AEG Live Entertainment and Dr. Tohme Tohme in a game against Michael Jackson. FRAUD, LIES AND DEVILISH INTENTIONS
It is high time we analyzed the contract between AEG and Michael Jackson from the point of view of its content and intentions of the parties. Michael’s intentions were honest and clear enough – he wanted his children to see him performing, give first class shows to his fans and receive his hard-earned money for the concerts.
AEG’s intentions are something much more intricate and are not that obvious.
Several months ago we already approached the AEG contract but it was such a painful read that I focused all my five posts about it on finding out whether those horrid papers could indeed be valid.
Fortunately it turned out that they were a cut and paste job originally based on an almost valueless Letter of intent addressed to Dr. Tohme Tohme. The opening and closing pages of the Letter were part of a correspondence between him and Randy Phillips and the text which still remained of the original letter pointed to the contract being far from finalized.
Fraud, lies and forgery
For lack of a real final contract with Michael Jackson the party opposing him apparently replaced the inside of the letter with clauses typical of a contract and heavily slanted in favor of AEG, combining the highly formal pages in the center of the document with the informal pages on both ends of it and thus creating an ‘agreement’ which was full contradictions in both form and meaning. The inside of the agreement said that it was final, but the last page of the same document said it was not – the closing phrases still betrayed that it was a letter and left no doubt that the final agreement was still to be negotiated:
- By signing below each party acknowledges its agreement to the foregoing and agrees to negotiate the definitive agreement expeditiously and in good faith.
AEG Live, LLC
Brandon K. Phillips
President & CEO
AEG Live LLC
Michael signed this letter, agreeing to whatever preliminary terms it contained, and signed it only in the capacity of an individual Artist. However since the Artist was no real party to a contract with AEG, his signature in that particular box (on the right) is carrying little or no weight.
He also took the necessary precaution not to sign the box on the left as a representative of Michael Jackson’s company, LLC, which was crucial for the agreement. It is this decisive signature displayed to us by AEG which raises so many questions now. It looks like a poor imitation of Michael’s handwriting and the fact that it is a forgery is seen with a naked eye:
Of course the fact that Michael’s crucial signature was forged is absolutely outrageous, but it helped us to realize that he never signed the “final contract” with AEG and this gave us the first sigh of relief – contracts carrying forgeries are no contracts and cannot be effective in principle.
Further investigation showed that the attachments, which form an integral part of each contract, often contradict the AEG contract itself and are also either unsigned or undated, or both as is EXHIBIT A which is central to the contract as it states its basic definitions on which the whole contract depends.
All these discrepancies finally turned the AEG so-called agreement into a bundle of odds and ends which are cleverly adjusted to each other but will hardly survive a serious scrutiny in court.
For details of the above let me refer you to posts 1 – 5 which are discussing the formal aspects of the AEG agreement. If you have enough patience to read them it will allow me not to repeat the numerous arguments made there proving that the papers presented by AEG are actually a cut and paste job.
Though Michael Jackson cannot be returned back to life the fact that he never signed those horrible papers is still some kind of a consolation to those of us who were fearful that Michael could have voluntarily agreed to the AEG slavery terms due to his need for cash or could have been trapped by the AEG devilish cunning due to lack of legal support from his lawyers.
It turned out to be neither of the cases – since he didn’t sign this ‘contract’ it means he didn’t agree to AEG ‘s terms, and since he didn’t agree to their terms, he most probably managed to see through their devilish plans. However even if he understood their dirty tricks it didn’t make his life easier – the concerts were already announced and he had to go on with preparations hoping that in the end they would manage to sort things out.
Another possibility is the AEG did not show him the final papers and he was being guided by the preliminary documents only. I personally prefer this variant as this way Michael was at least saved from the offense and insult of this contract.
Dr. Tohme Tohme
The AEG contract is proof of the fact Tohme was one of the key figures in the AEG scheme and though Tohme was a legal nobody to Michael and his company (he said he wasn’t working for a salary and was just helping Michael), he carried out all negotiations with AEG and took the most crucial decisions on behalf of Michael Jackson – as the terms of the ‘contract’ he himself agreed on with AEG allowed it.
In accordance with their ‘contract’ the only thing required of Michael Jackson for finalizing a decision was to send his consent to AEG using a fax machine and a copy of Michael’s signature on the paper, and the deal was made. Since all his correspondence was handled by Tohme Tohme (and the contract does not provide for any other alternative) this opened vast possibilities for fraud and there might be no doubt that a ‘fax machine consent’ was that truly miraculous way in which the initial smaller number of concerts turned into 50 overnight.
The fact that the $100,000 monthly payment to Tohme was forced on Michael by AEG (though it was none of their business how much he paid to his staff ) shows once again in whose interests Tohme Tohme was working.
A thorough study of AEG’s papers will also tell you that there is a big discrepancy between their ‘contract’ and attachment to it saying who will pay Tohme – the contract pretends that it is AEG who will pay him, while the attachment places Tohme’s salary fully on Michael’s shoulders.
See the fraudulent way AEG goes about this business:
First the contract says that the Artist’s company is to pay their own management costs with the exception of Tohme. Tohme will be included in the production costs which we assume to be AEG’s responsibility:
- With the exception of the monthly fee owing under the terms of a separate agreement with TT International, LLC for the services of Dr. Tohme Tohme (not to exceed $100,000 per month), which shall be included in the Production Costs, Artistco shall be responsible for and shall pay all costs associated with management …… of Artist and/or Artistco.
To put it simply the Artist’s company is to pay its own managers, with the exception of $100,000 to Tohme Tohme because this money will be part of production costs. After reading this statement every normal person will assume that the production costs will be borne by AEG.
But the attachment to the contract (Exhibit A) explains to the naive us that production costs will be deducted from compensation to the Artist.
This point means that when dividing their profit only the Artist will have to deduct production expenses from his half, while the Producer will add this part of profit to his. But then the Artist will be the only one who will cover the expenses too (irrespective of who initially provided the money – even if they lent the money to you they took it back).
Thus by a change in a mere couple of words in its attachment to contract AEG placed the production costs, including salary to Tohme Tohme, on Michael’s shoulders. The only good thing about the attachment (Exhibit A) is that it is undated and unsigned.
See for yourself – Point 3 of this Exhibit says that the Artist will receive his money after all Production costs are deducted from his “Contingent Compensation” :
- “Artist’s Net Tour Income means the Contingent Compensation minus the sum of Production Costs”.
Even Michael’s insurance was used by AEG as a tool to let Tohme sneak into a deal between AEG and Michael Jackson. The cancellation (medical) insurance of the Artist was one of the main conditions of the contract and the attachment said that as soon as the insurance was obtained, payments to Tohme were to start.
In order to provide at least some formal link between Tohme and Michael Jackson, a special amendment was made to the insurance policy to include Tohme there and make him part of the tour at least in this indirect way.
As I’ve said Exhibit A of the “contract” provided for Tohme Tohme’s involvement in the tour by saying that his salary was to be included into Production Costs (to be covered by the Artist). Its point 8 says:
- Production costs means the following cost to the extent they relate to Shows: ……
(e) at such time as Artisco obtains the cancellation insurance … and Promoter receives written evidence that it has been named as a loss payee of such cancellation insurance, the mutually approved direct, actual costs of Artist-related management and staffing pursuant to the terms of a separate agreement with TT International, LLC for the services of Dr. Tohme Tohme (not to exceed $100, 000 per month) [will be included into Production Costs]
(e)* travel and transportation costs……..
(*Please note the double use of point (e) in the list. It most probably means that someone meddled with the paper and the point about Tohme was added to it later).
The numerous dances around Tohme Tohme’s name in AEG papers leave no doubt that Tohme was being taken care of AEG, had a tremendous mutual understanding with them and was working against Michael Jackson’s interests as he was actually working for the other party.
In the time prior to his death Michael said to friends that he “didn’t know what his deal was” as it was Tohme who usurped full power in his hands. In order to understand why Michael didn’t fire this man (at least earlier than he did) we need to recall the style of Tohme’s management as it was described by Michael Jackson to June Gatlin:
JacksonTapes Put Manager Dr.Tohme Tohme In The Spotlight
MICHAEL JACKSON’s former spiritual advisor has come forward with new taped conversations in which the King of Pop revealed he was terrified of his chief aide, Dr. Tohme Tohme.
The mysterious Tohme appeared to be in charge of Jackson’s affairs in recent years and is believed to be the mastermind behind the late pop superstar’s ill-fated comeback shows inLondon.
But Jacko’s spiritual guru June Gatlin has now revealed her client was scared of his manager – and he agreed to be taped talking about his relationship with Tohme.
Gatlin says, “He was afraid of who this man is, afraid of whatever this man may be capable of doing… He had taken over Michael’s complete life.”
The advisor has handed over the tapes she recorded of phone conversations with Jackson in September 2008 to NBC News inAmerica.
On the tapes, the King of Pop can be heard telling Gatlin, “This guy, he just… has ways about him… There’s a divide between me and my representatives and I don’t talk to my lawyer, my accountant. I talk to him and he talks to them.
“I don’t like it. I wanna get somebody in there with him that I know and can trust. I don’t know what’s in my accounts.”
Gatlin advised Jackson to investigate his manager.
She tells NBC, “Michael said, ‘He’s (Tohme) mean, he’s trying to keep me and separate me from everybody and everything that I love.”
Jackson severed ties with Tohme in May (09) after learning his manager had threatened the boss of a California auction house over memorabilia items that were set to go under the hammer.
After rehiring svengali Frank DiLeo to look after his affairs, Jackson sent a letter to all business associates, in which he insisted, “Dr. Tohme Tohme is no longer authorized to represent me.”
But, Tohme spoke on behalf of Jackson hours after he died and conducted an interview with NBC two weeks after the tragedy in June (09), when he stated, “I’m still in charge of Michael Jackson’s business until otherwise I am informed not to do so (sic).”
AEG the horrible
As a result of a close link between Tohme Tohme and AEG they came up with so outrageous a contract for Michael Jackson that, to be frank, I hope that Michael never saw the final paper. It is so horrible a document that imagining him reading it and being tormented and humiliated by its nastiness will make you cry over each of its pages. If Michael didn’t see the final variant we can at least hope that he didn’t feel the insult of it and didn’t know what future awaited him if he went along with AEG further.
However for us their contract is a perfect tool to understand what plans AEG had for Michael Jackson and how they tried to implement them with the help of Tohme Tohme. The knowledge of intentions the AEG Live Entertainment company had for the best performer in the world will show what a monster we are dealing with.
Before we go over the main points of the AEG horrible papers you should promise me that you will not exclaim at every page of it, “How could he agree to that?” or “Why did he put his signature under it?” . The thing for us to always keep in mind is that Michael never signed them and therefore never agreed to what AEG wanted of him.
All he signed was a preliminary letter of intent, which was nothing meaningful, and two documents – Inducement Letter and Promissory Note. The Promissory Note carries Michael’s signature on a separate sheet of paper, which is not done in serious documents (a separate sheet may be attached to anything at all) and considering AEG’s exploits in meddling with the other papers, we cannot rule out that Michael could have put his signature under a totally different document which was attached here at a later time.
In short, please nip in the bud all questions of ‘how could he agree to this” type because there is absolutely no proof that he ever agreed to any of these terms at all. Let us look at the AEG documents only from the point of view of their intentions towards Michael, which glare from each page of their papers, and that will tell you what AEG wanted of Michael Jackson and what they wanted to do to him.
Though Randy Phillips told us on numerous occasions that AEG had been chasing Michael Jackson for many years before they finally managed to get his consent to the shows the current Inducement Letter presents the case as if it were Michael Jackson who induced AEG into entering a contract with him (this is why it is called ‘inducement’):
AEG turned this Inducement letter into one of their conditions for providing the Artist with advance money.
The reason why they needed the Inducement letter so badly was because it was a means to pass over full authority from the Artist to the Artist’s company called by AEG “Artistco”.
This enabled them to do business solely with Artistco and exclude the Artist from all major business decisions. Considering that it is Dr. Tohme whose shadow is standing behind Michael’s company (Artistco) the purpose of the Inducement Letter becomes clearer – it is him who was getting power for further negotiations with AEG and it is him whom AEG wanted to negotiate with:
- “The undersigned [Artist] hereby… represents and warrants that Artistco has the right to enter into the Agreement and to assume all the obligations, warranties and undertakings to Promoter”
The Inducement Letter carries no date and only mentions the contract of January 26, 2009, the reference to which doesn’t show when the Inducement letter was signed.
The Inducement Letter also mentions a certain collateral and thus links this paper to another crucial attachment called Promissory Note. The dictionary gives the following definition of such a note:
- “A promissory note is a written promise to pay a debt.”
Promissory Note is made in the name of both Michael Jackson’s Company and Michael Jackson the individual (which is very rare case for this contract) who jointly form an entity called “Maker” who promises by this promissory note to do as follows:
- “to pay on a joint and several basis, to AEG Live (“Holder” or “Promoter”) .. the principal amount of of $6,2 mln. with interest on such amount until paid…”
In addition to the Inducement Letter this document is the second AEG’s primary condition for Michael Jackson to receive his Initial Advance.
All artists are entitled to an advance – it is similar to advance money a writer receives from his publisher before he presents the text to him and a request for an advance is an absolutely common thing to do. It is not supposed to be returned in case the undertaken project is realized and can be recouped by the other side if the project fails.
In Michael Jackson’s case the advance is $6,2 mln. and on the face of it the terms of its provision are quite favorable – there will be no interest on the sum until the Maturity date, and the Maturity date can be prolonged by both sides, and it is only the Maturity date itself which is stated in such in vague and complex way that it needs a whole investigation to find out what it actually is.
The importance of the Maturity date is overwhelming. It is the time when the advance given to the Artist will have to be paid back in full as the Promissory Note puts it:
- Principal shall be due and payable in full on the Maturity Date”.
The Note says that one of the variants of the Maturity Date (there are variants there due to the usual “whichever is the earlier” speculation) is 6 months after the Promoter makes a written request for such payment. The Note further refers us to certain conditions stated in 4.2.5 of their Agreement. Agreement is of course too grand a way to call this cut and paste job, but let us put up with it for the sake of convenience.
The conditions stated in 4.2.5 say that Promoter will have the right to recoup all Artist Advances if by March 1, 2009 the Artist’s company a) does not obtain a cancellation (medical) insurance, b) does not name AEG as the loss payee, and c) the Promoter is unable to obtain cancellation insurance to cover the risk of loss of their expenses.
Mind you that in AEG’s twisted terminology their own expenses are called “pool” expenses which for all other people would mean joint expenses. However AEG does its business in such a way that you never know what their terminology is and all their terms require constant checking and rechecking.
For example, you can learn the true meaning of some definitions only from some God-forsaken attachment (I mean Exhibit A) with no signature or date on it, which is so frivolous a document that it enables them to write there whatever they like and attach it to the contract at any (later) time, thus changing the whole meaning of the basic text of the contract.
So if Pool expenses are the Promoter’s expenses only, it will be unclear why the Artist is to pay back his advances if the Promoter doesn’t receive an insurance covering the Promoter’s expenses only. But if Pool expenses are understood in the general meaning of the word (as joint expenses) this point becomes clear and understandable – if the parties are unable to get an insurance policy to cover their joint losses it might be risky to get into the deal and this can put a stop to their initial plans. And if the plans are off it is natural to ask the Artist to return the advances received. AEG wanted to create the impression of such a natural situation though the real meaning of this point is different.
The idea of a possible cancellation also lies behind the medical insurance to be obtained by the Artist – if he is not fit for the performances, the deal will be cancelled and the Artist will have to return the advance. This will have to be done within 6 months from the moment AEG asks for it – therefore if the insurance is not obtained by March 1, payment of the advance will be due on September 1.
But wait – what if the Artist passes the physical examination later than March 1, 2009? Michael did pass the physical examination in March 2009 (with flying colors), but the medical insurance was obtained from Lloyds only on April 24 (at least this is the date they state as the beginning of the insurance term). Though this difference in the time of obtaining an insurance is a formal thing it is still a deviation from the agreement, but it was apparently settled amicably between the parties as we haven’t heard of any reprisals on AEG’s part.
But what if Michael hadn’t passed the physical at all?
Then he would have had to return the advance of $6,2 mln.
Could it have been a problem for him?
You think it couldn’t – if he was prudent enough to keep the money under the carpet until after the medical examination was passed, correct?
But if you think that way it will be a big and grave mistake on your part.
The thing is that AEG gave the Initial Advance to the Artist not for his free use but on several harsh conditions. The two major demands on how the Artist was to use the $6,2 mln. advance were:
- to immediately transfer $3 mln. to 2 Seas Records company
- to set aside $1,2 mln. for renting a house evidently found for Michael either by Tohme or AEG and at the monthly fee of $100,000 too. Extra precaution was made for the Artist not to get cash in the latter case – AEG was opening a Letter of Credit for the sum of $1,2 mln. which means that the whole sum was to be kept in the bank, from which the money was to be remitted to the owner of the house on a monthly basis.
Not going now into detail as to whether AEG had the right to set all those conditions on the Artist or not (I think they didn’t), let us calculate how much remained with the Artist after all those deductions were made. And if we deduct $3 mln. to Sea Records and $1,2 mln for the house the Artist will be left with $2 mln. only.
And now let us assume that he didn’t pass his physical test after all those sums had been forcefully taken away from him and he had already rented a house and made some payments for it. Or let us imagine even a more ridiculous situation that AEG did not obtain an insurance for covering the loss of its so-called “pool” expenses (which was a thing wholly dependent on AEG and AEG alone!).
In the event of the above AEG could demand the $6,2 mln. back and if the Artist didn’t repay the sum within a short period of time they could impose heavy sanctions on him. However we know that the Artist was forced to spend two thirds of the sum and all he had was $2mln. left!
I have heard of situations when a lender first makes their borrower spend his money and then “creates a situation” requiring immediate repayment and applies severe sanctions since he can’t pay. Frankly, it even reminds me of those criminal dealers who first give a loan to a shop owner who wants to buy some goods and then burn his shop so that he spends all the money on its renovation, and when he is unable to repay the loan they take away his house because it was used as collateral for this loan.
What is clear is that if, for some reason, the Artist didn’t repay his advance back (within 6 months from AEG’s written request) the sanctions imposed on him by AEG were to be very severe. Let us run back to the Promissory Note and see what these sanctions were like.
The first thing we discover in the Promissory Note is that in case of default in payment it is naturally the FULL sum of the Advance which was to be paid back to the Promoter, though they themselves know perfectly well that they forced him to give away two thirds of the sum.
Another thing we suddenly see is that the follow-up clauses of the Promissory Note suddenly mention some monthly installments. The Promissory Note is vague as to when the first installment is to be made, what the schedule of installment payments is and what sum each installment amounts to (what if AEG wanted him to pay a million a month which would be impossible to make?).
These monthly installments were accidentally found by us in the least likely place (called “prepayment”) and as I say were not accompanied by any schedule, amounts to be paid or a clear date of starting payments. These kind of things are totally unacceptable in contracts as nothing should be left to guesswork there – vague points like that are room for interpreting it in a highly frivolous way.
And judging by the Promissory Note these monthly installments are no joke.
If at least one of them is delayed by more than 5 business days a so-called Event of Default is to take effect, and as a result of this Event of Default the Promoter had the right to demand the full sum of the advance to be paid all at once!
The logic here is as follows – if you can’t pay the first installment (say a million) and delay payment by 5 days we penalize you by the need to pay the full $6,2 mln and immediately too. Oh, we see that you wanted to pay in portions? Or you ask for a short delay because there is a point in the Promissory Note saying that “the parties may extend the Maturity Date by signing a written modification of this Note”?
No way, dear artist, AEG’s position will be relentless here.
A certain point in the Note called “No Waiver by Holder” says that the need to “totally repay” (or pay the full sum) will take place even if the installment is made, but made with a delay:
- “the acceptance by Holder [AEG] of any payment under this Note after the date such payment is due… shall not constitute… the right to declare an Event of Default [or is no reason not to demand full payment at once].
- The acceptance by Holder of a payment of a portion of any installment shall not cure or excuse the default”. [same – the demand to pay the full sum immediately will still be there]
And what will happen if the Artist is unable to pay the full sum of $6,2 mln. immediately upon AEG’s demand?
A disaster will happen in this case.
AEG will receive full rights to the Collateral.
Collateral as the ultimate goal
In the Promissory Note the Collateral is understood as a “security interest” in the Artist’s company’s “right, title and interest in, to and under the following properties, assets and rights, wherever located, whether now owned or hereafter acquired or arising, and all proceeds and products thereof: contract rights, the right to the payment of money in which Artistco has an interest, insurance claims and proceeds, commercial tort claims, securities and all other investment, property and all general intangibles (including all account receivable and payment intangibles)”.
However if the Promissory Note refers to only a “security interest” in all those rights and property, AEG’s so-called Agreement in its point 16.3 is much more definite.
It refers to the Artist’s property as “Security” and makes a flat statement that in case of a default in paying back the advances the Promoter can “exercise their rights” to ALL properties, shares, interests, etc. listed above – whether they are owned now or will be owned in the future.
To ensure that all future property will also be theirs the Promissory Note says that in an Event of Default AEG will abe irrevocably (or without a possibility to reconsider it) appointed as the only attorney-in-fact of the Artist’s company.
The attorney-in-fact will have full authority to act in the name of the company to do as follows:
(a) ask, demand, collect, sue for, recover, compound, receive and give acquittance and recepts for, money due and to become due in respect of the Collateral;
(b) receive, endorse and collect any drafts or other documents in connection with it;
(c) file claims or take any other action and proceedings necessary for collecting the Collateral;
(d) file financial statements or amendments relative to the Collateral.
In short if the Artist does not immediately pay back the advances AEG will receive full right to take any legal or other action necessary on behalf of the Artist’s company in connection with claiming the Collateral.
And the Collateral is the Artist’s EVERYTHING.
If we recall from where all this avalanche started we will see the following chain of events:
1. If, for example, the Artist does not pass his medical examination (or AEG does not get cancellation insurance to cover loss of its expenses) AEG will use its right to demand the advances back.
2. Since the Artist has only $2mln. left after most of the money was taken away from him by AEG’s forceful and inappropriate demands, there is a danger that he will delay repayment of his advance.
3. However if he delays his first we-don’t-know-how-big monthly repayment by at least 6 days they will demand that he pays the full sum of the advances immediately.
4. And if the Artist is unable to pay everything at once he will lose his Collateral and all property and rights he has now or will have in the future.
5. AEG will become his company’s attorney-in-fact and will obtain full rights to sue, recover and collect money in any way they think fit on behalf of the Artist and his company.
6. If Michael’s music catalog is part of the company’s assets AEG will receive direct access to it. If it isn’t, they can sue other Michael’s creditors or can obtain the catalog by repaying the loan – thus getting all Michael’s precious assets, which he cherished so much and wanted to leave to his children.
7. And AEG’s Promissory Note by the way states that the Note is binding even for the “party’s successors and assigns”. Given that the Artist as an individual was also considered a “party” in this separate transaction it means that AEG wanted even Michael’s children to be bound by the obligations the AEG guys imposed on their father!
A stand-by variant
Let me say that if the Artist did the impossible and managed to pay the initial $6,2 mln. advance, Promoter AEG Live Entertainment had a reserve variant aimed at the Artist’s default of payment – it was the production advances also placed on his shoulders and provided for by the contract in the amount of “not exceeding $7,500,000”.
Michael never saw this money as it was paid by AEG directly to the providers of various services against their receipts. He was only promised to be “kept informed of the production costs”. And though at the initial stage it was AEG who was paying the bills, AEG took steps to stealthily shift the production costs onto the shoulders of the Artist, thus making production advances his responsibility too!
Initially the AEG ‘contract’ did not say a word about the Artist having the pay the production expenses. On the contrary we’ve seen in an earlier example with Tohme that Tohme’s salary was included into production costs and the contract practically said that these costs were none of Michael Jackson’s business. In fact many of us remember Randy Phillips complaining how costly the production of the show was and all of us thought that it was AEG who was paying for the show.
Michael Jackson also thought that way and was heard to express worries that AEG had spent too much money on production (so he couldn’t let them down). Poor thing, he didn’t’ know they wanted to make him responsible for all those expenses….
We wouldn’t have known either if the attachment called Exhibit A (the one with no date or signature) hadn’t opened our eyes to their plans. What the contract says about the production expenses is one thing, and what Exhibit A says about the same is another thing.
And Exhibit A says that the production costs are to be the Artist’s business. Remember its formula of the Artist’s net income where the idea is expressed in a terribly roundabout way?
- “Artist’s Net Tour Income means the Contingent Compensation minus the sum of Production Costs”.
Yes, in all the innumerable pages of various papers, making up their cut and paste contract, it is only this short sentence which is telling us the truth about who is to pay for producing the show. And the truth is – the one from whose share the costs are to be deducted is the one who eventually pays for them.
But if the costs are Michael’s business than the production advances in the amount of $7,5mln. are his responsibility too! And it does not matter who is spending the money now – it is still Michael who is to repay it to AEG!
In fact after a long and tiresome analysis of the text of the “contract” I did find a piece which shows that AEG did indeed want to recoup the production advances from the Artist’s company – strange that I noticed it only after Exhibit A opened my eyes to it. The clause found in the contract said:
- 8.2. Promoter shall be entitled to recoup such production Advances from Contingent Compensation otherwise payable to Artistco.
Summing up the above, in case AEG found a pretext to find fault with the Artist and demand repayment of all the advances back, the Artist was to pay not only the $6,2 mln. of the initial advance which he received of his own free will, but also the $7,5 mln of production advances which were placed on his shoulders and which he was probably totally unaware of!
The resulting sum would have been $13,7 mln, and this was surely too much a sum for the Artist to raise and within a short period of time too.
This is exactly the scenario AEG hoped for as it gave them a chance to start that avalanche of payment demands which could have brought them to the Artist’s Collateral.
And his Collateral was their primary goal.
Could it really happen?
Let me assure you that none of the above scenarios could really take place in real life as the “contract” which was the basis for all that dirty scheming is a fraudulent and invalid one. Besides the forged signature of Michael Jackson in the crucial part of the ‘contract’ there are too many other discrepancies between its various parts for this filthy package to be a credible document – though of course it would have taken time to prove the matter in court.
However the fact that AEG built their highly detailed and intricate ‘contract’ around the idea of obtaining Michael’s collateral – in case of his inability to pay back the advances – shows the intentions AEG pursued while making that document.
After this ‘contract’ had been made, all that remained to be done was creating a possibility or at least a pretext for triggering off the events for which all necessary arrangements had been made in their contract in advance.
Any real or fictional pretext for demanding the advances back was good for AEG and the contract left numerous other opportunities for a similar course of action.
Bringing their relations with Michael to a boiling point when they could go on a riot against him and “pull the plug” was a really big opportunity they were looking for. It would have enabled them to start the chain reaction of the well-taken-care-of events, the outline of which is so expressly stated by their contract.
However even while Michael was alive things began to take a turn for the better. Michael took drastic measures to sanitize the situation – Tohme was fired and new people were employed. Michael’s business affairs were passed over to his loyal manager Frank Dileo and a smart old-time lawyer who would have been able to eventually sort out the problem with this cut-and-paste AEG contract.
And this means that Michael knew what they were up to and was fighting them until his last day.