Months after rock and roll icon Jerry Lee Lewis passed away at 87, the singer and songwriter’s son Jerry Lee Lewis III has reportedly been asked to vacate the family ranch amid a property battle.
According to various reports, Jerry Lee Lewis’ son has been fighting to keep the Lewis Ranch in the family since the property went up for sale in early January 2023. However, the property is revealed to not be legally owned by Lewis, despite him buying it and living there for nearly 50 years. Cecil Harrelson, a long-time friend of Lewis’ and his former manager, is apparently the one who signed the property’s deed.
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Mary Jean Ferguson, Harrelson’s daughter explained that “Uncle Jerry” wanted to protect the ranch from being taken by the IRS. This is due to his numerous run-ins with the agency for failing to pay taxes. “[Lewis] wanted to protect the ranch, but he also wanted to reward my dad,” Ferguson explained. “My dad was loyal to him. He worked for him for a number of yes. He helped negotiate contracts, worked in the role of a manager.”
Ferguson also said that her father never took any form of commission from Jerry Lee Lewis for his services. When her father passed in 2013, the ranch was transferred to Ferguson and her two siblings, Cecil Jr. and Edona. “Uncle Jerry was like a lifetime tenant that didn’t pay rent, so in other words, he could live there until he passed away. He had the right to live there until he passed away.”
The Actual Property Owners Made the Decision to Sell Jerry Lee Lewis’ Ranch Two Months After His Death
Although Harrelson’s three children own 2/3 of the ranch, the other third belongs to the family of Carlton Barnes, who was an attorney for Harrelson in the ‘70s and ‘80s. All those who own the property made the decision to sell. Two months after Jerry Lee Lewis’ death, it was revealed that the property was officially going on the market.
“It’s such a unique property,” Ferguson continued. “We’ve been discussing what the best way to sell it is. I don’t think the traditional type listing with a listing price works, but I don’t think an auction might be the best idea either.”
Meanwhile, Jerry Lee Lewis III has been living on the property with his children. He started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $80,000 for a down payment on the property. He hopes to save his family’s home. “It is clear that Dad was confident he owned the ranch and that it would go to me when he passed,” the GoFundMe page reads. “Cecil Harrelson passed away before my father and thus did not have the opportunity to honor my father’s wishes. Instead, he left his interest in the ranch to his own children.”
Unfortunately for Lewis, a judge sided with the Harrelson children and he has until March 5th to vacate the property. Ferguson spoke out about the campaign and said she was worried about people donating funds without knowing the facts about the situation. “I don’t wish [Lewis] ill,” she pressed. “We have to do what’s right for us. This drama is damaging the legacy.”