Former Manager Sues Michael Jackson's Estate
By NICK MCCANN
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Michael Jackson's manager of 30 years ago, who claims he launched Jackson on his solo career, says the King of Pop's estate owes him commissions and will not let him look at the books to find out how much.
Freddy DeMann founded DeMann Entertainment, the successor to Weisner-DeMann Entertainment. DeMann claims he was Jackson's manager from 1978 to 1983.
DeMann Entertainment sued the executors of Jackson's estate - John Branca and John McClain - in Superior Court.
DeMann claims that under his management, Jackson recorded the hit albums "Off the Wall" (1979) and "Thriller" (1982), one of the best-selling albums of all time.
DeMann claims he persuaded Jackson to hire Quincy Jones to produce the records, and arranged for MTV to play the video for the song "Billy Jean."
"Now that the recordings, dances, likeness, styles and public persona of Michael Jackson created while Mr. DeMann and his companies managed Michael Jackson have been translated into the newest forms of amusements ranging from video games to Cirque Du Soleil, the executors of Michael Jackson's Estate have elected to deny plaintiff DeMann its rights under the 1978 management agreement," the complaint states.
DeMann says the video game "Michael Jackson: The Experience" and the Cirque du Soleil tribute show "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour" both use songs from "Off the Wall" and "Thriller."
DeMann says the Jackson estate has repeatedly refused to let him examine its books. That denial, he says, "betrayed Michael Jackson's express wish embodied in the attached written contract that those who worked for his benefit share in his success. Mr. DeMann's friend Michael Jackson would be appalled by this misconduct."
The complaint adds: "Consistent with its efforts to conceal its books and records, the Jackson Estate also has refused to inform DeMann Entertainment of the Jackson Estate's gross revenues earned from activities undertaken after Michael Jackson's death ... which would permit DeMann Entertainment to calculate the commissions owed to it."
DeMann wants to look at the books, and damages for breach of contract.
DeMann Entertainment is represented by Bert Deixler with Kendall Brill & Klieger.