The former owners of the Hotel Lincoln are being sued by the current owner of the property, who claims they sold the historic building without having a clear title.

The Hotel Lincoln, which opened in 1955, provided lodging for blacks who were turned away from segregated white hotels. Guests who stayed in the property included legendary entertainers such as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King and Nat King Cole. The hotel shut down in the mid-1970s.

Attorneys for Hotel Lincoln LLC, which is made up of Baton Rouge businessman Stephen Carter, filed the lawsuit in 19th Judicial District Court on Jan. 31. Carter bought the hotel from Brandon Dumas for $400,000 in a deal that closed Sept. 11. Dumas was not present at the closing, but his father Walter Dumas and wife Shena were there, the lawsuit says.

Walter Dumas had owned the Hotel Lincoln, at 400 Eddie Robinson Sr. Drive, but he donated the building to Brandon Dumas on Nov. 20, 2004, the suit says. However, that donation was not legally recorded until almost seven years later on Sept. 30, 2011. The suit says that Walter Dumas was asked about this at the closing, but he assured everyone present that the recording of the donation did not affect the title and that the title to the hotel was free and clear of encumbrances.

After the closing, the suit said it was discovered that Brandon Dumas did not have a clear title to the building because of three judgments against Walter Dumas before the donation was recorded: one rendered on Aug. 19, 2011, in favor of the Country Club of Louisiana Property Holders Association Inc. for $16,848; one rendered on July 16, 2008, in favor of Citibank for $7,440, plus interest and attorney fees; and one rendered on Dec. 22, 2009, in favor of Hancock Bank of Louisiana for $62,392, plus interest and attorney fees.

The lawsuit says Brandon Dumas has not provided a clear title.

The suit seeks for Brandon Dumas to turn over a clear title for the building or return the $400,000 that was paid for the property, plus interest and attorney fees.

Repeated attempts to contact Brandon and Walter Dumas for comment were unsuccessful.

Brandon Dumas was involved in another lawsuit that concluded just recently with his former employer, Southern University. Dumas was fired in 2017 after he was implicated in a widely circulated sexually explicit video that Southern officials said may have involved an employee and a student. Dumas sued Southern University’s board to reverse his firing, saying it was procedurally incorrect. But a state district judge ruled in December that the board’s action to terminate Dumas was proper.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.