A judge in Los Angeles is currently considering whether to establish a conservatorship for Cindy Birdsong, an 83-year-old former member of the Supremes. Birdsong’s family claims that her physical and mental frailties over the years have made her susceptible to undue influence. Birdsong, who joined the Supremes in 1967 and performed famous hits such as “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “I Hear a Symphony,” experienced financial difficulties after leaving the group in 1976. In addition, she suffered multiple strokes that left her unable to care for herself or manage her affairs.
Birdsong’s siblings have requested that her brother, Ronald Birdsong, be appointed co-conservator alongside entertainment business manager Brad Herman. Herman was responsible for removing Birdsong from an apartment where she lived with a longtime friend, who the family alleges isolated them from Birdsong and withheld information about her health. The family argues that a conservatorship is necessary to ensure that Birdsong’s care and finances are properly handled. Currently, Birdsong is in a California nursing facility and is on a feeding tube.
Ronald Birdsong stated in the conservatorship application that he relies on Brad Herman to keep him updated on Cindy’s well-being and manage her affairs, as Ronald lives outside of California. Last month, the judge assigned to the case referred it to the Office of the Public Guardian, suggesting that a third-party conservator may be needed. The judge’s decision was based on a confidential report by a court investigator.
Herman and Terri Birdsong, another sibling of Cindy’s, are working with a newly hired lawyer to provide additional information for their conservatorship application. They anticipate that Cindy’s court-appointed lawyer will request a delay in the case as they gather more information. The family seeks clarity regarding how Cindy’s money has been managed in recent years.
There is uncertainty regarding whether Birdsong’s longtime friend, Rochelle Lander, will contest the family’s request for a conservatorship. Lander previously defended her care of Birdsong, claiming she had been dedicated to helping her and presenting a power of attorney document signed by Birdsong over a decade ago.
Tensions escalated between Birdsong’s siblings and Lander during a visit to Birdsong’s Los Angeles apartment a few years ago. The family was shocked by Birdsong’s deteriorated condition and eventually involved the police in removing her from the apartment in 2021. A video filmed by Brad Herman captured Lander arguing against the removal, citing her power of attorney rights.
Friends and associates of Birdsong expressed concern and offered prayers for her well-being. Some noted the extent of her deterioration and expressed dismay. However, playing Supremes records appeared to uplift Birdsong’s spirits, according to reports.
Charlo Crossley-Fortier, a singer and actress who befriended Birdsong through church, and John Whyman, a longtime friend, raised concerns about Lander’s influence on Birdsong, including isolating her from others and obstructing her pop music pursuits. Despite the challenges, Birdsong’s impact on music history as part of the Supremes remains significant.
In conclusion, the court is currently weighing the establishment of a conservatorship for Cindy Birdsong, considering her physical and mental frailties. Her family claims that a conservatorship is necessary to protect her from undue influence. The court is examining the evidence and considering whether a third-party conservator should be appointed. Meanwhile, Birdsong’s siblings and a newly hired lawyer are gathering additional information to support the conservatorship application.