Late rap legend Tupac Shakur's sister Sekyiwa Shakur and The Tupac Shakur Foundation are suing Tom Whalley, the appointed trustee of Tupac’s estate.
Following his death, Shakur's mother Afeni was named as a beneficiary of his estate. Tragically, Afeni suddenly passed away on May 2, 2016 — and Whalley was named as the executor of Afeni’s estate.
Tupac Shakur's sister Sekyiwa alleges embezzlement by the executor of her brother's estate
In the aforementioned lawsuit, Sekyiwa is claiming ownership of the entire estate, with the foundation being entitled to a 10% share of the annual income. The suit accuses Whalley of gross embezzlement.
Some excerpts from the lawsuit read:
“Upon information and belief, Whalley has already received more than $5.5 million that he has paid himself in the last five years through Amaru…he has effectively embezzled millions of dollars for his own benefit well in excess of what would be reasonably necessary to retrain a property qualified third-party to perform such services.”
"As a result, Whalley has unreasonably enriched himself at the expense of the beneficiaries and in bad faith by taking excessive compensation."
Amaru is the name of the trust in the name of Tupac, as it is also the name of the Inca emperor after whom Shakur was named. The suing parties are asking for a minimum $4 million compensation, along with a full record of accounting and tax returns for the estate.
The group further states:
“We do not know the full scope of Whalley’s malfeasance, but it is clear that he was used and abused his powers as executor and special trustee of the estate and the trust to convert the personal property belonging to Sekyiwa as a piggy bank from which he has drawn substantial funds for his own benefit.”
Tom Whalley, who is a former Warner Bros. Chairman and an influential industry player, has vehemently denied these allegations.
A lawyer for the trust said in a statement:
“Tom Whalley was a friend and confidant of Tupac and his mother, Afeni Shakur, since signing Tupac to his first major recording deal in the 90s and helping to arrange the funds to bail Tupac out of jail. After Tupac passed away, Afeni requested Tom’s help with the job of managing the Tupac assets Afeni had inherited, a task he performed, without charge, for many years.
In 2015, at Afeni’s request, Tom became the manager of Amaru, the company Afeni had established to protect and exploit all Tupac assets, on normal and typical terms. Under Tom’s management, enhanced by various personal loans Tom has made to the company, Amaru has gone from virtually insolvent to a solid financial footing.”
He ended by asserting that the court would promptly conclude that Tom has always acted in the best interests of Amaru, the trust, and all beneficiaries.
A look into Shakur's net worth
2pac Shakur is arguably the greatest rapper of all time. Along with the Notorious B.I.G., he formed the core of the iconic East Coast vs. West Coast rivalry in the 1990s. In a career shortened by his tragic passing, he shone brighter than most and sold 75 million records, while also talking about contemporary social issues.
Due to his continuing legal troubles and lavish lifestyle, Shakur had very few assets at the time of his passing. He had less than $105,000 in the bank, two cars, and a five-figure life insurance policy in his half-sister's name. He was actually in severe debt, owing an estimated $4.9 million.
While much of the debt arose from advances taken for cars and residences, a chunk of the debt arose from his handwritten contract with Death Row Records mogul Marion 'Suge' Knight, which promised him three albums with the label if his bail money was paid off.
Afeni Shakur, Pac's mother, resiliently fought to keep his finances afloat after his death. She forced Interscope Records, Death Row's distributor, to pay his estate $3 million. Interscope also agreed to increase his royalty rate going forward from 12% to 18% and to pay his estate $2 million in one year. The label even gave half of the $4.9 million debt that Death Row claimed.
Interscope co-founder Jimmy Iovine was instrumental in an amicable resolution and thus the continuation of the artist's legacy.
Over the next several decades, Pac's estate would earn tens of millions off the posthumous release of his albums, merchandise sales, and various other forms of image licensing.
Afeni was successful in starting the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation and Amaru Entertainment, as well as the clothing line, Makaveli Branded.
When she died in 2016, Afeni was worth $50 million. And the brands still thrive. A series of NFTs were released in the rapper's honor recently.
The list of assets claimed in the current lawsuit includes Pac's cars, a multitude of plaques and awards (including his Gold Records), his pinballs and games, his renowned jewelry, his artwork and sculptures, items of his clothing, shoes and accessories, and furniture taken from his homes upon his death.
Eventually, Sekyiwa and the foundation want the trust to be taken out of Tom Whalley’s control and into the hands of a court-ordered executor who has nothing to gain financially from the trust, along with a transparent reporting of the functioning of the estate thereon.