John Coltrane’s two sons, Ravi and Oran, have filed a lawsuit claiming that they are the rightful owners of the jazz legend’s house in Philadelphia.
As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the lawsuit contends that John Coltrane House, which is now a National Historic Landmark, should not actually belong to the family members of the late Norman Gadson, a jazz lover who bought the house in 2004 before he died in 2007.
Coltrane purchased the house at 1511 North 33rd St. in Philly’s Strawberry Mansion neighbourhood in 1952 and lived there until 1958 while using it as an alternate residence to his New York home until the end of his life. When he died in 1967, the house passed to his cousin Mary L. Alexander.
As the Inquirer reports, the Coltrane brothers’ lawsuit claims that Gadson “allegedly paid a third party for a sham deed to the Coltrane House.” According to the report, the complaint alleges that Alexander only held a “lifetime estate” interest in the house, meaning she had a legal right to live in the house until her death, but not to sell it.
“At worst, Norman Gadson was complicit in a fraudulent property sale that interfered with plaintiffs’ property rights,” the lawsuit viewed by the Inquirer claims. “At best, Norman Gadson was indefensibly oblivious … and as a result [Mary Alexander] duped him into paying $100,000 to purchase her life estate.”
Gadson had dreamed of turning the house into a jazz venue, Gadson’s widow Lenora Early told the newspaper in 2013.
Through a spokesperson, Edward A. Fox, the attorney representing Gadson’s daughters, issued a statement to the Inquirer: “The Early-Gadson family was enormously surprised and saddened to learn of the litigation filed by John Coltrane’s sons given the family’s 18-year history of ownership, preservation, and deep commitment to this National Historic Landmark, with the full knowledge of the Coltrane family … The family opened the John Coltrane house to the entire Philadelphia community and beyond — welcoming music fans from all over the world — so everyone could enjoy this significant landmark in the history of jazz.”
Read the full story via the Philadelphia Inquirer here.