Dexter King to sell Malibu estate

A King might be coming home.

Dexter King, who moved to California in 2000, has put his palatial Malibu residence up for sale for close to $5 million and has hinted that it might be time to move back to Atlanta and heal the delicate relationship with his siblings.

In an email Wednesday, King said he and his wife, Leah Weber King, whom he married in July 2013, want to spend more time in Atlanta.

“My wife and I have been discussing for quite some time the idea of returning to Atlanta,” King said. “And with the present efforts to bring about resolution, lasting peace and healing within myself and my siblings, now seemed the perfect time.”

After a decade of court battles that have pitted Coretta and Martin Luther King Jr.’s three surviving children against each other, there has been a recent sense of a truce.

On Jan. 22, Dexter King dismissed a 2013 King estate lawsuit against his sister Bernice King and the King Center, charging that she was improperly handling and managing physical property that was housed at the King Center but belonged to the King estate.

That lawsuit, in which Dexter and Martin Luther King III fought their sister, was filed on the 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech while they were all in Washington for the celebration.

Last week, just a day after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney granted a 30-day stay in a family lawsuit to allow the siblings to negotiate an out-of-court settlement regarding ownership and the potential sale of King’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and traveling Bible, the Los Angeles Times reported that Dexter King had listed his Malibu home for $4.85 million.

“I believe that we are moving in the right direction,” Dexter King said. “I’m looking forward to what the future holds for us, both individually and as a family.”

It is still unclear how, or even how often, the siblings communicate. Dexter King made a rare local appearance on Jan. 13 for a court hearing. But neither of his siblings were in court that day, and he immediately flew back to California afterward.

For the King Center’s annual Salute to Greatness Dinner, Dexter King was a no-show and King III made only a brief appearance, while Bernice King ran the program.

But Bernice King echoed her brother’s sentiments about reconnection and unity.

“I look forward to my brother and sister-in-law moving back to Atlanta and the possibility of us all working together on true family reconciliation,” Bernice King said.

Alveda King, who Dexter King tried to get removed from the King Center’s board — along with Ambassador Andrew Young — said she also believes that the family might be on the verge of reconciliation.

“I am always encouraged when the children of Uncle ML and Aunt Coretta walk along the paths of restoration and healing,” said Alveda King, a first cousin. “We love Dexter and Leah. It would be nice to have them closer.”

Although Dexter King has been on the West Coast for more than a decade, he purchased his 6,800-square-foot Malibu mansion for $4.16 million in 2006, according to Los Angeles County tax records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

He bought the property a year after the King estate sold the King papers to the city of Atlanta for $32 million.

The gated four-bedroom palace is a long way from the modest Sunset Avenue home in which he and his siblings were raised. It sits on more than an acre of lush green landscapes, carved with garden paths and supported by palm and fruit trees.

There is a cabana, a koi pond, a swimming pool and a waterfall spa. Inside, there is a home theater, gym and office.

A catwalk connects the upstairs living space, and balconies stretch across two levels. And an elevator helps folks get to the four bedrooms and six bathrooms.

But while Atlantans are salivating over images of Dexter King’s Malibu retreat, his neighbors say it is nothing special in terms of what the area has to offer.

“It looks to be a very nice home and it looks like it is going to sell well, but we have people here with gold-gilded indoor swimming pools,” said Mari Stanley, who built her oceanside Malibu home about 20 years ago.

Dexter King’s house, she said, is located on the “land side” of the highway and has limited curb appeal, no beach access and only a restricted view of the ocean.

“For anyone already in Malibu, it is not a desirable location that would be considered. If you’re from here and looked to upgrade, you probably could do better for $4.8 million,” Stanley said.

If Dexter King does move back to Atlanta, he should have no trouble finding a place to stay. According to the Fulton County Board of Assessors, he still owns his downtown condo, which is valued at $101,500.

“Life’s journeys take us many places,” Alveda King said. “But it is always when we are closer to those who love us that we find the deepest satisfaction and healing.”

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