A King has returned home.
Dexter Scott King, who moved to California from Atlanta in 2000, has settled into a $1.8 million Buckhead mansion with his wife of three years, Leah Weber King.
The move comes a year after the Kings put their palatial Malibu estate on the market for close to $5 million and while Dexter King and his siblings are still wrangling in court over the ownership of valuable items that once belonged to their parents – including Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize.
“The timing was right,” Dexter King told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday morning. “With all that we have been through as a family, it feels good to be home, spending quality time with each other. My heart has always been here in Atlanta, and I’m really excited to be back.”
The 7,451-square-foot Mediterranean-style Buckhead home has five bedrooms and 5½ baths. It sits on a half-acre corner lot and includes a two-story covered loggia with outdoor fireplace.
In fact, according to the listing, the home has six fireplaces, an exercise room and an elevator among other amenities you would find in a nearly $2 million place.
Leah Weber King said the couple actually purchased the house last February but moved in late last year, “while putting the finishing touches on the outdoor improvements and renovations.”
“We bought the house … with the intention of doing some renovations and additions to the property after falling in love with the ‘soul of the house,’” Leah Weber King said. “We love the old Atlanta neighborhood of Hanes Manor — the area of Buckhead it sits in — and its European architecture, both inside and out. It reminded me a lot of New Orleans. We knew immediately that with a few tweaks here and there it’d be home.”
While his wife is getting re-adjusted to Atlanta (she moved to the city from New Orleans in 2004, shortly after the couple met) Dexter King is famously Atlanta born and raised.
He is the youngest son of Coretta and Martin Luther King Jr.
He is also the president and CEO of the King Estate, which manages his father’s intellectual property. His sister, Bernice King, is the CEO of the King Center, the non-profit arm of the dynasty.
His move back to Atlanta comes in the midst of what has been a contentious court battle between the siblings.
At issue is Dexter King and Martin Luther King III’s contention that a 1995 agreement gives the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc. ownership of all of their father’s property – specifically the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and a Bible their father traveled with that was later used by President Barack Obama during his second inauguration.
In 2014, the brothers outvoted Bernice King 2-1 in favor of selling the items. Bernice King protested the move, arguing that the items were sacred, and the family ended up in court.
The case is still pending and in October, former President Jimmy Carter – who negotiated peace between Israel and Egypt and has a Nobel Prize of his own – was brought in to mediate the dispute.
Dexter King left Atlanta at the dawn of the new century to pursue a life in California.
According to Los Angeles County tax records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he purchased his 6,800-square-foot Malibu mansion for $4.16 million in 2006.
That was the same year that he and his siblings — Bernice King and Martin Luther King III — sold the King papers to the city of Atlanta for $32 million.
The gated four-bedroom home sat on more than an acre of lush green landscapes, carved with garden paths and supported by palm and fruit trees. There was a cabana, a koi pond, a swimming pool and a waterfall spa. Inside, there was a home theater, gym and office. A catwalk connected the upstairs living space, and balconies stretch across two levels.
He put the house on the market in early 2015 with the intention of moving back to Atlanta. They have not found a buyer for the Malibu place yet.
“We intend to maintain a residence in Malibu. There is something very calming about being on the water. It’s where I wrote my book (“Growing up King”), which was a very healing process for me,” Dexter King said. “So, I imagine that much in the same way that Atlanta has my heart, Malibu will always hold a piece of my soul.”
Added his wife: “Especially when it’s 20 degrees here in Atlanta.
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