January 7, 1971 New York Times
Liston had not been well since he was involved in a Thanksgiving traffic accident near his home. He was cited for failure to use the right of way after his vehicle was struck by another car while Liston was making a left turn. He was taken to Sunrise Hospital, where he was treated and released.
- Infusion Therapy.
- Intravenous Therapy.
- Have to be a family member and a Subpoena to release Autopsy Report.
- Sonny complained of chest pain before being taken to the hospital.
In 2005 my grandmother Geraldine Liston lay in her hospital bed in St. Louis dying, while her representative’s rush to her side. Not to console her, aid her, or rescue her from her torment, and pain. But only to get her to sign their contracts before she died. With her parched lips, what she needed, was for someone that could give her a moist sponge, so that she could quench her thirst. Her dying wish was only that her grandchildren could benefit financially, from Sonny Liston, name, likeness, and image. But like vultures who often wait for decay to set in, giving them easy access to the dead. They waited for my grandmother to be at her weakest, to get her to sign a contract that no one with sound mind and body would sign.
Geraldine Liston spent her entire life, trying to tell Sonny’s story from her perspective. A type of story that only she could tell. A story that would be unlike any other script about Sonny Liston in the world. She was told that Paramount Pictures would pay her by the word to tell her story from her point of view. And that Tom Cruise would be involved with the project. But when it came time for her to sign the contracts for the deal. Little did she know, that the contract she would be signing, would mean that her name would not be on the script. And that the credit would go to Shane Salerno, who would write two NIGHT TRAIN scripts. And that she would only be paid $100,000 for the deal.Then Geraldine Liston died. Since the time of her death in 2005, I have spent the past 15 years trying to get Paramount Pictures to Green-light Night Train. If only for the sake of my grandmother’s story finally being told. But what the legal department at Paramount Pictures and President Brad Grey told me at the time was that they did not even know that Geraldine Liston was involved with the project.
To this day, we cannot find the contract with her and Paramount Pictures. But the question I have is, why would she sign a contract giving Paramount Pictures permission to not put her name on the script in the first place? When she spent her entire life trying to tell Sonny’s story from her perspective. Was she not in her right mind? Or was she forced to take a bad deal, for the sake of leaving something behind for her grandchildren? At the time no one had her best interest at heart.
My view is that the agents should have never been allowed to be in my grandmother’s hospital room, having her signing contracts in her condition, to begin with. The other reason the film was not green-lit was that there was a fight over distribution and Tom Cruise left to do his Mission In Possible movies. Geraldine Liston finally succumbed to her illnesses. While in the hospital, she was suffering from ENDOCARDITIS, CHRONIC RENAL FAILURE, LUMBER DISEASE, HYPERTENSIVE HEART DISEASE, AND HEPATITIS C.
My name is Lynel Gardner, I’m in charge of all business for the Estate of Sonny Liston. I published my book in 2013 about my grandfather Sonny Liston called “Beast: The Deconstruction of Charles Sonny Liston.” In 2016, ESPN Investigative journalist Shaun Assael wrote his book called “The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin and Heavyweights.” Mr. Assael’s book became a SHOWTIME SPORTS documentary called “Pariah: The Lives And Deaths of Sonny Liston.”, Written by Director/ Producer Simon George. In the documentary my concepts, ideas, and words were lifted from my book and spoken by guest historians Professor Leah Wright- Rigueur Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University, Purdue History Professor Randy Roberts, Ohio State Professor Hasan Jeffries, Nation of Islam member Abdal Rahman Muhammad, and Westside Resident Historian Trish Geran. The entire 89 minute written documentary by Simon George, borrowed the concepts, ideas, and themes from my Amazon Book.
I have informed the U.S. Department of Education about this matter, and they have started an investigation. Shaun Assael’s book “The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin, and Heavyweights, has now been picked up by UK Production Company Mad As Birds and will begin production in 2021.
The Estate of Sonny Liston has the rights to the Image, Likeness, and Name of Sonny Liston. And those rights have been infringed upon for decades. Losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars, caused by Sonny’s image, likeness, and name being used in print, media, television, movies, books, merchandise, memorabilia, and music. One of the many examples is the 1965 Ali/Liston Gloves from the 1965 Sonny Liston/Muhammad Ali Fights.Mr. Ali signed both pairs of gloves for the Heritage Auction.
The auction was handled by Heritage House agent Chris Ivy. Mr. Ivy is the Director of Sports. According to Chris Ivy, “the gloves were unknown to exist to the wider collecting community, They were immediately seized after the fight by George Russo, Boxing Commissioner for the state of Main. Commissioner Russo confiscated them due to the controversial ending and the “Phantom Punch.”And they stayed in his possession for decades. They were ultimately sold to a collector and the collector consigned them to Heritage Auctions. Proper authentication, signed affidavits, from the main boxing commissioner, signed affidavit from the Muhammad Ali himself. Gloves were handmade by the Frager Company out of Chicago.
Labels on the back of the wrist, the white leather seams, air wholes in the palm, that match up 100%.” The Ali/Liston gloves sold for a little under one million dollars. These gloves were never returned to the Liston family. Even after J.Edger Hoover proved that there was no fix. I’m the first person in history to ask the DOJ through their “Whistle Blower” Program. To release the Sonny Liston/ Muhammad Ali 1964/1965 Fights File only. That proves that J.Edgar Hoover was not concerned about the Ali/ Liston fights. And that he was more concerned with “Enemy Number One.” The Nation of Islam.
My grandmother also was the victim of elderly abuse, when she had to sell Sonny’s Championship belt. The last of the Queens Berry mold, for a measly $10,000. A loss in value at the time of $80,000. There is also the use of the famous Muhammad Ali/ Sonny Liston 1965 fight Photo, with Sonny Liston looking up at Ali after his so-called “Phantom Punch”. That photo is the most Iconic photo of the 20th Century. But thanks to the great efforts of Harlan J. Werner and his company Sports Placement Services, the family is finally starting to reap some benefits from Sonny Liston, name, likeness, and image. But there is still a lot of work to be done. From people all over the world in all industries, of print, movies, merchandising, books, documentaries, editorial copy, who seek to go around the Liston Estate, to reap the benefit of using the Sonny Liston name for their aggrandizement.
My grandmother before she died, asked me to make sure that all her grandchildren, profit from the Sonny Liston Name, Image, and Likeness. So, as my grandmother’s representative, no one heir should profit more than any other. I also have to acknowledge, that my Facebook, Instagram, and Lynelgardner.com Blog, have been infiltrated by people who seek to profit at our expense.