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Morning Report

September 19, 2002|Lisa Boone

LEGAL FILE

Court Orders P. Diddy to Pay $2.45 Million

Rapper Sean "P. Diddy" Combs has been ordered to pay $2.45 million in damages to a man who says he was injured by Combs' bodyguards at a 1995 Mary Blige concert.

A Superior Court judge in North Carolina ordered that Combs make payment to Cedrick Bobby Lemon, a limousine driver who was working at the Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem on the night of the concert. Lemon said in his lawsuit that he was beaten by two bodyguards employed by Combs, who was acting as Blige's manager at the time.

The judge ordered the payment Sept. 10 because Combs didn't answer the allegations against him within a 30-day time limit required by state law. Nathalie Moar, a spokeswoman for Combs, said this week, "We have just learned of this lawsuit. As it has no merit whatsoever, we intend to take all necessary steps to have it dismissed."

Papa's Got a Brand New ... Family-Style Lawsuit

James Brown's daughters have filed a federal lawsuit against the Godfather of Soul, seeking more than $1 million in back royalties and damages for 25 songs they say they co-wrote when they were children.

Deanna Brown Thomas, who works at a South Carolina radio station, and Dr. Yamma Brown Lumar, a Texas physician, say Brown has withheld royalties because of a family grudge. The singer was reportedly upset when, in 1998, Thomas had her father committed to a psychiatric hospital to be treated for addiction to painkillers. After his release, Brown "vowed to the media that his daughters will never get a dime from him," the lawsuit said. "James Brown has kept his word."

Brown, 69, could not be reached for comment.

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TELEVISION

Can Celebrities Survive ABC's Latest Series?

ABC has ordered 15 episodes of "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!," based on a hit British staged unscripted show.

The series will drop eight celebrities in a remote location for 15 days, where they'll be given rations of rice and water. TV viewers will vote each night on which celebrity will take part in a physical challenge in order to win enough food for the rest of the group.

Location, airdates and casting have not yet been decided.

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THE ARTS

Kennedy Center to Receive a Face-Lift

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington is in store for a landscaping face-lift and expansion that, over 10 years, will create eight acres of pedestrian-friendly green space and two new buildings to house offices, rehearsal studios and an exhibition hall devoted to the history of the performing arts.

President Bush on Wednesday signed a bill--passed unanimously by both houses of Congress--authorizing $400 million to lower the Potomac Freeway and create a plaza above it east of the 31-year-old Kennedy Center. The long-envisioned project will make it possible for people to walk from the National Mall to the center without having to cross highways.

The Kennedy Center, which houses six theaters, will need to raise an estimated $250 million in private donations to pay for the buildings, said Tiki Davies, the center's spokeswoman.

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QUICK TAKE

The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office officially declared the June 5 death of Dee Dee Ramone, bassist for legendary punk group the Ramones, an accidental heroin overdose.

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