Open General discussion - Katherine Jackson vs AEG

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serendipity

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Sorry I wasn't clear : no, I don't think Paris made it up.

I think AEG should NOT have used her video at that point. I would have understood if they had used it when PG testified about firing Grace, but they did not at that point. They used it when Kai Chase was describing the relationship of the kids with Grace. So at that moment, it was totally irrlevant since the relationship with Grace is irrelevant to this trial.

To me that was unnecessary and very low from AEG at that point. I think they did that for strategical reasons : discredit Grace and/or Michael and/or put Paris in a difficult position.

At that point in time, it was unclear if Paris would testify or not. She had just tried to kill herself and was in hopsital. If she had had to testify she would have had to explain that comment herself.

Then following Paris' suicide attempt, Grace re appeared. Before that, the Jacksons lawyers said they couldn't locate her.

Now the Jacksons have to deal with that, and they asked several witnesses , including Prince about that. You can't really explain what she said, unless you know why Michael said that about Grace. So they're saying Paris is confused.

This is ALSO strategical, they could leave it at that and not ask other witnesses about it. It's most likely to put Grace in the stand / give her back some credibility and explain why there was a bank account in Grace's name with money from Michael for Katherine on it in 2006.

Grace (if she takes the stand) and Debbie will most likely also testify about Paris, and the effect that losing her dad had on her. Grace can aslo explain why Paris is "confused" : explain the reason why Michael said that to the kids. I don't know if she would though.

In her video Paris said that's what he (Michael) told US . Prince was not asked by either party about what Michael said about Grace.

Thanks for clarifying. But I don't think they knew Paris likely won't be testifying when Gongaware was on the stand. They probably would've played/addressed it when she testifies, but since they saw that probably won't be happening, they asked the judge to allow them to play it at that point.

I still don't see how that is discrediting MJ. Grace yes, but MJ - I don't see it. And IMO it is the Jacksons who put Paris in this position, not AEG. They (Jacksons) don't need Grace to testify - even for a bank account. I'm sure they can easily provide evidence that MJ has been solely supporting Katherine for decades and she's been fully dependent on him. I don't think they seriously need Grace for this.

The fact that they are pushing for her so hard and willing to throw Paris and MJ under the bus because of it speaks volumes to me. Yes, I know it is strategic, although the fact that certain siblings trashed Grace and Katherine fired her doesn't exactly fit with all the praise they've been showering upon her in court.

IMO I don't see how Grace could explain why MJ told this to Paris without putting him in negative light, because surely she will try to paint herself in a good light.
 

LastTear

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^^^^ I guess Grace will deny it and say she doesn't know why MJ would say such things, which would make him someone who garners sympathy through lying and tells one person one thing then another something else. So yes, it puts MJ in a really bad light, but possibly plays towards any bad things he may have said about TII or AEG execs to his family.
 

Bubs

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Seemingly they are entering into part of the trial that plaintiffs are showing who lost and how much, also how MJ supported Katherine.
I was thinking, could it be that plaintiffs wants Grace to testify how MJ looked after his mother and thats why they bend over backwards trying to make her to look credible? Wasn't there some talk about Before MJ left abroad, he put some money on Grace's account and Katherine got the money from there or something similar?


I certainly think that any money made by Katherine and monies received from the estate should be taken into account for any possible payout if it comes to that. AEG could show that Katherine's financial fortunes have improved since Michaels passing.

I don't think they are allowed to bring that out.
"excluded(motion granted) - Motion 2 - Benefits received by KJ after MJ's death"

I'm sure AEG lawyers find way to work around that:)
 
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Annita

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LastTear;3868404 said:
I'm interested to hear the last time she spoke to Michael on the phone, I read somewhere that it was two weeks before he died, that actually shocked me so I would be interested hearing directly from her.

.

It wasn`t on phone. In the first anniversry-interview she gave after Michaels death she said she saw him the last time 1,5 weeks before his death. She visits him and the kids in Carolwood and he was well. This is the way she wants remember him, with his smile she saw in the last visit.

bouee;3868362 said:
Grace (if she takes the stand) and Debbie will most likely also testify about Paris, and the effect that losing her dad had on her. Grace can aslo explain why Paris is "confused" : explain the reason why Michael said that to the kids. I don't know if she would though.
.

Debbie can`t testify about Paris. Jacksons made sure that her relationship with the kids is a non-issue on trial.


Anthony McCartney ‏@mccartneyAP 11 Jul

After court, AEG Live defense attorney Marvin Putnam said it was paternity that was subject to the order.Öffnen


Anthony McCartney ‏@mccartneyAP 11 Jul

The plaintiff’s side had said before going into chambers that the mention of Rowe’s status was a violation of a pretrial order.
Öffnen
Anthony McCartney ‏@mccartneyAP 11 Jul

The judge read it very fast, but the gist was telling the jury that Rowe’s “relationship with the children, if any, is not an issue” in case
Öffnen
Anthony McCartney ‏@mccartneyAP 11 Jul

The sidebar in total lasted quite a while. The judge read a jury instruction when they came back in session, probably 1/2 an hour later.
Öffnen
Anthony McCartney ‏@mccartneyAP 11 Jul

Taj said Rowe had started a relationship with Paris, as far as he knew. The plaintiffs then asked for a sidebar.
Öffnen
Anthony McCartney ‏@mccartneyAP 11 Jul
 

LastTear

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I don't think they are allowed to bring that out.
"excluded(motion granted) - Motion 2 - Benefits received by KJ after MJ's death"

I'm sure AEG lawyers find way to work around that:)

Yes, I will never understand that ruling. I thought some of it might be able to be used regarding a possible payout, getting down to the nitty gritty of actually awarding a sum of money. It doesn't seem fair somehow to be awarded money for loss of income when someone is so well taken care of and debts paid, income is still being made even though Michael is no longer here. Of course none of that makes up for the emotional loss.

@Annita, I know the judge made her ruling but I'm sure the Jackson side wont object to Grace or Debbie testifying how devastated Paris is. I think that they are not allowed to discuss Debbie's actual relationship with the children, to be totally blunt and cold about it I guess they dont want the jury thinking that although they lost one parent they also gained one. idk.
 

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I think the only reason to put Grace on stand would be to say AEG fired her and not Michael. Remember Jacksons side argue AEG hired and fired people , hence they are AEG's employees and/or independent contractors. Paris's testimony is a contradiction to that and talks about Michael wanting to fire Grace. Which is same as AEG's position that they hired and fired people on Michael's orders / request.

That being said what Grace knows about Michael's drug use could be hurtful or beneficial to one side or the another. Karen basically accused Grace of drugging Michael during the 2005 trial. I don't know if it's a wise decision to put her on the stand. But I guess it would depend on what she said at her deposition. They were trying to depose her last week so she might not make the witness stand after all.
 

Annita

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@Annita, I know the judge made her ruling but I'm sure the Jackson side wont object to Grace or Debbie testifying how devastated Paris is. I think that they are not allowed to discuss Debbie's actual relationship with the children, to be totally blunt and cold about it I guess they dont want the jury thinking that although they lost one parent they also gained one. idk.

I don`t know but I think if there is a rule that the relationship from Debbie with the kids is a non issue on trial it`s a rule for the whole testimony.
 
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serendipity

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I think the only reason to put Grace on stand would be to say AEG fired her and not Michael. Remember Jacksons side argue AEG hired and fired people , hence they are AEG's employees and/or independent contractors. Paris's testimony is a contradiction to that and talks about Michael wanting to fire Grace. Which is same as AEG's position that they hired and fired people on Michael's orders / request.

That being said what Grace knows about Michael's drug use could be hurtful or beneficial to one side or the another. Karen basically accused Grace of drugging Michael during the 2005 trial. I don't know if it's a wise decision to put her on the stand. But I guess it would depend on what she said at her deposition. They were trying to depose her last week so she might not make the witness stand after all.

If I'm not mistaken I think Prince also confirmed that it was MJ who fired her during his testimony, so they will also be going against him on that one.

I agree about drugs - if she talks about drugs, doctors, interventions etc. it may help AEG's side.
 

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At least we know Paris Jackson's perception on Grace. Paris's perception was the same as her father's about Grace, very odd to be jumping in the bed with your employer. I don't think Michael Jackson was doing anything to make Grace mentally worst. It sounds like Michael was just trying to structure things so that maybe Grace would have time to reflect on her action's.

Which were becoming peculiar and Michael was trying to help Grace in a structural way to realize her improprieties in her working relationship with Michael and his children. She wasn't exactly setting a very good role model for his children with some of her antics, more unstable.

Even in the Daphne Barack Interview, Grace isn't coming across as very stable, giving herself more credence as to how well Michael's children were developing!


0804nanny.jpg
 

serendipity

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^I wonder if AEG will get their hands on that Daphne Barack interview? Now that would be interesting. She does talk there about MJ firing her many times before and how they offered her smaller salary and she refused or something like that.
 

LastTear

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From the news thread.

Erk said he was using conservative estimates to figure Jackson's earning potential if he had lived for several more years, completed a worldwide tour and created a Las Vegas show based on his music. The estimates took into account endorsements and royalties that Jackson could have earned and are heavily dependent on the idea that Jackson would have performed a 37-month world tour.

___________

What part of This Is It did they not get!
 

ivy

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^^

not only that but supposedly Michael only signed up to do 10 shows (or 31 according to the contract) and woke up to 50 shows. Now Michael on one hand has signed for 10 shows only and on the other hand was supposed to embark on a 37 month tour.
 

LastTear

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^^^^ A pretty long final curtain call, i wonder how many shows he would perform on a 37 month tour. At least they are allowing him to retire at 65.
 

ivy

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^^^^ A pretty long final curtain call, i wonder how many shows he would perform on a 37 month tour. At least they are allowing him to retire at 65.

he was doing 10 shows a month according to TII schedule. Assuming he performed 3 months and then took 3 month break, it would make 180 shows at least.

but I believe some media wrote 260 shows or something like that sometime back. or it was a jacksons interview
 

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It was AEG claimed in their email they paid Murray, told Murray to listen to them, they checked on murray and blah blah. They certainly acted like the boss of Murray before Michael's death. But now they made the 180 change. funny AEG tried to pull the plug on Kenny just because he expressed concern over Michael's condition and Conrad Murray. Isn't Kenny like Murray 'hired' by Michael? How can AEG fire him?:smilerolleyes:
 

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Anthony McCartney ?@mccartneyAP 2m
.@lmt4mj @Ilive4u4me The plaintiffs say they still expect to end their case this week, so defense case will begin next week.
View conversation Reply Retweet Favorite More
Anthony McCartney ?@mccartneyAP 3m
.@lmt4mj @Ilive4u4me I haven't seen this new schedule yet, but AEG asked if court could ask the jury to reconsider taking some days off.
View conversation
Anthony McCartney ?@mccartneyAP 3m
.@lmt4mj @Ilive4u4me The court distributed a new schedule to lawyers today. In September, some weeks only have a couple trial days
View conversation
Anthony McCartney ?@mccartneyAP 8m
I'm not joking. Just my estimate tho. RT @lmt4mj: @Ilive4u4me I hope you're not serious. Unless there are later motions to decide.
View conversation
Anthony McCartney ?@mccartneyAP 15m
'Til October. I'll explain in a bit. RT @Ilive4u4me: what are your predictions on how much longer this trial is going to last?
 

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updated parts from AEG cross

Erk said he was using conservative estimates to figure Jackson's earning potential if he had lived for several more years, completed a worldwide tour and created a Las Vegas show based on his music. The estimates took into account endorsements and royalties that Jackson could have earned and are heavily dependent on the idea that Jackson would have performed a 37-month, 260-concert world tour.

AEG Live defense attorney Sabrina Strong questioned Erk's assumption during cross-examination because Jackson had never completed a tour that long and hadn't performed a tour in more than a decade. Strong also questioned Erk about three instances where Jackson got into legal disputes over canceled performances, but the accountant said those didn't factor into his analysis.

"He needed to work," Erk said.

Jurors heard directly from Katherine Jackson on Monday when Strong played a portion of her deposition testimony to rebut the idea her son would have embarked on a lengthy tour.

On the video, she said she was surprised when her son announced the "This Is It" shows in London. "He would always make a joke about he don't want to be doing the Moonwalk on stage when ... he's over 50," she said. "He wanted to be doing something else."

Erk's figures also account for an estimated $134 million the singer would have likely spent before retiring from show business at age 65, Erk said. He said he did not consider the fact that Jackson was an estimated $400 million in debt when he died as a factor in his future earning potential.

Strong also questioned why Erk didn't take into account Jackson's lavish spending, which the lawyer said another witness testified in deposition consisted of $435,000 spent over two months on hotel and airfare in the early 2000s.
 

morinen

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This is laughable. First they establish he could barely walk off the stage by himself, then they project a 260-dates tour.
 

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updated parts from AEG cross


AEG Live defense attorney Sabrina Strong questioned Erk's assumption during cross-examination because Jackson had never completed a tour that long and hadn't performed a tour in more than a decade. Strong also questioned Erk about three instances where Jackson got into legal disputes over canceled performances, but the accountant said those didn't factor into his analysis.

Isn't that the usual way to calculate 'financial loss' in a trial?
Looking what was the income in the last 10 years actually and estimate from proven contracts (only) what would have been their income in the coming 10 years... then the middle in between both averages is taken as income for the coming years?

It's ridiculous for anyone to say Michael would have done 260 world concert tour. We know he would have never done that! Everybody who knew him a tiny bit knows he would have never done that.

Erk makes a joke out of this trial again... or is it more a joke out of plaintiffs!
 

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I haven't followed the trial very closely. I just couldn't stomach Katherine's attempt to extort money for herself, for her kids.
But I came in this forum because f Paris and the devastating effects its had on her.
Not that the family cares.

But I do wonder, do you think the jury will be able to see through their attempts to gain financially for themselves? Aka Jackson family?
 

Petrarose

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AEG have been in the business long enough to think it might have been case of stage fright, very common on entertainment business.
You took a long leap from March announcement to June when KO thought MJ had a flu?
There is 3 months between incidents, and KO might have been thinking Mj had a flu because the place they were rehearsing was like freezer, but to tie those 2 incidents together is a bit too much.

Good point. It seems that if Michael do quiet human things it seems his actions should be seen as evidence of a psychological problem or worse. Michael is nervous about his reception at the announcement and may or may not have taken some drinks; he cries because he wants a stable home for his children. These are quiet normal human behaviors. Yet some see these as being connected to the issues Ortega witnessed. All of a sudden now everything Michael did falls into question and is scrutinized and is attributed to "Muarry who was negligently hired by AEG." Even though Muarry did cause the death of Michael, there are certain aspects of Michael's behavior that has NOTHING to do with Muarry. For instance, being emotional about wanting a home for your children has NOTHING to do with Muarry's "medical" care of Michael Jackson.

Are they expecting the trial to go to October now or am I misreading those tweets?

I find that the plaintiffs have presented a highly contradictory case. They show Michael could not even do 360 spins, was hampered by drug use during touring, was dying (Faye), and was a drug addict. At the same time they are saying he was not a drug addict, was healthy, if he did not die he would work into his 60s doing tours and making millions.

I expect the AEG expert will then add in Michael's spending into the future earnings profile. I see they have already shown Katherine's contradictions--good.
 
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ivy

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Isn't that the usual way to calculate 'financial loss' in a trial?
Looking what was the income in the last 10 years actually and estimate from proven contracts (only) what would have been their income in the coming 10 years... then the middle in between both averages is taken as income for the coming years?

there have been disagreements in that regard.

AEG wanted only certain stuff - such as TII with contract signed - to be the damages. There's some speculative business affairs are allowed. Such as there were talks about taking TII to other cities - but nothing signed. Talk about movies with AEG people etc. So judge is allowing such things as a probable business opportunities. But how realistic you think they are is another issue.

It's ridiculous for anyone to say Michael would have done 260 world concert tour. We know he would have never done that! Everybody who knew him a tiny bit knows he would have never done that.

I agree. While I think if TII was successful, it could probably go to other cities, this 260 seems to be way too high number for Michael.

Also there are a lot of factors this person did not even consider.

How come this trial is so long and the Zimmerman trial was so fast?

criminal trials are a lot more focused while civil trials are a lot more relax. Murray criminal trial was 23 days. So it is normal for civil trial to be longer although I personally think too much time is wasted on irrelevant stuff.

Anthony McCartney @mccartneyAP
Some of the remaining plaintiff's witnesses include an economist, Dr. Emery Brown (propofol expert) and Katherine Jackson.

so this is week 12, after Erk is done, Jacksons side still has 3 witnesses or more (given Anthony wrote "some") .

Assuming AEG starts next week and only takes half the time Jacksons did - such as 6 weeks, AEG's side will wrap up at the end of August - with days offs etc. probably sometime in september.

then there will be rebuttal from Jacksons and closing statements and verdict process. So yeah this trial is looking to go on until sometime in September to October.
 

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he was doing 10 shows a month according to TII schedule. Assuming he performed 3 months and then took 3 month break, it would make 180 shows at least.

but I believe some media wrote 260 shows or something like that sometime back. or it was a jacksons interview

I believe after the announcement I saw a RP interview & he was very excited about Michael's concerts & said Michael may go on tour after London & other things & Michael would make up to $500,000????. I have never seen on YT.
 

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In the end, it is not possible to put a dollar price on a life. Absolutely everyone involved in this lawsuit is trying to do exactly that. There is legal responsibility, and moral/ethical responsibility. In the latter, all are guilty. It's more than obvious that many people saw that Michael was not doing well, and responded according to monetary interests, but not about the life of a human-being. Michael was much more than a logo, or money-making machine. I do feel that there were ample red-flags about Murray, but whether or not that comprises legal culpability, the court will decide. Michael was seen as a walking ATM machine, by both AEG and by the family. The family, in one sense -- an ethical sense -- does not have a right to any compensation, because Michael's will said that they do not. Michael's children do not need the money, and there has been damage to them because of this lawsuit. But yet, this winds its way through the courts, on a very narrow legal margin.

I think that in the end, Michael's incredible legacy will stand for itself, as a force for peace-and-healing in the world, and everyone grubbing for profit from his death, will be judged by a higher power than the courts.
 

ivy

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I believe after the announcement I saw a RP interview & he was very excited about Michael's concerts & said Michael may go on tour after London & other things & Michael would make up to $500,000????. I have never seen on YT.

True, there was an interview - I believe a written one - in which he said if Michael did a world tour he can make half a billion dollars or $500 Million.
 

Tygger

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It is interesting that some fans do not feel Michael would be as successful as the plaintiff’s expert testified too. Maybe remove oneself from the figure presented and focus on the activities presented.

I believe Phillips testified AEG wanted Michael to continue touring as well, considering TII was successful. Well, TII did sell out 50 shows and AEG’s emails show they thought that was a sign of success. They did not approach Michael just for this one residency. They had a multi-year plan for Michael. I cannot remember if they discussed all of the details of that plan with Michael or not.

I thought the defense’s questions about Michael’s “lavish spending” was ridiculous. It has nothing to do with earning potential. If Michael found himself in debt in his future after TII, he would find himself having to work thus, increasing earnings.

I believe Bonnie Blue found the article where someone predicted Michael earning $500M but, it was in another thread and I think it was someone superior to Phillips.

@Tygger, you asked me to provide an example and I did that, to continue to discuss will derail the thread and bore it's readers. Sometime this year Murray would have served out his punishment for his crime and he then becomes a free man, at that point if someone is willing to pay him for his story or even his input into his story then he is free to profit from it.

Last Tear, I appreciate that you took time to find a list, however, it does not support the premise that the doctor will profit directly. When the doctor finishes serving his sentence later this year (due to the lesser charge levied by the State) and some outlet decides to profit by paying the doctor indirectly for his stories of fabrications and hate towards Michael and his family, I truly hope fans will take action to make sure he and the disrespectful, greedy outlet does NOT succeed.

So we have no idea how the final verdict form would look like. So please don't mix up a proposed first draft verdict forms with the final version that we haven't seen.

Ivy, how different will the final verdict form be for either side? The plaintiffs' case follows their verdict form. The defense will start soon and I do not predict them putting any blame on the doctor. Maybe the defense will remove Katherine at the very least.
 
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jrsfan

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True, there was an interview - I believe a written one - in which he said if Michael did a world tour he can make half a billion dollars or $500 Million.

Pretty sure I saw it on tv, but quotes in written interviews are often from tv interviews. The thing I remember most was how RP excited & pleased he was. I did not know anything about him at the time.
 

Tygger

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Apologies, I could not find the post here because I do not remember the thread. Here is the article with Tom Barrack. Panish suggested he may testify this week. This will be the final week of the plaintiff's case as per ABC7.

ABC7 Court News ?@ABC7Courts
Judge told defendants' attorneys to be prepared to start their case in chief on Monday.
ABC7 Court News ?@ABC7Courts
Panish said he will try to finish this week. Witnesses to come: Erk, an economist, Dr. Brown, Katherine Jackson and maybe Tom Barrack.

Deep pockets behind Michael Jackson
May 30, 2009 | 9:56 am

This is a longer version of a story that will appear in The Times' Sunday (May 31) edition.

Others have tried to revive the onetime pop star's performing career. Tom Barrack is convinced he's the 'caretaker' to do it.

Tom Barrack, a Westside financier who made billions buying and selling distressed properties, flew to Las Vegas in March 2008 to check out a troubled asset. But his target was not a struggling hotel chair or failed bank.

It was Michael Jackson. The world's bestselling male pop artist was hunkered down with his three children in a dumpy housing compound in an older section of town. At 49, he was awash in nearly $400 million of debt and so frail that he greeted visitors in a wheelchair. The rich international friends who offered Jackson refuge after his 2005 acquittal on molestation charges had fallen away. His Santa Barbara ranch, Neverland, was about to be sold at public auction.

In Jackson, Barrack saw the sort of undervalued asset his private equity firm, Colony Capital, had succeeded with in the past. He wrote a check to save the ranch and placed a call to a friend, the conservative business magnate Philip Anschutz, whose holdings include the concert production firm AEG Live.

Fifteen months later, Jackson is living in a Bel-Air mansion and rehearsing for a series of 50 sold-out shows in London's O2 Arena. The intervention of two billionaires with more experience in the board room than the recording studio seems on course to accomplish what a parade of others over the last dozen years could not: getting Jackson back on stage.

His backers envision the shows at AEG's O2 as an audition for a career rebirth that could ultimately encompass a three-year world tour, a new album, movies, a Graceland-like museum, musical revues in Las Vegas and Macau, and even a "Thriller" casino. Such a rebound could wipe out Jackson's massive debt.

"You are talking about a guy who could make $500 million a year if he puts his mind to it," Barrack said recently. "There are very few individual artists who are multibillion-dollar businesses. And he is one."

Others have tried to resurrect Jackson's career, but previous attempts have failed, associates say, because of managerial chaos, backbiting within his inner circle and the singer's legendary flakiness.

Even as Jackson's deep-pocketed benefactors assemble an all-star team -- "High School Musical's" Kenny Ortega is directing the London concerts -- there are hints of discord. Last week, two different men identified themselves as the singer's manager and a month before, a respected accountant who had been handling Jackson's books was abruptly fired in a phone call from an assistant.

But his backers downplay the problems. "He is very focused. He is not going to let anybody down. Not himself. Not his fans. Not his family," said Frank DiLeo, his current manager and a friend of three decades.

Jackson needs a comeback to reverse the damage done by years of excessive spending and little work. He has not toured since 1997 or released a new album since 2001, but has continued to live like a megastar.

THE MICHAEL JACKSON 'PARADOX'

To finance his opulent lifestyle, he borrowed heavily against his three main assets -- his ranch, his music catalog and a second catalog that includes the music of the Beatles that he co-owns with Sony Corp. By the time of his 2005 criminal trial, he was nearly $300 million in debt and, according to testimony, spending $30 million more annually than he was taking in.

Compounding his money difficulties are a revolving door of litigious advisors and hangers on. Jackson has run through 11 managers since 1990, according to DiLeo.

At least 19 people -- financial advisors, managers, lawyers, a pornography producer and even a Bahraini sheik -- have taken Jackson to court for allegedly failing to pay bills or backing out of deals. He settled many of the suits. Currently, he is facing civil claims by a former publicist, a concert promoter and the writer-director of his "Thriller" video, John Landis.

John Branca, an entertainment lawyer who represented Jackson for more than 20 years, blamed the singer's financial straits partly on his past habit of surrounding himself with "yes men." Branca advised Jackson to buy half of the Beatles catalog in 1985 for $47.5 million. The catalog is now estimated to be worth billions and the purchase is considered his smartest business decision.

"The paradox is that Michael is one of the brightest and most talented people I've ever known. At the same time, he has made some of the worst choices in advisors in the history of music," said Branca, who represents Santana, Nickelback and Aerosmith, among others. He said he finally split with the singer because Jackson invited into his inner circle "people who really didn't have his best interests at heart."

The singer's financial predicament reached a crisis point in March 2008 when he defaulted on a $24.5-million loan and Neverland went into foreclosure. Jackson's brother Jermaine enlisted the help of Dr. Tohme Tohme, an orthopedic surgeon-turned-businessman who had previously worked with Colony Capital.

Tohme reached out to Barrack, who said he was initially reluctant to get involved because Jackson had already sought advice from fellow billionaire Ron Burkle, an old friend.

"I said, 'My God, if Ron can't figure it out, I can't figure it out,' " Barrack said.

But he was drawn to the deal. He owns a ranch five miles from Neverland, and his sons were among local children Jackson invited over for field days at the ranch. The financier retains close ties to the developer who built Neverland and is friendly with Wesley Edens, the chairman of the property's debt-holder, Fortress Investment Group.

With the auction of Jackson's home and possessions just days away, Barrack made the singer a proposition.

"I sat down with him and said, 'Look . . . we can buy the note and restructure your financial empire,' " Barrack said. But, he told him, "what you need is a new caretaker. A new podium. A new engine."

Tohme, who acted as Jackson's manager until recently, recalled the urgency of the situation. "If he didn't move fast, he would have lost the ranch," Tohme said. "That would have been humiliating for Michael."

Jackson and Barrack reached an agreement within seven days. Colony paid $22.5 million and Neverland averted foreclosure.

FROM NEVERLAND TO LONDON

Jackson has not spoken publicly since a March news conference and his representatives declined to make him available for an interview.

Barrack said his position outside the music industry seemed to endear him to Jackson. "He looks at me like 'the suit.' I have credibility because I don't live in that world. I'm not interested in hanging around him. I'm not interested in girls. I'm not interested in boys. I'm not interested in drugs," Barrack said.

After buying Neverland, Barrack called his friend Anschutz. Barrack said the prospect of helping Jackson, given his recent criminal case, gave Anschutz, a devout Christian, pause. (Anschutz declined to be interviewed.)

Barrack had spent significant time with Jackson and praised him as "a genius" and devoted father. Ultimately, Anschutz agreed to put Jackson in touch with Randy Phillips, the CEO of his concert subsidiary.

As the head of AEG Live, Phillips oversees a division that grossed more than $1 billion last year and has negotiated such lucrative bookings as Celine Dion's four-year, $400-million run in Las Vegas and Prince's 21 sold-out dates at the O2 Arena in 2007.

Phillips had his eye on Jackson for some time. In 2007, Phillips approached the singer with a deal for a comeback, but Jackson, who was working with different advisors, turned him down. "He wasn't ready," Phillips recalled.

This time, however, Jackson was receptive. He needed the money, and he has a second, more personal reason: His children -- sons Prince Michael, 7, and Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., 12, and daughter Paris Michael Katherine, 11 -- have never seen him perform live.

"They are old enough to appreciate and understand what I do and I am still young enough to do it," Phillips quoted Jackson as saying.

Jackson stands to earn $50 million for the O2 shows, "This Is It" -- $1 million per performance not including revenue from merchandise sales and broadcast rights. Jackson is considering options including pay-per-view and a feature film. But the real money would kick in after his final curtain call in London.

A PROPOSED TOUR

AEG has proposed a three-year tour starting in Europe, then traveling to Asia and finally returning to the United States. Although Jackson has only committed to the O2 engagement thus far, Phillips estimates ticket sales for the global concerts would exceed $450 million.

"One would hope he would end up netting around 50% of that," Phillips said.

Barrack, the man who set Jackson's comeback in motion, has seen his net worth drop with the financial crisis of the last year. Forbes estimated his wealth at $2.3 billion around the time he met Jackson, but he is now merely a multimillionaire. He said that the economic downturn makes Jackson even more attractive as an investment because his value has been overlooked: In times like this, he said, "finding little pieces of information that others don't have" is more important than ever.

His company isn't exposed to any risk by working with Jackson. All the money Colony has put up is backed by the value of Neverland and related assets, he said. If Jackson regains firm financial footing, Barrack's company could be a partner in future deals. "When he looks back and says, 'Who took the risk? Who was there?' I mean, he gets it. So that's my hope," Barrack said.

It all depends on what happens July 13 when the lights go down in the O2 Arena. Doubts about Jackson's reliability are widespread because of his long concert hiatus. Those concerns were heightened earlier this month when the show's opening night was pushed back five days. Phillips and Ortega, the director, blamed production problems and said Jackson was ready to perform.

Fans demonstrated their faith in Jackson months ago when they snapped up 750,000 tickets for shows through March 2010 in less than four hours. "We could have done 200 shows if he were willing to live in London for two years," Phillips said.

Amid the high stakes, Phillips has taken a hands-on approach more reminiscent of his early days as a talent manager for acts including Guns N' Roses and Lionel Richie than as the company's chief executive.

A REPUTATION, A DO-OR-DIE MOMENT

In addition to the more than $20 million AEG is paying to produce the shows, the company is putting its reputation on the line for a performer with a track record of missed performances and canceled dates. In a video news conference earlier this month, Phillips acknowledged that the company has only been able to insure 23 of the 50 "This Is It" performances."In this business, if you don't take risks, you don't achieve greatness," Phillips said.

Phillips said he speaks with Jackson regularly and has closely monitored rehearsals in a Burbank soundstage. In response to questions about his physical condition, especially in light of his previous addiction to prescription painkillers, Phillips said that Jackson passed a rigorous medical examination. Associates also say he adheres to a strict vegetarian diet and works out with a personal trainer.

But the problems that have bedeviled Jackson in the past -- infighting, disorganization and questionable advisors -- persist.

In an interview last week, Tohme identified himself as the singer's "manager, spokesman, everything" and spoke about the benefits of dealing with business titans Barrack and Anschutz rather than their "sleazy" predecessors. "Michael Jackson is an institution. He needs to be run like an institution," Tohme said.

The next day, however, longtime Jackson associate DiLeo claimed he was Jackson's manager and said Tohme had been fired a month and a half earlier. Tohme denied being fired but declined further comment.

In April, Jackson fired the accounting firm, Cannon & Co., that had worked for him for a year, according to an accountant who worked on his finances. Jeff Cannon of Cannon & Co. said he received a phone call from an assistant of Jackson who said the singer no longer required his services.

Then there is Arfaq Hussain. A British man who met Jackson in the late 1990s, Hussain designed clothing for the performer -- including an air-conditioned jacket, a pair of self-adjusting, rhodium-plated shoes and the "Crystal Miracle," a jacket covered with 275,000 rock crystals -- and tried to launch a business selling $75,000 bottles of perfume by trading on Jackson's name.

In 2002, Hussain was jailed for four months in Britain for charges related to business fraud. Hussain and Jackson recently became reacquainted and the singer hired him as an assistant, DiLeo said.

The woman who was Jackson's public face during his criminal trial, former manager and spokeswoman Raymone Bain, is pressing a federal breach of contract suit against the singer. Bain claims that Jackson cheated her out of her 10% cut of several business deals, including the AEG concerts. Bain is to ask a judge in Washington, D.C., next month to seize the portion she alleges is hers, citing Jackson's history of evading creditors.

In his corner office high above Century City, Barrack is sanguine about reports of disharmony.

"You have the same thousand parasites that start to float back in and take advantage of the situation and that has happened a little at the edges," he said. But, he added, he had confidence in AEG's ability to keep Jackson focused.

The concerts, Phillips acknowledged, are a do-or-die moment for Jackson.

"If it doesn't happen, it would be a major problem for him career-wise in a way that it hasn't been in the past," he said.

--Chris Lee and Harriet Ryan
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2009/05/deep-pockets-behind-michael-jackson.html
 
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