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The creator of Earth, Wind & Fire is ADAMANT … he did not bilk his late-friend out of THOUSANDS in music royalties, despite what the children of his estate claim.TMZ first reported, Maurice White was sued by the estate of late music producer Charles Stepney, who died in 1976. The estate claimed EWF and Sony music failed to fork over any royalty payments for the last four decades … all based on an alleged oral agreement Stepney had with White.

White has now fired back in court docs and is claiming there WAS NO oral agreement and he doesn’t owe Stepney or his estate squat. White says EWF already paid Stepney in full for his services waaaaay back when he worked for them and never agreed to shell out for royalties.

White also claims that Stepney’s estate (comprised of his children) has no right to sue over some alleged oral agreement that neither Stepney himself nor Stepney’s late wife ever chose to sue over.

White is asking the lawsuit be dismissed entirely.

A judge has yet to rule.