Yes, and she brought a clown and magician…lol Sorry, I just can’t take this seriously.
Also notice how “he was in deep sleep”…
Originally posted Jun 29th 2010 1:00 AM PDT by TMZ Staff
TMZ has learned … Joe Jackson‘s lawyer will interview a stripper who not only claims Dr. Conrad Murray was at a strip club hours before Michael Jackson died, but that she was at Michael Jackson’s house after being invited by the doctor.
The stripper — who claims she was working at Sam’s Hof Brau on June 24, 2009 — claims Dr. Murray was at the club drinking just before midnight.
Now we’ve learned Brian Oxman, who is repping Joe in his wrongful death lawsuit, has spoken with the stripper’s “rep” who has scheduled a meeting. Among the topics — the stripper claims weeks before Jackson died, Dr. Murray invited her to Jackson’s home in Holmby Hills. She claims she went late one night — after the club closed — and Jackson was there, however he was in a deep sleep.
In Oxman’s letter of intent to sue Dr. Murray, he accused the doc of drinking at Sam’s Hof Brau before treating MJ.
Dr. Murray’s reps have strongly denied he was at the club on June 24. And, they say, Murray doesn’t drink.
A red bicycle with an ice cream cooler mounted in front is parked in the middle of an empty room in an uninhabited mansion in the Santa Ynez Valley, about 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles. On the back of the cooler, written in script, are the letters “MJJ.”
The bicycle, like the house and the 2,680 acres (1,085 hectares) it sits on, once belonged to Michael Jackson, the pop singer who died a year ago this month. It was a gift from actress Elizabeth Taylor, who celebrated her eighth marriage at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in 1991.
Neverland is now controlled by private-equity firm Colony Capital LLC, whose chairman and founder, Thomas J. Barrack Jr., has a spread 5 miles (8 kilometers) away. Acquiring the ranch in 2008 by taking over a $23.5 million loan may seem like a tiny investment for Barrack, who oversees a $30 billion empire that includes a stake in Europe’s largest hotel company, buildings from New York to Beijing and a Las Vegas casino operator that filed for bankruptcy last year, Bloomberg Markets reports in its August issue. That he bought it suggests the 63-year-old billionaire, who got his start rummaging through the debris of the 1980s savings and loan crisis, may be getting back to his roots in distressed debt after gorging on leveraged buyouts.
“We’re always trying to find places that people haven’t gone before,” Barrack says of his first distressed-celebrity deal, sitting in Colony’s New York office on Madison Avenue, above Barneys department store, dressed in jeans and a crisp button-down shirt, his head cleanly shaven. “We’re going to fight, scratch and claw our way to every cent of capital that we can get back. We also know from history that the best funds come out of an abyss like this.”
Rising from the abyss is the biggest challenge facing Barrack and other private-equity managers who spent a record $1.6 trillion on buyouts from 2005 to 2007 before a credit market crash led to the worst financial crisis in 70 years. Now, firms need to persuade investors they have more to offer than wanton dealmaking, piles of debt and meager results.
Megafunds managing more than $4.5 billion were the worst performers of those tracked by London-based research firm Preqin for the 12 months ended in July 2009, with an average loss of 31 percent of their value. Colony Investors VIII LP, a $4 billion fund launched by Barrack in 2007, had paper losses of about 60 percent as of the first quarter.
“It’s tough emotionally,” says Barrack, whose firm has delivered an average annual return of 21 percent since its founding in 1991. “In 17 years, the investors have never experienced something like this.”
For Barrack, getting out of the hole involves going back to his playbook of pursuing unlikely deals, most of them involving buying or restructuring debt — including that of celebrities. Earlier this year, he helped photographer Annie Leibovitz, who was facing the loss of four New York properties and the rights to her work, by refinancing a $24 million loan.
“It’s a small part of the business, but it’s interesting and lucrative because it’s complex,” Barrack says.
Lucrative would be a welcome development for Colony’s investors, who have poured $10.6 billion into the Santa Monica, California-based firm’s funds during the past decade, placing it among the top 10 private-equity real estate companies in the world, according to Preqin. Over that time, they’ve watched Colony pursue ever-larger, highly leveraged and ultimately unsustainable buyouts.
Barrack’s biggest misstep was the $8.5 billion buyout in 2007 of Station Casinos Inc., which operates 18 casinos in Nevada and is the largest U.S. gaming company to go bankrupt. In New Jersey, the $2 billion Meadowlands Xanadu retail and entertainment complex Colony acquired in 2006 — “Xana-don’t,” Barrack calls it — sits empty and unfinished after one of Colony’s lenders, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., went bankrupt during construction.
“The question for private equity is, What do you want to be when you grow up?” says Barrack, who was raised in Culver City, California, the son of a Lebanese grocery store owner. “Are you making money from investing or managing assets? That’s the dilemma that everybody’s facing.”
It’s a predicament shared by a handful of elite managers, many of whom Barrack has known for decades.
Starwood Capital Group LLC — headed by Barry Sternlicht, who competed with Barrack during the S&L crisis — has raised new private-equity funds, which will allow it to earn more management fees and pursue buyouts.
David Bonderman, who founded TPG Capital after working with Barrack in the 1980s buying assets of failed thrifts for Texas billionaire Robert Bass, is doing smaller deals while adding distressed-debt and credit funds.
Apollo Global Management LLC, which Leon Black started in 1990 after making his own fortune buying distressed debt, is following Blackstone Group LP and KKR & Co. into businesses such as capital markets as it prepares to tap equity markets through a public offering.
All of them are becoming what Colin Blaydon, director of the Center for Private Equity and Entrepreneurship at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business in Hanover, New Hampshire, calls “the new, broad-based asset managers.”
Barrack has chosen the opposite path, staying focused on investing and keeping Colony closely held. He says he has given up, at least for now, on the equity funds that drove the leveraged-buyout boom, postponing a planned multibillion-dollar fund in favor of raising a more modest distressed-debt pool and floating a real estate investment trust that has tapped public markets for $250 million.
He’s also gone back to his original playbook with a familiar partner, the U.S. government, pursuing deals to buy loans with assistance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which has $37 billion of assets seized from failed banks. He has already completed eight, including one in January in which Colony bought a 40 percent stake in a company set up with the FDIC to hold $1.02 billion of unpaid commercial real estate loans for 22 cents cash on the dollar.
Barrack’s choices reflect idiosyncrasies that have defined him personally and professionally. He says he got his work ethic from his father, who would come home for dinner and then go back to his store. His mother gave him a metaphor for his personality.
“My mom had this idea that you could either be a miner or a jeweler,” Barrack says. “A miner is going and digging one sort of thing, but a jeweler is collecting and harvesting all sorts of jewels.”
Barrack, who went to Jesuit-run Loyola High School in Los Angeles and to the University of Southern California, where he earned a bachelor’s and a law degree, started harvesting jewels soon after.
His first job, working with Herbert Kalmbach, former President Richard Nixon’s personal attorney, led to an assignment in Saudi Arabia helping construction company Fluor Corp. negotiate a contract. He opted to stay for three years to advise two sons of the Saudi king. After a stint in President Ronald Reagan’s administration, he was recruited by Bass.
Barrack and Bonderman made so much money for Bass buying the assets of some of the more than 740 thrifts that failed during the S&L crisis, including those of Stockton, California- based American Savings Bank, that the Texan gave each of them a stake to get a private-equity firm off the ground.
Since founding Colony — he named it after Malibu Colony, the beachfront community where he was living at the time — Barrack has collected other gems, including the Chateau Lascombesvineyard in the Bordeaux region of France, the colonial-era Raffles Hotel in Singapore, the Savoy Hotel in London and the Paris Saint-Germain soccer team.
A love of athletics led Barrack to USC, where he talked his way into a tryout with the football team. Trojans coach John McKay watched him run a few patterns and then told him to go out for rugby, which he did, playing varsity for three years and touring with the national Eagles team.
At 6 feet 3 inches (1.9 meters) tall, he now cuts a trim figure. He lifts weights for about an hour a day and runs or spins on a stationary bicycle for another 30 to 60 minutes.
“Athletics has a lot to do with everyday life,” Barrack says, sipping a cappuccino one evening in April in Toscanova, an Italian restaurant in the Century City section of Los Angeles. “I surf; I ride horses — to stay on that edge.”
Keeping an edge has Barrack in almost perpetual motion. He says he spends a week in Europe, a week in Asia and a week in New York each month. He’s also in constant contact with hislieutenants, at all hours of the day, throwing out ideas.
“I drive them nuts,” he says. “I end up being the information transfer element within the firm.”
Barrack posts his thoughts about investing on the Chairman’s Corner of Colony’s website. After an April surfing trip to Mexico’s Baja peninsula with two of his three sons, he wrote a 4,300-word treatise that included 32 ethical and business guidelines, including “Call your Mom often,” “Debt is the new equity” and “Seek mispricings and inefficiencies — stay away from crowds.”
Barrack’s current approach reflects some of those principles. The firm is eyeing investments that aren’t the typical targets of private-equity or real estate investors.
“He’s unconventional, and he’s looking where no one else is,” says Eli Broad, 77, the billionaire founder of KB Home who was among Barrack’s first backers.
‘Worst Investment Ever’
Barrack says Colony is focusing on smaller, unconventional deals after getting caught up in leveraged buyouts.
“If you were to pick the hour, the minute that it could have been the worst investment ever, it was,” he says of the timing of his November 2007 Station Casinos buyout.
Colony joined brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, part of the family that founded the company as a bingo hall in 1976, in making the deal, which valued Station at $8.5 billion. The company filed for bankruptcy last July, with $6.5 billion of debt, after failing to reach agreement with creditors.
“The LBO certainly couldn’t have occurred at a much worse time than it did, immediately preceding the crash in the Las Vegas market, which has gone on since the transaction,” saysGrant Govertsen, a Las Vegas-based analyst at research firm Union Gaming Group LLC.
Colony is currently backing two bids by the Fertittas, who also own Ultimate Fighting Championship, a mixed-martial-arts league, to retain ownership of Station’s assets and allow the company to exit bankruptcy by year’s end.
A Nevada judge will oversee an auction of most of the casinos in early August, with the existing owners opening bidding with $772 million of new equity. Five other casinos, the company’s most profitable, would be taken over by the Fertittas, Colony and their banks without an auction in exchange for a cash payment and the cancellation of some debt.
Colony has also struggled with two Atlantic City, New Jersey, casinos. One of its affiliated companies forfeited the deed to Resorts Atlantic City, and another is in talks with creditors after defaulting on a loan tied to the Atlantic City Hilton.
The most glaring emblem of Colony’s miscalculations rises 800 feet above the New Jersey Turnpike, not far from the new stadium for New York’s Giants and Jets football teams. It’s the shell of an indoor ski slope, a main attraction at Xanadu.
The 2.3 million-square-foot (214,000-square-meter) mall, named after the summer capital of Mongolian emperor Kubla Khan, was taken over by Colony and Steven Mnuchin’s Dune Capital Management LP in 2006, after the original developer, Mills Corp., ran out of money. It also features an indoor sky-diving facility and a theater for live concerts.
Frozen Ski Lift
Plans called for visitors to be schussing down Xanadu’s ski slope by mid-2009. The collapse ofLehman in September 2008 brought work to a halt seven months later.
On a visit in April, not a single worker could be seen. Cardboard covered carpeted floors, and signs indicated where retailers H&M, Forever 21 and Cabela’s have staked out stores. The ski lift’s four-person chairs were frozen still.
“We had a great team together and started leasing,” Barrack says. “Even the downturn was OK. What killed us is, Lehman went broke. We never envisioned our bank going bankrupt.”
One potential lifeline is developer Stephen Ross’s Related Cos., which is in talks to partner with Colony on restarting construction, leasing and raising fresh capital. Even if Barrack can renegotiate the debt, it will be at least a year before Xanadu can open.
Albatrosses such as Station and Xanadu have changed the economics of the firm, since those projects are unlikely to produce profits for investors, or for Colony, anytime soon. In early 2009, Barrack scrapped Colony’s compensation plan and replaced it with one that gives every employee, including those charged with minding struggling investments, a chance to make money.
“We’ve reset our targets,” Barrack says. “People need a future to look forward to. They need an offense.”
None of that has dampened Barrack’s zeal for deals. Last October, Colony joined General Atlantic LLC in an 18-day sprint to buy First Republic Bank, a San Francisco-based firm that caters to wealthy individuals, from Bank of America Corp.
“It was just the most incredibly intense thing,” says Richard Nanula, a Colony principal and former chief financial officer of Walt Disney Co. “We knew this was a wonderful bank, not a troubled asset.”
Barrack and Nanula, both banking clients of First Republic, moved into gear after Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America signaled that talks with Carlyle Group had stalled. The two men worked the phones to find other investors. In the end, they agreed to pay about $1.85 billion for the bank.
Nanula also negotiated the deal with Leibovitz, after getting an e-mail from his boss asking, “Can we help her?” Leibovitz, who photographed John Lennon for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine on the day of his death in 1980, was unable to keep up on payments on a $24 million loan from Art Capital Group, a New York firm that provides financing to artists and that sued Leibovitz to seize her assets.
Nanula says he’s talking with Leibovitz about a national tour to showcase her work. He says he envisions similar deals with other celebrities.
“If all we did was one Neverland, or one Annie, it wouldn’t make too much sense,” he says.
As for Neverland, Nanula says it will remain a Colony asset, at least for now. Barrack has converted Jackson’s former amusement park into a series of gardens and is renovating other parts of the estate. He says he’ll sell it as the real estate market recovers, possibly for more than $100 million.
Legion of Honor
In May, Barrack was in Paris to receive the French Legion of Honor, the highest award bestowed by the government on citizens and foreigners. About 120 people attended the ceremony in an 18th-century building on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore near the Elysee Palace.
Gilles Pelisson, chief executive officer of Accor SA, the Paris-based hotelier that owns the Novotel and Motel 6 chains and is 29 percent owned by Colony and its partners, was among those looking on as a red-ribboned medal was pinned on Barrack’s pinstriped suit.
Barrack has had a long and sometimes stormy relationship with France since he first visited in his twenties. Colony helped oust the previous CEO of Accor, as well as the top executive atCarrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer, in which Barrack had invested. Two presidents of the firm’s Paris soccer club were sacked in two years. Colony’s stakes in Carrefour and Accor, which at one point had a $1 billion paper loss, are getting close to parity, Barrack says.
None of that stood in the way of the festivities. Barrack was praised by a French deputy minister for establishing his firm’s European headquarters in Paris rather than London and for being “affable, accessible and enthusiastic.”
Speaking in French and English, Barrack talked about his “passionate relationship” with France, comparing it to “falling in love with a young girl.”
Then, after drinks and petits fours, he was gone — heading to Asia on his Gulfstream V early the next morning.
- A year after his death, Michael Jackson remains whoever you want him to be
- Some see legacy as humanitarian efforts, others say it’s in his music and talent
- Jim Moret: Worst aspects of Jackson’s life have been largely dismissed
- One thing’s likely: Value of his estate will continue to climb
CNN’s Don Lemon speaks exclusively with friends and family members about Michael Jackson’s last days in “Michael Jackson: His Final Days,” 8 p.m. ET Saturday on CNN.
(CNN) — Michael Jackson blew it.
“Michael wanted his legacy to be for people to understand the plight of children, the pain of childhood neglect,” says Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who was a Jackson spiritual adviser until the pop star ended their relationship in 2001. He observes that the guardians of Jackson’s assets want the estate to “remain as lucrative as possible,” and any devotion to Jackson’s most heartfelt causes hasn’t materialized. “That part of his legacy has been lost completely,” he says ruefully.
Michael Jackson nailed it.
The pop star, who died a year ago Friday, was “a groundbreaking artist, a complete package in a way the Beatles and Elvis never were,” says Ashley Dos Santos, a pop culture and marketing expert for the public relations firm Crosby-Volmer International. She ticks off his successes — spectacular showman, music video pioneer — and is confident a Jackson shrine, like Presley’s Graceland, will eventually come to pass, with his legacy in the joy of his music and performances.
In life, Michael Jackson was whoever you wanted him to be: Humanitarian. Media-savvy artist. King of Pop. Or: Accused child molester. Has-been. World-class freak.
No wonder his legacy is so confusing. Is it about compassion? Talent? Money? Or the dark circus that kept intruding on it all?
“I think that when you’re talking about Michael Jackson and you try to analyze him, it’s like analyzing electricity, you know? It exists, but you don’t have a clue as to how it works,” Jackson biographer J. Randy Taraborelli told CNN.
A year after his death, there is little in the way of commemoration, outside of some media specials (including a CNN documentary, “Michael Jackson: His Final Days,” that airs Friday).
Perhaps it’s too soon. “I’m still mourning,” brother Jermaine Jackson told CNN.
Perhaps there are still too many things to work out. Neverland is still in limbo, family relationships are still strained and the case concerning Jackson doctor Conrad Murray still in the works.
And perhaps Michael Jackson remains too complex. “Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself / (I am large, I contain multitudes),” wrote Walt Whitman in “Song of Myself,” and Jackson fulfilled that passage in spades.
Boteach, who admittedly feels disappointed by the loss of Jackson’s friendship, is still upset that the pop star didn’t push harder for things bigger than himself. He observes that John Lennon, despite an open-book life that included divorce, avowed cynicism and various rock-star excesses, is today remembered for his hopes for peace and memorialized in a bucolic chip of New York’s Central Park called Strawberry Fields.
“That’s a successful life,” says Boteach. “We understood that in addition to being very fallible, he had these beautiful ideals we could all buy into and salute.”
Jackson had those ideals as well, Boteach adds, but he became focused on getting back on top toward the end of his life — focused on money, fame and material things.
“All of us make mistakes, all of us are fallible, but there’s a right way to live your life — the right way for a superstar to live his life is to be like Bono,” he says. “Just do things for other people. It’s that simple.”
But it’s obvious that Jackson, despite the messiness of his later life, touched people.
Dos Santos observes that people flew thousands of miles just to stand outside July’s memorial service at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. “That speaks to the level of forgiveness and willingness to forget a lot of the controversy that surrounded him,” she says. “He spoke to the heart of his fans in a way that I don’t think we’ve ever seen before or since.”
One reason he reached so many, says University of Rochester music professor John Covach, was because of his ability to overcome genre boundaries. The Jackson 5 appealed to teenyboppers and Motown enthusiasts; Jackson’s solo work, particularly on the albums “Off the Wall” and “Thriller,” couldn’t be pigeonholed as R&B.
And then there were his performances, whether on MTV, which became a force partly through Jackson’s videos, or live.
“Jackson used his success to really raise the whole level, not only of music videos, but of concert productions — almost like taking a Broadway show on the road,” Covach says.
All this has had a positive effect on another kind of legacy: the bottom line.
After Jackson’s death, sales of his albums went through the roof. He’ll continue to be a valuable property, says Joe Maddalena, president of the collectibles firm Profiles in History, who observes the handwritten lyrics for “Beat It” recently sold for $27,500, about five times what Maddalena estimates they would have gone for before Jackson’s death. He believes other Jackson paraphernalia, such as stage outfits, will also do well.
And a little notoriety won’t hurt, he adds. After all, celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Jim Morrison and Elvis Presley are huge draws, despite their flaws.
In fact, Elvis might be the most apt comparison to Jackson. Toward the end of his life, Presley — overweight, drug-addicted, a shadow of his former, groundbreaking self — was a figure of mockery. After his death, however, the mocked Elvis receded, replaced by the vibrant, virile figure of the ’50s and ’60s.
Jackson’s legacy has undergone the same transformation, and that will continue, says “Inside Edition” chief correspondent and former CNN anchor Jim Moret.
“Prior to Michael Jackson’s death, and for the years since the criminal case, Michael Jackson was, in many was, a broken man,” Moret told CNN. “And he was the butt of jokes, he was the punch line for comedians, and he was thought of as a has-been, in some ways.
“This death has catapulted him to the status of Elvis, in that he’s now a legend. And he was probably worthy of that status even in life. But all of the aspects of his life that were questionable when he was alive, have almost been dismissed in his death.”
Will that be enough? Will the messy life of Michael Jackson be smoothed out to a simple story of a charismatic boy-man?
Jackson biographer Taraborelli wonders.
“It’s going to take us time to put it into perspective,” he says. “It’s gonna take many years I think for us to really understand the impact that Michael Jackson has had on us. Because it’s not a simple story, you know?”
Her favorite songs are “Man of War” and “Man in the Mirror”
“Man of War” because it gives a message of stopping war, study peace coz peace is all we need…
and “Man in the Mirror” for obvious reasons…
“Follow the yellow brick road”
Katherine sought out Mark Shaffel to produce this Dateline interview…hhhhmmm wonder about that…
“Kids are doing fabulous. They’re doing good”… no tears, not even when talking about Paris only wanting daddy’s pictures in her room, so she can go to bed looking at him and wake up looking at him…
“Prince likes to be behind the cameras. Paris wants to be an actress, and she is already. Blanket can carry a tune very well, and he has rhythm, and he can dance.”
She says she stopped the kids from wearing masks…. WRONG, Michael did weeks before his death.
Mark Shaffel is a friend of Debbie . He says he was the go-between Katherine and Debbie. OMG, I just had a thought: what if he threatened that Debbie would fight for the kids if Katherine didn’t “join” him in business ventures, such as this book? By agreeing to his business terms, Katherine keeps the kids, and Shaffel and Debbie make the bucks. OK, this is just me thinking. may not be this.
Again with the debts… Doubt anyone has to worry about that anymore… but they still bring it up… drives me nuts.
“Bringing order to chaos”… Pisses me off how they talk like that.
Howard Mann , the collaborator with Katherine for the new book, says one of the main reasons she agreed to do the book was because SHE NEEDED THE MONEY. hhhhhmmm , she just inherited a fortune from her son! She needs the money for what???
Howard Mann has 273 master tapes of unreleased MJ recordings. How? Need to research this…
ALWAYS bringing up the molestation charges. Leave it alone, for Christ’s sake. NOT GUILTY, remember?
So now “they’re” saying it’s an internet rumor that the boy came out after Michael’s death and said he never touched him. Is it really a rumor??? Something fishy with Chandler’s “suicide” too. “Sources close to the boy’s family said….” Yeahhh, the sources behind all this shit Michael went thru??? Was it possible Evan Chandler was going to come clean too but he got “offed” before he could? Just asking the questions….
“Mean vicious people didn’t want him around”. Mike knew too much? Was he in the position where he could get back some power and these people felt threatened ? WAS he going to relay some powerful message at his concerts that would threaten these people’s plans? Or did they see more financial benefit with him dead, rather then alive and performing? Because he was going to be generating money by performing…
So Michael was shocked that Shaffel was into the porn industry and yet Katherine is doing business with him? Is there some kind of blackmail going on here???
What is happening with Katherine Jackson? We’re unsure of what to think lately… Man, I’d really hate it if people are screwing with her.
Originally posted Jun 28th 2010 12:20 PM PDT by TMZ Staff
Katherine Jackson‘s quest for money may have just cost her dearly … because TMZ has obtained legal papers from a South Korean newspaper that is going after everything she makes … until she pays off a $13 million debt.
Segye Times, a South Korean newspaper, filed papers with the Michael Jackson estate, informing the court it got a judgment against Katherine in 1994 for $4 million. That’s when the newspaper advanced Katherine, Joeand Jermaine $5.5 million for a series of Jackson family concerts that never took place.
Segye claims with interest the judgment now exceeds $13 million, and it wants an order from the judge forcing the estate to pay Segye any money the estate might pay Katherine.
Now here’s how Katherine screwed herself. By making all the deals she’s been making — for books, gala events and such — she’s made it clear to the world her goal is to roll in dough and Segye has taken notice.
Thanks to Dominique from
By Eriq Gardner
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Michael Jackson was involved in a startling number of lawsuits throughout his career, and now his estate is attracting enormous legal interest.
Attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain are the executors of the estate, but the primary responsibility for handling legal actions has fallen to Howard Weitzman, one of the few Hollywood lawyers equally comfortable with deals and lawsuits. He’s been dealing with a range of issues, from copyright concerns over Jackson’s posthumous songs to charities trying to leverage Jackson’s name without authority to allegedly misleading documentaries and battles over control of the estate. Then, of course, there’s the bizarre stuff.
HE’S BEEN GONE A YEAR BUT MICHAEL JACKSON MUST BE KEEPING YOU VERY BUSY?
Weitzman: It’s been a real roller coaster ride. You have issues on the business front like the “This Is It” film with Sony and the Cirque du Soleil (shows). The transactional issues are mostly handled by Branca, but because of my unique position, I have the opportunity to look and review these deals. That said, I’m mostly involved on the litigation front, from helping make decisions to pay certain claims from creditors that are meritorious to dealing with the challenges of the appointment of the executors. There’s continuing challenges dealing with the Jackson family and we want to make sure the beneficiaries Katherine and the children are treated appropriately.
THERE WERE A LOT OF CREDITORS HOUNDING JACKSON AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. WHAT’S THE STATUS THERE?
Weitzman: A lot of claims we’ve been able to resolve because they were less than meritorious. Some claims were accepted and paid out. Others may end up at trial. I do expect more lawsuits to be filed in the future because Michael was and still is a big target.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE STRANGEST CLAIMS AGAINST THE JACKSON ESTATE?
Weitzman: Wow, not a week goes by where something strange doesn’t happen. There are consistent claims by people claiming to be Michael’s wife or child. One lady from the Netherlands kept insisting that she was his daughter. You have to take them seriously when they file claims. There was one woman who claimed $5 million because she wanted to mentor his kids. She insisted she be given a house. She even filed a petition to adopt the children!
HOW DO YOU HANDLE THESE SITUATIONS?
Weitzman: I try not to be rude. I just firmly have to tell them we don’t think your claim is meritorious and don’t think it would be in your interest to pursue this further. Most of the time it goes away. Of course, some matters just keep coming up, like that lady who says she was the basis for the song “Billie Jean.” She’s filed numerous times. Sometimes, you just have to laugh. It’s amazing what some people are claiming.
Copyright 2010 Reuters News Service.
Touching performance by Chris. I hope this turns his career around. He needed to apologize to Rihanna, not the world. Just as she needed to apologize to him. “They’ve” done a good job making the public bring him down. Hope people realize that.
Remember what Michael stood for : love. Chris Brown is one talented artist, and I for one, will not turn my back on him…
And of course, I had to include Prince,lol, my second favorite artist after MJ…
Thanks to my friend Jacqui for telling me about this blog post.
By Chaz Harris
I find myself troubled as I sit here thinking about how it is one year today since Michael Jackson’s untimely, tragic and unexpected death. Last year, when the London concerts were announced, I made sure my brother was on the phone the day tickets went on sale and instead of trying for the July dates right off the mark, I told him to get tickets for one of the dates in September, which he managed to do.
I was really excited about going home for the show as I had always wanted to see Michael Jackson performing live and I was walking around in a weird state of disbelief during the days after it happened. I think most people were expecting it to be a huge publicity stunt to promote the tour and that MJ would reappear and reassure us that he was fine…but that moment never came.
Whatever you may think of him, it has to be acknowledged that he was considered and probably always will be one of the most influential figures in entertainment. Michael Jackson’s rise in popularity was an important part of the post civil-rights era in the US and opened up black entertainers to the mainstream markets like no other artist has. He also had the ability to own a stage like nobody else – just as he did with this performance at the 1993 Superbowl.
Even through the controversial court cases, I remember always dismissing them as gold-digging parents who just wanted to cash in on his generosity as he always came across as unassuming and someone who always saw the best in people. The guy grew up a child-star and missed out on having a childhood, but I don’t believe in him being a pedophile even if he appears to “fit the profile”. This was compounded by the countless comments and tributes that celebrity friends and his staff made after he died last year, including Donna Summer, who said of the alleged accusations, “I can’t even imagine he [Michael] would ever try to hurt a child. I felt more like it was exploitation, personally, from other people. I don’t know if it’s true or not. I just – you know, I just think he was a sitting duck at times.”
While I was back in the UK, it was announced that This is It was going to be made and released and I remember being slightly hesitant and cynical about what I was going to see. However, when I went in and saw the film on opening night, I was blown away and delighted to discover that Jackson retained the brilliance and showmanship at 50 that he did all those years before in ’93. It was as if no time had passed and it would have without doubt been one of the most eye-popping and spectacular concerts ever held.
On the DVD, there is a whole section on the various costumes and one of these was a suit complete with lights built into it so that it could light up and shoot colourful beams down the arms and legs. It was to be used when he performed Billie Jean. It would have been epic and I felt a mix of excitement and melancholy watching that film.
The odd thing to me is how consistent Michael Jackson’s message of peace, love and saving the planet for the children and our children’s children was. And yet, the man was persecuted, misunderstood and treated as an outcast by the very media spotlight that helped create this spectacle in the first place. Why do people turn on those who try to spread positive messages in the world? Do we think they have some kind of hidden agenda?
If I believed in God, then I would say Jackson was the closest thing we had in recent times to a modern-day prophet. His followers and fans outnumber any other modern religious or public figure and he always spread his message of healing, love, peace and acceptance. When it comes down to it, I know I definitely believe in MJ and his message because I have proof that he was real.
The tragic impact we’re seeing from the BP disaster has been bringing back chilling images of Earth Song. Whenever Jackson spoke about disasters it’s like he knew something worse was just around the corner. A quote from This is It says it all “I respect the secrets and magic of nature. That’s why it makes me so angry when I see these things that are happening in the world: that every second I hear the size of a football field is torn down in the Amazon. That kind of stuff really bothers me. That’s why I write these kinds of songs, you know, to get some sense of awareness and awakening and hope to people.” Jackson then went on to say: “The planet is sick, like a fever. If we don’t fix it now it’s at the point of no return. This is our last chance to fix this problem that we have or it’s like a runaway train…The time has come, This is It. It starts with us. US. or else it’ll never be done.”
The words his children said at the memorial last August were enough to obliterate any doubts (if any) that I had about Jackson’s innocence when his daughter Paris said “daddy was the best father you could ever imagine”. Some people disagreed with the kids being allowed to speak, but I could sense it was heartfelt and something she felt like she needed to say. After all, Jackson cut his father out of his will over the alleged abuse he suffered as a child because he never wanted to see his own children go through that. Why would anyone assume he’s guilty just because statistically there have been suggestions of child abuse victims repeating that behaviour? Are there no exceptions?
I’ll leave you with the parting poignant words of one of my favourite MJ songs. In fact, they almost sound like they could be someone’s wedding vows: “In our darkest hour, in my deepest despair, will you still care? Will you be there? In my trials and my tribulations. Through our doubts and frustrations. In my violence, in my turbulence. Through my fear and my confessions. In my anguish and my pain. Through my joy and my sorrow. In the promise of another tomorrow, I’ll never let you part, for you’re always in my heart.”
Was Michael Jackson a modern-day prophet? Why does humankind have a tendency to attack or turn against those who try to spread a message of love, acceptance and healing?
R.I.P. Michael Jackson – The King of Pop
Is this really it? Is Michael Jackson Really Dead?
At the risk of raggishly stirring up controversy where there is none, I have wondered since his televised post funeral service if the singer is really dead, or if this was the grandest of Michael Jackson stunts yet.
Michael would not be the first person in history to be thought dead when he was still quite alive and well. Till this day people are spotting Elvis (Although the Elvis spottings still show the more than 80 year old man as a youngster'”not exactly believable). The FBI has been known to hide out people by giving them new identities'”these are usually protected witnesses and spies though, it is doubtful that Michael was either, although if anyone had the resources to pull it off, it would certainly be Michael Jackson.
First, there was the peculiar on-stage performance of family and friends (That other than Brook Shields, Queen Latifa, Mia Angelou, Al Sharpton and a few others, none of the big names showed up. Brooke Shields was one of Michael’s childhood best friends, but where were Liza, Liz and others that you would have expected to make appearances and give eulogies about Michael? Dianna Ross, to whom Michael suggested should be the guardian ad-litem for his children in his will, was nowhere onstage. Why not? Where was the childhood stars that Michael called friends, some of whom he gave their start, like Mccaulley Caulkin, Webster, and others? Where were the numerous singers that paid tribute to Michael at his 40 yeasrs in show-bizz celebration, most of whom he had a hand in getting started as well? Where were the numerous CEOs of charity organizations that Michael had donated to? Where was Oprah, Madonna, Cher, Celene Dione, Taylor Dane, Cyndi Lauper, Bruice Springstein or any of the others that you would have bet money would have been there to support the family and to make speeches?
The crowd was full of fans that paid into the thousands for their tickets to the event'”but other than the bronze coffin on-stage, there was very little to indicate that this was actually a funeral type service Photos alleging that Michael was at his own memorial later surfaced:
At the same internationally televised performance, watching the faces of the family, there was something strange, almost surreal about the entire thing. Then it occurred to me, this was a funeral but no one was crying
or even had swollen eyes as if they had been. Katherine wasn’t crying, the children weren’t crying, Jermaine wasn’t crying when he gave his rendition of Michael’s favorite song, no one but no one was crying.
In a later interview with Larry King, Jermaine would finally break down and cry what seemed to be genuine wet tears.
That video would late become infamous for the mysterious shadows of what appeared to be the ghost of Michael in the background in several places. But reviewing the video a bit closer, you can see that someone actually was walking in the room in front of a light that cast the shadow and as for the shadows appearing between the bushes in the distance behind Jermain during the interview–the house was full of people that day and there were several people walking around in the background. This could have been any number of them walking around.
Then there was the bronze coffin with the reef of red flowers adorning the lid. Watching the brothers handle the box was peculiar too. They seemed to slide it out of the hearse and roll it across the stage as if it were filled with crumpled up newspapers rather than a human being, least of all their own brother. There was some speculation early on when witnesses saw the coffin arrive but it never left. These curiosities were put to rest with the assertion that a S.W.A.T. team had actually escorted the body to the cmemtary via a back-stage door. As convenient as this expanation is, did anyone ever actually see the S.W.A.T. team?
Brooke Shields would later make a public statement on ‘˜the View’ that she fully expected at any moment for Michael to jump up out of the coffin, because that was the kind of guy that he was — .
That statement was no ordinary clause in conversation. In reference to the film of Jackson’s last rehearsals for the tour ‘˜This is It,’ many comments have been made about the eeriness of seeing Michael, in
monster garb, rising up out of the grave in his ‘˜Thriller’ rendition. Was he making a subliminal statement to his fans? There were lots of elusions to danger in the film, such as when the producer kept insisting that Michael hold onto the rail of the lift lest he fall off and hurt or kill himself. This was not Michael’s proverbial first rodeo–why did the producer keep pointing that out to him? The name of the show itself was rather creepy and ominous for someone who had recently died: ‘˜This is It.’ Was it really a coincidence to name a show that Michael would die in the middle of rehearsal, ‘˜This is It?’
Michael Jackson was a contradictory of terms to say the least. On the one hand he wanted to live a ‘˜Normal’ life and on the other he craved public attention and affection. Few entertainers before or since have openly loved their fans as much as their fans loved them, as Michael Jackson did. As a businessman he was a genius; as the benefactor of that prowess, he spent his fortune faster than he made it. When asked in an earlier interview about his future death, Michael stated that dying was not on his list of things to do; yet it was the goriest music video of its time, ‘˜Thriller,’ that catapulted him from superstar to icon.
According to a movie made about the Jacksons venture to fame, Michael was initially excluded from the group; only to have Michael lead the group to their own fortunes as well as to greatly surpass them in his personal career. Without Michael Jackson, it is easy to imagine that the world would have never heard of the group, ‘˜Jackson4.’ Till this day, Michael and Janet are the only two Jacksons to have achieved superstardom while the rest of the group faded into the backdrops of the mundane. Michael Jackson was indeed the epitome of conundrum.
The shy, quietly spoken man of few words, was not just the king of Pop, but he was the king of disguises too. He changed his look many times during his career, and this is what ultimately instigated my curiosity enough to investigate the photo evidence that he left behind.
During the week preceding the first anniversary of his death, all sorts of magazines paid tribute to Michael by displaying a variety of photos through-out the superstar’s life. But when you really pay attention to the photos, something very odd happens — .
Michael was infamous for the botched cosmetic surgery on his nose, the dimple in his chin and the colorful change of his complexion due to vitiligo and the attempts of his dermatologist to balance out the blotches.
So in effect, you expect to see a variation in those parts of his appearance. However, there are other telltale characteristics that should not have changed back and forth in the different photos.
For example: In some of the photos Michael had a very pronounced adams apple, in others he had a more muscular neck with barely any visible adams apple at all. In some of the photos there was dominant scaring on the
front of his left nostril, and indented scars on the back of both nostrils'”in other photos this scaring is partially missing and in other photos it is altogether gone. It could be suggested that this was done with make-up, but even with make-up, there should be some evidence of the scaring as deep as it was embedded into his skin, and there simply was not.
In some of the photos you can clearly see that the chin dimple gave him a square jaw-line. In other photos you can clearly see that the dimple is cut so deeply into his chin that it gives him a rounded jaw-line with virtually 2 chins instead of one. This could have been attributed to more surgeries, except with more surgery, it doesn’t seem that it would have gone back and forth from one to the other…
Michael often ripped open his shirt on-stage revealing a very boney frame with no chest hair. In one of the suspicious photos revealing his chest there is hair and no evidence of bone protrusion.
Michael was known as ‘˜The Gloved One,’ because he often wore a single glove and at times he wore two. In many of his photos, he is also wearing bandages on his fingers. He may have done this because he had a mad discoloration of his hands and fingernails'”more than likely due to the vitiligo or the treatments for it. The tell tale signs on the photos of his hands are not the discolorations, which with on-going treatments, you would expect to see it change from time to time. In the few rare photos where his hands are revealed, you can see a slight difference in the shape of the fingers; in some photos he has short stubby fingers that look almost arthritic, in others the fingers are longer with no swollen knuckles or crookedness in the joints (This you wouldn’t typically expect). In some of the photos Michael has a scar on his wrist, in others it is missing — .
In the 80’s Michael’s hair was caught on fire when the production crew mis-fired the special effects while filming a Pepsi commercial. The back of Michael’s head was severely burned. Perhaps Michael wore a prostetic hair piece to cover the damage after that, but in some of the photos, Michael has a different hairline atop the fore-head.
In some of the photos, Michael’s face is shorter and more square, in others it is more elongated and rectangular.
In some of the photos, Michael’s ear-line connects closer to the cheekbone, and in others it extends closer to the jaw-line. In at least one of the photos, Michael’s teeth are different as well. Certainly Michael had
the resources to hire at least one if not 2 or more people to get the necessary plastic surgery to pose as his body double, which he obviously had at least 2 if not more as can be seen in his performance at the Superbowl popping up out of the smoke above the signs before Michael magically appears in the smoke onstage….
Michael, having been in serious debt before his untimely death certainly had motivation enough to fake his own death and disappear–his estate has made over a billion dollars since then–more than enough to pay off his creditors and leave a healthy legacy for his mother and children.
Then, there’s this:
This footage does seem to make it look like whoever it was on the lifeflight chopper was moving around on the stretcher which certainly would not have been possible if he were really strapped down.
Then video emerged of someone actually getting up walking out of the coroner’s van:
Then there is the wrongful death suit that Joe Jackson is going alone against Conrad Murray, Jackson’s physician. Why is Katherine and the siblings not pursuing Murray in this suit as well?
Someone obviously died at the apartment that day, otherwise there would not be any pending criminal charges against Murray for manslaughter. There was an autopsy done on someone, but did anyone bother to do a DNA verification and make sure that it was Michael? If it wasn’t Michael, was it one of his doubles? Was this supposed to be a hoax that went terribly wrong? Was the guy supposed to only be impaired enough to be rushed to the hospital but then messed around and died instead?
Then there are the allegations that Michael was on several types of drugs at his death. It had been specualted by many that Michael had a drug severe drug problem. Earlier Michael had been admitted to rehab with help from people like Liz Taylor and his then wife, Lisa Marie Presley. people who knew him well, such as Jennifer Batten, as well as his family insist that Michael was not on drugs. Did the devastating disillusion of his marriage to Lisa Marie cause him to relapse? Or is there more to it than that?
There are also the two conflicting stories about his final tour–one stating that Michael was in no condition to complete 50 weeks and another stating that Michael was in perfect health–the latter of which was corroberated by the medical examiner’s report. So was Michael on drugs or not? Was Michael sick or not?
Whether or not Michael is alive hiding out in the Middle East or in Europe somewhere, there is no way to justify a re-emergence after having announced his own death. Perhaps there is some validity to this, perhaps it is
the wistul thinking of fans that can’t let go; but that’s the beauty of Michael, we don’t have to let go. He will be right here, right now, if only we remember–but it is what we choose to remember that will matter the most as his story unfolds. Will we remember him for the unfounded allegations that money hungry grubs posed against him, the charges for which he was acquitted on every count, or will we rememeber the message that he devoted his life to leave us with?
I, for one, choose to remember him like this:
Wherever you are Michael, R.I.P. Long live the king….
I was going to lay off the hoax for a while, but I can’t,lol Not after hearing this…