Dear Mrs. Presley, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Lynel Gardner and I represent the Sonny Liston family. I’m writing to you because I would like to express my gratitude for you and your board’s willingness to come together on behalf of the Sonny Liston and Mr. Ali photograph. As the Grandson of Geraldine and Sonny Liston, I have inherited not only their legacy but also the responsibility to fulfill their wishes and aspirations. It is thanks to Muhammad Ali Enterprises, that I was able to find Harlan Werner and Sports Placement Services.
My grandmother’s dying wish was to present the love of her life, Charles “Sonny” Liston in a positive light. My grandmother lived in abject poverty, unaware of the many people all over the world who were making money off of Sonny’s good name. It had gotten so bad for her, that she eventually had to do the unthinkable; and that was to sell Sonny’s championship belt which was the last of the Queensberry mold for a meager $10,000. A belt that at the time, had a market value of $70,000. It is thanks to people like Harlan Werner, that she was able to hold her head up high again. And bring back dignity to the Liston name.
Before she died, she was helping to write the movie “NIGHT TRAIN”. A movie that would finally tell my grandfather’s story, from her perspective. I wish you could have seen the light in her eyes, knowing that she could finally be allowed to tell the truth, about Sonny’s life. She was hoping that the proceeds from the movie, would generate enough income so that her grandchildren would not have to suffer the same fate that had befallen her. And that was to live in poverty and be considered a lower class citizens.
Unfortunately, she died before her dream could be fulfilled. And for some reason or another, her name is no longer on the NIGHT TRAIN script. I feel it is my duty to fulfill my grandmother’s dying wish. And that is to insure that her grandchildren, will be able to become financially secure. And to make sure that my grandfather, is seen in a positive light. And most importantly, to finally bring dignity back to the Liston name. I have taken on the responsibility to protect their memory, and have been doing that for the past six years.
I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about, seeing that you have chosen to sit on the board. Sonny Liston gave to the poor, helped wayward children, and supported Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. I would like to continue his legacy on behalf of the Liston name. I would like to start a not-for-profit organization for wayward children, and the poor. Make sure her grandchildren are financially secure, get his championship belt back, and tell Sonny’s story in a manner that would make my grandmother proud.
I trust that the offer that Mr. Werner presented to you is fair and just. He is well respected in the industry, and he continues to protect the Liston family with the same zeal that he protected my grandmother. I only ask that you reconsider his offer on behalf of the memory of Sonny and Geraldine Liston. And on behalf of the friendship, they both shared with Mr. Ali and the Ali family.