Wynette's Children Battle Former Friend
The children of late country legend TAMMY WYNETTE have launched a new legal battle over the star's legacy - 12 years after her death.
Wynette's six kids - all from previous relationships - claim her fortune was pilfered and the rights to her songs wrongfully sold off by former pal Sheila Slaughter after the star died from heart failure in 1998.
Former cheerleader Slaughter married Wynette's widower George Richey just months after the singer's passing, a union brought to an end when Richey died from emphysema in July (10).
The 44 year old is accused of frittering away the money Richey inherited from the star; filtering money from a trust fund set up for Wynette's offspring and even attempting to have her body turned into a country music tourist attraction - all during her marriage to Richey.
Paula Canny, the attorney representing Wynette's kids, tells the National Enquirer, "Tammy Wynette would roll over in her grave if she knew what had happened. We believe Sheila got George and others to empty a trust fund worth at least $900,000 that Tammy had willed to her children."
Referring to the rights to hits including country classic Stand By Your Man, Canny adds, "Those rights were supposed to go to Tammy's children - and they're worth millions. George was allowed to receive an income from Tammy's songs but he wasn't allowed to sell them. Tammy stood by her man, but he didn't stand by her, and we believe he let his young bride manipulate him."
But a source close to Slaughter has defended her actions, insisting she was forced to sell Wynette's back catalogue to cover the cost of Richey's medical treatment in the last eight years of his life.
A friend tells the Enquirer, "Tammy left everything to George and under the terms of her will he was allowed to use the money however he needed it.
"George spent a large part of those eight years in hospital, rehab and nursing homes. In that time, the children visited him zero times."