney for Whalley did not immediately return a request for comment on Wednesday morning. A hearing in the case is currently set for early next month.