Paul Williams

*Kenneth Williams went to prison for strangling his great-aunt with a telephone cord in 1989, the same year his father was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Before entering prison, the younger Williams asked his sister to save his share of royalty checks he inherited from his dad, Paul Williams, one of the original members of the Temptations, the superstar Motown group known for the hits “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.”

“I figured I was well off,” Kenneth Williams, 49, told The Detroit News.

The Redford Township man was released from prison in July after serving more than 20 years and discovered the money – estimated at more than $200,000 – was gone. His sister, Paula Williams, spent it, according to a complaint he filed against her in federal court in Detroit.

The accusation serves as another sad footnote to the legacy of Motown legend Paul Williams, the baritone singer who choreographed the group’s stylish dance moves, and who died in 1973 under murky circumstances. And it is the latest in a long line of fights over one of the most consistently lucrative commodities to come out of Detroit in 51 years: Motown royalties.

The accusations add a new layer of drama to one of the most successful, and tragic, acts in the Motown Records stable. It is a stable filled with stars whose success and tragedies – including premature deaths, murder, drug addiction and legal woes – have inspired Broadway musicals, TV movies and reams of tell-all books.

Read/learn more at The Detroit News.

Kenneth Williams