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JOHN BRANCA and MICHAEL JACKSON’S finances

July 23, 2012

Recently one blogger approached me with a statement that attorney John Branca isn’t worthy of praise for the brilliant way he (and John McClain) are settling Michael’s debts as he was the one who accrued those debts in the first place. My thoughts were elsewhere at the time and this statement looked so far-fetched and ungrounded that the matter didn’t seem serious enough even to look into.

However the recent letter from several Jacksons demanding immediate Branca’s resignation cast a totally different light on this statement and required an immediate study of the reasons why Branca may have fallen into such a disfavor with the Jacksons.

Considering little information in the press this short study of Branca’s role in Michael Jackson’s financial situation will be an outline only, with all missing details to be filled in later.  It will also require mentioning other people in Michael’s surrounding as it is only against the background of these people that Branca’s role may be properly understood and evaluated.

The ultimate goal of the study is to find out whether it could be due to Branca’s ill advice that Michael ended up with a huge debt and what could be the reason for the financial situation he found himself in. This task will require not just one post but probably several.

All I can say at the moment is that after reading all there was to read about Branca’s involvement in Michael Jackson’s life I regard Branca as an exceptionally skilled, professional, honest and upright man – a sort of a Thomas Mesereau for Michael’s finances.  His dedication to observing Michael’s best interests (as a client and friend) is awesome and in combination with his brilliance is indeed a rare find.

I don’t doubt him

I personally do not doubt for a second that if Branca had stayed by Michael’s side for a longer time in 2009 he would have found a way out of his financial impasse and would have surely straightened out for Michael the terms of his so-called contract with AEG. Mind you that he would have probably done it in a way that would have satisfied the other side too. It seems that Branca has a knack for finding just the right compromise for the opposing parties.

However I don’t want to press my views on any of you. You surely want to form an opinion of your own, so please have a look at the materials I’ve collected. None of them have anything negative about Branca for the simple reason that there is nothing bad about him on the net. Given how nosy and unscrupulous the media is this notable absence of anything against Branca is a unique result in and of itself.

The USA today says that Branca and Michael met when both were very young.  

Branca was the one who helped Michael acquire the Beatles catalog and the Neverland ranch:

When he met a young Michael Jackson in 1980, Branca was already a successful young entertainment lawyer, and has represented 28 members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His clients have included the Beach Boys,The Doors, Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones and countless other top rock acts.

Michael was either 21 or about to turn 21 when I met him and he had never had his own (legal) team,” he said.

Branca says they shared an immediate bond, and was there to shepherd Jackson through the phenomenal success of the Thriller album in 1982. And contrary to other versions of the story, he said it was Michael’s idea to buy the Beatles catalog after Paul McCartney told Jackson he was investing in buying copyrights to famous songs.

He bought copyrights to such songs as Runaround Sue and The Wanderer, and the work of Sly and the Family Stone.

“And then came the mother lode,” said Branca. When he told Jackson about the ATV catalog up for sale, “He started screaming on the phone. I actually have a great note he wrote me. It said: ‘Branca, the catalog is mine. Don’t lose it by over-negotiating.”‘

In earlier years, Branca also helped Jackson obtain the rights to his recording masters and brokered the purchase of Neverland Ranch, originally offered for $60 million, for a final price of $17.5 million, including all furnishings.

But life with Michael was not all about money, Branca says. At first they were friends, traveling to Disney World together, socializing at Branca’s home. Jackson was the best man at Branca’s first wedding, bringing with him his pet chimp Bubbles, who was clad in a tiny tuxedo. Little Richard was the minister.

The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2009-08-14-jackson-branca_N.htm?csp=34

Johnnie L. Roberts of the Wrap who made a five-part series about Branca in December 2010 (trying very hard to cast a shade of doubt on him) provided details of the Beatles catalog transaction which took place  in 1985.

His story tells us that Paul McCartney was well aware of the deal and Branca took special care to seek the blessing of Yoko Ono. The deal was so lucrative and the acquisition so priceless that the catalog became an asset coveted by many ever since then:

In 1985, the Branca-engineered Beatles purchase would radically redefine the dimensions of Jackson’s legend. Possessing the Beatles revealed that Jackson’s business instincts rivaled his remarkable artistry

Why the Beatles didn’t own their catalogue in the first place was unfortunate. Seeking to thwart the British tax collector, John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the 1960s formed Northern Songs, a public company, as the repository for the songs they wrote. The move backfired in 1969 when impresario Sir Lew Grade bought control of it on the open market through one of his companies, ATV Music. Seventeen years later, Australian Robert Holmes à Court acquired Grade’s crumbling entertainment empire.

And, inevitably, Holmes à Court, a notable among the era’s unsentimental raiders and plunderers of corporations, would put all or parts of it, including the Beatles, on the auction block.

In September 1984, Branca alerted Jackson, mentioning that ATV, a name the entertainer didn’t even recognize, was available. “It includes a few things you might be interested in,” Branca had teased Jackson, according to a 1985 report in the Los Angeles Times. “Northern Songs … Yeah, Mike … the Beatles.”

.. To this day, 25 years later, it’s still evident Branca and his law partners remain sensitive to Paul McCartney’s stinging accusation that his one-time friend Jackson had stabbed him in the back.

“Paul’s representatives were very aware of what was going on,” said Stiffelman, Branca’s law partner. “The part that always bothered me was the accusation that Michael stole it from under McCartney.”

Branca also had been careful to seek the blessing of Yoko Ono. She reportedly was thrilled that a corporation wouldn’t own the catalogue and hadn’t wanted the headache herself of teaming with McCartney for a joint bid.

So it was that at barely 30 years old in 1990, Jackson now was fabulously wealthy  — worth $300 million, according to biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli, author of “Michael Jackson: The Magic and Madness.”

http://www.thewrap.com/media/article/michael-jackson-3-getting-beatles-cataglogue-22422?page=0,1

The USA today says that five years after the acquisition, in 1990 Branca was ousted from his job. The article also provides some details of Branca’s further adventures with Michael Jackson:

In 1990, Jackson tearfully told Branca he wanted to try different representation; though Branca wouldn’t confirm it, it was widely reported that Hollywood mogul and record company executive David Geffen advised Jackson that Branca’s influence in his affairs had grown too large. They remained apart for three years.

Branca returned in 1993, at a time when Jackson was being sued in a child molestation case he ultimately settled. But the relationship was different.

“Later on in his career he really had a line between his business and personal life,” said Branca.

In 1997 a will was drafted for Jackson — but not, Branca says, by him. Instead, he said he assigned it to a member of his firm who specialized in wills and trusts. It was redone in 2002, after the birth of Jackson’s third child.

Branca said he played no role in advising Jackson on the will, but knew the singer did not want a family member in control of his estate. Jackson also felt he did not have to take care of his brothers and sisters, Branca said.

By 2006, Branca says, his relationship with Jackson was troubled once again. The star was listening to an increasingly odd set of advisers who Branca feared did not have the singer’s best interests at heart.

“He was surrounded and I had to resign,” he said. “He did not ask me to stay. I resigned amicably.”

And then, a little more than a month before Jackson died, the call came from Jackson’s former manager, Frank Delio. Branca says Delio told him Jackson sought his input on what kind of deals they could begin working on; Branca drafted an agenda and met with Jackson on June 17 at the Forum in Los Angeles, where the King of Pop was rehearsing for his big comeback.

“I hadn’t seen him in several years,” Branca said. “We hugged each other. He said, ‘John, you’re back.’ It was very emotional. I showed him the agenda.”

It was what Jackson wanted, Branca said — including a concert movie, books and merchandising deals.

“That agenda is exactly what John McClain and I are doing now,” Branca said, “for the estate.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2009-08-14-jackson-branca_N.htm?csp=34

A word about the the reasons why Branca was fired in 1990.

In a fierce battle between the then CEO of Sony Walter Yetnikoff and entertainment mogul David Geffen, John Branca was on Yetnikoff’s side and Michael had to part with Branca when he chose David Geffen as his main business advisor.

Yetnikoff and Michael

For twelve years Yetnikoff was President of CBS records under whose watch CBS’s annual revenue grew from $485 million fivefold. In 1987 he engineered the sale of CBS Records to Sony for $2 billion with a $20mln. bonus for himself and took the post of a Sony CEO.

But he was an alcoholic and a drug addict as he admitted in his book about the days of his debauchery (for details see here) as a result of which he lost relationships with his colleagues and artists like Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen.

However it is not only the Russian-sounding name of Yetnikoff which biases me towards him but also this piece of news about the way Yetnikoff fought for Michael’s rights on MTV:

Yetnikoff Fought MTV Over Jackson’s Race Slurs

(08-11-2007) Music mogul Walter Yetnikoff threatened to pull his CBS Music artists Barbra Streisand and Chicago from a fledgling MTV when the cable music channel’s bosses refused to air Michael Jackson’s videos in the early 1980s. He reveals that MTV refused to play ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Beat It’ – because Michael Jackson was black. Yetnikoff recalls:

I said, ‘That’s fine, but I am pulling my entire catalogue, all my records, forget about it. You are not playing anything by CBS.’ I said, ‘Come on, you are acting like a bunch of schmucks.'”

Source: MJFC / http://www.pr-inside.com / http://www.wenn.com

The New York Times article of the period [1993] provides an insight into the character of the man under whose influence Michael fell in 1990:

David Geffen

David Geffen, Still Hungry

Published: May 02, 1993

“David will do anything for you if you’re his friend,” says Howard Rosenman, a movie producer and, yes, a friend. “But if you’re his enemy, well, you might as well kill yourself.”

In November 1990, Matsushita Electrical Industrial Company of Japan bought the entertainment conglomerate MCA for more than $6 billion. At the time Geffen owned 10 million shares of MCA stock — a result of the sale of his company, Geffen Records, to MCA early that year. In a single stroke, Geffen realized more than $700 million from the Matsushita sale. His investments since then, coupled with his real-estate holdings, art collection and film-company profits have made him a billionaire.

Geffen, who is the richest man in Hollywood (and also one of the most complex), helped raise millions of dollars for President Clinton in the election, and has now set his sights on a mountain more formidable than Hollywood — Washington, D.C.

At 50, with a $1 billion fortune, Geffen is hardly seeking a Cabinet job; but he’s looking for an apartment in Washington and probably wouldn’t mind serving on a Presidential commission or two.

..The enormousness of Geffen’s wealth, while calming his temper and cowing everyone in sight, has hardly quelled his demons. Like his idols, those 1930’s movie moguls who were born poor, had scant formal education and were brilliant and ferocious men, Geffen has a hunger for success that seems bottomless.

…One of David Geffen’s closest friends says that Hollywood is like the Balkans. “There are duchesses and dukes and a court of sychophants,” the friend says. “And David is one of the emperors. There’s Mike Ovitz and there’s David. Two emperors.

[VMJ: Later on Mike Ovitz would claim that Geffen was the reason for his downfall]

“And you have to pay your respects to both of them,” he goes on. “And David sort of sits there in the darkness. Very quiet. You don’t know what he’s doing except controlling and manipulating. Sort of like the original-cast album cover of ‘My Fair Lady.’ That’s David. But he’s tired now, he’s tired of the con artists and the hustlers and all these betraying human beings here. And he wants more. He wants clout on a bigger stage. And he’s doing it.”

…Another call, this time from Sandy Gallin. They are planning to see the Off-Broadway comedy “Jeffrey” by Paul Rudnick, about a gay man who decides to give up sex in the age of AIDS. Diane von Furstenberg and Fran Lebowitz are set to join them. Geffen’s close circle of friends in show business include homosexuals and heterosexuals, but he speaks with rage at insinuations that there’s a “gay mafia” in Hollywood.

“Let’s just say that there are successful gay people who are aware of each other,” he says. “And if you’re in a minority group that comes with the territory. But if you talk about a gay mafia involved in some kind of nefarious activity, that’s ridiculous.”

As Geffen walks into Calvin Klein’s showroom, the designer is frantically preparing for a new fashion show of men’s jeans and clothing. Klein hugs Geffen. The two are old friends but, beyond that, it was Geffen who bailed out the designer last year by buying up about $62 million in junk-bond debt of Klein’s company, enabling it to avoid a principal payment.

…Most people seem to agree on one thing about David Geffen: he is a man of contradictions. On the one hand, he appears totally unpretentious. The jeans and T-shirt that mark his sartorial style mirror a no-nonsense directness in his approach to friends. “He’s voracious in his criticisms,” says Jeff Katzenberg. “When he sees a movie of mine he doesn’t like, he massacres me. But it comes from a place of total generosity.”

Geffen can also be generous toward employees. Upon her retirement, he gave his longtime secretary 1 percent of the sale of his record company, which made her $5 million.

Yet Geffen also has a take-no-enemies side. He has often been singled out for the Machiavellian role he played in the 1990 downfall of the temperamental Walter Yetnikoff, the former head of CBS Records. (Geffen calls the reports “Hollywood silliness.”)

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/05/02/magazine/david-geffen-still-hungry.html?pagewanted=3&src=pm

When Branca was dismissed due to him being a Yetnikoff ally Geffen brought in a team of his own attorneys and managers which included his friend and partner Sandy Gallin who replaced Frank Dileo as Michael’s manager and lawyers Alan Grubman and Bert Fields who replaced Branca.

We know Bert Fields as a staunch supporter of Michael’s innocence in the case brought against Michael by Larry Feldman and the Chandlers, but also as the one who lost to Larry Feldman in a competition over the time of hearing the Chandlers’ civil case – it went ahead of the criminal proceedings though it was the accused party Michael Jackson who insisted on the criminal case going first (as a side note let me say that only absolutely innocent people can insist on being tried in a criminal court instead of a civil one).

The Justice for some blog makes an excellent research about why Michael chose Geffen over Yetnikoff – he was in awe of the successful way Geffen was carrying out his own business and evidently hoped that Geffen would work miracles for him too:

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2010

David Geffen with Jackson and Madonna

When First We Practice to Deceive: Yetnikoff, Geffen and MJ

The ties between Walter Yetnikoff, David Geffen, Alan Grubman go back further than Sony’s acquisition of CBS Records in 1988.

Geffen and Yetnikoff hadn’t always disliked each other. They had been friends and business associates for years, but “they always feuded. They’d be screaming one day and dealing the next. But this time was different. The feud didn’t go away. Yetnikoff had apparently “said he wanted a girlfriend to take lessons from Geffen in the performance of a certain sex act; in exchange he’d buy Geffen Records for $1 billion in Sony stock.” (Geffen is openly gay.) Many people repeated what Yetnikoff said to Geffen, who was not pleased. And so the war began.

A few months later, Geffen said “Michael Jackson asked him to include an unreleased Jackson song–a cover version of John Lennon’s ‘Come Together’–on Geffen Records soundtrack for the Tom Cruise race-car movie, Days of Thunder. Yetnikoff refused to allow it….It was a small matter, but Geffen’s friends said it enraged him all the same. If Geffen couldn’t get Jackson’s song, maybe he could get Jackson himself–or at the very least, make a move to do so and wreak havoc for Walter.”

Apparently, Michael Jackson was not as impressed with Yetnikoff as he was with Geffen. Geffen sold his record company to MCA for $550 million in 1990; a deal that was extremely lucrative for Geffen, to say the very least. Geffen sat on Jackson’s board of directors for 10 years. Jackson was thoroughly awe-struck with Geffen’s sale of his record company. With Geffen’s sale, Yetnikoff ordered Allen Grubman to sever ties with Geffen, which Grubman snuffed at.

Sources say Geffen proceeded ahead by exploring “the idea of breaking Jackson’s CBS contract. To that end, they say, he had Jackson fire his longtime lawyer–John Branca–an ally of Yetnikoff’s–and replace him with Geffen’s litigator, Bert Fields. (Jackson had already fired another Yetnikoff ally, Frank DiLeo, and replaced him with a Geffen crony.) Jackson seemed under Geffen’s control, but Geffen denies having a hand in this…” Geffen claims it was Michael who wanted to leave Branca, because Branca was too close to Yetnikoff.

Geffen and Grubman were ultimately accused of Yetnikoff’s firing from Sony, along with his protege, Tommy Mottola. http://mjandjustice4some.blogspot.com/2010/10/when-first-we-practice-to-deceive.html

Johnnie L. Roberts of the Wrap adds some details to the way Branca fell a casualty in the war between Yetnikoff and Geffen in 1990:

Michael was the best man at Branca’s wedding

In the preceding years, Branca had helped propel “Thriller” into the history books and engineered the coup that netted him the Beatles’ song catalogue. Within months of the publication of the bookJackson would be the best man for Branca’s first marriage.

Then, two years later, Branca was gone — fired by Jackson in the first crack of a relationship that would continually crumble for the next two decades, until just days before the ill-fated entertainer’s death.

His jettisoning by Jackson, in 1990, was one of the more absorbing show business separations.

As chronicled in J. Randy Taraborrelli’s bestseller Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness”  — and

an account Branca has never publicly disputed — the lawyer was a casualty of criss-crossing agendas, among Branca, then-Sony Music boss Walter Yetnikoff and, cast as antagonist, show business mogul David Geffen.

With Geffen — at least, as Branca and Taraborrelli paint him — you were either with him or not. Branca was not.

Michael, in fact, had welcomed Geffen into his life initially, though he’d later turn on him viciously. For years, Geffen had served on an informal committee advising Jackson on investments — including, though it’s not widely known, the Branca-spearheaded purchase of the Beatles catalogue.

“Michael changed lawyers because he wanted to — he felt John Branca was too close to Walter [Yetnikoff],” Geffen declared in “The Magic and the Madness.”

Jackson, as biographer Taraborrelli also discovered, had grown anxious over Branca’s representation of other mega-acts like the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith. And, notably, the axe fell after Branca asked Jackson for a 5 percent interest in the Beatles catalogue, perhaps the entertainer’s most prized possession.

In any case, Jackson soon was surrounded by other high-powered attorneys, including Bert Fields and Allen Grubman — part of Geffen’s team, as Branca viewed them.

So Branca was out.

Elaborating on the idea of Michael “turning on Geffen viciously” let me note that our friend Maureen Orth claimed that eventually Michael came to hate Geffen so much that he was said to arrange a blood-bath curse ritual for him and a number of other guys like Steven Spielberg, for example. The sacrifice allegedly took place in no other place but Switzerland where the number of cows sacrificed in broad daylight was 42 (forty two).

Maureen Orth must have gone completely mad if she managed to swallow this story and so easily too. If she had done a simple fact check of this fable she would have found that an average bathtub holds no more than 75 liters of liquid, while one cow contains 40 liters of blood, so 40 liters multiplied by 42 cows must have produced a whole sea of blood which would have not gone unnoticed in the not so vast and civilized Switzerland. I am afraid that the person who played this nasty joke on Maureen Orth must be simply laughing at this woman’s gullibility – same as the rest of us do.

However fable or not, the idea of Michael developing a dislike for Geffen after ten years of their collaboration may have some grounds, especially since Johnnie L. Roberts of the Wrap speaks of it in his article too.

If Geffen became Michael’s main adviser in 1990 and really sat on his board of directors for 10 years (or up to 2000), I am afraid that he may also be considered the main person who didn’t prevent grave difficulties in the cash-flow situation Michael experienced by the year 1999.

This was the year when Michael used his portion of the Sony/ATV catalog as collaterial for a $200 mln. loan from Bank of America. So the very least we can say about Geffen is that despite his own enormous fortune and much luck in business he evidently failed to provide Michael with valuable financial advice and take proper care of his finances.

The only objective factor which may more or less explain this failure is that the 90s and the Chandler molestation set-up delivered a huge blow to Michael’s career and finances and made the sales of his records go sharply downhill. While the revenue generated was quickly getting smaller, the expenses connected with litigation over bogus molestation issues and settling the accompanying lawsuits required more and more cash.

One on the biggest lawsuits at the time arose not even due to Chandler’s case which had to be settled by paying out $15, 3 mln. (later compensated for by an insurance company), but due to Michael’s forced termination of the Dangerous tour.

Lisa Campbell in her book King of Pop’s Darkest Hour (1994) says that the lawsuit was filed on December 28, 1993 or a week after Michael Jackson’s humiliating strip search conducted by Tom Sneddon. There couldn’t be a worse time for delivering Michael this blow.

Marcel Avram and Michael Jackson

On December 28,1993, concert promoter Marcel Avram filed a breach of contract complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court against Michael Jackson, TTC Touring Corp., and MJJ Enterprises. The suit, asking for $20 million in damages plus punitive damages, charged fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty regarding Michael’s contract with Avram’s Mama Concerts to finance and promote the 1993 Dangerous World Tour.”

The first leg of the tour took place in 1992 and was a huge success. The October 1, 1992 Bucharest concert alone was so thunderous that those who have seen it will never forget it.

Wiki says about it:

Jackson sold the film rights to his October 1, 1992 concert in Bucharest, Romania to HBO for $21 million. The deal was the highest ever paid for a live concert. The concert was broadcast live on radio and shown on television across 61 countries, and received the highest TV ratings in the history of the HBO network, in which Jackson was honoured with a CableACE Award.

All profits from the Dangerous tour were donated to various charities including Jackson’s own “Heal the World Foundation

Notwithstanding the overall success of the tour Marcel Avram’s lawsuit claimed that Michael’s performances

  •  “…were not first class as guaranteed by the contract but instead, were mediocre, abbreviated, and mechanical as compared with his prior performances.” He alleged that Michael Jackson concealed the true facts regarding his condition and actions upon signing the contract. Nineteen of the forty three scheduled dates were cancelled when the tour was ended in November.” (Lisa Campbell)

According to the Times the lawsuit also said some nonsense about Michael “embarking on the tour, in part, to avoid a looming investigation into child molestation allegations” (though it is clear to everyone that the second leg of the tour had been planned well before it started) and complained that that Michael “barely rehearsed for the tour”.

The last point attracted my attention because if Michael could perform during that hardest period of his life it means that he was capable of producing first-class shows even under a huge stress and in totally impossible conditions (like the concert in nasty Moscow weather the very next day the molestation suit was filed on September 13, 1993).

It also proves that Michael Jackson was capable of performing even after “barely rehearsing for the tour”.

Since this is what AEG also had an issue with in the year 2009 it shows that AEG’s fears and  insistence on Michael attending every rehearsal were largely ungrounded. In fact it was none of AEG’s business whether Michael did or didn’t attend the rehearsals – his only obligation under the contract was producing first-class shows and not first-class rehearsals after all.

However let’s go back to Marcel Avram. The Times reported his claims to Jackson as follows:

Jackson Hit With $20-Million Lawsuit : Pop music: The pop star faces a fraud and breach-of-contract claim by the promoter of his canceled ‘Dangerous’ tour. The singer performed only 24 of the 43 shows.

December 29, 1993|CHUCK PHILIPS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Embattled pop star Michael Jackson was sued Tuesday for more than $20 million in a fraud and breach-of-contract claim by the promoter of his abruptly canceled “Dangerous World Tour.”

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Jackson refuses to reimburse Marcel Avram, the owner of Munich-based Mama Concerts, the money for debts resulting from cancellations on the tour.

It also charges that the singer concealed that he was addicted to drugs and embarked on the tour, in part, to avoid a looming investigation into child molestation allegations.

The tour ended Nov. 12 when the singer announced he was seeking help for an addiction to drugs–a condition, he said, that stemmed from coping with the molestation allegations by a 13-year-old boy, who has also filed a lawsuit against the star. Jackson performed 24 of the 43 scheduled dates.

“Michael Jackson has yet to pay one nickel to the people he left stranded after canceling his world tour,” said Los Angeles attorney Don Engel, who represents Avram, owner of Mama Concerts.

“He stiffed hundreds of thousands of his fans and hung my client out to dry. We had no alternative but to bring suit against him.”

Representatives for Jackson did not return repeated phone calls.

Engel said Avram filed the suit because Jackson’s representatives have refused for six weeks to pay outstanding bills and reimburse millions of dollars in cash advanced to the singer for shows he canceled without notice. Among others reportedly due money: tour employees, vendors and associate promoters.

Despite the international uproar created when the allegations of child molestation became public in August, Jackson had publicly pressed on with his world tour, performing across Asia and Europe despite setbacks and distractions.

At the tour’s outset, as the allegations surfaced, Jackson canceled two Bangkok shows, citing dehydration. He shelved a date in Singapore after collapsing backstage. Other shows were canceled in South Africa, Australia, Chile and Peru.

But in Tuesday’s lawsuit, Avram alleges that Jackson’s conduct and performance problems resulted from the entertainer’s addiction to morphine and Demerol.

The suit claims that agents or advisers for Jackson provided the singer with a supply of drugs and deceived Avram by misrepresenting the singer’s health problems. False information about the status of Jackson’s health was unknowingly used by the promoter on Aug. 17 to obtain an insurance policy from Lloyds of London to guarantee against financial losses resulting from Jackson’s failure or inability to perform scheduled concerts on the tour, the suit says. The settlement of the insurance policy is now in question.

Avram himself has been sued twice by vendors and promoters who lost money due to the cancellations.

He alleges that Jackson barely rehearsed for the tour and indeed requested to cancel or postpone it on Aug. 19–less than one week before the first concert was scheduled to take place in Bangkok.

http://articles.latimes.com/1993-12-29/entertainment/ca-6422_1_pop-star-michael-jackson

In her book of 1994 Lisa Campbell said that the $20mln. claim could be still paid for by the insurance company (the case was still pending at the time), but from the way it looks to me it was a highly unlikely scenario. It is much more probable that the sum had to be paid by Michael.

UPDATE: The source quoted below says that Marcel Avram sued Michael for $40mln. and that the matter was settled out of court. So the sum of $20mln. mentioned by all other sources could be the sum actually paid by Michael Jackson to settle  Marcel Avram’s claim:

Lisa Campbell says that the Dangerous tour lawsuit was followed by other legal and financial trouble:

“The Children’s Peace Foundation was also jumping on the sue Michael Jackson bandwagon, suing him for breach of contract fraud, negligent misrepresentation and unfair competition. The foundation claimed Michael Jackson used them to make lucrative merchandising deals and then cut them out of the profits.

Plans to begin re-marketing Michael’s fragrances, Mystique de Michael Jackson for women and Legende de Michael Jackson for men, were cancelled in December. The makers of the line said it was due to Michael’s addiction to painkillers. The cologne was sold through The Michael Jackson International Fan Club and through television ads only.

Due to the media’s massacre of the Michael Jackson story, airplay of his music was stopped by radio station KEZK-FM in St. Louis. The station’s operations manager and the general manager made the decision that it was “inappropriate to feature this artist given the holiday focus on children.” On December 14, the station began airing an editorial voiced by the operations manager, Robert Burch, stating that they in no way wished to assess the guilt or innocence of Michael Jackson and acknowledged Michael’s contributions of money, time, and energy on behalf of children.

Robert Burch said the decision was in part because of the seemingly unending media coverage of the molestation allegations against Michael Jackson. “You couldn’t turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper without hearing about it”.

In short as a result of trying Michael Jackson in the court of public opinion and finding an innocent man guilty of the crime he never committed Michael began to quickly lose his selling capacity and financial stability.

His legal expenses alone were rumored to be over $100,000 per week and considering that the Chandler civil case lasted from August 1993 to January 1994 (~ 20 weeks) and the criminal investigation lasted a full year, until September 1994 (~ 55 weeks), the amounts Michael Jackson spent on the litigation process must have amounted to millions of dollars.

 “With two investigations proceeding simultaneously, sources in the Los Angeles legal community say Jackson is rumored to be spending about $100,000 a week for his defense”.

http://articles.latimes.com/1993-12-22/local/me-4447_1_michael-jackson

Michael’s earning potential was sharply declining. In 2003 the USA today made a brief estimate of Michael’s most immediate losses. Incidentally they also mentioned Marcel Avram who sued Michael Jackson again, receiving a $5,3 mln. settlement from him this time:

  • 1991’s Dangerous sold 5.8 million copies and 1995’s HIStory sold 2.5 million, respectable sums for midlevel artists but well below expectations for a pop giant.
  • Jackson’s monthly expenses run about $750,000, including $250,000 for Neverland upkeep, according to documents in a lawsuit by a former financial adviser.
  • Jackson has also paid huge amounts in legal fees and court judgments, including $1.7 million to Sotheby’s auction house and $5.3 million to a German concert promoter [Marcel Avram].
  • Jackson family lawyer Brian Oxman says the singer has been sued more than 1,000 times.”

Looking at the appalling decline in Michael’s fortunes I could not help thinking that stripping Michael of his money could actually be the main goal of all those” child molestation” allegations. If someone didn’t like Michael for some reason and wanted his downfall nothing could be easier and more damaging that accusing him of a horrible crime and here you are, the thing is done quickly and quite effortlessly…

The decline was inevitable in the circumstances which Lisa Campbell called a media massacre of Michael Jackson’s life:

“I don’t think he has earning potential on the music side anymore,” says Craig Marks, editor of music magazine Blender. “He has it on the TV side, on the rubber-necking freak-show side. People will tune in to watch him do anything, but they won’t buy his records anymore.”

Slackening sales are inevitable for any 45-year-old artist, Marks says. Jackson’s “record sales are better than Prince’s and no worse than Madonna’s, but he has had more of a spectacular media flameout. It’s almost impossible to hear his records and not conjure that scary weird guy.”

So now we know why the media portrayed Michael Jackson as “weird” even before any allegations against him were made. It was for diminishing his popularity and the resulting commerial value, wasn’t it?

Considering that all the proceeds from the successful Dangerous tour were given away to charity and the second leg of the tour brought Michael nothing but a huge headache of the $20mln. lawsuit from his tour promoter as well as enormous losses in the Chandler civil suit, it is no wonder that in 1993 Michael called Branca for advice whether he should sell half of his Beatles catalog for the sum of $75 mln.

Branca intervened and instead of a simple sale negotiated a merger with the Sony own catalog, which meant sale of Michael’s half to Sony and acquisition of Sony’s half by Michael which was a transaction that put (according to the Wrap) $150mln. into Michael’s pocket.

The Wrap writes about it in a sarcastic manner which in my opinion Branca does not deserve even a single little bit:

Three years later [1993], Branca got a phone call. “Branca, it’s Michael. You think I should sell half of ATV Music for $75 million?”’

One of several lawyers was proposing just that, to raise cash, which Jackson was in dire need of.

The child molestation scandal, which had exploded earlier that year, would ultimately cost him $20 million in a private settlement. He owed promoters a fortune after suspending a world tour. Neverland was draining cash. What’s more, he was addicted to prescription drugs.

Branca realized he had an opening to return to Jackson’s side. He’d come back and fix everything — but this time it would cost Jackson up front: 5 percent of ATV Music (the Beatles), as he had proposed before his firing.

The woeful Jackson assented.

But even though they would reunite, the old relationship was never to be again. Branca would now find himself to be just one more member in the rotating cast of characters in Jackson’s life.

And with Branca now owning the 5 percent stake, Jackson became paranoid that his lawyer would want him to sell his song rights.

On the other hand, Branca did see an ATV transaction with Sony as an answer to Jackson’s cash crisis. But instead of an outright sale, he proposed a merger of Sony’s music publishing operations and ATV.

Mickey Schulhof, the CEO of Sony Corp. of America at the time, was privately elated, one person close to the former executive recalls. He saw a merger as the first step toward Sony’s eventual full ownership of ATV. A brief visit once to Jackson’s Century City apartment — a fantasyland of overstuffed animals — had convince Schulhof that Sony’s troubled star someday would spiral toward the poor house and be forced to sell everything.

Thus, in 1995, Branca pulled off another coup: Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Jackson owned half of a much larger company, and pocketed a $150-million check from Sony. If Branca were entitled to 5 percent, his take totaled $7.5 million.

http://www.thewrap.com/media/article/michael-jackson-4-brancas-fired-rehired-fired-22423?page=0,1

Frankly, I don’t know what the then CEO of Sony could be so very much “elated” about if the result of that transaction was sharing half of their own songs with Jackson and placing a $150mln. check into his pocket at that.  The sum was exactly twice as much as the initial offer for the simple purchase of half of his Beatles catalog, which was a wayout suggested by other advisors and which would have been a much easier method of obtaining the Beatles’  full ownership than giving up a 50% stake in their own music catalog and merging their rights for it with Jackson.

This is how the Sony/ATV music catalog came into being and it was Branca again who masterminded this success.

However the cash situation in Michael’s finances continued to deteriorate. We know it from the fact that in 1997 he had to pledge his 50% share of the Beatles catalog as collateral on a $1,5 mln loan from California’s City National Bank if we are to believe the article posted below. That loan was paid up:

Got To Be Outta There: Jax Selling Estate

BY GEORGE RUSH AND JOANNA MOLLOY

Sunday, September 07, 1997

Is the King of Pop ready to unload his castle? Michael Jackson is reportedly so strapped for cash that he’s quietly trying to sell his 2,500-acre Neverland estate. According to our sources, he’s even parting with his beloved bestiary. (Asking price for his 300-pound Aldabo tortoise: $5,000.)

The house sale and Jackson’s new partnership with a bargain-hunting Saudi prince both point to a singer whose finances are in serious disarray, according to investigative reporter John Connolly.

“Pedophile charges have torpedoed his once-lucrative career as a product endorser,” Connolly writes in the October issue of Penthouse. “His commercial appeal as an artist is fading fast.”

After sinking $9 million into Neverland, Jackson is said to be having trouble getting the $26 million he wants for the spread.

Jackson pledged the estate as collateral to California’s City National Bank. Still, the bank had to sue him this year when he failed to pay $861,891 that was due on a $1.5 million loan. (Jackson has since paid up.)

The Gloved One has also had to hock his precious songbook, which includes rights to 251 Beatles ditties. Having sold half the songs to Sony for $90 million, he’s pledged the other half as collateral on a loan to NationsBank, Connolly reports.

Jackson attorney John Branca says he “wouldn’t call it a cash-flow problem, rather, cash-flow needs.” And according to Ben Ammar, a spokesman for Jackson’s new partner, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the loan arrangements are entirely normal.

“Michael Jackson is not bankrupt,” says Ammar. “Michael Jackson is a huge corporation.”

http://articles.nydailynews.com/1997-09-07/gossip/18057743_1_neverland-estate-michael-jackson-billy-corgan

John Branca was on Michael’s team at that moment though their relationship was not built on the same foundation of friendship and trust as it had been before, so I doubt that Branca was the only advisor Michael was listenting to at the time.

Since the year of the loan coincides with the release of Michael’s Blood on the dance floor album it looks like the money was mostly required for the additional promotion of the album.

Wiki also says that in October 1997 Michael also began recording new material for the Invincible album, and finished with the album’s recordings only eight weeks before the album’s release in October 2001. Considering Michael’s perfectionism and the fact that within the next five year period he recorded 50 songs for the album the project must have been very costly and required a whole lot of ready money.

As far as we know two years later, in 1999 Michael Jackson used his portion of the ATV catalog as collateral for a $200mln. loan from Bank of America. The reason for it was probably the need to put together and promote the new album. Michael had to take the job of promoting the Invincible solely upon himself as just on the eve of its release he severed all ties with Tommy Mottola of Sony:

Wiki:  Just before the release of Invincible, Jackson informed the head of Sony Music Entertainment, Tommy Mottola he was leaving the record label.[3] As a result, all singles releases, video shootings and promotions concerning the Invincible album were cancelled.

The Guardian says that Michael spent $30 mln. on promoting the Invincible and that it was the most expensive album ever made:

Jackson spends £20m to be Invincible

  • New album could put King of Pop back on throne
    Tania Branigan
  • The Guardian, Saturday 8 September 2001 16.33 BST

Michael Jackson, the self-styled King of Pop, is to release the most expensive album ever made in a desperate battle to regain his crown.

The eccentric singer is said to have spent $30m (about £20m) and five years recording Invincible, his first entirely new album in over a decade. He recorded 50 tracks before slashing the results and critics say that the 15 surviving songs mark an astonishing return to form that could revive Jackson’s career.

Unwilling to take any chances, the singer has embarked on a promotional blitz in the run-up to its October release. Last night he appeared with his brothers in the Jackson Five for the first time since 1984 at the first of two modestly titled Tribute to Michael Jackson concerts at Madison Square Garden, New York City.

The reclusive multi-millionaire has become more famous for his eccentric habits, which earned him the nickname Wacko Jacko, than his undoubted gifts. Now in his 40s and a father of two, his career has been on a downward slide since 1982 when his album Thriller stayed at number one for 37 weeks and sold an astonishing 24m copies.

“Invincible is the most important album of his career – a real maker or breaker,” said Peter Robinson, pop critic for NME and the Face. “He’s a fantastic pop star and it will be interesting to see how he develops. They’re trying to surround him with all these people who are more relevant to young people.”

The first single, You Rock My World, has surprised critics who expected a lightweight ballad along the lines of Jackson’s last releases such as Earthsong. “It’s his best work since Bad,” enthused Robinson. “You forget that he does have a great voice and a really distinctive sound and that comes out on the record.”

Robinson believes that a comeback is plausible. “In the 90s Madonna was in the dumper, making quite bad records, and that’s been completely written out of her history,” he pointed out.

“It’s too early to write Jackson off,” agreed Emma Jones, editor of Smash Hits, who says she was shocked by how good his new single was. “He’s an enigma and the mystery that surrounds him makes him even more of a star. There’s no one you can compare to him in the modern pop world.

“He’s a great showman, a fantastic songwriter and his music has stood the test of time. People are going back to albums like Off the Wall and calling them classics. Young bands like ‘NSync and the Backstreet Boys are saying how good he is.”

Ajax Scott, editor of the record industry bible Music Week, is similarly impressed by the artist’s new direction. “He’s still got it,” he said.

“Invincible doesn’t just sound like they spent a huge amount of money on the latest producers. It sounds very much like Jackson, but contemporary Jackson.”

By the way most of the tracks on the Invincible album are indeed excellent and are a step forward in Michael Jackson’s evolvement showing a new side to Michael the composer which is still waiting to be appreciated.

However let us get back to John Branca.

In February 2003 Branca was dismissed once again.  Some said it was over the allegations of  “the flow of funds from Jackson through (Sony Music CEO Tommy) Mottola and Branca into offshore accounts in the Caribbean.” The Manhattan-based corporate espionage firm, Interfor Inc. looked into the matter and on April 15, 2003 provided a confidential report.  Johnnie Roberts of the Wrap says that its findings showed that no such crime had ever been committed.

The Wrap speaks of it in a tone highly detrimental towards Michael:

But the investigation provided no credible evidence to corroborate those and other assertions. In fact, it seems little more than part of an elaborate smear campaign intended to influence Jackson to fire Branca — initiated by an increasingly paranoid Jackson himself.

Jackson lawyer David Legrand, testified at the singer’s 2005 child-molestation trial that Jackson had hired him to look into the people in his inner circle.

Legrand testified, “I was given no credible evidence to support (the) charges; I would be doing Mr. Branca a great wrong if I said otherwise.”

Nonetheless, the report achieved its goal: Branca’s termination.

“This is to confirm that I am terminating the services of you and your firm effective upon delivery of this letter,” Jackson wrote the attorney in February 2003. “You are commanded to immediately cease expending effort of any kind on my behalf…You are specifically instructed to transfer any funds you are holding in trust for me…”

As regards the time of terminating Branca’s services the Wrap author is totally wrong.  Branca was fired in February 2003 as the author himself says it, while the investigation report was made several months later, in April 2003, so the report clearing him of any guilt could be absolutely no reason for his dismissal.

In fact it was a reason for rehiring Branca back again which, as I hear, was indeed done by Jackson some time after the report cleared him of any suspicion.

However in 2006 they parted again, evidently over the dispute over Branca’s 5% in the Sony/ATV catalog). The Wrap explains it as follows:

In 2006, Jackson’s and Branca’s on-again, off-again relationship hit a new low. Branca quit Michael this time in what, according to two top music industry executives familiar with the situation, was a broader dispute.

They suggest that Branca, Michael and Sony clashed over the lawyer’s 5 percent when it became a complication in Michael’s bail-out. The settlement: Branca sold it back for millions of dollars.

(A lawyer for Branca responds: “Branca’s fee was not an issue. Branca settled his equity in those assets in which he had an interest for much less then its fair market value.”)

http://www.thewrap.com/media/article/michael-jackson-4-brancas-fired-rehired-fired-22423?page=0,2

We remember what Branca said about the reason for resigning: “Michael was listening to an increasingly odd set of advisers who Branca feared did not have the singer’s best interests at heart”. After getting familiar with some more materials on the matter I can readily believe Branca’s words.

He was surrounded and I had to resign,” he said. “He did not ask me to stay. I resigned amicably.”

http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2009-08-14-jackson-branca_N.htm?csp=34

The final reunion took place in June 2009 shortly before Michael’s death. I think that when Michael felt all alone and faced the extreme new challenges in his life, he recalled the man who had never let him down. If only he could have done it a little earlier and had listened to him more…

Well, at least at the very end of it Michael realized who was who in his life.

~

Update 28.07.12

Today reader Krisheywood has given us a link to the July 2012 Accounting report by the Estate obtained by Ivy Mjjc and Windy09 of the MJJCommunity http://www.scribd.com/doc/101284813/MJ-Estate-Second-Accounting .

Now we can see for ourselves the superb work John Branca and John McClain are doing for growing Michael’s estate and turning Michael’s legacy into a thunderous success.

The MJJCommunity.com has written a summary of it which I can’t help repeating here (source: http://www.mjjcommunity.com/forum/threads/123642-MJ-Estate-Second-Accounting-Document-amp-Summary-amp-Discussion#.UBNrQ5CNZUA.twitter):

Summary: 

Gross earnings as of May 31, 2012 is $475 Million.

Breakdown of $475 Million as follows
– $310 Million gross earnings between June 2009 – October 2010 (first accounting period)
– $134 Million gross earnings between November 2010 – December 2011. (second accounting period)
– $30 Million gross earnings between January 2012 – May 2012.

Alll debt is current

Hayvenhurst mortgage paid

$65 Million of Mijac debt is paid and Estate expect to pay it in full by the end of 2012.

Estate is not in a position to be closed yet, Executors asking for administration of the Estate to be extended for one more year.

The only sale happened was some tangible property sold to Richard LaPointe per the settlement agreement in Julien’s Auction lawsuit. Schedule H lists all the items LaPointe got per settlement agreement.

Hayvenhurst is stated that “it will be maintained long term for the benefit of the family”. Renovations are still ongoing.

Katherine is asking for onetime payment of $205,401 to cover her professional fees occurred in 2011. Katherine is also asking for additional $34,700 per month to pay for her accountant and lawyers as well as to cover the expenses of family house in Gary Indiana and a residence in Las Vegas. Estate is asking the judge to allow this onetime payment and monthly increase.

12 Inventory value appraisals are done showing property valued at $50,677,002. Estate says additional personal property was discovered in Las Vegas and at Rock n Roll and Grammy Museum which is in total believed to be $6,700,000.

Estate’s main assets are 50% share in Sony/ ATV, 100% share in Mijac, Michael’s name and likeliness, Neverland and trademarks.

MJ Business activities consists of 2 Cirque shows (second resident show is scheduled to open in June 2013), Ubisoft MJ Experience game, multiple album deal with Sony, commercial endorsements and a possible film and documentary about Michael Jackson.

At the time of his death Michael was facing at least 6 lawsuits. Executors have been part of at least 15 lawsuits. 4 of them are still active, the rest have been resolved favorably for the Estate. Estate has also faced 65 creditor claims.

Estate is also employing multiple law firms around the world to protect Michael’s copyrights and trademarks. Second accounting lists 19 law firms (all around the world) and over $13.5 million in legal costs.

Schedule A (beginning) and Schedule I (end) shows the list of tangible property and business interest of Michael and now MJ Estate

In addition to Hayvenhurst (valued at $4.1 M) and a condo (valued at $315 K), Michael (and now his Estate) has 87.5% undivided membership in Neverland. 

Schedule I shows by the end of December 2011, personal tangible property of Michael valued at $13 Million and MJ Estate cash (or equivalent) at $19 Million.

Schedule D shows net income from trade or business during second accounting period (Nov 2010- Dec 2011) at $106,734,448.

Payments to Katherine and MJ’s kids are as follows (Nov 2010- Dec 2011)

Kids allowance $2,139,194
Katherine allowance $470,814
Calabasas residence expenses $436,187
Condo payments $15,569
Hayvenhurst improvements $73,962
Taxes on properties $144,605
Insurance (health and property) $106,033
House employees $658,915
Katherine lawyer fees $233,911
Guardian ad litem $ 54,478
Utilities costs $53,211
Security $654,414
Repair & Maintenance $194,127

Total $5,205,516 

Estate has also given multiple loans to Katherine

Loan 1 to Katherine $235,000
Loan 2 to Katherne $250,000
Loan 3 to Katherine $75,000
Loan 4 to Katherine $6,000,000 (for Katherine’s debt to Segye Times)

Total loans to Katherine $ 6,560,000

Total paid to Katherine and kids equal $ 11,765,516 ( $5,205,516 + $ 6,560,000)

Estate paid $50,862,363 in taxes and licenses.

Estate has an archiving project ongoing that they paid $789,450. They paid over 1 million dollars for storage of Michael’s property. Estate employees were paid $443,640. Estate paid $442,774 for public relations.

Total Co-executive & creative director compensation is $5,214, 933. The companies’ tables also show a $2,971,982 payment as Co-executive and creative director compensation, however I do not know if this is included in the Schedule G compensation of $5,214,933 or if it is a separate payment.

Bravo MJ Estate 

59 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2013 2:26 pm

    “If myself and a zillion fans who followed him, realized way before he passed over, that something was terribly wrong with him, why couldn’t his family see that while he was alive. They say they tried to intervene, the interventions weren’t really to tough then.” – Stephanie Anne Christy

    Stephanie Anne Christy, and what was wrong with Michael?

    Nothing was wrong with Michael except that he could not sleep. If you are talking of propofol use, propofol was a forced measure for him to which he resorted only if it came to the worst. And during that pre-tour period it did come to the worst with all the strain, pressure and humiliation he had to endure from his “partners”.

    Michael’s detractors get extremely carried away with the idea that he was a “drug-addict”, but even this word presupposes that there should be an addiction, while propofol is not an addictive drug in the meaning that it does not form a physical dependence. Even AEG’s best expert, a recovering heroin addict Dr. Early said that if a person begins to sleep naturally he just stops propofol, and it does not require any “weaning”.

    And if it does not form a physical dependence it does not require “interventions”. Suppose you are an insomnic, I come to your home and forcibly take you to a medical facility for an “intervention” and “detoxing”, and you don’t sleep there for 1-5-9 days because nothing else helps you to sleep. What happens? In some two weeks or so you die. No one has made such experiments on people yet, but rats do die after 2 weeks of sleep deprivation.

    So was it worth making an “intervention”? It was worth trying to help you – that’s true, but in order to do so you first had to disentangle yourself from the strenuous rehearsals and get a little break from your partners to be able to at least go to a hospital. But what if your parners are bulldogs with their jaws closed on your neck that would not let you go?

    “What I’m baffled at, is the AEG court case of a mother who wanted to know what had happened to her son.”

    And I’m baffled that you are baffled. I think she wanted to know what AEG had done to her son, and though she did not get all the answers the picture became a little clearer.

    They humiliated him, drove him into the ground, they deceived him in their “contract”, they set up 50 shows for every other day for the 50-year old man without his consent, they treated him as if he were their property and not a co-director of the show, they slapped him and threw him under a cold shower, they threatened him that he would lose his children if he did not attend their damned rehearsals. They also shifted all the blame for their own ineptitude onto Michael because it was them who were not ready for the show.

    I think that part of the questions Katherine had were answered at that trial.

    Like

  2. December 3, 2013 2:10 am

    I LOVE Branca for what he has done to Michael”s legacy, I don’t think you have to be a rocket scientist to understand what is going on. MJ’s will is left to his mother, children and charities. No siblings or father. The children biological, are not blood relatives to the siblings.
    Michael and his siblings started when Michael was a child. Of course a famous family and one of them is a SUPERSTAR. The money spinner and of course the most wealthiest of all the siblings. What I have read is that he supported his entire family. Even after his separation from his siblings. When Branca and Dileo where in Michael’s life thru out the 80’s , his career was on the up, and it was Michael Mania, once Dileo and Branca had been terminated his career took a landslid. You only have to look and see what happened to his temple thru years of cosmetic surgery. What I’m baffled at, is the AEG court case of a mother who wanted to know what had happened to her son. If myself and a zillion fans who followed him, realized way before he passed over, that something was terribly wrong with him, why couldn’t his family see that while he was alive. They say they tried to intervene, the interventions weren’t really to tough then. I guess when Michael was holding the purse strings to support them all, why upset the bank manager.

    I researched Branca after all the hype last year from the siblings. His Webpage is Black and White and lays it all bare, without any fabrication.

    What I see now is the very same situation that happened to Michael is now happening to Branca. I guess the MJ fan community have not learnt from Michael’s experience and now we see this fan base that is divided. And his siblings are saying Michael called Branca the Devil, How do you know that, Michael is not alive to support the statement. If a Californian Magistrate has overseen it and made Branca and McClain the legal executors, why are they questioning his authority. It seems to me that the Estate was generating a huge turn over and out of dept. They came at a time, when they knew Branca and McClain had made a impact on Michael’s estate ,and thought if they made enough noise they might get it back. I’m glad he stood his ground and kept up with what he has been doing.

    If the fans and family cared anything for Michael, they would respect him and his will and his children and leave it alone, after all his daughter has already tried to commit suicide,

    This is about money, and nothing and no one will ever convince me, that they really care about Michael’s 3 children. If they did, they would back of, and stop using his money for court cases, and lawyers, to fight a case, that we all know, would have eventually taken Michael’s life. Which comes back to the interventions. They knew he was on drugs, supplied by medical doctors. They made sure that was brought up in the AEG court case. So if they knew, their interventions really should have been, lets all sign and place him in detox, had they of done this, perhaps Michael would have kicked the habit and still be alive.
    After all, isn’t that what a FUNCTIONAL NORMAL FAMILY UNIT does.

    Like

  3. Martin Mendez permalink
    November 14, 2013 2:04 am

    Helena I might suggest Mr. Branca be compared not to Tom Mesereau but instead former CEO of The Walt Disney Company, Michael Eisner. Mr. Eisner (for those unaware of his success) took a company badly in need of remodeling, restructuring and revitalizing in the 1980’s and turned them into a global entertainment juggernaut. Just the fact that ‘Immortal’ has generated as much or more in revenue the last 18 months than what Madonna, Springsteen, McCartney and Gaga’s tours have speaks very well of Mr. Branca’s (and John McClain’s) leadership, business acumen and vision for MJ’s legacy. Where does he take ‘MJ Incorporated’ from here? With the kind of cash the brand name commands right now, anywhere and everywhere. All ideas are being explored for the next 3, 5, 7 and 10 years including future film projects, high definition television and home entertainment, exclusive online projects, lots more music releases, and a third Cirque Du Soleil show based on MJ’s music and life are not out the question either. To put things in perspective, the empire MJ left is appreciating around 15 to 20 percent for the foreseeable future, and the approximately 3 billion book value it could claim (in June 2009) is now 4 and probably becomes a 5 billion dollar giant by the time Prince I reaches his 18th birthday. At some point though the global interest (and sales) of all things MJ will cool off, but we’re a long ways away from that era. While Michael Eisner was a respected Hollywood ‘power broker’ for a time, he was also the victim of its vicious political maneuvers. The same can and will be said of John Branca. Although not all of The Estate’s decisions and project will be ‘home runs’, the vision it’s providing is far superior to other legacies such as James Brown, Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye and Whitney Houston’s. Personally I appreciate the team of John Branca, John McClain and Karen Langford and wish them lots of success as caretakers of the empire and the legacy of The King.

    Martin Mendez
    Host of ‘Mornings With Michael’

    Like

  4. November 10, 2013 9:23 pm

    Reblogged this on mjjjusticeproject and commented:
    Truth About Michael Jackson and John Branca Relationship

    Like

  5. Roger Wilkerson permalink
    September 10, 2013 1:59 pm

    I was best man at John’s second wedding. He has always had a gift for helping people, especially artists, to take the high road. He never gave up on Michael’s best interest. Even today he keeps those alive.

    Like

  6. shellywebstere permalink
    August 28, 2012 5:06 am

    I have the documents from that lawsuit. I can send them to you if you, there are lots of them. I don’t know how to send them.

    Like

  7. August 28, 2012 3:17 am

    “I thought you might be interested by that. It’s a screenshot I took from the Prescient lawsuit he had in 2007”

    Shelly, I did get interested in the subject, however I cannot find the Prescient lawsuit. Could you provide it to us by any chance, please? If you can’t I will understand as I’ve read it can be obtained only on a paid basis. Then could you give us some details about it please?

    Like

  8. August 26, 2012 10:51 am

    “I thought you might be interested by that. It’s a screenshot I took from the Prescient lawsuit he had in 2007 http://i.imgur.com/JAU1Y.png

    Shelly, I retyped it:

    “Since inception of Sony/ATV, which was originally valued at $930,000,000, the partners have agreed to acquire about $400,000,000 of additional music catalogs. The MJ Trust has borrowed a total of $272,500,000 to support the purchase of additional catalogs at Sony/ATV, and to support other various working capital needs. Sony has provided the lenders to MJ Trust a credit enhancement (for which Sony receives additional payment of $9,000,000 annually).”

    The above confirms what I thought all along. So when the Sony/ATV joint venture was formed Sony and Michael agreed they would supplement their catalog with additional songs and buy more and more. From what we read about it the idea was that the money for those purchases would be generated by the joint catalog itself – they would acquire more songs from the profits the catalog made, not needing any more money input. So when Michael later bought Eminem’s songs it was within those initial plans.

    The idea was not bad as it meant to turn Michael into a major musical publishing rights tycoon (with Sony being the other half) and it would have worked perfectly well in case Michael’s success had continued and no financial disasters had taken place. But they did take place – in the form of the 2003 case, the trial and many other projects which failed due to the extremely negative media which nipped those projects in the bud.

    While Michael was fighting hate against himself Sony evidently went on adding new songs to the catalog and paying their share. I’ve read that they were even paying Michael’s share of the expenses, most probably out of the profit Michael was to receive from his 50% in the joint venture. This must have created constant tension between the partners, because surely Michael would have preferred cash instead of having to invest it into more songs. What looked like a good idea in 1995 turned into a big financial burden for him later.

    The joint venture was evidently John Branca’s idea. He suggested it instead of selling Michael’s Beatles catalog which was advised by other Michael’s advisors in 1993. At the time Michael had to pay damages to Marcel Avram for canceling the Dangerous tour plus huge costs on litigation with the Chandlers. It was then that the crisis started and the first time he faced the need to sell his Beatles catalog.

    Later he could have got out of his joint venture again by the same method – by selling his share and at a higher price this time – but he still preferred to go on with it and fight the circumstances.

    I don’t remember the details now but at a certain point things became so bad that Michael was in danger of losing to some outside creditors half of his share in the joint venture (or 25%), but his partner Sony helped him to avoid it. They evidently supplied him with some funds (to repay those creditors) in return for the right to be the first to buy those 25% in case Michael had to sell it.

    As a result Michael kept his 50% but was still involved in tremendous loans he had to take most of which were spent to fulfill his commitments under the joint venture project (and not on his “lavish style” as the media likes to portray it).

    All of the above explains very well Michael’s feelings in respect of Sony – it was like sharing a home with someone you no longer love and even fight but cannot part with due to the common property you share.

    Life proves that Sony as a partner was not that bad after all – they had the right to acquire the 25% share of Michael’s catalog but never used it as Michael still keeps his half in the project.

    If my understanding of the situation is correct, than the current merger of Sony/ATV with EMI and creation of a new giant holding music publishing rights is very much in line with the original idea Michael liked and went for. He could have sold the catalog long ago, but he still preferred to keep and expand it further – even at a tremendous financial cost for himself.

    If the new project is successful it will turn Michael’s children into tycoons of music publishing rights, but it will again require some money to service Michael’s commitments arising from it. That merger must have already needed a lot of money, and this is where some of those millions from Michael’s Estate must have gone.

    In short it isn’t ‘embezzlement’ – it is investment of the money, and probably wise investment too because it is meant to generate more money than the sums already spent on it. From the point of view of Michael’s siblings it is unwise of course because 1) it doesn’t bring immediate profit 2) leaves some of MJ’s debts still unpaid 3) will prove its worth in a distant future only.

    But from the point of view of Michael’s legacy and the future of Michael’s children the idea is great. I personally would very much like to see Michael’s children to be the owners of rights to other people’s songs and benefit from them on a constant basis. Somehow it feels like just the right outcome after all their father had to endure.

    This is my understanding of the situation, though of course the matter should be studied and studied thoroughly.

    Like

  9. August 26, 2012 4:00 am

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  10. August 26, 2012 3:58 am

    I thought you might be interested by that. It’s a screenshot I took from the Prescient lawsuit he had in 2007

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  11. August 25, 2012 9:29 pm

    If you read the article I’ve just posted please don’t pay attention to the nonsense they say that Michael self proclaimed himself the King of Pop. David Edwards recently found a photo of a newspaper page which calls Michael Jackson the King of Pop well before Elizabeth Taylor ever mentioned it.

    So the media people themselves called him that way!

    Like

  12. August 25, 2012 9:08 pm

    “I personally find that money has a peculiar way of disappearing very quickly quite legitimately!!” – Alison

    Alison, it is a wide-spread phenomenon. I’ve noticed it too!

    “I suppose the tax on everything will also be substantial, and some of the costs of the investments, and legal costs associated with them will be also very great. and they are paying out a lot of expenses to the family, and security costs et.c. and then there’s dealing with all these claims and false claims, that still costs even if they throw them out in the end”.

    Please add to it the sums which the Estate is evidently paying to settle the remaining claims and which they do not want to disclose for reasons of confidentiality. These are indeed the secrets which should be kept secret to avoid further litigation due to questions “Why did you pay me so little if you paid XYZ so much?”

    The original sum must have accumulated a big interest too. As regards one loan the Estated managed to reduce the interest to $800,000 a month. So even after renegotiating the terms and the consequent reduction, the interest on the loan is still around a million? And this only on one of the loans?

    I told you that I was going to write about Michael’s finances. Here is one informative article from the MJ Fan Club archives (an admirable source!).

    The article says that in April 2005 the Bank of America sold Michael’s debt to Fortress Investment Group and did it without asking Michael. It came as a blow to him because now he had to deal with total strangers who – attention please – imposed on him the interest of 9,5% without negotiating it with him, and as a result now he had to pay $1,5mln. a month as an interest on his loan.

    Since the loan was backed up by his share in Sony/ATV in case of default his share was to be passed over to Fortress. What’s interesting is that Fortress also owned Michael”s other loan, backed up by the Mijac catalog and in case of a default would obtain the other catalog too.

    After learning details like that I become terribly annoyed with people who say one and the same thing over and over again – that in case of a financial disaster it would be only Sony who would receive the catalog. Absolutely not. There were a lot of many other “players” who could get Michael’s share and the article below is proof of it.

    Also please note that these events come during the 2005 trial (April 2005, though this news was reported in December 2005). We can imagine how much cash Michael needed during the two years of pre-trial period and then several months of the trial. The longer the case lasted the bigger the financial Michael’s losses were. Michael could not afford a long and costly litigation because it was ruining him, while Sneddon was using the taxpayers’ money and could keep it going as long as he wanted.

    In the long run ruining Michael was the coveted desire of Sneddon and all those who hated Michael. Destroying him financially was their major goal. Without money there is no success, and without success there is no influence. And his power to influence people was what they wanted to destroy most.

    Michael Jackson Advisors Try to Stave Off Default

    The singer, whose loans for $200 million came due Tuesday, is seeking a six-month extension.

    December 21, 2005|Charles Duhigg | Times Staff Writer

    Advisors to Michael Jackson spent Tuesday negotiating to keep the once self-proclaimed “king of pop” from defaulting on $200 million in loans guaranteed by the singer’s stake in the Beatles’ song catalog.

    People familiar with the negotiations expected Jackson’s representatives to secure a six-month extension to repay Fortress Investment Group, which owns loans that came due Tuesday. Fortress purchased the debt from Bank of America Corp. in April.

    The loans are collateralized by Jackson’s 50% partnership in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, a joint venture between the singer and the electronics company that owns a 4,000-song catalog containing such songs as Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and 251 Beatles hits.

    Jackson’s share in Sony/ATV, which also owns his valuable catalog and Neverland ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, is worth more than $500 million, according to court testimony.

    According to sources, Fortress will demand interim payments during the extension, and may insist on an interest rate that could reach as high as 9.5%, or more than $1.5 million a month. Fortress also owns another Jackson loan, for $70 million, that has not come due. The sources requested anonymity because negotiations were still going on.

    A spokeswoman for Fortress declined to comment on the negotiations. A spokeswoman for Sony/ATV declined to discuss specifics, except to say that the firm was “trying to be a good partner, and keep the partnership with Jackson going.” Jackson’s lawyers and spokeswoman did not return phone calls.

    If Jackson does default on his loans, he may be forced to sell a portion of his half-ownership in Sony/ATV. Such a transaction, however, could take months to complete and might result in a tax bill of $40 million, according to court testimony from earlier this year.

    Jackson was acquitted of charges of child molestation in June in Santa Maria, Calif. During that trial, court testimony revealed that the singer was strapped for cash, spending as much as $30 million more a year than he earned. During the last year Jackson was sued at least four times, accused of failing to pay $3.3 million in overdue bills.

    Jackson is living in the Middle Eastern nation of Bahrain, and it is unclear whether he is personally involved in his finances. Once represented by established career builders such as Sandy Gallin and Jeff Kwatinetz, Jackson has in recent years had an ever-changing circle of advisors, many with little experience in finance or the music business. Often, the singer’s decision-making is based on “who has Michael’s ear at the moment,” as one longtime confidant put it in June.

    Jackson’s financial troubles have worsened as his popularity has declined. Jackson’s 1982 album, “Thriller,” is No. 2 on the list of best-selling albums in U.S. history, shipping 26 million copies since its release, according to the Recording Industry Assn. of America.

    But Jackson’s last album of new material, 2001’s “Invincible,” sold only 2.1 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Since 2003, domestic sales of Jackson’s albums have declined to about 1 million a year.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2005/dec/21/business/fi-jackson21

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  13. Alison permalink
    August 25, 2012 2:00 pm

    Helena, I suppose the tax on everything will also be substantial, and some of the costs of the investments, and legal costs associated with them will be also very great. and they are paying out a lot of expenses to the family, and security costs et.c. and then there’s dealing with all these claims and false claims, that still costs even if they throw them out in the end. I personally find that money has a peculiar way of disappearing very quickly quite legitimately!! its very weird, i never have anywhere near what i think i should have left in my account but when i force myself to look at the detail its all clear where its gone, just very unpleasant!

    Like

  14. August 24, 2012 10:49 pm

    Speaking about the figures we learn from Linda Deutsch article that $5mln. of some loan (probably associated with Michael’s Mijac catalog) still remains, but will be repaid by the end of the year.

    Another figure mentioned is $200 mln. of the personal debt which has been paid off, but “$300mln. have been renegotiated” which makes me think that this debt still remains (?). To be frank this is quite a blow as I hoped that the process of repaying everything was almost finished. Could it mean that the debts were bigger than we thought?

    Another question is that the revenue generated for the years after Michael’s death seems to be bigger than the $200 mln. paid off. This surprises me, however the explanation for that may be that the money is simultaneously invested in new projects to expand business, or that the interest on the loans is “eating up” a lot too.

    In any case, to have all the questions answered I would also prefer to have the audit which Katherine Jackson is asking for. Don’t know how it could be done so that no commercial secrets are disclosed and no damage is done to Michael’s interests, but in the circumstances it would probably be best if a trusted third party could provide the needed replies – otherwise questions will never stop and suspicion will only grow. If not the auditing company, then probably the judge and those who are checking up the Estate’s accounting reports can check up and clarify the situation? If the audit were done under some protective order and on condition of strict confidentiality it would be the best outcome, in my opinion.

    I still believe in Branca very much, but suspect he is not telling us everything about Michael’s finances to spare the feelings of MJ’s fans and not to give food for snide remarks from his haters.

    Katherine Jackson Wants An Extensive Audit Of Michael’s Estate
    Posted on Aug 23, 2012 @ 09:00PM
    WENN
    By Jen Heger – Radar Assistant Managing Editor

    Katherine Jackson’s legal team wants to do an extensive audit of late son Michael Jackson’s estate, the matriarch’s attorney, Perry Sanders, told RadarOnline.com exclusively.

    “My audit is being done to see the details of where the money is coming from and where it is going,” Sanders told Radar. “The beneficiaries should be entitled to all detailed documentation so they can see what THEIR money is paying for.”

    On July 19, Katherine’s lawyers submitted legal docs asking for “production of supporting documents for account current,” and the docs state, “Ms. Katherine Jackson…hereby requests that representatives John Branca, John McClain and counsel for the Estate of Michael Jackson produce for inspection and audit all supporting documents for the Second Account Current and Report of Status of Administration and Petition..”

    However, lawyers for Michael Jackson’s Estate have several issues with Katherine Jackson’s request, and said in their response, “John Branca and John McClain object to the Request to the extent that it is vague and ambiguous as to the phrase ‘all supporting documents for the Second Account Current’ in that the Request encompasses thousands of pages of documents which potentially support the Second Account Current…Responding Party (the executors) objects to the Request to the extent that it seeks highly confidential business and financial information…it will not produce such documents absent the entry of a stipulation and protective order governing, among other things, the access to and use highly confidential documents.” Most of the contracts that the estate has entered into are sealed because they contain trade secrets and other privileged information, and this is routinely done to protect the best interests of the estate.

    As previously reported, Judge Mitchell Beckloff awarded co-guardianship of Michael’s three children to Katherine and TJ Jackson on Wednesday after a string of bizarre incidents involving the 82-year-old grandmother/guardian, who was whisked away to an Arizona resort by her children and out of contact with the grandkids for 11 days.

    Almost all of the major contracts, business deals and other transactions have all been presented to Judge Beckloff by the executors, in order to be transparent with Michael Jackson’s estate. The executors have requested that Michael Jackson’s estate be handled in probate court for another year.

    In the three years since Michael’s tragic death, the executors have wiped almost $475 million dollar in debt off the books that the pop singer had when he passed away. The estate has entered into lucrative business agreements with Pepsi, Cirque du Soleil and were instrumental in the wildly successful theatrical release of Michael Jackson’s rehearsal footage, This Is It.

    Judge Mithcell Beckloff will weigh in on what documents if any, the estate will turn over to Katherine Jackson.

    http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2012/08/katherine-jackson-audit-michael-jackson-estate

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  15. August 24, 2012 10:20 pm

    Guys, instead of writing here I got very much distracted by discussing John Branca on Facebook (sorry for that). Recently a new article was published about the Estate, by Linda Deutsh this time, who sounds like a credible source to me. Among other things we learn that Michael made four wills and in all of them Branca was named an executor:


    FILE – In this 1987 file photo originally released by John Branca, attorney John Branca, left, and Michael Jackson are shown at Branca’s wedding in Beverly Hills, Calif. Branca, and his co-executor, John McClain, have been successfully pursuing projects to pay off a mountain of debt left by the superstar, to assure the financial future of his three children and to guarantee that Jackson’s music will live forever. COURTESY OF JOHN BRANCA, FILE / AP PHOTO

    BY LINDA DEUTSCH
    AP SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
    LOS ANGELES — While family members squabble in public over Michael Jackson’s money, the man who holds the purse strings of the estate is a calm center of the storm.

    As co-executor of Jackson’s will, John Branca chooses to ignore the erupting dramas and personal attacks and keeps his eye on the future, which he says belongs to Jackson’s mother and children and to the pop star’s musical legacy.

    He and co-executor John McClain have been successfully pursuing projects to pay off a mountain of debt left by the superstar, to assure the financial future of his three children and to guarantee that Jackson’s music will live forever.

    “When Michael Jackson died, he was near bankruptcy,” said Branca, suggesting the future for his three young children was uncertain. “Now we know the kids will be OK.”

    Branca sat down recently with The Associated Press to discuss the current state of the Jackson estate and projects to preserve Jackson’s image as the King of Pop. But he resolutely refused to address the elephant in the room – recent attacks on him and McClain by some Jackson siblings who were left out of their brother’s will.

    They sent a lengthy letter that became public accusing the executors of deceit and manipulation of their mother and claiming that Jackson’s will was a fraud. They have not taken any court action and legal experts say the time to challenge the will, which disinherited them, is long past.

    Branca and McClain issued a statement calling the accusations “false and defamatory,” adding “we are especially disheartened that they come at a time when remarkable progress is being made to secure the financial future of his children …”

    Secure in his knowledge that all four of Jackson’s wills named him as executor, Branca continues to make deals for the Jackson estate that are generating millions in revenue. This week, they announced an agreement with Sony/ATV Music Publishing to administer Jackson’s Mijac Music catalog, which includes such hits as “Beat It” and “Billie Jean.” The deal is expected to generate enough revenues to pay off a remaining $5 million loan by year’s end.

    Since Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009, Branca said the singer’s personal debt of $200 million has been paid off and another $300 million tied to his ownership of the Sony and ATV catalogs has been renegotiated.

    “Michael had a will and a trust and that’s what we follow,” he said.

    The estate pays Mrs. Jackson $70,000 a month for the children’s support, pays the rent on their mansion in Calabasas, and is picking up bills for other expenses including renovation of their Encino home.

    Branca’s AP interview was his indirect response to accusations by Janet, Jermaine, Randy and Rebbie Jackson that the estate was being mishandled. Jermaine later disavowed the incendiary letter and called for peace in the family. But Janet, Randy and Rebbie fired back with a letter of their own reiterating their complaints.

    Brimming with excitement, Branca spoke of upcoming ventures he thinks would have delighted Jackson, especially a permanent Jackson-themed extravaganza on the Las Vegas Strip. It comes on the heels of the Cirque du Soleil Jackson tribute show, “Immortal: The World Tour.”
    “The Lion King” theater at the Mandalay Bay Hotel is being rebuilt to house the still untitled show, also a Cirque du Soleil production, which is set to open May 23, 2013.

    “It will be highly theatrical and completely different from the arena show, which was more of a concert,” Branca said. “We will have the opportunity to create something special and ground-breaking.”

    Declining to reveal all of the technical wizardry planned, he said, “We’ve got all kinds of tricks up our sleeves.”

    Every seat will have its own speakers, while the walls and ceiling will be used to create “a totally immersive experience for the audience,” he said.

    Unlike the touring show, there will be no live band and all music will come from remixes of Jackson’s recordings.

    Branca and co-executor McClain, a reclusive recording executive, say they understand Jackson’s desires to take care of his mother and children – Prince, Paris and Blanket – financially and keep his music alive.

    “We feel Michael entrusted us with his legacy and with the future of his mother and children,” Branca said. “We’re honored and proud and passionate about celebrating Michael. It’s a labor of love for us. We love Michael.”

    Branca met Jackson in 1980 when both were just starting out. They would go on to legendary success together but there were also some rocky times. During more than two decades together, they had two three-year periods of estrangement over business disagreements.

    Branca was rehired by Jackson a month before he died, with instructions to draft an agenda for future business deals. Branca presented the plan a week before Jackson died and it has been the roadmap for the estate’s posthumous enterprises.

    In addition to the upcoming Las Vegas show, a new album and a concert DVD will be released soon celebrating the 25th anniversary of Jackson’s “BAD” album. Then a two-hour documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee on the making of “BAD” will show at the Toronto and Venice film festivals next month.

    The anniversary promotions include a deal with Pepsi to put silhouettes of Jackson on a billion cans of soda in 20 countries. And this week, the Cirque du Soleil traveling show begins an international tour to Mexico, Europe and perhaps Asia.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/23/2965337_p2/executor-is-cool-under-jackson.html

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  16. susannerb permalink*
    August 21, 2012 10:29 pm

    Here is some more background information from Roger Friedman:
    http://www.showbiz411.com/2012/08/20/michael-jackson-estate-deals-blow-to-warner-music

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  17. August 21, 2012 4:51 pm

    Susanne, thank you for the link. Frankly, I would prefer to have more details from John Branca about the deal and on what terms Sony will be promoting Michael’s songs. The answer is not detailed enough. The fact that ATV/Sony will administer Michael’s songs does not worry me in the least as this way Michael’s songs will get much more publicity (especially since Michael has 50% in the joint venture with Sony). But I think that everyone needs guarantees that whether with Branca or without Branca the catalog will always belong to Michael and his children.

    I understand that you are being asked a lot of questions about Mijac.

    Yes, there is a matching right that Michael granted to Sony/ATV but they only get to administer the catalog for a limited term AND only if they agree to unprecedented favorable terms. We will not relinquish ultimate control and ownership to anyone. We have favorably refinanced the loans on Mijac which will be paid off and the catalog WILL absolutely be passed to Michael’s children as long as we have anything to say about it.

    Sony/ATV is a great company and the Estate owns half of it but no one, not even Sony/ATV, will ever own Mijac while John McClain and I remain in charge.

    The current Sony team is the one Michael chose to work with on the Thriller 25 release and they are good partners. As stated in the recent court filings, they worked with us to refinance the burdensome debt that had been placed on Michael’s interest in Sony/ATV to very favorable terms, an important achievement which insures that Mijac and Michael’s masters remain secure for the benefit of Michael’s children for years to come.

    I would appreciate your sharing this with the fans that are asking questions.

    Thanks – John

    John Branca
    Co-Executor
    The Estate Of Michael Jackson
    Los Angeles, CA
    http://www.mjjcommunity.com/michael-jackson-news/statement-from-john-branca-co-executor-the-estate-of-michael-jackson-regarding-mijac-announcement

    The phrase that “the catalog WILL absolutely be passed to Michael’s children as long as we have anything to say about it” is evidently a stab at those who want Michael’s will changed. I personally would prefer Michael’s songs to be fully guaranteed against anyone’s interference, and be sure that no matter what they will always belong to Michael’s children.

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  18. August 21, 2012 2:03 pm

    Initially this news put me very much on my guard, but after a little thinking I realized that Sony/ATV will take care only of promoting Michael’s songs. We are not talking of owning them (God forbid) – Michael still has the full ownership of his songs:

    SONY / ATV MUSIC PUBLISHING SIGNS EXCLUSIVE WORLDWIDE ADMINISTRATION AGREEMENT TO REPRESENT MIJAC MUSIC CATALOG
    NEW YORK —August 20, 2012—Sony/ATV Music Publishing announced today that the company has entered into a worldwide administration agreement to represent Michael Jackson’s iconic Mijac Music catalog. Founded by Michael Jackson in 1980 as his personal publishing company, Mijac Music grew to include – in addition to all of his own incredible songs – the classic Sly and the Family Stone catalog, songs by the legendary Philadelphia soul team of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff as well as songs made famous by other artists such as Ray Charles, Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin.

    Of the announcement, Martin Bandier, Chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV said, “We are thrilled that the Estate of Michael Jackson has entrusted us with this incredible catalog of songs, and everyone at Sony/ATV looks forward to finding innovative ways to use these songs, while protecting their legacy.”

    Commenting on the deal, John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson remarked, “Michael’s songs in the Mijac Music catalog not only showcase his greatness as a performer but also his creative genius as a songwriter. We are excited that the company Michael helped found, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and in which his Estate remains a 50% partner, will represent these amazing songs along with a rich collection of other music recorded by some of our greatest popular artists.”

    The agreement comes in advance of the September 18 release of BAD25, a new two-disc-package and DVD that marks the 25th anniversary of Michael’s landmark BAD album.

    The Mijac catalog includes all of the songs written by the legendary King of Pop, Michael Jackson, including “Another Part Of Me,” “Bad,” “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” “Black or White,” “Can You Feel It,” “Dangerous,” “Dirty Diana,” “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” “Earth Song,” “Heal the World,” “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Jam,” “Scream,” “Smooth Criminal,” “They Don’t Care About Us,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “We Are The World.”

    Also included in the catalog are some of the most iconic songs in rock, pop and soul music history, including “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now,” “After Midnight,” “Ease on Down the Road,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher,” “I Got A Woman,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Love Train,” “Mr. Bojangles,” “People Get Ready,” “Runaround Sue,” “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” “Sixteen Candles,” “The Wanderer”, “What’d I Say,” “When a Man Loves a Woman” and “You Don’t Know Me”. Of special note the catalog includes the songs made famous by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist Sly and the Family Stone, including such hits as “Dance To the Music,” “Everybody is a Star,” “Everyday People,” “Family Affair,” “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” “If You Want Me To Stay,” “Sing a Simple Song,” “Stand” and “Thank You.”

    About Sony/ATV Music Publishing
    Sony/ATV Music Publishing, established in 1995 as a joint venture between Sony and Michael Jackson, is the world’s leading music publisher. Together with EMI Music Publishing, Leiber Stoller, Mijac Music, Motown and the Famous Music catalogs, Sony/ATV owns or administers more than 2 million copyrights, including some of the best known songs ever written. Sony/ATV’s catalog includes “New York, New York,” “All You Need Is Love,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Moon River,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “The Mission Impossible Theme,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Stand By Me,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” In addition, Sony/ATV represents the copyrights of such legendary artists as The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Kraftwerk, Joni Mitchell, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Richie Sambora, Sting, Wyclef Jean, Hank Williams and Stevie Wonder, among others. Its ever-growing list of chart-topping artists, writers and producers includes Beyoncé, Fall Out Boy, Jay-Z, Jessie J, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, John Mayer, P!nk, RedOne, Shakira, Ed Sheeran, Stargate, Taylor Swift and Kanye West.
    http://www.mj-upbeat.com/SONYATVMUSICPUBLISHINGSIGNSEXCLUSIVEWORLDWIDEADMINISTRATIONAGREEMENTTOREPRESENTMIJACMUS.htm

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  19. peg permalink
    August 2, 2012 4:54 am

    PUPPETS

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  20. July 31, 2012 4:06 pm

    Here is an answer to the question I myself asked about John McClain and whether he helped Michael in the 2000s. Yes, he indeed assisted Michael to release his Number Ones album in November 2003 – he and Michael were executive producers of the album.

    The album was released by Sony, so Michael was cooperating with them at the time. However on the very day when the ablum was released in the US (November 18, 2003) Tom Sneddon and 70 police officers raided Neverland. Pure coincindence of course.

    Michael Jackson ‎– Number Ones
    Label: Epic – 2513800
    Format: CD, Compilation
    Country: Europe
    Released: 17 Nov 2003 ( in US – 18 Nov 2003)

    Credits▼
    Art Direction – Adam Owett, David Coleman (5), Julian Alexander, Nancy Donald, Rance Brown, Sheri Lee
    Artwork By [Bad Cover] – Sam Emerson
    Artwork By [History – Past, Present And Future – Book 1] – Kleiser-Walczak
    Artwork By [Off The Wall Cover] – Stephen Harvey
    Artwork By [Thriller Cover] – Dick Zimmerman
    Coordinator [A&r] – Jacquie Carter
    Design – Rance Brown
    Engineer [Additional] – Michael Prince (2)
    Executive Producer – John Mcclain, Michael Jackson
    Management – Team Mj
    Management [Business] – Bernstein, Fox, Withman & Co
    Mastered By – Bernie Grundman
    Other [Executive Administrator, Personal Assistant] – Evvy Tavasci
    Other [Executive Assistant] – K.R. Narcisse, Miko Brando, Gary Hearne, Dave Dave, Leticia Roldan, Kato
    Other [Make-up/hair] – Karen Faye
    Other [Project Archivist] – Craig Johnson
    Other [Vocal Consultant] – Seth Riggs
    Notes▼
    Is a single-disc greatest hits album of singer-songwriter Michael Jackson released by Sony Music worldwide on November 17, 2003 (and one day later in the United States). It was Jackson’s first proper compilation album with Sony, after the release of HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I in 1995 (and after the re-release of that album as Greatest Hits: HIStory, Volume I a single-CD, only-hits edition in 2001). Number Ones was successful around the world, originally reaching #1 in the UK and #13 in the United States.

    http://www.discogs.com/MICHAEL-JACKSON-NUMBER-ONES/release/2624867

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  21. July 31, 2012 11:14 am

    “There is a thread on MJJC about John McClain in case you havn’t seen it http://www.mjjcommunity.com/forum/threads/117948-Informational-John-McClain

    MOA, thank you for the link! At last we get some information about John McClain and it is very interesting.

    Here is his 1987 photo which was hard to find even for Ivy of the MJJCommunity (with A&M records co-owner Herb Albert (left) from Black Enterprise Magazine) McClain is on the right

    Now a few things are getting clearer. The first thing I grasped is that McClain is a professional musician, the second is that he is intentionally keeping a low profile and the third is that he is (or used to be in 2002 when the article was written) Senior Vice-President of Dreamworks records which initially included David Geffen – Steven Spielberg – Jeffrey Katzenberg.

    Moreover the article says the McClain joined Dreamworks in 2000, when Michael was already separated from Geffen, which (to me) looks like a certain affront to Michael. Since McClain is helping black artists a lot I wonder if he helped Michael in the 2000s when he was in so powerful a position?

    2002 John McClain was named one of the Top 50 Power Brokers in the entertainment industry by Black Enterprise magazine.
    Title: Senior Vice President, Dreamworks Records
    Age: 45
    Why He’s Powerful: McClain is on the management team of Dreamworks Records, the music arm of the multimedia empire created by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen. Soon after joining Dreamworks in 2000, McClain took the Isley Brothers CD, Eternal, platinum. He is also responsible for signing Floetry, whose CD Floetic, recently debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard Top 200. McClain is currently working with rapper-producer Swizz Beatz on his new CD, Ghetto Stories. The CD, which will be released in 2003, features Ron Isley, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, and Eve.
    Career Track: At 16 McClain became the musical director for The Sylvers. He credits his early success to learning Berry Gordy’s formula for artist development from his high school classmate Jermaine Jackson.
    Big Break: He took a job as a music executive for A&M records.

    Now we know that Michael was first in awe of Geffen and took him into his team as the main advisor instead of John Branca (who sided with Yetnikoff, Geffen’s opponent), but later Michael was rumored to dislike Geffen very much. So the current combination of John Branca and John McClain “in one package” seems to me a somewhat controversial one. I also remember Frank Cascio being rather open in his utter dislike for McClain.

    However if Michael named McClain in his will of 2002 it shows that he was still trusting him. I wonder if the previous will of 1997 named McClain too?

    McClain’s participation in the Estate may be explaining Geffen as part of the deal with EMI which the Estate recently entered into. However the deal is a very profitable one and would surely be to Michael’s liking – now he co-owns the songs of Jackson 5. Business is business and personal likings are personal likings.

    Whatever it is, now we have a situation when not only John Branca is handling the Estate, but Geffen seems to also have some influence on it through John McClain.

    Here is an article on the Estate’s and Sony’s purchase of the EMI music catalog:

    11/14/2011 @ 6:24PM
    Sony-EMI Deal Reunites Jackson 5 Songs With Michael Jackson

    In the years after Michael Jackson became an international superstar, the song “I Want You Back” took on a new, reflexive sort of meaning for him.

    Flush with cash from the stratospheric success of his solo career, Jackson thought seriously about buying the publishing rights to some of the songs he’d recorded years earlier as a member of the Jackson 5–including “I Want You Back,” one of hundreds in Motown’s Jobete catalog, then owned by the legendary Berry Gordy and his sister. Despite serious interest from Jackson, who was “like a son” to Gordy, the music mogul sold a 50% stake in the catalog to EMI for $132 million in 1997.

    But dreams often take a lifetime to achieve, and the King of Pop seems to have realized this one posthumously. On Friday, a Sony-led team of investors purchased EMI’s entire publishing catalog for $2.2 billion. The group includes billionaire David Geffen, the Blackstone Group’s GSO Capital Partners LP, and none other than the estate of Michael Jackson (its stake is nested within Sony’s 38% share of EMI, according to sources close to the negotiations).

    The move makes sense for reasons beyond just the sentimental. Michael Jackson’s estate still co-owns the separate Sony/ATV publishing catalog in a joint venture with Sony; that company, headed by former EMI chief Marty Bandier, will administer the newly-acquired EMI assets on behalf of the investors.

    Still, the reunion is little more than a drop in the financial bucket. Because Sony/ATV will soon begin receiving administrative fees from the EMI catalog’s new owners, its own value is likely worth of $2 billion as well.

    As for Jackson, his estate has raked in half a billion dollars since his death two and a half years ago. And though the King of Pop’s posthumous concert flick was called This Is It, he’s just getting started from a posthumous earnings perspective. Jackson’s Immortal World Tour, a partnership with Cirque du Soleil, is grossing $2.4 million a night; plans call for over 100 shows a year for each of the next three years.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/zackomalleygreenburg/2011/11/14/sony-emi-deal-reunites-jackson-5-songs-with-michael-jackson/

    Like

  22. cawobeth3 permalink
    July 31, 2012 6:03 am

    What gets me is that people fail to give Mr. Branca credit for going above & beyond his duties as The Estate executor. For one thing; big thing, in the fall of 2010, Mr. Branca reached out to about a dozen MJ fan-clubs and The Estate has kept in contact with them to this day. I happen to know this first-hand bc I was an advisory/writer/reporter for one of them at the time. This reaching out to fans, by The Estate was done bc Mr. Branca thought Michael would appreciate this. This move; beginning of correspondence with fan-clubs, was celebrated by the throwing of the “Michael” (album) release party, along ♥Frank DiLeo & other Sony Executives, on 12/13/10,; the eve of it’s release.
    http://www.legendarymichaeljackson.nl/?p=3133

    Now some fans may not have been aware of this but most fans are aware, by this time, that The Estate sends out statements to fan-sites and on twitter. I think it’s a big deal and quite complimentary to fans that The Estate offers these statements to us before mainstream media is even aware of such statements.

    Even the recent letter from fan-clubs focuses just on $$. I myself felt hurt to see this.

    Just saying that it’s not all about $$ for Mr. Branca. He believes in Michael, his artistry, his contributions to culture, history & humanity and Michael’s values.
    I don’t understand why anyone who wishes Michael’s legacy to live on would not appreciate all he & his team have done thus far. ”

    ♥ & ☼ in Michael’s ☼ of ♥

    Like

  23. July 30, 2012 8:32 pm

    Good job VMJ!
    There is a thread on MJJC about John McClain in case you havn’t seen it http://www.mjjcommunity.com/forum/threads/117948-Informational-John-McClain

    Like

  24. July 27, 2012 12:24 pm

    “Here is a new article on John Branca and his love of Ferraris! http://magazine.ferrari.com/blog/2012/07/guarding-legacy-king-pop/

    David, thanks for the link. Initially it was a February 2, 2012 People story reprinted in July by a Ferrari magazine. So John Branca also has a “wild” streak to his character? Which shows in his love for sports cars and fast driving? And blasting music in the car as if he were in a rock concert? Interesting. I expected something of the kind from him. Boring people can be very professional but are incapable of working miracles.

    Excerpts:

    “Immediately Branca cranks up the stereo – a souped-up Reus Systems’ system consisting of 13 speakers powered by 900 watts and a nine-inch woofer module – at rock concert intensity, to the tune of California Gurls by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg. The sound is the closest thing you can come to an iPod directly wired to your brain.[]‘It makes you want to listen to music when it sounds like this,’ he smiles..” ‘Hopefully there’s nobody on the road,’ he says, a nanosecond before gunning the engine, as if to prove that the 458 really can accelerate to 60mph in just over three seconds.’
    ‘You get in a Ferrari, it’s a whole other experience.’ He feels so strongly about it, that he even penne fa short piece for the Ferrari Opus on “Why I Love Ferraris”. He wrote, “I am of Italian descent, and any Italian-American who has the opportunity to own a Ferrari should. It is part of our heritage. It is as much Italian as visiting Rome or Venice, admiring Italian architecture and paintings, enjoying Italian fashion, or eating a great Italian meal. My Ferrari feels right at home with my collections of 18th-century Italian angels and Venetian antiques.”

    About the 2009 concerts and the will:

    “And so it was in the spring of 2009, having not worked together since 2006, that Branca received a call that the Gloved One wanted to speak with him regarding his European comeback tour. After some preliminary talks and brain-storming, Jackson retained Branca again. Before embarking on the project, the attorney took his family to Cabo San Lucas for some needed “r & r”. While there, a scant eight days after he had reunited with Jackson, Branca received a call that the King of Pop was dead. In a 2002 will, Branca was named co-executor of Jackson’s estate, along with John McClain (of Interscope Records), but when Jackson died, the lawyer didn’t know if a more current version had subsequently been drawn up. None had. When Branca and McClain took over, the estate was some $400m in debt, and Branca saw his job as threefold: 1) to get the estate out of debt and on sure financial footing, 2) to restore and enhance Jackson’s legacy as one of the great entertainers of all time, and 3) to ensure that Jackson’s children and loved ones were taken care of. In short order, this manifested in a best-selling concert DVD (This Is It), best-selling Ubisoft video dance game, new album releases, and plans for an interactive museum.
    But the latest and most ambitious endeavour is Cirque Du Soleil’s Michael Jackson, THE IMMORTAL World Tour extravaganza..”

    About Cirque du Soleil:

    ‘..it turns out that in the 1980s, when Jackson did a series of three commercials for Pepsi, he actually drove a Ferrari in one of them. More synchronicity: Branca lets drop that 20- odd years ago, he and Michael attended the firstever Cirque show in Santa Monica, where it was held under a tent. ‘Michael loved it,’ Branca says.
    An infatuation that continued over the years. That affection was a major part of the decision to do a Jackson Cirque show. Branca’s been involved in every phase of the show’s conception and development, which is why he visits Montreal, home to Cirque Du Soleil’s headquarters, and Vegas so frequently. He’s been there to review rehearsals, dress rehearsals, run-throughs without costumes, run-throughs with costumes, runthroughs without lights, run-throughs with lights, run-throughs with lights but no costumes, runthroughs with lights with costu… you get the idea.
    Branca’s already involved in the next Vegas-based Jackson/Cirque collaboration, this time a permanent show set to open in May 2013 in Mandalay Bay’s 2,000-seat Lion King Theater.’

    About Thriller:

    And, as you might suspect, Branca’s a repository of great Michael Jackson stories, including this one, that changed everything: after the Thriller album had been out for 18 months, Jackson told Branca he wanted to make a video of the title song. Music videos were still in their infancy, with an average budget back then of about $50,000. Jackson told Branca he wanted to budget $1m. Branca was aghast, but Jackson issued an edict: ‘Make it happen.’ Branca approached cable TV outfit Showtime about financing a Making of Thriller film – the first ever “making of” video. With that in place, the big-budget video was made, but before its release elders at Jackson’s Jehovah’s Witnesses church informed him that the video, filled with zombies and werewolf transformations, promoted demonology and told him not to release it.
    Jackson then ordered Branca to destroy it. Branca thought ‘This is nuts’, and racked his brain to figure out how he could avoid scrapping the million dollar video. Recalling that Jackson was a big Bela Lugosi fan, he concocted a story that Lugosi was very religious (Branca had no idea whether this was true) and had put a disclaimer at the beginning of Dracula stating that the flick in no way endorsed vampirism. Jackson was summarily impressed, which is why, if you own a copy of the Thriller video, you’ll see a similarly worded disclaimer placed at the beginning. And thus, Jackson was catapulted into superstardom, MTV featured its first black performer, and the course of music history was changed.’

    Like

  25. July 27, 2012 11:22 am

    “We will never be content with the album because it doesnt have that Michael touch.”

    Of course it doesn’t. But this cannot be helped now.

    “I would prefer a simple beat so that we can hear Michael, its mainly about the message and his beautiful voice anyway.”

    I would too. Therefore I would suggest that those who handle these records make a new, experimental album – publish each track the way it was left by Michael (or only a fragment of it it they have it this way), and then add various interpretations of it by different musicians. And let the public decide which interpretation is closest to Michael’s.

    Like

  26. Truth Prevail permalink
    July 27, 2012 4:21 am

    “In short there is almost no song which I do not find fault with in the album”

    lol i wouldn’t go that far i feel that the track with Akon Michael would have been happy with it
    same with the Lenny Kravitz track they seem to resemble the original from the time it was recorded now i am not sure if the version released on “Michael” is the way Michael left it or if Lenny reworked the track for the “Michael” album.Then there are the songs “Much Too Soon” and “Behind The mask” now those songs have the vintage thriller era feel

    Then its the Cascio Tracks now those are the song’s i think are weak for the album and definitely think if Michael finished them full they would be even better though although the lyrics to “Keep Your Head Up”, “Hollywood Tonight” have a a deep sincere message also “Breaking News” but it is the production which is the down point now compare those Cascio tracks to the other ones i mentioned and the ones i haven’t mentioned that are on the album.

    Like

  27. sanemjfan permalink
    July 27, 2012 4:00 am

    Here is a new article on John Branca and his love of Ferraris! http://magazine.ferrari.com/blog/2012/07/guarding-legacy-king-pop/

    Like

  28. TatumMarie permalink
    July 27, 2012 2:49 am

    We will never be content with the album because it doesnt have that Michael touch. I do feel like the estate and the others on board tried too hard to make the beats. Some songs are definitely over processed and my least favorite are the Cascio tracks. I would prefer a simple beat so that we can hear Michael, its mainly about the message and his beautiful voice anyway.

    Like

  29. July 27, 2012 1:39 am

    Guys, first of all I apologize for some technical problems in the blog. I am currently using a mobile Internet device and it is a nightmare to say the least.

    Secondly, as regards the quality of “Michael” album we’ve discussed it already and in a very heated manner too. I will be frank and say that I am not happy with part of the songs either. In fact I am not too happy with almost all the songs – “Hold on” has too much Akon and very little of Michael, my faviourite “Keep the head up” has too much vibrato, “Monster” also has some vibrato and too much rap, and the version of it I initially heard on the net (without any rap) was, in my opinion, better. In short there is almost no song which I do not find fault with in the album.

    BUT it does not change my overall attitude to the album and to the idea as such. You say that they should have published the songs the way they were? But what if they had only some fragments of it? The fragments could not make a proper song and would have compromised the whole idea of the album. I am more than sure that if they had released the fragments the reaction of fans would have been the opposite – “Why did they release raw material? Wasn’t there anyone to put the finishing touch to it?”

    This is human nature. People are always dissatisfied and no matter what they are offered they always want something better. With Michael Jackson we have not yet reached the stage inevitable for all great composers – when people are no longer picky and each musical fragment is valued as if it were pure gold.

    And as to finishing the songs for Michael, well, this is common practice in music. I’ve already provided the example of Requiem by Mozart. It was also unfinished and to be able to perform it someone else did the job for Mozart. What is interesting is that when you listen to Requiem you can hear which parts were composed by Mozart and which were filled in by another person.

    OF COURSE we would prefer to have it fully composed by Mozart – but he also died too young and this cannot be helped.

    But there is also a difference. In case of Mozart we have to put up with what was left of his music, while in case of Michael Jackson (who is the Mozart of our times) the Estate and Sony still have the originals. And this means that there will be a time when another team of artists will handle the same records and will try to do something different with them. And probably then we will have another “Michael” – a much better one. Or it will be better suited to the future times. Even the very idea that each new future era will produce a new Michael Jackson is rather attractive (at least to me).

    Let me repeat what I said before. There may be numerous ways of handling those records. The Estate tried to do their best. They are not musicians and relied on others in doing the job. If those musicians’ interpretation of Michael’s music is not to the liking of some Michael’s fans, so be it. Hopefully someone else will come later and correct it. But the general process of publishing Michael’s songs will go on – whether you like it or not. It is INEVITABLE because it happens to all geniuses in music.

    And Michael was a genius, so releasing his unpublished music is unavoidable and this should be understood full well. His songs will NOT remain in the vault as it contradicts the very nature of his phenomenal music. And it is only the manner in which it will be released which can be disputed. All the rest is already set.

    Like

  30. Truth Prevail permalink
    July 26, 2012 8:30 pm

    @Vindicate MJ

    “We know that Michael was very excited about an new album”

    Yes an album by HIM THE ARTIST not Business men who found whatever they could and just put together a bit of this and a bit of that what they should have done is release tracks that were fully finished by Michael and leave them untouched and if they weren’t any then don’t release anything but again instead they brought in sound bites and play around with them and made it sound the way they wanted it to be NOT Michael. And the fact instead of giving completely brand new material they just re released (I Like) The Way You Love Me if there was just a demo then leave it Michael left it un finished then leave it like that but they thought we will tweak it a little i’m sure the “Fans” wont mind

    In my opinion if i’m gonna pay for an ARTISTS work then that’s what i want The artists work from the Artist

    Not a bit here a bit there

    Still waiting for the estate to prove the Songs are authentic.

    Like

  31. July 26, 2012 7:43 pm

    “They think MONEY not PERFECTION the way Michael thought for Branca and McClain it’s all about as long as it sells and rakes in the money.”

    I wish someone could explain to me what’s so bad about making money for Michael and paying off his debts. If the debts had not been paid his children and the whole family would have lost everything, but now they retain everything and have a chance to spend money on charity and do a lot of good both for their father’s legacy and the world.

    However you make it sound as if generating money for Michael is a sort of a crime. I simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND IT.

    And as regards perfection each of us would prefer Michael to be alive and polish his albums. But this is not possible and we will have to accept it. Now we face the alternative – either all Michael’s unpublished songs are kept in the vault forever, or we have a chance to listen to them, agreeing to the possible flaws. There is simply no other alternative.

    Some prefer the first variant. I for one, absolutely disagree with it. If someone doesn’t want it it is their choice but why do they prevent others from getting anything new from Michael???

    Like

  32. July 26, 2012 7:30 pm

    “I don’t agree the way they have handled stuff again they are business men their main goal is MONEY all the secrecy regarding the “Michael” album and then not providing proof if the tracks are real in which they said they will. When I put that together i can’t help myself but think what is going on here or what are these guys up to”.

    And what can they be up to? Their goal is indeed money and generating more income to pay off the debts as soon as possible. If Michael were alive now and they were doing the same, would everyone be only happy that they are such a tremendous success? So why is the attitude so different now that Michael is gone? They are still doing it for him!

    And as regards the “real” tracks are you talking of the Cascio tracks? Those were computer processed in some way but this does not mean that they are fake – just unfinished, wrong tempo, etc. All the rest are totally above suspicion as the joint work with Akon, Will.i.am, for example, was even reported in the press. We know that Michael was very excited about an new album:

    09-20-2007
    Akon Raves About Working With Michael

    Singer Akon recently talked to MTV in Miami about his recent collaboration with Michael:
    “Ooh, don’t even say his name twice. I’m not supposed to be talking about this!
    He’s incredible. He’s a genius. Just to be in the same room [with him], I felt everything I wanted to accomplish in life has been achieved. That aura … that’s how incredible that aura is.
    We about to shake the world up, man. You know how you be with somebody and you can’t even explain [the feeling]? I used to sit and think, ‘How does somebody sell so many records and dominate a whole business genre, to a point nobody can’t be a part of that without associating with you?’ The way he thinks … some artists think regional, some think national, I was thinking international. He thinks planets. It’s on another level.”
    Source: MJFC / MTV

    09-18-2007
    Another Report Of New Album

    According to the Sun-Times, Michael Jackson has been meeting with several insiders in the music industry regarding a major, new album and an international concert tour promotion. It is cited possibly for the end of 2008 or early 2009.
    The reporter at the Sun-Times says that a “longtime Jackson associate” told him “This is something Michael is carefully planning. I think the album is going to be amazing. From what I’ve heard, it will be as big as ‘Thriller’ — and yet will take his music in a new direction to appeal to new, younger fans — but will still have those Michael touches his traditional fans love.”
    There is some speculation that Janet and some of the Jackson brothers would possibly be involved on a number of tracks. “Can you imagine what a sensation it would be if Michael and Janet toured together,” said the source, teasingly. “That is something that’s being discussed.”
    Source: MJFC / http://www.suntimes.com

    Like

  33. Truth Prevail permalink
    July 26, 2012 5:28 pm

    They think MONEY not PERFECTION the way Michael thought for Branca and McClain it’s all about as long as it sells and rakes in the money.

    Like

  34. Truth Prevail permalink
    July 26, 2012 5:26 pm

    Lets also not forget about John McClain

    I’m not saying they are bad business men Branca and McClain have done a good job getting rid of the debts.

    But i don’t agree the way they have handled stuff again they are business men their main goal is MONEY all the secrecy regarding the “Michael” album and then not providing proof if the tracks are real in which they said they will. When I put that together i can’t help myself but think what is going on here or what are these guys up to.

    Like

  35. July 26, 2012 3:55 am

    @Truth Your giving Branca too much credit
    I agree to an extent, but in the end, Branca doesn’t get enough credit on the fantastic job that he’s done with the estate.

    Like

  36. July 26, 2012 2:39 am

    “Your giving Branca too much credit”

    Not too much. Just what he deserves. Every Michael’s useful acquisition was made with the help of Branca. Neverland, the Beatles catalog, the idea to merge it with Sony’s songs instead of selling Michael’s part to them, miracles at clearing the multi-million debt, reestablishing Michael’s name and making it the symbol of success once again – who did this much for Michael? Only Thomas Mesereau. And Dr. Shafer at Murray’s trial. I cannot think of anyone else.

    All these people have a lot in common and share with Michael his best features. All of them are superb professionals, all are very honest people and all value the truth more than money.

    Like

  37. July 26, 2012 2:27 am

    “Michael Jackson’s Estate would not have existed as it is today without John Branca.He was the one that orchestrated all of the major deals in Michael’s life that made him the business empire that his legacy is today.If not for him there would be nothing for the siblings to fight over. You have to realize by now that when the debt existed those same family members that are calling him out now, wanted nothing to do with his financial problems”

    Lynette, I absolutely agree.

    Like

  38. July 26, 2012 2:16 am

    “Oh Helena welcome back”

    Thank you.

    “Personally don’t like the Estate handlers i mean these are the same people who gave us fake tracks on the “Michael” album.”

    I am still not sure that the tracks are fake. They may have been unfinished and some parts could have been remodelled in some way – by computer, for example, but it does not make them “fake”. It just makes them a restoration attempt, that is all. I am afraid that now that Michael is not here we should get ourselves prepared for such attempts as the inevitable.

    By the way recently I listened to one of the songs recorded by Michael when he was alive, and it had a very strong vibrato too! Now I can’t remember which song it was (if I find it I’ll post it).

    Like

  39. July 26, 2012 2:03 am

    The will is genuine. But even if it were not, nothing would change for Michael’s siblings. The previous will was also in favor of the children and Katherine with eveyone else cut off.

    Randy Jackson’s Claim That Michael Jackson’s Will Is Fraudulent Debunked

    Posted on Jul 25, 2012 @ 04:00AM

    By Jen Heger – Radar Assistant Managing Editor

    Randy Jackson told Reverend Al Sharpton on his MSNBC show Tuesday that his brother, Michael Jackson’s 2002 will is fraudulent, but a source close to the situation tells RadarOnline.com exclusively that the will was validated more than two years ago by a court.

    Michael’s siblings contend that his 2002 will is invalid because he was in New York City on the date it was signed, and the document states that it was signed in Los Angeles. However, our source offers an explanation.

    “One of the witnesses mistakenly wrote Los Angeles as the place the will was being signed, because he lives in Los Angeles,” the source says. “The witnesses have confirmed to the Court beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were with Michael Jackson in New York City in 2002 when the will was signed. The executors provided sworn declarations clarifying the error in the 2002 will, and the judge accepted that as fact, and the will was validated.”

    However, even if the 2002 will were to be ruled invalid, “Michael’s 1997 will would be admitted to the Court in which Michael left everything to the children and to Katherine. On the off chance that Michael’s siblings were to contest that will, and say that was fraudulent, Michael would have died intestate. If that were true, then his mother Katherine would be cut out of Michael’s will and everything would go to the children,” the insider says.

    Further supporting evidence of the 2002 will’s validity, a letter was submitted to the court in the Michael Jackson probate proceedings which is dated August 26, 2003, sent to Michael Jackson, John Branca, and John McClain, from Barry Siegel, a CPA, who resigned as co-executor, and co-trustee of the Michael Jackson Insurance Trust.

    The letter’s subject line is: Last Will Of Michael Joseph Jackson

    And it reads:

    “Gentlemen,
    “The undersigned hereby acknowledges his previous resignation as co-trustee of the Michael Jackson Insurance Trust. The undersigned herby advises you that he declines to act as a co-trustee of the Michael Jackson Family Trust and as co-executor of the last will of Michael Joseph Jackson

    “Jermaine, Randy, and Janet Jackson have all lawyered up and in hopes of getting the executors tossed. However, the statute of limitations has expired to contest the will, and the judge has validated the 2002 will. Michael Jackson intentionally left his siblings and father, Joe Jackson out of his will.

    “Very truly yours, Barry Siegel”

    Since Jackson’s 2009 death — when he was nearly $500 million dollars in debt — the executors have earned a whopping $475 million, nearly getting the number out of the red. John Branca and John McClain negotiated a lucrative deal with Pepsi to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the late singer’s Bad album, as well as striking a pact with Cirque du Soleil for a Jackson-themed tour.

    http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2012/07/randy-jackson-michael-will-fraudulent-debunked

    Like

  40. July 26, 2012 1:49 am

    AEG together with Deleo were instrumental in bringing Branca back into Michaels business on Branca’s REQUEST and AEGs INTEREST, NOT Michaels.- Sina

    AEG were not instrumental in bringing Branca back – they just did not stop Michael from hiring Branca. And what makes you come to a conclusion that Branca was hired in AEG’s interests, and “not Michael’s”?

    Phillips was said to be worried that a court might void AEG’s contract with the singer due to a conflict of interest — Jackson and AEG were sharing the same lawyer, Joel Katz, a well-known music attorney, and his gobal firm Greenburg Taurig.”. “That was one reason I was supportive” of Branca’s return

    If the contract was signed the conflict of interests was already there and could not be removed. Such a contract could indeed have been found void.
    The conflict of interests could be removed only if the contract had not been signed and was still in the making. If it was not final, then Branca could indeed represent Michael and Katz represent AEG and each would speak for his client. But then the contract terms would have been totally different. And it also contradicts the AEG’s understanding that their contract with Michael was finalized.

    What is mindboggling is that at there first reunion, Branca brings with him a contract. The contract is signed on the spot, no one reviewed the contract for Michael , no contra expertise was done.

    There is nothing mind-boggling about it. Branca was hired and rehired several times, so the contract could be just standard. Michael could have seen hundreds of such contracts.

    The only people attending the reunion were people who had an interest in binding Michael to the contract.

    This sounds like “someone” wanted Branca imposed on Michael while in reality Michael himself wanted it very much as Frank Dileo told us in his interviews.

    Interesting that every single legal document concerning Michael became public, even very confidential ones that are in the possession of the executors, except for the contract that was signed that day by Branca and Michael. Did Michael himself get a copy of that contract ? did he know what he signed ? What was the content of the contract?

    Surprising logic. And do we have a contract between Michael and Thomas Mesereau, for example? Or many other people who worked for Michael? As far as I know there is not a single such employment contract on the net. These things are indeed confidential. Does your boss show you contract to everyone around?

    Branca did not know if the will was valid. How do you not know if a will is valid if you are the co executor.

    Because Michael could have made another will after the 2002 one and Branca had no way of knowing if there was a fresh will.

    He said he had A will, not THE will. Did he present the original will or just a copy. When he was fired in 2003 he was demanded to transfer every document or trust back to Michael.

    “A” will means one of several wills made by Michael. Branca presented the variant which was validated by a court. It turned out to be the last one.

    MY OPINION: the will might be valid technically, it is signed by Michael and a lawyer like Branca would never forge a signature. However it might not have been Michaels INTENTION.

    So you think that the will was signed contrary to Michael’s intentions? Under duress? This is a serious statement which needs serious proof. Are there any facts to prove this point?

    Like

  41. July 26, 2012 1:18 am

    “AEG together with Deleo were instrumental in bringing Branca back into Michaels business on Branca’s REQUEST and AEGs INTEREST, NOT Michaels”.

    Sina, you wrote Branca’s request to come back in capital letters as if this was some sensational news. No, it isn’t. Branca himself said about it: “I called the AEG people and his manager to simply let Michael know if he wanted any help and had the interest, I’m here for him.”

    Here is Branca’s interview of May 2, 2011 which answers some questions:

    Robin Leach: When you took on this enormous responsibility, I think it’s safe to say that at that moment, neither his family nor his fans understood what your role was. You’ve not only polished the reputation, you’ve protected the reputation, and you’ve built an enormous industry going forward. When you sat down those first moments after his tragic death and said I am the co-executor of the estate, what was in your mind to achieve for the man you once managed?

    John Branca: That’s a big question. First of all, when that job was handed to me, I was thankful because a lot of Michael’s fans were really supportive. They had felt that since I’d been there with him since January 1980 that John McClain and I were the right co-executors for the job. So that gave me some confidence, but we had to prove ourselves, and there were a lot of challenges. The fact that I’d worked with Michael on and off for 30 years and that I had come to know him so well in terms of his business approach gave me a big advantage.
    I kind of felt like I knew what to do right from the start. I think if somebody brand new had come in, it would have taken them a year or two just to figure everything out. But John McClain went to high school with Michael, I worked with him on and off for 30 years. It almost seemed natural.
    It didn’t seem like, “OK, we have to figure this out.” It was just once the judge handed the baton to us, we just started running. The one thing that I think made it easy was our decision to authorize and release the movie This Is It because when I saw that footage, I realized, in my opinion, that people would see Michael in a different way. They would see Michael the perfectionist, they would see the reason why he was a great artist. At the same time, you would see his humanity. Michael did not talk down to his musicians and his dancers. He was a very gentle but demanding human being. We felt if we put this movie out, people would see Michael in a whole different way, and fortunately that was the case. And it went on to become by far the most successful concert documentary movie of all time. As busy as he was, I’m certain he got time to see the video shot of himself from those final rehearsals. I’m sure he did review it to study it to see which parts he might want to do better. I don’t know for a fact, but I’m pretty sure he reviewed some of it, although not all of it.

    RL: Do you get any criticism, or if there was any, how did you answer it about making so much money out of his name? First of all, I’m presuming some of that moneymaking was forced on you because of his large debts that had to be straightened out.

    JB: We viewed our obligation as really to Michael, in terms of his legacy and his work, and then to his mother and his children. And what we wanted to do over time was to be able to put the Estate into a condition where eventually when it was handed over to his own three children down the line, it would be in much better shape than when we inherited it. So it’s our job to generate income. If we sat around and did nothing, it would be a disservice.

    RL: Do you eventually relinquish this work, and then it goes to the three children?

    JB: Down the road. Well down the road. Under Michael’s trust, which is confidential, there is a date at which when the children reach a certain age, the assets get distributed, and as is typical in high income, high-network families, you don’t turn it over too soon. You wait until the kids are older.

    RL: So they have to be well over 21. If Michael was witness to everything that’s going on now, with what you’ve done, what you’ve managed to achieve, do you think he would approve and it would all have his blessing?

    JB: I think so. I think that because of the many conversations I’d had with him over the years. It wasn’t so much that he spoke about his own immortality, but he spoke about his legacy. I met with Michael the week before he passed away, and we had an agenda to go over about future affairs. A couple of months before, he had said through his manager Frank DiLeo that he wanted me to start thinking things, ideas, so when I came into that meeting, I had an agenda with a lot of ideas. I left knowing which ones Michael wanted, and so what we have done is what he wanted anyway.

    The other thing is that John McClain had said to me, if we went to Michael and said let’s put out a film of your rehearsal footage, he would have said, “Are you of your mind?” Michael was a perfectionist, so purely rehearsal footage would have been a no. But if we’d said to him, ‘Michael they’re gonna pay you X amount of money, and it’s going to be the most successful concert film ever, and the album will go to No. 1, and it’s going to outsell Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber combined, what do you think then? He would have instantly said, “Where do I sign?”

    RL: This meeting that you had a week before he passed. Was it in any way a premonition, or in getting ready to fly to London for an extended stay with This Is It, was it just being protective and the normal case of keeping one’s life in order?

    JB: I had not been working with Michael since 2006. I had resigned. But in 2009, he signed up for the This Is It concert tour. I said to myself humbly, “I’m not sure that there’s anybody else that can help Michael achieve what he wants to achieve. Not artistically, because he was the master with that, but business-wise. I called the AEG people and his manager to simply let Michael know if he wanted any help and had the interest, I’m here for him.
    I got the calls back, and they said Michael wants you to implement a plan. So over the course of a couple of months, we gave it a lot of thought, and I was ready to meet him on the Wednesday — never thinking for a moment he would be dead that weekend. It was far more about helping him have a plan from the concerts. The timing was totally coincidental … it was not a premonition. Those outlines, however, became our blueprint for protecting and ensuring his legacy. It’s what he wanted to do anyway.
    Cirque du Soleil and Michael Jackson

    RL: Would he have wanted this amazing partnership with Cirque du Soleil?

    JB: I took Michael to his first Cirque show. We went together back in the early ’80s. It was a tent show in a Santa Monica parking lot next to the pier. He loved it! We had to go backstage after because he wanted to say hello to all of the entertainers. He was a huge Cirque fan. He saw every one of the Cirque shows. He went to Montreal to see Cirque headquarters and watch all the performers at work. In his way, he is now working with Cirque, which is something he always wanted to do.

    RL: Your prediction for Cirque’s arena tour and for the second show and the Neverland re-created museum of memorabilia here — a prediction on it all?

    JB: My philosophy is you do the best you can in creating what you’re creating. And if you do a good-enough job and it’s Michael Jackson and Michael’s music with Cirque and Jamie King, well, the results speak for themselves.

    RL: Final question: You worked with him for a long period of time. What was his genius, what was it about him that had that mega appeal to connect with everybody around the world? Did he even understand it himself?

    JB: Michael’s genius was multifaceted. He started out as this incredible young singer and dancer that then got molded through the Berry Gordy Motown music factory into becoming the consummate entertainer. He then started to write his own music. Who knew he was a songwriter? Then after Off the Wall, he started to produce his own music. He produced “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” with Quincy Jones and co-produced “Bad.”

    His talent kept unfolding and growing — part of it because he was so driven to perfection and he studied the other greats. The other part was an innate likability about him. You read stories of great artists with egos, and nobody wants to be around them. That was not Michael. Michael was a great artist and a great genius, and everybody loved him.

    RL: I had the privilege of having a Chinese dinner with him one night at the Wynn hotel here. He was the most regular, likeable guy in the world.

    JB: Exactly, and then when he was ready to go onstage, he went to another level of superstar.

    John told me that Michael has 32 million friends on Facebook and that his older brother Jackie Jackson is very involved with the Estate. “Jackie has been working with us at the estate on many projects, including developing a very high-end leather jacket line inspired by Michael’s videos that will be available retail at the MJ Zone in Mandalay Bay,” he said.

    John summed up: “We are thrilled to establish Michael’s home away from home here at Mandalay Bay. Very few fans would ever get to visit Michael’s Neverland Ranch because of its remote location. But millions of Michael’s fans will now come to Mandalay Bay to hear Michael’s music and experience Michael in many other ways.

    “When we think about Fan Fest, Michael was always a fan of Beatles Fest, Elvis Week, Star Wars conventions, and he used to say, ‘Someday I want to have my own fan convention.’ Michael’s fans have told us they also want the same thing, so we are thrilled to accomplish another one of Michael’s objectives. We look forward to working with our partners to make happen all the things Michael himself wanted.”

    http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/blogs/luxe-life/2011/may/02/michael-jackson-fan-fest-details-plus-late-singers/

    Like

  42. Truth Prevail permalink
    July 26, 2012 12:16 am

    @lynande51

    Your giving Branca too much credit

    Like

  43. July 25, 2012 11:40 pm

    According to my twitter timeline, most of the MJ fans on there are now going to the tabloids for gospel news. The much maligned TMZ has suddenly become the gold standard. Help!!!

    Like

  44. lynande51 permalink
    July 25, 2012 9:10 pm

    Of course I should not just blame her because here is what I have to say about Jermaine and Randy:Thome Thome and Prescient Aquistions.

    Like

  45. lynande51 permalink
    July 25, 2012 9:06 pm

    Has anyone figured out where the conspiracy theory about Branca and McClain came from look at the siblings in particular La Toya in the weeks leading up to her book launch. Yep suddenly a woman that never talked to her brother for about 14 years after the crap she pulled had become his closest confidant.I highly doubt it and her creidibilty flew out the window when I saw her hug VG just as a PR op.Yuck this family is the poster family for dysfunctionality.

    Like

  46. lynande51 permalink
    July 25, 2012 8:51 pm

    Here is what so many, in fact too many fans seem to misunderstand. Michael Jackson’s Estate would not have existed as it is today without John Branca.He was the one that orchestrated all of the major deals in Michael’s life that made him the business empire that his legacy is today.If not for him there would be nothing for the siblings to fight over. You have to realize by now that when the debt existed those same family members that are calling him out now, wanted nothing to do with his financial problems and were in fact major contributors to some of them. Randy, Jermaine and Janet are trying to take that legacy from none other than his children. I don’t think those kids that have been so bright so far will ever fire those two men and Katherine can’t do it without them.She is their physical guardian she is not their money guardian, those two men are.

    Like

  47. TatumMarie permalink
    July 25, 2012 7:22 pm

    @Sina

    The will was authenticated by the courts years ago, even the will prior to the one in discussion is listing Branca as the executor, the truth is that Michael wanted Branca back. Anything outside of that is just hearsay.

    Like

  48. Truth Prevail permalink
    July 25, 2012 5:43 pm

    Oh Helena welcome back🙂

    Like

  49. Sina permalink
    July 25, 2012 1:55 pm

    Here is a different perspective on the AEG /Branca connection.

    AEG together with Deleo were instrumental in bringing Branca back into Michaels business on Branca’s REQUEST and AEGs INTEREST, NOT Michaels.

    From: A superlawyer returns, a pop icon dies , a will is discovered Published: December 09, 2010 @ 7:38 pm. Interview with AEGs Randy Philips by Johnnie L.Roberts, the Wrap

    At around 7 o’clock one evening during the third week of June 2009, John Branca arrived in Michael Jackson’s dressing room at L.A.’s Fabulous Forum, where rehearsals were under way for the performer’s “This Is It” concert.
    It was their first meeting in three years.
    They immediately hugged,
    before Branca handed Jackson a letter to be signed, formally rehiring the superlawyer.

    It was an abrupt reunion after a bitter split — and just days before the show business legend died.

    In fact, Branca had begun to seek a return to the fold no sooner than Jackson wrapped up the press conference unveiling “This Is It” in early March 2009.
    The lawyer phoned Phillips ‘“I’d do anything in the world to be involved,”’ Phillips remembers Branca saying. The AEG executive was noncommittal then.
    Later, however, Phillips and Frank DiLeo, Jackson’s manager from the 1980s glory days, phoned Branca. DiLeo himself had only recently been invited back onto the brain trust, exactly two decades after Jackson fired him in 1989, a year before Branca was booted for the first time. Phillips, too, was anxious to have Branca return to the fold.

    According to a well-placed music industry leader briefed on the matter, the lawyer’s re-emergence appeared to lessen a potentially massive legal and financial predicament for AEG Live and Phillips. Phillips was concerned that the company could be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars –productions costs, guarantees, ticket sales and more — if the fragile Jackson were unable to perform his 50-date London run, according to the music industry leader.
    Phillips was said to be worried that a court might void AEG’s contract with the singer due to a conflict of interest — Jackson and AEG were sharing the same lawyer, Joel Katz, a well-known music attorney, and his gobal firm Greenburg Taurig.
    “I felt another attorney that had nothing to do with my company” was prudent, Phillips acknowledged in an exclusive interview. “I felt it was important for Michael.” He added: “That was one reason I was supportive” of Branca’s return.

    In an interview, Katz said that he first heard the idea of luring Branca back from DiLeo, who took on the role of intermediary between the lawyer and Jackson

    On the morning of the reunion, DiLeo reminded Jackson, “Don’t forget, John’s coming today.” Phillips was in Jackson’s dressing room at the Forum for the reunion.
    After the hug and official signatures that evening Branca began rattling off ideas, having honed them over the previous week.

    NOTE: What is mindboggling is that at there first reunion, Branca brings with him a contract. The contract is signed on the spot, no one reviewed the contract for Michael , no contra expertise was done. The only people attending the reunion were people who had an interest in binding Michael to the contract. Branca was well aware that Michael never bothered reading contracts ( see the Bashir debacle).
    Interesting that every single legal document concerning Michael became public, even very confidential ones that are in the possession of the executors, except for the contract that was signed that day by Branca and Michael. Did Michael himself get a copy of that contract ? did he know what he signed ? What was the content of the contract?

    The Wrap :
    After the dressing-room meeting, Jackson headed off apparently to his intravenous Propafol drip and Branca to a Mexican vacation, where a few days later, on June 25, his phone rang with Katz on the line. Jackson had just died after Dr. Conrad Murray, his private physician, administered the drug.

    “Does anyone have a will,” Katz wondered?
    “I have one,” he says Branca answered. “If it’s valid.”

    NOTE : Katz was Michaels lawyer regarding the AEG contract in june 2009, BEFORE Branca took over and didn’t know whether Michael had a will or not.
    Is n ‘t that one of the first things a lawyer does when deals like AEGs are made, with a huge life insurance at stake.
    Branca did not know if the will was valid. How do you not know if a will is valid if you are the co executor. He said he had A will, not THE will. Did he present the original will or just a copy. When he was fired in 2003 he was demanded to transfer every document or trust back to Michael.

    NOTE: Barry Siegel who was a co executor , who like Branca was fired AFTER the 2002 will was set up. He never claimed co executorships. He could, since his name was on the will that emerged in 2009, with no addendum or correction who would be the current executors. Who would know if he still was or not . But he did not and I wonder why.

    NOTE: HLN Beth Karas stated that her source told her that in 2005 he asked both Branca and Michael if there was a will and both denied, Michael told the source that he only had a TRUST, NO will. In 2005 the only person that Michael would trust with such confidential information and who would have a standing to ask him would be Tom Mesereau . I hope he speaks out.

    MY OPINION: the will might be valid technically, it is signed by Michael and a lawyer like Branca would never forge a signature. It may also be valid legally, only because no other will emerged and there is no written statement that Michael dismissed the executors or retracted the will. However it might not have been Michaels INTENTION.
    One of the Cascios in 2010 made assumptions that the will was fake, however only against McClain, and the assumptions were conveniently made after McClain initially opposed his ‘Michael’ tracks, for obvious and imo justified reasons.
    There is a possibility that the contract that Michael signed with Branca and AEG, a few days before he died, included a clause that restored the will, and/or Branca s position as co executor of the will. It would be interesting to know the content of the contract.

    As far as I know the Jacksons do not object the validity or content of the will or trust, only the executors.

    It makes sense why Branca as co executor of Michaels will , would never go against AEG. They paved the way for him to get into Michaels business again.

    Like

  50. July 24, 2012 6:52 pm

    I’m glad you’re back. In order to understand what it must have been like for Michael to have to continuously deal with law-suits, most of them frivolous, you have only to remember all the claims that were filed against MJ after he died. Many of them were truly ridiculous but had to be dealt with just the same. In fact, the estate was bombarded with claims and it was fortunate indeed that they were equipped to handle them all. It’s no stretch of the imagination to realize that the same kind of legal activity went on continuously while MJ was alive. MJ’s biggest crime was not that he guilelessly loved children but that he became too popular and rich after Thriller. Both of these things made him ripe for the picking and his innate good nature made him vulnerable to vultures and ghouls of every kind.

    Like

  51. July 24, 2012 10:30 am

    “I think the fan community is partially to the blame.The most insulting statement in the Estate allegations document in question would have to be the suggestion that the estate is not taking care of business. WHAT?”

    Tatum, I think the fan community is very much to blame. Someone threw in a conspiracy theory blaming the wrong people and almost everyone rushed into campaigning against them without thinking twice. The fans should have said, “Hold on, something does not add up here. Those who allegedly “killed” and for money too, will not work day and night to repay the debts of the one whom them wanted to “destroy”.

    This glaring abuse of all logic was the first red flag which should have brought people to their senses, but it didn’t.

    Instead based on this wrong assumption all other conclusions resulting from it were wrong too. People started rejecting the idea of a debt in principle and saying that it was just a media invention. We didn’t know for sure of course, but considering that initially there was a loan, so there must be some debt after all and it was only the sum of it which could be disputed.

    However the media has absolutely no right to sneer about it as they are the first who are to blame for these debts. It was the media which opened up the Pandorra box of vicious Michael’s harassment which resulted in mass craziness and everyone trying to snatch a piece of Michael’s fortune.

    The initial wrong assumption resulted in more mistakes. Since wrong people were named to be responsible for Michael’s death, all these people’s projects were boycotted thus hampering the Estate in paying out the debts! This way the fan community worked directly against Michael’s interests!

    This craziness went as far as boycotting even T-shirts with Michael’s image though it is clear to every normal person that 1) such T-shirts promote Michael’s image and 2) Michael will get a percentage of the profits and 3) this money will go into repaying the debt.

    But when you asked some fans “How is the debt going to be repaid?”, their answer was “What debt? There is no debt! The children are very well taken care of!”.

    What is interesting is that the company which did nothing to repay Michael’s debt (AEG) and those who did everything to repay it (the Estate and Sony) were thrown into one pile. No one cared that their roles were totally different – AEG sold the footage of the rehearsals (it remains to be seen whether they had the right to possess it at all) at a dear cost to Sony while Sony bought the footage and paid its own money for it.

    It is a usual sale/purchase deal like buying something at an auction – the one who gives the best price gets the item. Sony gave the highest price and got hold of the footage, AEG received the highest price and – attention please – also reserved for themselves the right to a percentage of the profits, thus ensuring a regular flow of money for themselves even after sale of the footage. None of it went to repaying Michael’s debt of course, however none in the fan community cared.

    Sony and the Estate were generating money for paying off Michael’s debt, while AEG was working for its own interests only. Did the fans see any difference in their motives? No, they did not. Moreover, AEG somehow managed to come out clean in the whole thing, while all the fan artillery was fired against the Estate and Sony again.

    In addition to that everyone forgot that Michael was and still is in a partnership with Sony (whether we like it or not) and boycotting Michael’s projects sponsored and produced by Sony means hitting Michael’s interests in the first place.

    Speaking of conspiracies, I think that there are people inside the fan community who wanted the Estate to fail and Michael to lose and therefore sent the fans in the wrong direction. Some of them are probably sincerely mistaken, but some are doing it intentionally.

    Whatever it is, it never hurts to stop and think for a couple of minutes before rushing somewhere. It is very effective against choosing the wrong direction.

    Like

  52. July 24, 2012 4:22 am

    I agree, still, with Michael’s earning potential, the amount of debt, despite how large it sounds to us was not something that he couldn’t recover from in a short period of time. When I made the comment I meant the amount along with earning prospective is not that bad because the media would have us believe he didn’t have a shot. It was only a matter of having the right people behind him and it looks like he realized this before he died.

    Apparently, he was in the process of getting this taken care of by hiring Branca. I wish the media would at least give him credit for that. I remember the news reports about the documents, but they never gave a specific number. According to TMZ they had the documents but they wouldn’t show them. Can you provide the link, if possible?

    The family is questioning these executors, why since there was debt anyway? I agree with you, this is completely crazy, and I think the fan community is partially to the blame.

    When Michael died the fan base broke up into three categories.
    1. The realist (us)
    2. The conspiracy theorist (Michael death conspiracy)
    3. The believers (Michael death hoax)

    Unfortunately, many of the Jackson family members have taken on the thinking of fan category no 2. There’s no foundation, or sensible theory to support this line of thinking. The most insulting statement in the Estate allegations document in question would have to be the suggestion that the estate is not taking care of business. WHAT? If Randy hadn’t confirmed it, I would have never though that document was legit.

    Like

  53. July 24, 2012 2:34 am

    “We really missed you!”

    I missed you too, guys!

    “TMZ said the estate has cleared Michael’s debt, and for the most part they just have a few creditor claims. if it only took 3 years, Michael’s debt could not have been as bad as the media made it out to be.”

    Unfortunately the debt was indeed big. Last year a reader sent me the report of the Estate lawyers which detailed Michael’s situation at the time of his death. I nearly cried when I saw it. Here it is:

    We don’t need any illusions and have to take things as they are – the debt was over $400mln. But based on this fact we can make several important conclusions.

    1) Firstly, the debt was built up not due to Michael’s “lavish spending” the way it is described by the media. Most of that “lavish spending” was for show only to convince others and himself that things were stable and not bad at all. The real reason for the debt was most probably the never-ending litigation process which took place in Michael’s life for some 15 years or so.

    Considering that Michael was sued more than 1000 times according to Brian Oxman (and Thomas Mesereau) there wasn’t probably a single moment in his life when he was not sued. And every single bogus claim required involvement of lawyers, preparing documents, paying the lawyers per hour, etc.

    If each lawsuit out of 1000 required at least a month of legal work how many months will the total make? 1000 months?

    Let us divide it by 12 months a year and see how many years it will be. My calculations bring the incredulous 83 YEARS which is an impossible result of course and this means that Michael had at least 4 simultaneous suits every month of his life for the last 20 years. Now multiply all this by payment per hour of legal work and we will see where all his millions were gone.

    2) The second conclusion we can make is that if John Branca and John McClain were able to settle all Michael’s debts within 3 years the same could have been done by these people if Michael had been alive.

    Of course it required a surge of interest in Michael and his music, but there is no doubt that the first concerts in London would have been smashing enough to generate this interest. Add to it the footage of the concert or of the rehearsals, the Cirque du Soleil shows and other things we have now and the result would have been almost the same – with the only difference of Michael being alive, which makes all the difference in the world of course.

    “I doubt he would have hired Branca if he suspected that he was trying to kill or rob him like some of the family concludes based on fan-conspiracy theories”.

    I wonder how they managed to come to such a crazy conclusion. It is one thing to kill and rob someone who possesses billions, but killing and “robbing” someone who has a $400 mln. debt???

    Do they mean to say that someone conspired to “kill” in order to work for three years after that to repay the victim’s debt?

    Never really knowing when or whether they will be able to repay it?

    Like

  54. July 24, 2012 1:22 am

    Helena,

    Check mail

    Like

  55. Miranda permalink
    July 23, 2012 7:38 pm

    Welcome back, supporter from Hong Kong. Nice and brilliantly written, based on facts, not assumption or conspiracy theory. Thank you.

    Like

  56. Tatum Marie permalink
    July 23, 2012 5:24 pm

    Hey Helena,
    We really missed you!

    About the article:

    I think this pretty much sheds light on Michael and Branca’s relationship. TMZ said the estate has cleared Michael’s debt, and for the most part they just have a few creditor claims. Some of those claims are bogus of course, but if it only took 3 years, Michael’s debt could not have been as bad as the media made it out to be. I doubt he would have hired Branca if he suspected that he was trying to kill or rob him like some of the family concludes based on fan-conspiracy theories.

    As far as someone saying that Branca doesn’t deserve ‘a pat on the back’ for clearing Michael’s debt, they’re crazy. Branca wasn’t even around when Michael’s finances took a tumble. It was probably easy for Michael to dismiss Branca in the 2000’s because he was representing Michael’s enemies but Branca, himself never did anything to Michael. It’s amazing how the timeline practically shows that the 93 case had way more of an impact on Michael’s career than I originally thought. I knew that it had did some damage but…oh my goodness. I’m not sure if this was in the article but he lost other endorsement deals and roles because of the 93 thing too, right? I know one was Pepsi.

    Thank you.

    Like

  57. July 23, 2012 12:44 pm

    Guys, I am sorry that firstly, some of the paragraphs in this text were misplaced by mistake and secondly, for some reason the comments for this post were not activated (both has now been corrected).

    It seems that after a break in using the blog I need to learn how to handle it once again.

    Like

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