Prince's estate administrators had to relocate the contents of a vault from the musician's Paisley Park compound to save them from "mold and water damage".
The tragic superstar's half-siblings Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson, and John R. Nelson are seeking to have Comerica Bank & Trust bosses removed as estate officials, claiming they had no right to move a cache of the singer's unreleased music from the storage unit at his Chanhassen, Minnesota home to a secure location in Los Angeles in early September (17) without their prior knowledge or permission.
The collection, which includes master tapes of around 30 unpublished albums completed by the late Purple Rain hitmaker, is reportedly worth around $200 million (£152 million).
Comerica chiefs have now hit back at the Nelsons, insisting they had to empty the vault because the materials inside were at risk of being completely destroyed due to neglect and a lack of proper storing conditions.
In court papers filed on Monday (13Nov17), they also allege they had held four different meetings to make all the heirs aware of the relocation plans.
"None of the spaces being used for storage... have climate control systems sufficient to preserve audio and video material," state the documents. "During its inventory, the Personal Representative discovered several indications of damage and degradation due to poor humidity and temperature controls. It encountered cardboard boxes that were adhered to shelves and had to be peeled off, mold and water damage on the materials, rusting film canisters, degrading film that smelled of vinegar (a sign of acetate degradation), and evidence of water intrusion on walls and ceilings in the vault and elsewhere... (Additionally), Paisley Park is now a museum and open to the public, further heightening security concerns."
As a result, they concluded it would be in the estate's "best interests" to have the contents shipped to Los Angeles for safe keeping.
However, Sharon Nelson is refusing to accept the estate administrators' explanation.
"Whether now or soon, their time is up and their service has been harmful," reads a statement issued to Variety.com. "Do not believe what they say because they wish to keep incurring millions and millions of dollars in fees."
Prince's six surviving siblings were officially named as the beneficiaries of his estate in May (17), just over a year after the icon died from an accidental overdose of painkillers in April, 2016, aged 57. He did not leave a will.