A South Carolina utility worker has accused James Brown of swinging a knife at him and holding him against his will July 3 at the singer's Beech Island, S.C., home.
Russell Eubanks, an employee of South Carolina Electric & Gas, filed a criminal incident report Thursday, according to Aiken County Sheriff's Office public information officer Lt. Michael Frank, the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle reported. On Friday, Frank said his department would be conducting an investigation and would be interviewing Brown "at the appropriate time," according to the newspaper.
Frank could not be reached for comment Monday. Brown's Augusta lawyer, Buddy Dallas, did not return phone calls. Representatives from James Brown Enterprises, the singer's business, also did not return calls.
Eubanks responded to a call to SCE&G that said there were "no lights" at Brown's home, the newspaper reported. Seeing no security guards around, Eubanks went to the door and rang the doorbell.
Brown answered the door and told Eubanks to wait, according to the Chronicle report. When Brown returned, he was wearing black jogging pants, a red muscle shirt, a black leather jacket, black-and-white cowboy boots and a black cowboy hat. He also was carrying a suit, and he asked Eubanks if he saw the suit.
Eubanks said, "Yes, sir," to which Brown replied, "That means I'm a government agent, and I can lock you up for trespassing and sneaking around on my property," according to the Chronicle.
At that point, according to a sheriff's report quoted by the newspaper, Brown began swinging at Eubanks with a steak knife that had a 2- or 3-inch blade. Brown told Eubanks that it would be his last day at the power company and that he was going to be fired.
Brown told Eubanks he couldn't leave and told him to call his supervisor, the newspaper reported. Eubanks called his supervisor, Clayton Quattlebaum, who told him to leave the premises. Then one of Brown's security guards told Eubanks that Brown "hadn't been acting right lately" and that he should leave, according to the report.
SCE&G spokesperson Robin Montgomery told the newspaper that the firm told Eubanks it was up to him whether to file charges. Quattlebaum said it wasn't the first time something had happened at the Brown property.
"We've had problems out there before, but never of this magnitude," he told the Chronicle. "We always used to dread going out there because we didn't know what would happen."
Neither Quattlebaum nor Montgomery could be reached for comment Monday.
Brown, known for such funk classics as "I Got You (I Feel Good)" (RealAudio excerpt) is also the target of a $2 million sexual harassment lawsuit filed in May by a former employee. In addition to alleging harassment, the suit also claims that Brown told the employee he was a federal agent. Brown's lawyer denied all allegations.