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Jacksons – AEG trial DAY 70. Dr.SLAVIT, INSURANCE and MURRAY as the TOUR cost in AEG EMAILS

August 25, 2013

While everyone seems to be following the lead of AEG in munching all those propofol stories let me continue to look into the heart of the matter which is absolutely not propofol irrespective of what they say. They are misplacing the focus intentionally.

Those who get easily bored are encouraged to skip the beginning and go straight to point 3 called “What animal is Tour expense?” while the rest will probably want the know some details.


Dr. Slavit

“Dr. Slavit is the correct man to do that”

After Debbie Rowe’s testimony on August 15 a video deposition of Dr. David Slavit was shown. No one paid attention to it which is an extremely deplorable fact – Dr. Slavit is connected with the AEG insurance issues and the AEG insurances issues are key to this case. 

Unfortunately the transcript of his deposition is not available on TeamMJ as they managed to obtain only a sidebar discussion concerning something else, so we’ll have to limit ourselves to the ABC News tweets only.

Thursday August 15, 2013 DAY 70 

Rowe was excused.

AEG called their next witness, Dr. David Hal Slavit, via video deposition. He’s a board certified otolaryngology.

He’s licensed to practice medicine in New York and New Jersey. He’s never been suspended.

Dr. Slavit performed physical exams in hundreds of patients. He has performed physical for purposes of insurance, he said.

He explained the difference of physicals: problem-focus, more complete and comprehensive.

Dr. Slavit has performed physical for performance cancellation insurance.

He said he checks vital signs, ear, nose, throat, neck, eyes, examination heart, lungs, abdomen and peripheral pulses.

Q: Who typically contact you for performance cancellation insurance?

Dr. Slavit said it’s usually insurance broker or artist management.

He said he’s done approximately 30 physicals for performance cancellation insurance, mostly for singers, but not all.

The majority of times, check comes from the insurance broker. He’s done physicals in hotels, rehearsal studios, artist’s home, office

Dr. Slavit said he’s done approximately 20 times for Robertson Taylor, insurance broker.

On Feb 4, 2009, Dr. Slavit conducted a physical on Michael Jackson in connection with a performance cancellation insurance.

Bob Taylor contacted Dr Slavit somewhere in the months prior to the physical. “He basically asked if I would agree to do the physical on MJ”

It was my understanding he was going to perform, Dr. Slavit said.

Yes, I requested to reviewed the prior 5 years of medical records, Dr. Slavit said. He wanted to be as accurate as possible.

I’d say it’s not typical, Dr. Slavit testified about getting 5 years prior of medical history, but he had done before other than MJ.

Dr. Slavit said this is done if there were prior questions of medical health.

There were questions that had been raised by the broker, Dr. Slavit said. He doesn’t know specifically what was asked.

Dr. Slavit said insurance broker questioned MJ’s breathing capacity, his pulmonary status and overall health.

Q: Nothing about prior drug abuse?

Dr. Slavit: Not that I recall.

The doctor did not ask anything else other than 5 years medical history. He said he was not limited in MJ’s examination at any time.

Dr. Slavit never received any MJ’s medical history, other than what the artist told him during examination.

Attorney showed documents doc prepared during and after the physical.

The physical was done at MJ’s house in Los Angeles, the doctor said.

Patient’s name on blood work request: Mark Jones. It’s an alias, Dr. Slavit said, just to protect Michael Jackson’s privacy.

Q: Did you find MJ to be in great physical condition?

A: Based on the informaiton I had, yes

Note on form says “today’s found Mr. Jackson to be in excellent condition.” It also says MJ had allergy and a bit of cold.

He was on short course of antibiotics, Dr. Slavit said, he’s not on any other medication.

Q: Did he tell you he was taking painkillers?

A: He told me he was not taking any painkillers.

He stated he was not taking any medications other than antibiotics, Dr. Slavit testified.

Dr. Slavit didn’t see anything that suggested MJ was not telling the truth. He didn’t find any typical signs of narcotic intoxication.

Dr. Conrad Murray follows Mr. Jackson on a regular basis, the form said.

Dr. Slavit explained Murray was identified by Mr. Jackson as his personal physician and reported seeing him as needed.

Dr. Slavit: He reported seeing him a couple of months prior to the physical just for check-up.

It was a routine check-up, Dr. Salvit said. MJ didn’t discuss the details of the visit.

Other than Dr. Kantor no one else was mentioned as providing care, Dr Slavit said.

Q: Did he tell you MJ said he liked Dr. Murray?

A: Yes

Q: Did he say he was a good doctor?

A: I don’t know if used that word

That he was caring for him, that he was satisfied with the care he was getting, that’s basically what he said, Dr. Slavit said.

Dr. Slavit’s form said MJ’s vital signs were normal. Heart sound was normal, no murmurs.

Dr. Slavit: I assessed his pulmonary status with stethoscope, no further pulmonary test done.

Q: Did you have difficulty drawing blood?

A: I had a little difficulty drawing blood.

He used MJ’s left arm, and took the specimen himself to the laboratory. Blood work result was normal consistent with MJ being in good health

Q: Was he capable of making decisions?

A: Yes

Form notes MJ was mature, open and candid with Dr. Slavit.

Q: Capable of control of his health?

A: Yes

Q: Why candid?

A: That’s the perception I got

Q: Was he lucid?

A: Yes

Q: Speech slurred?

A: No

Q: Tired?

A: No

Q: Did he say he had trouble sleeping?

A: He didn’t say he had trouble sleeping, he didn’t say he had insomnia.

Dr. Slavit: He denied any prior medical problem except for the cold.

Dr. Slavit wrote MJ was in good health, good diet and exercise. He interacted with his doctor for routine check ups.

MJ visited his laryngologist for minor issues, seemed proactive and attune to his health.

There was an acknowledgment of the need for rest or avoidance of exhaustion.

Q: Did MJ ask you to prescribe any medication?

A: No

Michael Jackson signed the forms. Dr. Slavit said he saw MJ sign it.

At the time of the examination the form was filled out with Michael Jackson. We reviewed the form before he signed it.

There are questions on the form that were filled out during the physical. Dr. Slavit said MJ was the only source of the responses.

Q: Was there any significant change of weight?

A: No

The question regarding excessive use of drugs or alcohol was circled ‘no’.

MJ told Dr. Slavit he was last examined a couple of months prior for routine. Dr. Murray was identified as personal physician.

When asked if he felt in good physical condition, Dr. Slavit said MJ responded yes. “That was his answer.”

Temperature was 98 degrees.

Weight: 127 lbs – MJ told him that’s what he weighed.

Q: Based on your examination, it appeared accurate?

A: Yes

Height was self reported also. He told Dr. Slavit he was 5 foot 9. Dr. Slavit received full payment for the physical on Michael Jackson.

Q: Did you notice any track mark on MJ when you examined him?

A: There were none

Q: Did you look his arms?

A: Yes

Q: His legs?

A: Yes

In the course of reviewing his past medical history there were no surgeries reported, Dr. Slavit said.

Dr. Slavit gave copy of the record to the Coroner pursuant to legal subpoena. Feb 2009 was the only time Dr. Slavit talked to MJ.

Dr. Slavit charges:

$5,849 for travel and hotel

$3,000 lab and supply

$6,000 for service

Dr. Slavit: My understanding my job was to find out if he was able physically to perform.

I was never provided records, Dr. Slavit said. He never contacted Dr. Murray directly to get medical record.

I would require permission from MJ to do that (test for opiates or drugs), Dr. Slavit said. There was no need at the time to test him.

Dr. Slavit had been working with Bob Taylor for about 10 years prior to doing physical with MJ.

Q: Did Mr. Taylor tell you MJ was being badly mauled in the press in England and that it was getting difficult to obtain insurance?

A: No

Dr. Slavit did not know where the rumors came from.

Q: Was it clear to you that MJ had plastic surgery?

A: Yes

Dr. Slavit said he examined inside MJ’s nose and how it looked.

Q: And did it look ok?

A: Yes

Dr. Slavit was at MJ’s house between 2.5 and 3 hours for the physical.

Q: If you had any suspicion that MJ was using opioids or other drugs improperly, you’d you have tested him?

A: I may have

Q: Did Mr. Jackson deny anything you requested of him?

A: No

That ended the testimony. Court was adjourned and jurors ordered to return today at 9:30 am PT.

Basically Dr. Slavit’s deposition is the admission of a very perfunctory examination of Michael Jackson – he assessed his pulmonary condition with a stethoscope only, checked the breathing of his nose, made some blood tests which did not include a test for drugs because he did not see any indication of drug use (which is perfectly true as Michael was not taking anything) and what’s much more important, Dr. Slavit didn’t make any tests of Michael’s condition under a physical strain like checking his pulse and breathing when running or carrying some weights.

For these services Dr. Slavit was paid $5,849 for travel and hotel, $3,000 lab and supply, and $6,000 for the work proper. This made $14,849 in total for a couple of hours and no one seemed to question why so big a sum was charged for so superficial an examination.

This makes us look into the background of the check and see what events were accompanying it. Fortunately the exhibits on the website of Mr. Panish and Mr.Boyle provide us with this opportunity: These are various emails sent back and forth between AEG and their insurance brokers. And these emails are telling a lot more than you expected.

1. First please compare the physical done by Dr. Slavit with the second one planned in London on July 6, 2009 and see the difference:

From: Burns, Justin

Sent: 22 June 2009

To: Ian France

Subject: Mark Jones



Further to our discussions, wide of the basic examination and bloods, etc.

The specialist examinations are required in order to fully assess the medical risks of the performer whom you are insuring.

Clearly his performance is very physical and we would want an expert musculoskeletal orthopaedic surgeon to advise on his ability after so many years without being on stage to perform, the person who would be involved is the most expert orthopaedic surgeon in UK and advised many high performance athletes.

In regard to his cardio and respiratory capacity the cpx measures heart lungs oxygen etc. and he would be wired up so that this can be performed with ecg leads and a mouth piece.

Further at this time the 2 specialists required for these tests are currently only available on the Monday morning, if the medical is to be any other time please advise URGENTLY.

Trust this helps

Kind regards


Then we go back half a year earlier to Shawn Trell’s email of January 9, 2009 (even before signing a contract with MJ) where Trell asks a perfectly legitimate question why $10,000 plus expenses should be paid for a doctor from New York if they can find one in Los Angeles and limit the cost:

From: Shawn Trell

Sent: 09 January 2009

To: Bob Taylor

Subject: Medical Exam

Bob… is it really necessary to incur $10K in expense to get his medical exam completed? I mean, we are in Los Angeles. Clearly there are reputable if not world renowned physicians here that have been used before for these purposes. Please advise. – ST

And the insurance broker explains why, answering with a sort of an encrypted text:

Yes there are people in LA but I do not want the insurers to have any doubt as the medical info provided. I feel that Slavit is key to this as the insurers really do trust him at the moment. If the cost is a problem I have already indicated that I would expect insurers to contribute as would RTIB.

I do not want to miss the window as if we get it wrong then the whole possibility of getting insurance could well be prejudiced. MJ is being badly mauled by the press here on the subject of his health and we have to refute that info which will not be easy. I believe that Slavit is the correct man to do that.

I am happy to try another LA based doctor but we have to both recognize the possible cost of that. If you decide on an LA man then he must be an independent with no past history with MJ. That in itself will not be easy.

Let me know what you want to do and if its not Slavit I will try to source someone in LA.

Best Bob<T

The hidden meaning of the above is not lost on Shawn Trell. His answer is:

“Got it. Please proceed”.

Slavit is correct man to do it

“Slavit is the correct man to do that” (click to enlarge)

Let us check up whether we also got the meaning of the above text which sounds to me like it needs to be read between the lines very much so.

Both of them are unsure of the results of the test and are afraid that they may “get it wrong”. If something goes wrong the possibility of getting the insurance will be lost, so they don’t want to “miss the window” with Dr. Slavit who is the “correct man to do that”.

If they try a LA doctor it will be difficult to find one who has never heard of Michael’s health problems or has never come into contact with MJ, so in case of a LA doctor they “have to recognize the possible cost of that”.

Let’s translate it from English into English.

  • So getting an insurance policy is a matter of so crucial importance for AEG that it even requires encrypted language. Therefore the question why it is so terribly important for AEG will have to be kept in mind until the very end of the AEG trial.
  • The insurance is so important that they can’t get the medical examination required for it to go “wrong” and it should by all means be “right”.
  • To make it “right” the LA doctors are out of the question, but in case they are approached the broker warns that they should “recognize the possible cost of it” which probably means that getting the “right” conclusion from a doctor of high repute will cost a good deal of money. The other interpretation is that it may cost them losing the chance to get the insurance.
  • Therefore Dr. Slavit is suggested as the “correct” man to do the job. Actually the word “correct” is telling us all we need to know about the situation, isn’t it? And from the perfunctory way Dr. Slavit conducted his examination this doctor indeed proved that he can really be relied on in matters which require some “understanding”, didn’t he?

But here another question arises –  why was there so much fear on the part of the insurance broker and Shawn Trell about the possible outcome of the test? The options are not many to choose from – they either thought that Michael was in poor health as they saw him that way, or they suspected him to be a secret addict who would not  be able to pass the test unless the doctor closed his eyes on Michael’s “issues”.

But in order to think that he was a secret addict one needed to have at least some grounds for it – see him frail, ill or inadequate or at least know of Michael’s past problems, right? However this is exactly what now all AEG bosses categorically say they never saw or heard of. In fact if we listen to them Michael was in perfect health (this I don’t doubt, he really was) and the last time they heard of his problems with drug dependency was as long ago as 1993 only (this I doubt very much).

The reason for the doubt is that Bob Taylor rather cynically says to Shawn Trell that there is no doctor in LA who would not “have a past history” with Michael, and Trell agrees, and this betrays that both of them are perfectly familiar with some nasty gossip about MJ, possibly about drugs, and this is why they are determined not to allow a LA doctor to come near Michael Jackson.

All these hints perfectly coincide with the attitude to Michael displayed by Randy Phillips and all the rest of them during the several months of their tragic co-existence – they looked down on him as an addict who needed a “straight jacket” and “tough love” and on occasions had to be “scraped from the floor”, while Michael was absolutely not an addict and was simply suffering from lack of sleep which was a condition forced upon him by his AEG partners by the way.

2. The second point which attracts out attention about Dr. Slavit is the exorbitant cost of the lab analyses he billed for.

$3000 for a simple blood and possibly urine test which didn’t even involve a check for drugs? However the fact that he did not check for drugs is what Dr. Slavit says while another doctor – also speaking under oath – says something totally different.

The one who contradicts Slavit is Dr. Finkelstein. He was invited by Paul Gongaware to the This Is It tour and was assured by Gongaware that Michael was clean. Gongaware said that he was told about it by the doctor who conducted the test and the doctor who conducted the test was Dr. Slavit.

In the deposition aired on July 8th Finkelstein said:

A. I remember asking if he thought Michael was clean.

Q. You asked Mr. Gongaware that?

A. Correct.

Q. Ok, and what did Mr. Gongaware say?

A. He thought yes.

Q. You asked Mr. Gongaware if he thought Michael was clean. Mr. Gongaware said he thought he was.

A. He was clean.

Q. Ok, Tell me what else you remember about the conversations.

A. I wanted to know why he thought that. He said because he had a pre- — a physical from an insurance company and that he had passed it. I guess he was in contact with the physician that was currently with Michael, and that physician was telling him that everything was good and Michael was strong and ready to go.

And Dr.Slavit tells us that he didn’t even make those tests! He said that he required Michael’s consent to it, but didn’t even ask for it as he saw no indication of any drug taking. However the truth is that testing for drugs was Slavit’s specific task from AEG which is why AEG and the insurers were so fearful of the results, and the answer Dr. Slavit gave them was that Michael was clean and he indeed absolutely was.

Everything is twisted in this crooked AEG kingdom and everyone around them is lying like crazy now.  At the trial AEG is pouring a lot of mud on Michael and paints him as a terrible addict which they pretend they “never knew”. And the truth of the matter is that they did know of Michael past dependency on Demerol perfectly well which is why they specifically tested him for drugs, but found that he was clean. And this last fact is all we need to remember from AEG’s pile of lies – when Michael was tested in February 2009 he was absolutely clean of any substances, same as he was found clean of Demerol when he died.

In February there was none and in June 2009 there was none either, and this is all we need to know about Michael. Within this half a year his blood was tested twice and both times it showed no traces of drugs, and all talk from AEG’s experts about what they “think” is simple nastiness.


Okay, so on February 4, 2009 Dr. Slavit did his physical for the insurance and what comes next? And next comes a series of AEG emails about obtaining this very insurance which set the scene for the tragic events that happened.

The first chain of emails is dated March 17-22, 2009. Two thirds of this correspondence is redacted but from the rest we gather that on March 22 the insurance was still not there. This was the time immediately after announcing the 50 shows and selling out almost one million tickets. And though all the time prior to that Randy Phillips kept saying they had the insurance for 10 shows, when it came to 50 dates AEG hit rough waters, and from the March emails you get the impression that they had to start afresh because the terms, sum and even type of the insurance were still undecided.

The insurance broker John Silcock working with Bob Taylor wrote on March 17, 2009 that they had some offers for $11,5mln requested by Timm Woolley as the sum of the insurance:

From: John Silcock

Sent: 17 March 2009

To: Paul Gongaware

CC: Timm Woolley, Shawn Trell, Bob Taylor, Deniz Dervizh

Subject: Tour Insurance

We have some terms from insurers which potentially look interesting, but we need to clarify a couple of points. We will aim to get back to you tomorrow. This will be on basis of covering the $11,5m per Timm’s email yesterday.

Why was the matter still not decided though previously Randy Phillips announced to the whole world that the insurance was in their pocket? Because not only the show grew in size but AEG also increased the number of dates, thus increasing the cost of the tour, and all this required a bigger insurance.

This way even from the sum of the insurance requested we find that on March 17 the estimated budget of the show was supposed to be around $11,5mln – we know it simply because the insurance was meant to be equal to the sum of the budget and was to cover it.

The email of March 20 2009 is stating the terms of one of the proposed variants to insure 30 shows. Yes, the maximum number of the shows mentioned is only 30, which makes us think that there were problems with arranging the insurance for 50 shows. I suspect that the first thing the insurers would require for that was a written confirmation that the artist agreed to those 50 shows, however this is exactly what AEG was missing as they had to admit during the trial.

The insurance was offered on condition of cancellation only, but not rescheduling – so if some shows were cancelled the insurers would pay, but if the show were rescheduled they would not, and this could have serious implications for Michael. Rescheduling involved additional expenses and this was not to be tolerated by AEG, and this could well be the reason why once AEG set the dates they looked at them as those carved in stone with no remonstrations from the Artist accepted.

And the Artist did remonstrate because out of 50 shows 34 were set with only one day between the shows!

Out of 50 shows 34 were set with only one day between the shows!

Out of 50 shows 34 were set with only one day between the shows

On March 20 the sum of the insurance requested by AEG was already $14,5mln, and this points to the budget increasing too.

In his email the broker said that the insurance policy for MJ was a complicated matter and this was almost entirely due to the negative portrayal of Michael by the press. So tabloids and the media can congratulate themselves that they put a hand to Michael’s final tragedy too – it was due to their lies and irresponsible gossip that AEG could not obtain that damned insurance.

John Silcock of the insurance company is writing to Paul Gongaware and is copying to the same crowd of Timm Woolley, Shawn Trell, Bob Taylor, Deniz Dervizh:

March 20, 2009

Sorry for the delay, have just got to NY.

We’ve got some indicative terms, but there will be more information required before we are able to firm these up. This will however give you some idea of likely costs, subject to the additional information. We are also working on some other options, such as Death/Disability only, but I will come on to these later.

As I am sure you will appreciate, this is a far from straightforward and somewhat more complicated placement, almost entirely due to how this particular artist is portrayed in the media. Consequently there are a lot of pre-conceived ideas about him, some of which have been very difficult to overcome, simply due to the overwhelming amount of negative publicity, despite the good medical report.

To insure 30 shows with a sum insured of $14,5M (per Timm’s email) on the basis of insuring only those shows cancelled and not rescheduled. Subject to a 3 show deductible (shows lost). There will be no cover for the costs to reschedule any shows.

NOTE: The offer was for the Premium Non-appearance package which was eventually rejected by AEG:

Premium: $797,500 (Rate: 5,5%)

As I have said, this is an indication only and is subject to more detailed information – for example:

  1. Due to the specific nature of this risk, insurers will require a further medical examination to be carried out by their nominated doctor. This will be very similar to the previous examination. They may restrict illness cover or death from illness cover until this examination has taken place.
  2. Full review of past 5 year medical history by nominated doctor.
  3. No catastrophe non-appearance coverage of bands, dancers or backing singers will be granted until all names and ages of performers seen and agreed by underwriters.
  4. Full details of the stage to be provided. No cover for losses arising from the staging will be covered until information seen and accepted by underwriters.
  5. Full details of weekly fitness programme.
  6. Full details of any pre-existing conditions or illnesses suffered by the children along with a signed release granting access to their full medical records in the events of a related loss hereunder.
  7. Journey details (time allowed for travel + number of vehicles, etc.) to the venue to be advised to underwriters.
  8. Full details of any promotional work that will be undertaken during the policy period.
  9. Limit of Indemnity of $14,5M (or final figure) is amortised over the 30 shows.
  10. A full budget showing anticipated revenues and costs.
  11. How many songs will be performed (is there a contractual minimum or maximum)? The show not to be longer than 90 minutes (we may be able to negotiate on this, but will need to know how long the show will be including any encores).

Though this offer was rejected by AEG I am still mentioning it here because in contained one condition which could very well be specified in the cheaper insurance policy for Accident and Sickness which AEG settled on, and this condition is that the show was not to be more than 90 minutes (1 hour and 30 minutes) and not 2 hours or more as it eventually grew into. From further correspondence we will learn that out of that hour and a half the 50-year old Jackson was supposed to be on stage on insurers’ insistence for no more than one hour and 20 minutes.

From the discussion of that Premium Non-appearance insurance we also get that the insurers required additional information about all proposed shows until the end of 2010 (so there were to be shows until the end of 2010 though AEG now denies it) as well as confirmation of the date when a new insurance was to be purchased for the already set shows until February 2010.

So AEG did promise to the insurers to obtain from them a new policy for 20 more shows in addition to the first 30, and we can only guess why they did not cover all 50 shows in one insurance policy. They did not want to? Or could not as they had no written confirmation from MJ for the 50 of them?

Another reason why I am mentioning the Non-appearance policy (eventually not chosen by AEG) is because while discussing it the insurers asked AEG whether a medical practitioner would accompany Michael Jackson on the tour – so having a doctor by Michael’s side could very well be even their requirement. The insurers actually didn’t even doubt that there would be a doctor and it was simply details of the medical arrangement that they were asking for.

The email started above continues with the additional information the insurers might need:

Additional information which will be required prior to binding:

  1. Comprehensive list of ALL proposed shows not already announced up to the end of 2010.
  2. Confirmation of when cover will be purchased for the 2010 shows (up to February) and on estimation of the level of cover that will be required.
  3. Details of any coverage that artistco will require on the 30 shows to be covered hereunder.
  4. Will the artist have a medical practitioner travelling with the tour party or will one be retained in London? If so, (either scenario) please provide their names.
  5. Confirmation from the mother’s doctor as to her current state of health and any medical conditions from which suffers (or has suffered).
  6. Details of the mother’s living arrangements, e.g. private residence, care home, and is there any retained dedicated care staff?

The point about Michael’s mother is an indication that care for her was so important for Michael that potentially it could be a reason for cancellation of the shows (tour), so the insurers wanted to assess that risk as well.

Insurance March 20 - 2nd email from Silcock, various types of insurance

March 20, 2009. The insurance is far from ready – they are still looking into various types of it (click to enlarge)

The same day March 20, 2009 another email from John Silcock was sent to AEG which explained different variants of the insurances available. Out of all the variants AEG eventually selected the one covering Accident and Sickness. The sum or premium to be paid was $435,000 plus taxes:

March 20, 2009

Just to let you know that I’ve now got some indications of cost for Death/Disability.

To provide cover for Death (any cause) and Permanent Total Disablement due to Accident or Sickness for a limit of $14,5mln the premium would be $435,000.

To provide cover for Accidental Death and Permanent Total Disablement due to Accident only (in other words excluding sickness or disease or natural causes) the premium would be $145,000.

Both quotations will exclude suicide or intentional self-injury.

…The cover/indicated cost options all based on 30 shows and a limit of $14,5 mln are therefore


3 shows deductible


Cancellation/Failure to Recoup

No deductible


Death /Disability (Accident and Sickness)

No deductible


Death/Disability (Accident only)

No deductible


The most comprehensive coverage is the Non-Appearance. The Failure to Recoup is more competitive and will provide cover in the event you fail to recoup of course, BUT in this context recoupment means out of net revenue from day one, not amortization over the course of the 30 shows. Both are subject to more information.

Given the very good medical, the Accidental Death/Disability is a good option, and is by far and away the most competitive/ However, this is only basic cover and would not included coverage for situations such as damage/unavailability of the venue, life threatening illness of family members, etc. The Death /Disability cover is not subject to the same requirement regarding further information.

It may even be worth considering a combination of the Failure to Recoup and the Accidental Death/Disability, as the latter can continue to provide some protection after recoupment.

We would strongly recommend that the Terrorism cover is purchased as a stand alone policy irrespective as to which of the other options you decide upon.

Look forward to hearing from you once you’ve had an opportunity to review, and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

Let us note the whole idea of the insurance is revolving around the idea of recoupment of the costs of the show and this was why AEG was so terribly keen on it.

The above offer was followed by several emails which are fully redacted now revealing only one email sent by Timm Wolley on March 22, 2009. What’s good about it is that it explained the breakdown of expenses for the first 30 and second 20 shows. And while the email chain started with a request for $11,5mln now Shawn Trell is talking about $17,5 mln.

You remember that in his testimony Shawn Trell said that they chose Lloyds as they were the only one who would agree to provide $17,5 mln (for an “unreliable” guy like MJ), however even these emails show that AEG were getting to this sum gradually, depending on the anticipated costs. Within some 5 days or so their anticipation of the expenses rose from $11,5 mln to $17,5 mln, so the latter sum must have been the one they were putting into their budget around March 22, 2009.

Timm Woolley’s email of March 22 is addressed to the same crowd – the insurance brokers John Silcock, Bob Taylor and Deniz Dervish with copies to Paul Gongaware and Shawn Trell.

In this email Timm Woolley explains very interesting things we won’t be able to find anywhere else – for example, the fact that they wanted to get as much as $400,000 per show from agencies like Viagogo for secondary tickets alone. For 50 shows that would make extra $20mln on top of the regular tickets sold:

I haven’t walked through this with PaulG yet, but am expecting to later today. There will be individual line-item changes in expenses, probably, but income won’t change as they have been previously discussed with PaulG by Gorg Berg.

Format: There are two sections to the budget: first 30 shows, second tranche of 20 shows. Within the former there’s the pre-tour and rehearsal section and then the 30-show run. Within the latter, there’s the break cost (three months at 25% – policy as yet unresolved, but ballpark) and then the run of 20 shows. Please ignore all sheets except “Production”.

Insurance March 22 Timm Wolley explanation of all expenses part 1

Insurance March 22 Timm Wolley explanation of all expenses part 2a

March 22, 2009. AEG: “Secondary ticketing (premium sales through ViaGoGo, for example) are expected to contribute $200,000 per show. Note: this might improve to $400,000 per show.”

Income: Ticket sales are estimated as sell-out at a pre-stage-design cap of 14992, but sighlines are expected to improve to allow another 500 tickets to go on sale when the stage and stage-design is complete. The ticket income is shown as being subject to 15% VAT and the combined expenses of the 50 shows is reflected in ‘Show%’ on line 99 – i.e. approx. 15% is comprised of local expenses including AEG rent, stagehands, catering, support, pl insurance, etc.  Merchandising is not expected to contribute more than approx $2,6m over the entire run.

But secondary ticketing (premium sales through ViaGoGo, for example) plus boat-ferry packages plus VIP packages, plus outlet commissions are expected to contribute $200,000 per show. Note: this might improve to $400,000 per show. Exchange rates were taken as GBP1=$1,4 but the recent Fed actions have already caused the GBP to increase to $1.46 and the trend is likely to increase to between $1.5 and $1.6 by summer.

NOTE: Since the tickets were sold in pounds and given the above trends in the exchange rate, the overall sums in dollars were to  eventually grow.

Expense: 7 weeks of casting/choreographing and arranging/rehearsals will take place for dancers and vocalists/musicians respectively. The production may then go into Sony Studios rehearsal space of (less likely) LA Forum for 3.5 weeks of sound, lights, video, staging, fx rehearsals. After airfreight to UK, there will be approx 1 week of full UK rehearsals in EC or Wembley, former being preferable, prior to the first O2 show.

Please note that there are columns that have been ‘hidden’ that include cash flow analyses I didn’t get to yesterday and a division between costs arising in GBP –v –US$ to inform internal decisions on remitting cash to AEG corporate. This doesn’t affect what you are looking for.

NOTE: 7 weeks of casting/choreographing finally explained to me the difference in the dates reported by AEG and other sources – AEG said the casting was done in April while the media reported it as May 2009, and both were right as the casting was followed by a period of choreography when the dancers didn’t join Michael and there were no general rehearsals.

Central to this exercise:

  1. Pre-production and rehearsal expenses are now expected to be $10,5m, so the sum insured goes up to $17,5m. These costs will be recouped in the 30 show run, together with the artist advance and the pre-tour layout in rent and production supervision’.
  2. Break costs, representing upfront expenses prior to the second tranche of 20 shows will probably not represent an additional, later line-item to insure.
  3. Pre-tour costs and advances are recouped on a straight-line amortised 30-show basis with the artist, with staged-settlements taking place each few shows and a further payment being made to artist taking into account also the current costs of the shows taking place in the time period. If, due to a postponement, costs were incurred without concomitant revenue, the next staged-settlement would take these into account and the artist payment resulting would be reduced by those expenses.

Please call for explanations.


After reading this email the idea of who was to pay for what, including pre-tour production costs which were later placed on Michael,  and how those expenses were to be recouped and what the insurance has to do with it was finally beginning to acquire some clarity.


The general idea of the deal as I see it now was that AEG was indeed to invest some money in the show and insure those expenses to be able to get them back in case of cancellations. As the tour began each show was to recoup them a certain portion of the costs spent and by the end of 30 shows all those expenses were to be recouped.

The money spent was to be covered by the insurance. If everything went well the insurance sum was not to be paid out as the money made by the tour was to recoup it all, but if a cancellation occurred the insurance was meant to cover the losses. Each successful show made the insurance sum smaller and this process was called “amortization”.

The 30 shows were to bring back to AEG not only the pre-production expenses for $17,5mln but also the artist advance of $5mln as well as payment for the rent of houses for the whole company same as some mysterious expenses called by AEG ‘production supervision’ and put by AEG in quotes for some reason.

Let us make a mental note of this mysterious ‘production supervision’ before we proceed.

Another mysterious phrase appearing in those emails is ‘tour expenses’ and one of the emails that followed finally explained that tour expenses and AEG expenses are one and the same thing. There is an equal mark between the two and this means that the tour expenses including all those production costs were to be borne by AEG – just as I always thought. Moreover they were clearly differentiated from Michael Jackson’s expenses by AEG themselves.

And in this respect the email dated June 18th from Timm Woolley is absolutely invaluable. The email is about only one detail in AEG/MJ cooperation – a split of housing, security and transportation costs in London between the parties, but it explains to us the general pattern of splitting expenses between Michael Jackson and AEG, and this email explicitly says that everything that is Tour expense is actually AEG’s responsibility.

And this has a direct bearing upon Conrad Murray and in whose employment he was.


Read this email carefully please, paying attention to the encircled words – they are all related to each other:

Split of expenses between AEG and MJ. Conrad Murray's house is "Tour" expense which is equal to AEG's expense

The split of expenses between AEG and MJ. Conrad Murray’s house is “Tour” expense which is equal to AEG’s expense

The email says that the housing of Michael Bush (wardrobe), Karen Faye (make up artist) and – attention please –  Conrad Murray (personal physician)  was to be paid for by AEG, while Michael was to pay only for the furniture in his own house in London, food supplies, etc.

The expenses on those three people’s housing were “Tour expenses” and were to be recouped from the money made by the show, or were to be alternately compensated for by the insurance in case of cancellation of the tour.

It is absolutely sensational that the expenses on Conrad Murray’s house are clearly stated in this email as Tour expenses which are the expenses covered by AEG. In fact AEG themselves are putting an equal mark between the two! 

Other things listed among the “tour” costs (another name for it is “show” costs) were security and transportation, and even a special remark is made about these expenses that they “continue” to be show costs.

Continue to be show costs? But if the arrangement about transportation continues to be the same in London as it was in the US doesn’t it mean that all other transportation expenses, shifted to Michael  after his death, were also the show costs, were AEG’s responsibility and absolutely not Michael’s?

It seems that it does, because the same email even makes a differentiation between the tour transportation expenses and the expenses on the local transport for which Michael was to pay personally as it was meant for his family.

This MJ’s spending on the local transport was to be charged back to Michael while all other costs were not, and this means that the transportation to the place of their work for him and the company (for example, Karen Faye, Michael Bush and Conrad Murray) was none of MJ’s business either and was the tour cost again, and this in addition to the housing for all the three for which payment was to be made by AEG too.

What’s also extremely good about this June 18th email from Timm Woolley is that the split of expenses was fully approved by Paul Gongaware, so the information that the Tour expenses and expenses on Murray’s house were solely AEG’s responsibility comes straight from the horse’s mouth:

June 18, 2009

From Timm Woolley:


I have prepared what I think is an equitable division of expense between MJ and the Tour.


Pays for entertainment arcade & bowling alley because they were a precondition in terms of facilities he needed at the house and part of the bargain.

Pays for 3 of the local houses –Bush, Faye and Murray (wardrobe dresser, make-up/hair & personal physician).


Pays for the additional furniture because we are providing a fully-furnished house. MJ’s stylistic additions are added at his discretion.

Pays for 5/8 of the staffing housing: security, nanny, miko. And the initial food stocking. Food & and supplies will continue to be an MJ expense and the security people have credit cards of their own for that, but we’ll eventually credit the MJ account with a notional per diem allowance.

Costs of security detail and transport continue to be show costs. Former because we’d have had to secure any London hotel he would stay at. The latter only to the extent that the family local transport is a chargeback to MJ.

If anyone has other thoughts to offer, I hope we can agree that this is fair. If there is agreement, then PG to give approval.


And what a marvel Paul Gongaware is for approving the above split on June 19th!

From: Paul Gongaware

Sent: 19 June 2009

To: Timm Woolley

Cc: Brigitte Segal, Rick Webking, Julie Hollander, Colin Chapple, Luke Flynn

Subject: Re: estimated costs for MJ in London

I agree with Timm’s allocation and the charges. Approved.


Now we know for sure that at least the house in London for Conrad Murray was included into the Tour cost and was NOT to be charged back to Michael Jackson as it was not considered to be his responsibility. Further emails will show that the salary of Conrad Murray was also included into AEG’s budget, but since the subject is big I will leave it until the next post.

What I need to say now is that this kind of an arrangement would have been perfectly fair had it been realized that way – however after Michael’s death AEG presented the case in exactly the opposite variant.


Now they say that all the money spent on Conrad Murray (including his house in London) was Michael’s responsibility, same as all transportation, production and other costs, though in reality all of it was the so-called “Tour cost” which was to be recouped from the money made by the show and covered by the insurance.

This Tour cost was not exactly Michael’s responsibility because on the one hand it was to be deducted from the money he earned for the show but on the other hand he was not directly to pay it, especially if the tour was cancelled (the cancellation was to be covered by the insurance).

Similarly it was not exactly AEG’s responsibility as their expense was temporary and was to be recouped by them either from the money made by the tour or from the insurance. It was the investment made and recouped, and the recoupment was meant to be safeguarded by the insurance.

And this is where the problem arose. While the expenses were rising the insurance was not obtained  – through no fault of MJ’s, but actually AEG’s as it was them who increased the number of the shows.

At some point the absence of the insurance sent AEG into a total hysteria, after which they started setting Michael ultimatums about the high cost of the tour and arranging him riot meetings, most probably accusing him of faking illness and indulging himself in drugs in order to escape the shows and thus leave AEG with no insurance and no recouped costs.

They were safeguarded against any losses by Michael’s assets anyway, but over here they were probably not sure how much he “cost”, so the hysteria continued.

They were indeed in the danger of not getting that damned insurance of $17,5mln if they had made Michael’s condition public, but it was still absolutely no reason for denying him help. If they had helped him then he would have repaid them in full measure – he would have done those concerts for sure as he was the first person interested in doing them and they would have recouped all their expenses even without any insurance.

In fact even in the very worst but unlikely case they had not recouped their expenses, for someone with billions in their pocket this wouldn’t have been a catastrophe either. They would have sold the concert footage for great sums anyway, and would have gone into history as the last “saviors” of MJ crowning themselves with fame forever after …

However losing money for a flimsy thing like good repute and people’s gratitude was never AEG’s choice. In fact even after Michael’s death they chose only money again. They used his death to their great advantage all around and for this end engaged themselves in an outright fraud – the Tour costs were turned into solely Michael’s responsibility through those fake statements from Tohme and Dileo, and were submitted for payment to Michael’s Estate.

By shifting Tour expenses onto Michael they were killing two birds with one stone – they recouped all their money as the costs were compensated for by Michael’s estate (initially AEG tried to include even Murray into those sums too) and they declared themselves not responsible for Murray and his actions, as according to their new strategy Murray was no longer the Tour expense and was solely Michael’s business.

In addition to full recoupment of their expenses they also sold the rehearsal footage for $65mln to Sony (the additional $5mln were charged for making the film) and partook of the profit the film made worldwide which brought them totally astronomical sums.

They also retained part of the $85 mln for the ordinary tickets sold for This Is It because at least 40% of fans decided to keep those tickets as memorabilia, and only God knows how much they retained as a result of not recompensing secondary tickets sold at thousands of dollars each.

And in addition to all that they also wanted to get the insurance money, and fought for those $17,5 mln tooth and nail for several years until the insurers found out that AEG had actually not suffered any losses, recouped all their money from the Estate and therefore didn’t even have a reason for claiming the insurance at all.

Now AEG is terribly busy again – they are pouring tons of dirt on the man who earned him all that money. Indeed, greed is the root of all evil.

* * *

The next part of this post will continue with AEG’s emails which will hopefully explain the situation with Murray further and occasionally make a totally fantastic read.

For example, one of the emails will explain the meaning of the mysterious “production supervision”. It was also part of the Tour cost to be recouped from the money made by the tour and to be covered by the insurance and it means the services of Tohme Tohme….

37 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda permalink
    September 10, 2013 11:49 am

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge on Monday dismissed two executives from a negligence lawsuit filed by Michael Jackson’s mother and allowed the case to proceed against AEG Live LLC, the promoter of his planned comeback concerts.

    Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos said lawyers for Katherine Jackson hadn’t shown enough evidence that Randy Phillips, CEO of AEG Live LLC, and promoter Paul Gongaware were responsible for the death of the pop star.

    I wonder how much evidence she needs.


  2. August 31, 2013 5:27 am

    “I am only up to Day 7 of the Murray trial so these efforts are primarily from screenshots taken from Murray’s 702 number mobile from June 25 and June 24, plus emails from these and other days.” – Alice

    WOW. Alice, thank you for the great summary of emails on MJ’s medical records from Murray’s phone. Fantastic job! I’ve read it only now and it confirmed my understanding that all Murray was thinking about on the night Michael died was insurance. He was fully engaged with those medical records since June 24th daytime until 11 o’clock in the morning of June 25th!

    And Murray’s medical log for Michael is extremely valuable too. There is absolutely no mention of anything “bad” there and all Michael’s ailments are treated with the medications which are nothing out of ordinary for such cases.

    Considering that these are supposed to be notes for the past 3 years of MJ’s life it is absolutely innocent stuff, though the problems Michael had were serious – it is pleurosy and couph (with specks of blood?), athlete’s foot and fungal nail infection or Onychomycosis (treated with Lamisil), and insomnia/anxiety. There were also antibiotics and anti-allergy medication. Also Murray was receiving from his assistant MJ’s Echocardiography of his heart and the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (of his wrist). No mention of anything else. Actually it is indeed a tiny file.

    If MJ had had any “addiction” issues it would have transpired at least in some way, but there is absolutely nothing there. And this is the last 2,5 years of Michael’s life!

    Alice, I think that the emails and screen-shots transcribed by you should be arranged according to their time and we will then see the picture of what happened much clearer. I will try to work on it further and incorporate it in some way into the posts.

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH AGAIN – for your input and desire to get to bottom of the truth.

    P.S. Since you are now looking into Murray’s trial please remember that I also watched every day of it and made its day-by-day summary here: You may find something useful for yourself there.


  3. August 30, 2013 4:01 pm

    “There are plenty of interviews with Eminem about his drug addiction, and he has also since made a documentary about it and his reform. It premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, but I’m not sure how to get hold of a personal copy of the full thing yet.” -Alice

    Alice, if Eminem indeed managed to beat his addiction and is openly speaking about its horrors to warn others against drugs, I can only applaud him for it and wish him full recovery.

    But Michael can never be compared with Eminem. Eminem once “worked for 16 hours” and took a drug, and this is how it started? Dear me, Michael worked for much more every day and since age 5 too, and it never dawned on him that he could resort to any drugs!

    Michael was always against drugs and would have never touched them if it hadn’t been for that terrible accident. And the amount of pressure, ridicule, harassment Michael had to sustain from all around him (including Eminem) which added to his pain cannot be in any way compared to anything Eminem ever, ever, ever experienced.

    Eminem is actually an absolutely usual case of losing control over oneself – someone gave him a pill to relax, he liked it, and this is how it started. And whether he later received it from doctors as prescription medicine or bought it in the street does not matter. Whichever source he used it was the usual road of an addict. What will make him an exceptional case will be his success in beating the habit, because few people really manage to do it and it is indeed a feat.

    As to Michael he refused a narcotic drug even after the burn when he was offered an injection in a hospital. He was afraid of narcotics and was running away from them like the plague, and it is only when these extreme stretching the scalp experiments started and were repeated again and again that he gave in to painkillers – there was simply no other way-out.

    But even then he kept fighting and eventually he beat his Demerol addiction. In Ireland he didn’t take any, in Las Vegas he didn’t take any, and all these AEG stories are grave exaggeration and distortion of the truth.

    The AEG so-called “experts” are playing games with people’s ignorance over drug issues. And people are ignorant of the fact that ALL those who took narcotics in the past (for whatever reason) are technically considered “addicts” because the biochemistry of all these people has changed and changed forever. But some of these people are addicts proper who actively use drugs, and some are recovered addicts like Michael who don’t.

    So an “addict” for all those addiction experts is just a professional term, meaning a person whose bodily functions have been affected by drugs though he may have been free from drugs for 20, 30 or more years, while for the general public the word is associated with active drug-taking. This way the “experts” use this word freely meaning one thing, while the public understands the word in a totally different way.

    I know of this because I had experience with battling another person’s alcoholic dependence. For alcoholics it is the same – once an alcoholic always an alcoholic in the technical meaning of the word, even if he does not drink for the last 30 years. Technically he still is due to the changes in his system.

    As to Michael’s using propofol it wasn’t an addiction – propofol is not addictive and the more I read about it the more I make sure of it. The German doctors told Debbie Rowe that you can’t get addicted to propofol. And even AEG experts say that there is no need wean a patient off propofol-taking – it ‘just stops’ with no withdrawal symptoms and does not require replacement by any other medication. This is because there are no changes in the body which would create a “craving” for it.

    Michael’s only one real “craving” was for sleep, and propofol was unfortunately the only remedy that helped. If bananas helped MJ to sleep he would have had a “craving” for bananas. But bananas are no addiction, at least in the professional meaning of the word.


  4. August 30, 2013 3:02 pm

    “the more we read the only more clear and evident it becomes that whatever state of dependency Michael or ANYONE may be in on prescription medications, justified or unjustified, their dependency is NOT something that should be considered as their fault. Those addicted or dependent upon prescribed medications are NOT the ones to blame for their addictions, their mis-use, or their relapses to these meds after recovery.”-alice

    Alice, I wish you or someone could explain to me why people seem to be so critical of Michael while all he was “guilty” of was 1) suffering from a terrible pain after the burn and all that scalp stretching and surgery and 2) taking the medication given to him by doctors?

    It seems to me that any reasonable person should understand that if they find themselves in a similar situation they will also rely heavily on painkillers. Why should we even explain it? Shouldn’t everyone understand it on their own that it is a deplorable but inevitable course of action?

    And after the drug began to be given the genetic factors are triggered off. If it is an opiate ALL people will get dependent on it and the only variation is how soon it happens. With some it is a week later, and with some it is half a year later – and this depends wholly on genetics.

    Dependency on drugs (same as on alcohol) is a terrible tragedy but shouldn’t we differentiate between those who started it on their own and those who were simply caught up in this vicious circle?

    What I really don’t understand is why people don’t understand it themselves and why we have to explain it.


  5. August 30, 2013 2:25 pm

    “Earlier today reports surfaced saying that the IRS is hitting Jackson’s estate with a $702 million bill, including $505.1 million in taxes and $196.9 million in penalties. it’s important to understand that the IRS’s claims are related to estate tax, not income tax. In 2009, the year Jackson passed away, the maximum federal rate was 45% of net assets–implying that the IRS believes Jackson was worth in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion at the time of his death. Though the King of Pop was a much savvier businessman than most people realize and amassed an incredible collection of assets throughout his career, he was most certainly not a billionaire on June 25th, 2009.”

    Susanne, thank you – this article explains a lot. The claim to pay $702 million in taxes is totally ridiculous and proves only one thing – someone is set on ruining Michael’s Estate. What they wanted to do to Michael when he was alive is being continued now.

    I absolutely don’t envy the executors of the Estate. They are attacked from every direction possible and all of it looks like an orchestrated effort. The moment they sort out one thing a new fire flares up. No, this is not accidental.


  6. August 30, 2013 12:13 pm

    “But the property being discussed here is not stocks or bonds. It’s publicity rights, and the interest in the music. As such, I believe that the correct value should be the instant before death, and not at the much higher value afterwards.” – Sina

    These taxes and the ATV/Sony catalog in general are worrying me a lot. I’ve read that there is a law on copyrights in the US which says that for the songs published before 1978 songwriters will be able to regain their rights after 56 years which means that Paul McCartney will be able to regain rights to his songs beginning with 2018.

    To me it sounds like a complete catastrophe – so Michael went into so much sacrifice in order to keep the catalog for his children (though he could have sold it and repaid the debts), and in 5 years from now the catalog may return to Paul McCartney who didn’t want to pay for it even a tiny fraction of its value in the 80s?

    I hope that it never happens but here is the story:

    Paul McCartney to regain rights to Beatles songs currently owned by Michael Jackson
    By Sydney Bucksbaum
    August 11, 2013 1:29 PM ET

    Though it’s well-known that the late Michael Jackson owned half of the copyrights to a large portion of Beatles songs, and that Sony/ATV Music Publishing owned the rest, what is not as well known is that McCartney has the chance to regain those rights back — and now he knows it too, Fader reports.
    According to the US Copyright Act of 1976, songwriters are able to regain control of publishing rights on pre-1978 compositions after 56 years … which means that the former Beatle will be able to regain control over Beatles compositions from 1962 in 2018 and songs from 1970 in 2026.
    McCartney only has to wait until he is 76, just a mere nine years from now, and he’ll be making even more money. Not bad for someone who is already is worth about $737 million.

    Record Industry Braces for Artists’ Battles Over Song Rights
    Published: August 15, 2011

    Since their release in 1978, hit albums like Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” Billy Joel’s “52nd Street,” the Doobie Brothers’ “Minute by Minute,” Kenny Rogers’s “Gambler” and Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under a Groove” have generated tens of millions of dollars for record companies. But thanks to a little-noted provision in United States copyright law, those artists — and thousands more — now have the right to reclaim ownership of their recordings, potentially leaving the labels out in the cold.

    When copyright law was revised in the mid-1970s, musicians, like creators of other works of art, were granted “termination rights,” which allow them to regain control of their work after 35 years, so long as they apply at least two years in advance. Recordings from 1978 are the first to fall under the purview of the law, but in a matter of months, hits from 1979, like “The Long Run” by the Eagles and “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer, will be in the same situation — and then, as the calendar advances, every other master recording once it reaches the 35-year mark.
    The provision also permits songwriters to reclaim ownership of qualifying songs. Bob Dylan has already filed to regain some of his compositions, as have other rock, pop and country performers like Tom Petty, Bryan Adams, Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Waits and Charlie Daniels, according to records on file at the United States Copyright Office.

    “In terms of all those big acts you name, the recording industry has made a gazillion dollars on those masters, more than the artists have,” said Don Henley, a founder both of the Eagles and the Recording Artists Coalition, which seeks to protect performers’ legal rights. “So there’s an issue of parity here, of fairness. This is a bone of contention, and it’s going to get more contentious in the next couple of years.”

    With the recording industry already reeling from plummeting sales, termination rights claims could be another serious financial blow. Sales plunged to about $6.3 billion from $14.6 billion over the decade ending in 2009, in large part because of unauthorized downloading of music on the Internet, especially of new releases, which has left record labels disproportionately dependent on sales of older recordings in their catalogs.

    “This is a life-threatening change for them, the legal equivalent of Internet technology,” said Kenneth J. Abdo, a lawyer who leads a termination rights working group for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and has filed claims for some of his clients, who include Kool and the Gang. As a result the four major record companies — Universal, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner — have made it clear that they will not relinquish recordings they consider their property without a fight.

    “We believe the termination right doesn’t apply to most sound recordings,” said Steven Marks, general counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America, a lobbying group in Washington that represents the interests of record labels. As the record companies see it, the master recordings belong to them in perpetuity, rather than to the artists who wrote and recorded the songs, because, the labels argue, the records are “works for hire,” compilations created not by independent performers but by musicians who are, in essence, their employees.

    Independent copyright experts, however, find that argument unconvincing. Not only have recording artists traditionally paid for the making of their records themselves, with advances from the record companies that are then charged against royalties, they are also exempted from both the obligations and benefits an employee typically expects.

    “This is a situation where you have to use your own common sense,” said June M. Besek, executive director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at the Columbia University School of Law. “Where do they work? Do you pay Social Security for them? Do you withdraw taxes from a paycheck? Under those kinds of definitions it seems pretty clear that your standard kind of recording artist from the ’70s or ’80s is not an employee but an independent contractor.”

    Daryl Friedman, the Washington representative of the recording academy, which administers the Grammy Awards and is allied with the artists’ position, expressed hope that negotiations could lead to a “broad consensus in the artistic community, so there don’t have to be 100 lawsuits.” But with no such talks under way, lawyers predict that the termination rights dispute will have to be resolved in court.

    “My gut feeling is that the issue could even make it to the Supreme Court,” said Lita Rosario, an entertainment lawyer specializing in soul, funk and rap artists who has filed termination claims on behalf of clients, whom she declined to name. “Some lawyers and managers see this as an opportunity to go in and renegotiate a new and better deal. But I think there are going to be some artists who feel so strongly about this that they are not going to want to settle, and will insist on getting all their rights back.”

    So far the only significant ruling on the issue has been one in the record labels’ favor. In that suit heirs of Jamaican reggae star Bob Marley, who died in 1981, sued Universal Music to regain control of and collect additional royalties on five of his albums, which included hits like “Get Up, Stand Up” and “One Love.”

    But last September a federal district court in New York ruled that “each of the agreements provided that the sound recordings were the ‘absolute property’ ” of the record company, and not Marley or his estate. That decision, however, applies only to Marley’s pre-1978 recordings, which are governed by an earlier law that envisaged termination rights only in specific circumstances after 56 years, and it is being appealed.

    Congress passed the copyright law in 1976, specifying that it would go into effect on Jan. 1, 1978, meaning that the earliest any recording can be reclaimed is Jan. 1, 2013. But artists must file termination notices at least two years before the date they want to recoup their work, and once a song or recording qualifies for termination, its authors have five years in which to file a claim; if they fail to act in that time, their right to reclaim the work lapses.

    The legislation, however, fails to address several important issues. Do record producers, session musicians and studio engineers also qualify as “authors” of a recording, entitled to a share of the rights after they revert? Can British groups like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Dire Straits exercise termination rights on their American recordings, even if their original contract was signed in Britain? These issues too are also an important part of the quiet, behind-the-scenes struggle that is now going on.

    Given the potentially huge amounts of money at stake and the delicacy of the issues, both record companies, and recording artists and their managers have been reticent in talking about termination rights. The four major record companies either declined to discuss the issue or did not respond to requests for comment, referring the matter to the industry association.

    But a recording industry executive involved in the issue, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak for the labels, said that significant differences of opinion exist not only between the majors and smaller independent companies, but also among the big four, which has prevented them from taking a unified position. Some of the major labels, he said, favor a court battle, no matter how long or costly it might be, while others worry that taking an unyielding position could backfire if the case is lost, since musicians and songwriters would be so deeply alienated that they would refuse to negotiate new deals and insist on total control of all their recordings.

    As for artists it is not clear how many have already filed claims to regain ownership of their recordings. Both Mr. Springsteen and Mr. Joel, who had two of the biggest hit albums of 1978, as well as their managers and legal advisers, declined to comment on their plans, and the United States Copyright Office said that, because termination rights claims are initially processed manually rather than electronically, its database is incomplete.

    Songwriters, who in the past typically have had to share their rights with publishing companies, some of which are owned by or affiliated with record labels, have been more outspoken on the issue. As small independent operators to whom the work for hire argument is hard to apply, the balance of power seems to have tilted in their favor, especially if they are authors of songs that still have licensing potential for use on film and television soundtracks, as ringtones, or in commercials and video games.

    “I’ve had the date circled in red for 35 years, and now it’s time to move,” said Rick Carnes, who is president of the Songwriters Guild of America and has written hits for country artists like Reba McEntire and Garth Brooks. “Year after year after year you are going to see more and more songs coming back to songwriters and having more and more influence on the market. We will own that music, and it’s still valuable.”
    In the absence of a definitive court ruling, some recording artists and their lawyers are talking about simply exercising their rights and daring the record companies to stop them. They complain that the labels in some cases are not responding to termination rights notices and predict that once 2013 arrives, a conflict that is now mostly hidden from view is likely to erupt in public.

    “Right now this is kind of like a game of chicken, but with a shot clock,” said Casey Rae-Hunter, deputy director of the Future of Music Coalition, which advocates for musicians and consumers. “Everyone is adopting a wait-and-see posture. But that can only be maintained for so long, because the clock is ticking.”;


  7. August 29, 2013 2:28 pm

    “These business guys will never understand his impact on the world.” – Susanne

    Susanne, these guys will never understand anything unless we tell them. And we are also business people in terms that we are serious and mean business.
    I’d like to make a post today which will be exactly about these sharks and their helpers.


  8. August 29, 2013 1:57 pm

    Oh thank you, Helena, for these wonderful pictures from Moscow with all these hearts flying to the sky. It’s so great to see this all over the world and to see he will never be forgotten.
    These business guys will never understand his impact on the world.


  9. August 29, 2013 12:17 pm

    Guys, I am sorry – sorry – sorry for being away on Michael’s birthday! You won’t believe what a ‘clever’ thing I did. When my Internet slowed down the day before yesterday I decided to automatically update it to some other version with a higher capacity (or volume, or whatever it is, I am no good at it). The Internet provider for my modem asked me if I was stopping my old variant and if I was sure and I recklessly said yes. They switched off my old variant and as you probably guessed I was unable to switch on to the new version of it as it turned out that the funds that were there were gone together with the previous version.

    This is how I stayed without any internet at all and was able to resume it only when I came from the country back to town.

    Today there was a small event commemorating Michael here and I attended it. Happy birthday to Michael! In fact it is a very sad day – he was too young to go and should have been here. Just imagine that if it were not for Murray who will be free very soon, and if it were not for those AEG beasts he would still be alive…

    Michael is for people of all ages and for all times!


  10. alice permalink
    August 28, 2013 11:17 pm

    Happy birthday to the most wonderful, kind, passionate and beautifully enthralling people to be a part of existence. We love you Michael.

    Four of my favourite (currently, at least, they change every day practically! haha) live performances to commemorate the four years since 2009. I could never choose four favourite songs or short films because it would be like… choosing a favourite pet. Impossible. So this was a little easier.. somewhat. Although not really, because I’m still wishing I hadn’t limited myself to four… oh dear!



  11. Sina permalink
    August 28, 2013 5:23 pm

    “strategies appropriate for celebrities who zealously guard their privacy (e.g., J.D. Salinger) and for those who shamelessly exploit their celebrity (e.g., Michael Jordan)”
    Note : Michael Jordan should be ofcourse Michael Jackson.
    Disregard the mean stupidity.


  12. Sina permalink
    August 28, 2013 4:49 pm

    Shortly after Michael passed away there were many articles on his wil and estate . There was alot of discussion about the will and there was also criticism about poor estate planning and that the will was not well drafted because it didnt protect enough againts taxes. Here are some articles with different views on estate planning,timing of determining the value of estate assets.

    Here are 2 series of articles from that time.

    Monday, June 29, 2009 Michael Jackson’s Looming “Estate Tax Disaster”
    By Paul Caron

    In a previous article, Estate Planning Implications of the Right of Publicity, 68 Tax Notes 95 (1995), I warned that celebrities (and their counsel) must carefully plan their estates in light of the inclusion of the value of rights of publicity for estate tax purposes under § 2033. In the Conclusion, reprinted below the fold, I contrasted the different estate planning strategies appropriate for celebrities who zealously guard their privacy (e.g., J.D. Salinger) and for those who shamelessly exploit their celebrity (e.g., Michael Jordan). As Tax Prof Bridget Crawford (Pace) notes, an Estate Tax Disaster Looms for Michael Jackson’s Estate if he and his counsel did not properly plan for the enormous value of his descendible right of publicity under California law.
    Paul L. Caron, Estate Planning Implications of the Right of Publicity, 68 Tax Notes 95, 97 (1995):
    Practitioners fortunate enough to have clients with potentially valuable descendible rights of publicity should carefully consider the estate planning implications of [Estate of Andrews v. Commissioner, 850 F. Supp. 1279 (E.D. Va. 1994). One response would be to have clients early in their careers make gifts of the right to trusts for their children or grandchildren when the value of the right is negligible . Any subsequent appreciation in the value of the right thus would escape the reach of the transfer tax. A testamentary response would be to place restrictions on the right of publicity, thereby reducing (or perhaps even eliminating) the value of the right subject to tax. A parallel approach would be to waive the decedent’s interest in the right . These approaches, of course, also would reduce or eliminate the benefits to be received by the client’s heirs. Another response would be to simply treat the right as any other asset to be exploited for financial gain, and to plan for the resulting estate tax burden through the use of income from the exploitation, life insurance proceeds, or otherwise.
    In devising the appropriate strategy, the practitioner should, as always, carefully consider the client’s wishes. For the celebrity like J.D. Salinger who has carefully protected his privacy and not exploited his name during life, failing to plan in light of Andrews would result in an estate planning disaster when the right is valued by the Service at its full exploitive value. The cash-strapped heirs would be hard pressed in this situation to respect the decedent’s privacy wishes that the right of publicity is designed to protect . Proper planning for the publicity-shy celebrity may be to impose restrictions on the right of publicity to accord with his privacy interests without subjecting the heirs to an estate tax burden . In contrast, for the celebrity like Michael Jordan who has aggressively exploited his name during life, it may not make sense to impose any restrictions on the right of publicity. The best approach for such a celebrity may be to maximize the benefits to his heirs through an unfettered right of publicity, at the cost of a 55 percent estate tax bite to be paid for with the fruits of the exploitation.
    Update: Don’t Mess With Taxes has more here.

    Valuation, Timing, and Michael Jackson
    Posted Jul 16 2009 by David Shulman in Estate Planning, Estate Tax, Michael Jackson

    Today I am going to use the Michael Jackson case (yet again) as an example to discuss the important issue of timing when determining the value of assets included in a Decedent’s estate for estate tax purposes. As I’ve written before, the estate tax generally is imposed upon the value of a decedent’s estate at the time of his death. Technically, according to Section 2001 of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code), “a tax is hereby imposed on the transfer of the taxable estate of every decedent who is a citizen or resident of the United Sates.” The “taxable estate” is the “gross estate” with certain deductions and adjustments. The key is determining the “value” of the gross estate.
    (Note to estate planning and tax professionals, I will be ignoring the alternate valuation date for now)
    Under section 2031 of the Code, “the value of the gross estate of the decedent shall be determined by including to the extent provided for in this part, the value at the time of his death of all property, real or personal, tangible or intangible, wherever situated.” But what does “at the time of his death” mean? Section 2033 of the Code provides that the “value of the gross estate shall include the value of all property to the extent of the interest therein of the decedent at the time of his death.” Furthermore, the regulations provide, “the value of every item of property includible in a decedent’s gross estate. . .is the fair market value at the time of the decedent’s death. The fair market value is the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.”
    Does it mean at the instant of death?
    For most people and for most property, the question is moot. The value of cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, is not going to change from the second before death to the second after death. But for Michael Jackson, it will make a big difference. The value of his image and his name, and his right of publicity are obviously worth a lot more after he died than beforehand. (For more on this see the TaxProf, Michael Jackson’s Looming Estate Tax Disaster, quoting Professor Caron’s previous article on Estate Planning Implications of the Right of Publicity.
    So is valuation on this property done the second before death or the second after (or at) death?
    It seems logical that the value should be the second before death, because that what it would be worth if Michael Jackson sold the rights if he were alive. The mere lapse of time, or the event of his death itself, shouldn’t cause an increase in the estate tax. It wouldn’t be “fair.” Note however, that there is some property in which, at least in part, uses a post death valuation.
    For example, stocks that are traded on an exchange are valued at the mean of the highest and lowest quoted selling prices on the date of death. In a volatile market, this could provide a substantially different value of the stock from the instant of death, especially if the decedent has a large interest in it. If Bill Gates were to die, each 1/8 of a dollar in Microsoft’s value could result in millions of dollars of difference in the gross estate.
    But the property being discussed here is not stocks or bonds. It’s publicity rights, and the interest in the music. As such, I believe that the correct value should be the instant before death, and not at the much higher value afterwards.


  13. August 28, 2013 3:13 am

    Helena, regarding Woolley’s email of June 18 about the division of expense between MJ and the Tour I coincidentally read Gongaware’s testimony of May 28 yesterday and found that Panish asked him exactly about this email and his approval of the split (starting p. 128). And this was Gongaware’s stuttering answer:

    A: I was probably not even looking at these budgets, but — after — after the tour is finished, we go through a process called a — a final settlement, and we would have adjusted any of these things that I didn’t really agree with, so I didn’t really pay much attention to Timm’s allocations at the time.

    Q: Sir, that wasn’t my question. My question was, did you approve the allocation of AEG paying for Dr. Murray’s house, yes or no?

    A: Yes.

    Q: And so it’s just a mistake that you made, sir?

    A: I don’t think so. I just think we were going very fast at the time, and there was — there was no sense in trying to correct minor situations, because what happens is at the end of the tour, at the end of the set of shows, there’s a final settlement where all these things are corrected.


    It sounds like he had to think about a quick explanation for this email when he was asked about it. And it doesn’t make sense to approve this split now and later correct it and allocate it to MJ’s expenses at the end of the tour when the contract says clearly they need written approval of MJ, because at this time (June 18) they already by far were in excess of the agreed 7.5 million advance payment. And it’s certainly not a minor situation. And as the one responsible for the budgets to say he didn’t look at these budgets at that time and didn’t pay attention, but still approved it, well… which company would employ such a irresponsible person?


  14. August 28, 2013 1:32 am

    @ alice: Here is another article regarding the IRS tax claim of Zack O’Malley-Greenburg, who is going to write a book about MJ’s financial situation:

    “Michael Jackson has earned over half a billion dollars since his death–and now Uncle Sam wants a piece of the action.

    Earlier today reports surfaced saying that the IRS is hitting Jackson’s estate with a $702 million bill, including $505.1 million in taxes and $196.9 million in penalties.

    The estate will not be forced to pay any penalties unless the court rules in favor of the IRS, but those in charge of Jackson’s empire were nonetheless displeased with the news.

    “The executors are disappointed the IRS continues to overreach in this matter but firmly believes all issues will be resolved in favor of the estate and the beneficiaries,” said attorney Howard Weitzman in a statement, which also noted that the estate has paid over $100 million in taxes and is “in full compliance with the tax laws.”

    An IRS spokesperson declined to comment, citing Section 6103 of the tax code, which prevents the organization from discussing individual tax situations.

    So will the estate actually end up having to fork over $702 million to Uncle Sam? It seems unlikely for a number of reasons, and the proverbial devil is in the details.

    First of all, it’s important to understand that the IRS’s claims are related to estate tax, not income tax. In 2009, the year Jackson passed away, the maximum federal rate was 45% of net assets–implying that the IRS believes Jackson was worth in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion at the time of his death.

    Though the King of Pop was a much savvier businessman than most people realize and amassed an incredible collection of assets throughout his career, he was most certainly not a billionaire on June 25th, 2009. He did not appear on FORBES’ list of billionaires that year, or any other year, for that matter.

    Jackson did hold hundreds of millions of dollars in assets, namely his 50% share in the Sony SNE +1.39%/ATV catalogue, which industry experts believed to be worth as much as $750 million at the time (and is worth far more now). There were other entities, too, including his Mijac music catalogue, real estate and a massive art collection.

    But Jackson also carried nearly half a billion dollars in debt, meaning that his net assets were well under $1 billion–and likely less than the $702 million tax bill proposed today. The reports also suggest that a major component of the IRS bill revolves around the value of Jackson’s image and likeness. The tax agency is said to have put that number at $434 million, while the estate valued the rights at $2,105.

    Though the latter seems very low, the former seems incredibly high–at the time of Jackson’s death, anyway–given the fact that the singer hadn’t scored an endorsement deal since 1993 and didn’t crack FORBES’ list of top-earning musicians in 2008, a year in which the Police earned $115 million to claim the top spot.

    To be sure, the value of just about everything Jackson-related has skyrocketed in the years following his death. His image is once again a force to be reckoned with in the endorsement world, landing on everything from Pepsi cans to slot machines. Two Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil tours are currently running–Michael Jackson One in Las Vegas and the Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour around the globe–and his music seems as popular as ever.

    But estate taxes are levied on the value of assets at the time of death, not at the time the tax bill is issued or announced. And as a result, it seems unlikely that the tax court will rule in favor of the IRS getting its $702 million.

    Of course, the whole issue would have been moot had Jackson died a year later: due to a legal quirk, there was no estate tax in 2010.”


  15. alice permalink
    August 27, 2013 11:01 pm

    pps, the most recent update I can source backdating to July on Frank Dileo’s computer and emails is as follows:

    “Mon., 6:30am: July 29, 2013
    Columbiana judge drops charge involving Michael Jackson’s manager

    Tribune Chronicle

    LISBON – The widow and daughter of the late pop star Michael Jackson’s former manager have been purged of their previous contempt of court.

    Two judgment entries filed last week by Judge Scott Washam noted Linda and Belinda Dileo are now in compliance with the court’s order on July 3 forcing them to turn over a laptop and cell phone. The items were the working property of Frank Dileo, who served a Jackson’s manager earlier in his career and was assisting with the “This is It” tour Jackson was preparing to launch at the time of his death in 2009.

    Frank Dileo, who lived outside Wellsville, died in 2011.

    The items were already returned to Linda and Belinda Dileo at a court hearing on July 10, but Washam waited to decide whether his previous findings of contempt of court would be lifted. At the time, Washam said he wanted to wait until the 40,000 emails on the laptop and other data obtained had been analysed.”

    From this we can probably interpret that the emails had finished being analysed by the computer expert as of July 29, because Washam has now freed the Dileos from contempt of court (which he said he wouldn’t do until the emails had been analysed). So I expect anything of relevance is now in the hands of Panish – hopefully. There’s been nothing reported during August about them.

    And here is a lovely piece about the birthday celebrations that Katherine has been organising in Gary for Michael’s birthday, from Indiana Inside Business:

    “News Release

    GARY, Ind. – Fans of Gary native and world famous performer Michael Jackson will have a chance to celebrate this iconic entertainer for three days.

    Beginning Aug. 29 at 3:30p.m., a block party will kick-off at 2300 Jackson St. filled with an afternoon of music, live entertainment and food vendors. Festivities will continue Friday, Aug. 30 at 3:30p.m. with more performances by local Gary talent as well as acts from across the country. The block party on Saturday will begin at 11:30a.m. with music, fun, games and will conclude with a fireworks display at dusk.

    At the request of matriarch Katherine Jackson, President of 442 No. Mass. Productions Sandy Christmas has been working with city officials to plan this tribute.

    “Mrs. Jackson, in honoring her son, wanted to give back to the city of Gary, Indiana,” said Christmas. “The city has been very helpful in identifying local talent and vendors to ensure that this event will be successful.”

    Jackson will also be presented with an award from representatives of Roosevelt High School at the start of Friday’s festivities.

    Some of the vendors include Miller Pizza, Glen Park Shrimp, Big Daddy’s Barbeque, Jamba Juice along with several others. There will also be a DJ on-site each day playing MJ tunes in between the performances.

    “We are honored that Mrs. Jackson is hosting such a celebratory affair for Gary’s most famous native son,” said Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. “Fans from near and far are invited to come out and have a great time. It’s a perfect way to kick-off your long weekend.”

    And a report from BBC news back in June of prosecution witness Mr Berman about the contract between Murray and AEG:

    “Music industry expert David Berman has told a US court that promoter AEG Live’s dealings with Michael Jackson’s doctor were “highly inappropriate”.

    Jackson died in 2009 following an overdose of a powerful anaesthetic, administered by Conrad Murray.

    Murray, hired ahead of Jackson’s comeback shows in London, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011.

    Jackson’s mother, Katherine, is suing AEG for $40bn (£26bn). The company have denied any wrongdoing.

    The Jackson family claim AEG failed to properly investigate Murray and missed warning signs about the singer’s health.

    Mr Berman, a former head of Capitol records, is testifying for Mrs Jackson during the on-going case in Los Angeles.

    Asked whether it was appropriate for the concert company to attempt to hire a doctor on the singer’s behalf, Mr Berman said: “I believe that it’s highly inappropriate. It is highly unusual.’”

    He added that a more appropriate relationship would have been for Jackson to hire cardiologist Mr Murray without any involvement from AEG Live.

    Mr Berman said that after viewing draft contracts and emails between AEG company executives, he believed AEG Live thought it controlled the physician.

    AEG denial
    He also said the company should not have negotiated with Conrad Murray without notifying Jackson’s representatives.

    The experienced executive, who worked with acts such as The Eagles, The Beach Boys and The Doors, is being paid $500 (£320) an hour to testify for Mrs Jackson.

    Mr Berman retired from the music industry in 2001 to become an expert witness for music industry-related lawsuits.

    AEG’s lawyers have objected to Mr Berman’s expertise, pointing out he has never been a tour producer or promoter.

    An AEG lawyer showed Mr Berman a statement signed by Jackson’s former manager, Frank Dileo, stating that he was aware of negotiations with Murray, and that it was his understanding that AEG Live’s CEO objected to bringing the physician on tour.

    AEG have yet to question Mr Berman in court.

    The company denies it hired Murray. The company’s executives and lawyers have said that AEG was merely advancing Jackson the money to pay Mr Murray, and a valid contract never existed.

    Its executives have also stated that it agreed to pay Mr Murray’s salary only because Jackson insisted on him coming on tour.

    The case continues.”

    and an article from august 20 about the US government trying to regain Michael’s glove:

    “The U.S. government is involved in a legal battle to stop Michael Jackson’s gem-encrusted glove falling into the hands of an African dictator’s son.

    Michael’s glove was allegedly bought with dirty money by Equatorial Guinea President’s son Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the U.S. claims.

    Assets worth about $71 million were seized in April 2011 from Obiang, who owns a fleet of Rolls-Royces, Ferraris and Lamborghinis, as well as $38 million private jet and $30 million Malibu mansion.

    The 42-year-old, who moved to the U.S. in 1991, allegedly laundered stolen public funds in banks across the world, according to Sky News. The aspiring rap musician bought Michael’s glove three years ago along with other MJ items.

    France has also moved to seize assets from the dictator’s son, including a $68 million Paris mansion he bought, along with his $2 million wine collection, according to the New York Times. The Paris mansion had 101 rooms, including a Turkish bath, hair salon, nightclub and movie theater. Bathrooms were described as dripping in gold and jewel-encrusted fixtures and French police also found and seized 11 supercars, including two Bugatti Veyrons which are among the most powerful and expensive cars in the world.

    More than 70 per cent of Equatorial Guinea’s population lives in poverty, but President Obiang and those closely associated with him have amassed huge fortunes through corruption, the U.S. claims.”

    side question – where on earth is Tohme Tohme?



  16. alice permalink
    August 27, 2013 9:41 pm

    And some more from Sunrise Recovery centre:

    “Prescription Drugs Seem Less “Sinister”

    For many, prescription drug abuse could begin because the drugs are easily obtainable. They could be found in the medicine cabinets of many households or from friends or dealers. Many people share the drugs and some have “pharming parties” where the drugs such as Vicodin, Methadone, and OxyContin are put into bowls and shared. In many towns and cities, prescription drugs are more easily obtainable than illegal drugs. Some teens are able to buy them easier than they can alcohol.

    Because these prescription drugs are sold and marketed as “legal” drugs, there seems to be a perception that they are “safer” than illegal drugs and the consequences of taking them are not taken as seriously. That is not true, of course, as some of these drugs are just as dangerous and are as addictive to as heroin or cocaine.

    Dangers of Overdose

    According to the most current figures available from the National Drug Control Policy, 8,500 deaths occurred in the United States due to non-medical use of painkillers. This is an increase of 114% from 2001 to 2005. That number has most likely been increasing in recent years.

    Although the toxicology results are not yet available for Brittany Murphy’s tragic death and no illicit drugs were found, many prescription drugs (that were not prescribed to her) were discovered in her room, including: Vicodin, Prozac, Klonopin, Carbamazepine, Ativan, Methylprednisolone, Propranolol, Biaxin, and Topamax.”



  17. alice permalink
    August 27, 2013 9:33 pm

    ps, an addition to my previous post, late Australian actor Heath Ledger also was connected to some of the prescription medications that were given to Michael. The following excerpt is from a report on Forbes on the increase of deaths related to prescription medication over-use and over-prescription, now tipped to be far greater than illegal drugs. Note, as with Heath, meds prescribed and noted in evidence during the array trial and concealed by Murray in the blue and ‘baby essentials’ bags found stashed in the wardrobe included (among proposal and lidocaine, etc) diazepam, temazepam and oxycodone. I believe Michael was also prescribed these by Murray and other doctors in the years leading up to his death.


    “The “Heath Ledger Effect” – Death from Multi-Drug Abuse

    “Abuse of prescription medications” was the final conclusion of the New York Medical Examiner based on Heath Ledger’s autopsy and toxicological analysis. What was found in his system? An entire drugstore of downers: oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine. While swallowing half the contents of the medicine cabinet may be rare, the overall phenomena — mixing several central nervous system depressants — is becoming more and more common.

    What’s particularly scary is that while some folks are certainly doing it on purpose, many others are endangering themselves unknowingly. The list of prescription medicines that depress the central nervous system is long. By far the worst offenders are the opioid painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone (Oxycontin and Vicodin). But there are many others that are commonly prescribed including sleep aids, both prescription and OTC, anti-anxiety drugs, even antihistamines. (Diphenhydramine, commonly known as Benadryl, for example).

    Each of these drugs slows heart rate and breathing; combine them unwittingly and you can stop breathing altogether. Add alcohol – also a central nervous system depressant — to one or more of these drugs, and you can slide into a coma while you sleep.

    Sadly, Heath’s celebrity entourage is growing. Stories of addiction to Oxycontin, Vicodin, and other prescription painkillers, or of mixing those drugs with anti-anxiety drugs, sleep aids, and other nervous system depressants are dogging numerous celebrities right now.

    (note: Forbes also delve into the issue of Michael’s dear friend Macaulay Culkin’s recent health, with rumours about his own dependency on prescription meds. there were thousands of rumours flying around at the time of Macaulay appealing very, very thin and Forbes addresses this)

    Who’s Telling the Truth? Macaulay Culkin or the National Enquirer?

    When the National Enquirer published a story claiming that Macaulay Culkin is addicted to heroin and several prescription painkillers including Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet, the actor’s press rep denied the story as “categorically without merit” and “impossibly and ridiculously fictitious.” The report was based entirely on anonymous sources “close to Culkin” who claimed Culkin has already suffered dangerous overdoses and who expressed fear for his life if he doesn’t enter rehab soon.

    There is, however, some credible reason for concern that Culkin has been battling drugs. In 2004 he was busted for marijuana in Okalhoma and found to be carrying several prescription drugs (some of the same drugs he’s reported to be addicted to today). He pled guilty the following year.

    In February of this year, he was photographed in New York looking terribly gaunt and unkempt as he greeted fans. He had just pulled out of a monthly gig as a deejay at the hip West Village club Le Poisson Rouge. Two weeks later, he was photographed outside Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont looking less skeletal but bent over and clutching his stomach, as if ill.

    In the past two years, Culkin has been spending a lot of time with musician Adam Green, originally of the “anti-folk” band the Moldy Peaches. even touring with him. Last year Culkin appeared with Green and and fellow musician Pete Doherty in Green’s film The Wrong Ferrari, a weird, low-budget fantasy (filmed entirely on an iPhone) that Green said was drug-fueled. The drug Green named was ketamine, a horse tranquilizer that isn’t available via doctor but is prescribed by vets.

    Before that, Culkin had worked very little; in 2010 he had a role in The Park, an online series, and in 2009 he guest starred in the NBC show Kings. Before that he last worked in the straight-to-video Sex and Breakfast and voiced several roles in the internet serial Robot Chicken.

    Recently, Culkin appeared considerably healthier in a photo taken when he was shopping in his SoHo neighborhood. The Enquirer has issued a defense of their story, urging Culkin to seek treatment and suggesting he volunteer for a drug test.

    The Enquirer’s statement mentions the death of Culkin’s close friend Elijah Rosello in connection with the tabloid’s story. Rosello died on March 19th from a drug overdose and according to the Enquirer her family charged she had done drugs with Culkin prior to her death.

    prescription drug overdoses now kill more people than car accidents. Somehow that message doesn’t seem to be getting out, says the CDC, which now calls prescription drug abuse an epidemic.

    Over the past 20 years, the death rate from drug overdoses has tripled, CDC data show, with prescription painkillers the reason for much of that rise. In 2008 there were 36,000 overdose deaths, almost all of which were from prescription painkillers.

    The growth rate is pretty shocking; in 2010 (the last year the CDC has data for), 2 million people reported that they had begun to use prescription drugs for non-medical purposes within the past year. That, says the CDC, comes out to 5,500 a day. The number of people seeking treatment for prescription painkillers rose 400 percent between 2004 and 2008.

    Because they can so handily be “borrowed” from friends and family, and because — being technically legal – they seem innocent, prescription drugs are becoming frighteningly popular with teens, experts say. According to the FDA, one in seven teenagers admits to abusing prescription drugs to get high in the past year, and prescription painkillers are now teenagers’ top choice after alcohol and pot. The problem is, teenagers are unlikely to understand how highly addictive these drugs are. After all, if mom takes them for her knee injury, they can’t be that big a deal, right?”


    There’s tonnes more on the issue, but of course the more we read the only more clear and evident it becomes that whatever state of dependency Michael or ANYONE may be in on prescription medications, justified or unjustified, their dependency is NOT something that should be considered as their fault.

    It is instead becoming clear that the responsibility should lie in the hands of the authorities who register these medications as safe, the legitimacy of their prescription by doctors, and a compounding cycle of poor management, lax regulation and greed at multiple levels of the medical structure that allows medications that are dangerous and addictive so freely into the public sphere purely in the interests of keeping the companies that manufacture them in business and the obscene glut of money that they generate in the hands of those who seek it.

    Those addicted or dependent upon prescribed medications are NOT the ones to blame for their addictions, their mis-use, or their relapses to these meds after recovery. The fact AEG are now trying to argue that Michael was responsible for his death because of prescription med use is not only an insult to Michael, but a criminal misstatement of the truth at large.

    This is an issue that needs to be widened and directed much higher above the heads of the users. This trial, Michael’s life, and the sad state of many prescription med users like Eminem, Heath Ledger, not to mention countless others in everyday society, are a compounded, shocking example of multiple and gross failures in standards of care, wide-reaching blueprints of corruption, negligence at many levels from executive, corporate and public, and a glaring flaw in the interests of the government, the health service, the medication production field, etc.

    It’s not just Michael who was failed tragically by many around him, but everyone and anyone who ever uses these – and others – prescription medications at large.

    To imply otherwise is not only obnoxious and cruel boy AEG, and its attorneys, and the media, but utterly irresponsible and dangerous to the future of medication as we know it. To imply blame upon the user is to negate the responsibility and involvement of those who prescribe it, those who approve its use in the public sphere, those who make it, those who endorse it. And when such an epidemic, as Forbes describes, is developing, it should be the role of media and those in power to ensure misappropriation of blame does not occur.


  18. alice permalink
    August 27, 2013 8:50 pm

    Hi again everyone,

    The following is off-topic from insurance, but as this is the latest post I figure it’s easiest to offer here for the purposes of chronology.

    When I was younger I was a huge Eminem fan, and still have immense respect for him and his music – though I absolutely hated his references to Michael in his music video Just Lose It. As did Michael.

    However, this was made during a period of Eminem’s life that I find particularly interesting now in light of the fact he was taking many of the same medications that Michael was being prescribed by Murray for insomnia (including but not limited to Xanax, Valium and Vicodin). There are plenty of interviews with Eminem about his drug addiction, and he has also since made a documentary about it and his reform. It premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, but I’m not sure how to get hold of a personal copy of the full thing yet.

    There are clips of it on youtube which I will also include at the bottom of this post, but first I thought I would offer some history and some of Eminem’s thoughts in various interviews and reports, for his experience with prescription medications and how we can consider it in light of Michael’s situation, considering he was prescribed some of the same meds and the correlations between their respective prescription medication dependencies.

    First, a summary from Wikipedia on Em’s drug use. Please note, his real name is Marshall Mathers III 🙂


    Eminem has spoken about his addiction to prescription drugs, including Vicodin, Ambien, and Valium.[205] His group-mate Proof from D12 stated that Mathers “sobered up” in 2002 from drug and alcohol dependence.[206] During production of 8 Mile, Mathers worked on the set 16 hours a day and began to have trouble sleeping. An associate provided Mathers with an Ambien that effectively “knocked [him] out,” which led him to get a prescription.[19] This would be Mathers’ first experience with drug addiction that would follow him for several years afterward. Near the end of production on Encore, Mathers would “just go into the studio and goof off [with] a pocketful of pills.”[19] Mathers began taking the drugs to “feel normal,” which involved taking a “ridiculous amount […] I could consume anywhere from 40 to 60 Valium [in a day]. Vicodin maybe 30.”[19] Essentially, the drugs never allowed Mathers to sleep for more than two hours a night, after which he’d only take more. He grew to 230 pounds and was eating fast food regularly: “The kids behind the counter knew me – it wouldn’t even faze them. Or I’d sit up at Denny’s or Big Boy and just eat by myself. It was sad.”[19] Publicly, he became rather unrecognizable due to the added weight; once, he overheard two teens arguing whether it was him or not, maintaining that “Eminem ain’t fat.”[19]
    Mathers’ struggle with prescription drugs peaked in a December 2007 overdose on methadone. Mathers had first bought methadone from a dealer asserting it was “just like Vicodin, and easier on [your] liver.”[19] He continued to buy more until collapsing in his bathroom one night, after which he was rushed to the hospital. Doctors informed him that he had taken the equivalent of four bags of heroin, and was “about two hours from dying.”[19] After missing Christmas with his children, he checked himself out of the facilities and, not yet fully detoxed, was completely drained of strength. When he tore his meniscus “after falling asleep for literally 10 minutes,” he underwent surgery; following this, he went home and had a seizure.[19] Mathers relapsed within three weeks and after a month, his addiction was in full swing again. He began to attend church meetings to get clean, but after being asked for autographs, Mathers instead called a rehab counselor who helped him for the first time.[19] He began exercising and running excessively, and effectively went sober on, ironically, April 20, 2008. Friend Elton John was a mentor during this time, who would call Mathers once a week to check on him.[19]


    And an article from the Huffington Post in June of this year.


    Eminem Admits Prescription Drug Addiction Almost Killed Him: ‘My Bottom Was Gonna Be Death’
    Eminem has opened up about his addiction to prescription drugs, admitting in a new documentary that the pills he once popped in excess almost killed him.
    “People tried to tell me that I had a problem,” the rapper said in “How to Make Money Selling Drugs,” a film described as “an indictment on the war on drugs” by the Los Angeles Times. “I would say ‘Get that f***king person outta here. I’m not out there shooting heroin. I’m not f***king out there putting coke up my nose. I’m not smoking crack.”
    Instead, Eminem, born Marshall Mathers, explained to filmmaker Matthew Cooke that it was prescription drugs like Xanax and Valium that proved life-threatening.
    “My organs were shutting down. My liver, kidneys, everything,” he said of the time when he was hospitalized after a night of excessive pill-popping. “They were gonna have to put me on dialysis. They didn’t think I was gonna make it. My bottom was gonna be death.”
    Battling his addiction was difficult, admitted the 40-year-old performer, who relapsed after his hospitalization — but he stressed in the documentary that it wasn’t impossible.
    “I just couldn’t believe that anybody could be naturally happy or naturally function or be just enjoying life in general without being on something,” he said, adding that his sense of responsibility to his children helped him kick the habit. “So I would say to anybody, ‘It does get better.'”
    This isn’t the first time that Eminem has spoken candidly about his drug addiction. In 2009, he told Vibe magazine that “it’s no secret I had a drug problem.” That same year, he told XXL Magazine that it took him so long to recover because he “didn’t really think [he] had a problem.”
    As notes, “How to Make Money Selling Drugs,” which hit theaters this week, was produced by “Entourage” star Adrian Grenier and features interviews with several celebrities including Susan Sarandon, 50 Cent and Woody Harrelson.


    And a reaction blog post on Mental Health Realities from back in 2011 when Em was interviewed by GQ magazine.


    Eminem Opens Up More About His Drug Addiction
    Posted by Mark Vasey
    Eminem has opened up more about his struggles with drug addiction and the details of his drug overdose in an interview with GQ magazine. Eminem talks about the extent that his drug addiction reached while recording encore saying that he was taking 90 prescription pills a day in the form of Valium and Vicodin, Seroquel, and Ambien. Eminem talks in the interview about how he believes that Ambien erased parts of his memory. He also talks about his overdose in more detail and and how he came to realize that he needed to get sober.

    I have said in many previous posts that Eminem talks about mental illness and mainly Bipolar Disorder in many of his songs. The most revealing part of Eminem’s interview with GQ that seems to deal with Bipolar Disorder as well as drug addiction is the paragraph “The thing sobriety has taught me the most,” he says, “is the way I’m wired—why my thought process is so different.” He’s talking about obsessiveness, the way he clings to routines: “I’ve realized that the way I am helps with the music. Sporadic thoughts will pop into my head and I’ll have to go write something down, and the next thing you know I’ve written a whole song in an hour. But sometimes it sucks, and I wish I was wired like a regular person and could go have a fuckin’ drink. But that’s the biggest thing about addiction: When you realize that you cannot—for fuck’s sake, you can not—fuck around with nothing ever again. I never understood when people would say it’s a disease. Like, ‘Stop it, dickhead. It’s not a disease!’ But I finally realized, Fuck, man—it really is.”

    Eminem seems to describe how his mental health enhances his creative abilities for the better or worse. This is often the way people with Bipolar Disorder describe their creative process. It is also intriguing how Eminem says that he is not “wired like a regular person” saying that he is different than normal people. Eminem is not just talking about addiction in this interview. He is also talking about his mental health. However most people will probably not realize it.


    And the full GQ interview with Em on the issue. A solid read.


    Marshall Mathers is sitting in an office at the back of his industrial-size recording studio, where he logs nine-to-five days every week like he’s a working stiff. He looks as low-key as he does onstage—no fashion logos or excessive jewelry, just a gray T-shirt, camo shorts, a military-style cap, and a necklace with a diamond pyramid. He precisely lines up a bottle of water and a sixteen-ounce can of Red Bull.

    The rapper better known as Eminem is 39 now. That he’s funny shouldn’t shock you—his raps have always been full of back-of-the-class barbs—but his deadpan delivery and the fact that he never cracks a smile means you can quickly find yourself missing the joke. That he’s first and foremost a major hip-hop fan—one of the biggest rap nerds I’ve ever met—won’t surprise you either. Music was his salvation. He is, after all, the whiteboy who twisted rap into his own image, thereby offering a lifeline to kids just like him. Turned out there were fucking millions of them. And there still are. His most recent album, Recovery, was the best-selling album of 2010 and arguably the strongest work of his career.

    The current Mathers narrative revolves around his triumph over a nasty addiction to prescription meds. It’s not a touchy subject: Within minutes, he introduces the topic, explaining how he used to drink and pop pills to get through his concerts. “I’m very much a creature of habit,” he says, picking up his Red Bull. “If I’m used to waking up in the morning and having one of these, I could do it every morning for the next ten years straight until I find something else to move on to. So if I’m used to taking a Vicodin when I wake up in the morning because I’m hungover from ­drinking or taking pills…” He trails off. “The bigger the crowd, the bigger my habit got.”

    Mathers says you can trace the arc of his addiction by listening to his albums: He was more or less sober writing the white-trash party that was The Slim Shady LP (1999); he credits experimentation with drugs for taking his music to unexpected places on The Marshall Mathers LP (2000); with The Eminem Show (2002), he struck the perfect balance—a potent mix of punch-line raps and intensely biographical material. Then the balance tipped: His fourth album, Encore, was his weakest, and it took him two years to complete because of his addiction to pills. “Five or six songs leaked from the original version of Encore,” he says. “So I had to go in and make new songs to replace them. In my head I was pissed off: ‘Oh well. Songs leaked. Fuck it. I’m just going to take a bunch of fucking pills and go in there and have a party with myself.’ I’m sure the more pills I took, the goofier I got.”

    He’s a little hazy about that time, when he was taking, by his own account, somewhere between sixty and ninety pills a day, including Valium, Vicodin, Ambien, and Seroquel (used to treat schizophrenia). “Ambien,” he says, “ate a hole through my brain.” He thinks he went to rehab in 2005, but don’t hold him to that. Like I said, it’s a little hazy.

    Rehab was not a safe space for Eminem. “Look,” he says, “every addict in rehab feels like everyone’s staring at them. With me? Everyone was staring at me. I could never be comfortable. There were people there that treated me normal. Then there were a bunch of fucking idiots who aren’t even concentrating on their own sobriety because they’re so worried about mine. They’re stealing my hats, my books—it was chaos. Everything was drama in there. And at the time, I didn’t really want to get clean. Everybody else wanted me to. And anyone will tell you: If you’re not ready, nothing is going to change you. Love, nothing.”

    He left rehab pissed off and heavily burdened with what he calls “woe is me”—and started popping pills again. It nearly killed him. “I came to in the hospital and I didn’t know what the fuck happened,” he says. “Tubes in me and shit, fuckin’ needles in my arms. I didn’t realize I had [overdosed]. I wanted my drugs—get me the fuck outta there! I think I was clean for two weeks. I was trying so hard—I was trying to do it for my kids—but I just wasn’t ready.”

    What finally got him clean after a second relapse wasn’t his kids or his coma or even hip-hop. This time he really thought he was going to die. “I had a feeling in my arm that was weird, man,” he says. “Like, it really freaked me out. So I went to some people I trust and said, ‘Look, I know I need help. I’m ready now.’ I got a room in the same hospital where I overdosed, and I detoxed.”

    He came out that time and lost himself in the music again, the same way he had when he was 12, after years of bouncing from school to school. “I’m just this shy kid,” he remembers, slipping into the glowering, rapid-fire intensity of his best rhymes. “And I get thrown into a classroom with more people I don’t know, and I’m going into my shell and I’m worried about how my shoes are bummy as fuck and I’m wearing Salvation Army clothes, and these kids are behind me and they’re making comments and whispering, and I don’t really know that they’re talking about my clothes but I feel like they are, and they’re talking about my haircut. I don’t even know how to speak up for myself, because I don’t really have a father who would give me the confidence or advice. And if you’re always the new kid, you never get a chance to adapt, so your confidence is just zilch. You’re thrown out there to the fucking wolves. Hence when N.W.A starts saying Fuck you to the police and to everybody—’Fuck you who doubted me’—holy shit, I want to say that.”

    Rappers aren’t supposed to cop to having feelings, much less battling addictions or getting professional help, but if you own any of his self-hating, mommy-baiting, ex-wife-excoriating music, you know that Mathers built his career on saying things about himself that his peers simply wouldn’t about themselves—like how the very thing that made him a music prodigy, and continues to push him, also made him a junkie.

    “The thing sobriety has taught me the most,” he says, “is the way I’m wired—why my thought process is so different.” He’s talking about obsessiveness, the way he clings to routines: “I’ve realized that the way I am helps with the music. Sporadic thoughts will pop into my head and I’ll have to go write something down, and the next thing you know I’ve written a whole song in an hour. But sometimes it sucks, and I wish I was wired like a regular person and could go have a fuckin’ drink. But that’s the biggest thing about addiction: When you realize that you cannot—for fuck’s sake, you can not—fuck around with nothing ever again. I never understood when people would say it’s a disease. Like, ‘Stop it, dickhead. It’s not a disease!’ But I finally realized, Fuck, man—it really is.”

    The first album Mathers made after cleaning up was Relapse, in 2009, five years after Encore, the longest period of his twelve-year career without a release. He was feeling giddy and elated after freeing himself from what he calls the cage of addiction, and the album didn’t go over well. He took a lot of shit for the goofy punch lines and some pretty silly shtick (like that vaguely Middle Eastern accent). While recording 2010’s Recovery, “I would hear people saying this and that about Relapse,” he says. And it got under his skin. “Certainly I’m not going to sit on the Internet all day and read what Sam from Iowa is saying about me,” he says. “But I’m a sponge. I’ve always been a sponge.”
    And what Mathers soaked up was that for Recovery he needed to get back to who he’d been—the angry loner fighting for respect. “On an emotional level, I want my music to connect with the same kid who I was,” he says. “So it was like, ‘Okay, let me get serious. Because I feel like I’m being wrote off right now, and I’m kind of on my last leg.’ I felt like the underdog again.”


    Some extra quotes from MTV News.


    A month after Eminem came out of the hospital he relapsed, reports MTV News. The only thing that stopped him from downward-spiraling into oblivion was his determination to be a responsible father to his biological daughter Hailie Jade Scott, and two adopted daughters, Alaina (“Lainie”) and Whitney. “I’m looking at my kids and [realizing], ‘I need to be here for this,'” he says in the film.

    Instead of checking into a high-profile rehab clinic, Eminem quit drugs on his own through a rigorous detox program that left him literally incapacitated. “Coming off everything, I was 24 hours a day for three weeks straight,” he says. “And I mean, not sleeping, not even nodding off for a f***ing minute. I had to regain motor skills; I had to regain talking skills. It’s been a learning process; I’m growing. I couldn’t believe that anybody could be naturally happy without being on something. So I would say to anybody, ‘It does get better.'”


    And an analysis from Addiction Treatment, who note the issue of the meds being PRESCRIBED. Like Michael.


    Eminem Opens Up About Prescription Drug Abuse
    Posted on July 16, 2013 by Addiction Treatment in Drug Abuse, Drug Addiction

    Rapper Eminem has opened up about his prescription drug abuse in a new documentary, offering an important warning during these times of epidemic level prescription drug problems across America. The film is a satirical look at the war on drugs, entitled “How to Make Money Selling Drugs,” which features interviews with celebrities as well as those involved in both the law enforcement and drug-peddling sides of the issue.
    However, since speculation has been widespread about Eminem’s drug use, and he’s publicly struggled with addiction before, there is much interest in his portion of the film in the media. The story is all-too-familiar, but the important detail is the “prescription” element of the drug involved, reminding us all once again that it isn’t just illegal drugs that are potentially addictive.

    Eminem’s Relapse and Recovery
    As one of the most famous rappers of the 21st century, the fact that two of Eminem’s (real name Marshall Mathers) albums are entitled “Relapse” and “Recovery” won’t have escaped the attention of many. His problems with drugs have been relatively public, having entered rehab in 2005 for his addiction to prescription medicines like Xanax and Valium. He also reportedly used Vicodin and methadone, but he claimed to have been taking so much sleeping medication he couldn’t even estimate the number of pills he popped each day.
    In the interview for the new film, he claims that he used to ignore anybody who told him he had a problem, claiming that he wasn’t shooting heroin, snorting coke, or smoking crack (with added expletives). Soon afterward, he was hospitalized because of his drug abuse. In the film, he says, “Had I got to the hospital two hours later, I would have died. My organs were shutting down. My liver, kidneys, everything.… They didn’t think I was going to make it.”
    He tried to get better, having hit a low point and becoming aware of the risks he was taking. However, after knee surgery for which he wasn’t prescribed medication, he started searching his house for a stash of Vicodin. He found a handful of pills and relapsed, but soon afterward he admitted that he had a serious problem. He managed to kick his addiction, and in the new film he shares his story alongside many others.

    Getting Clean
    One of the key moments in his story is when he recognized that addiction ran in his family, and reconnecting with his mother as a result. Mathers used to think that it wasn’t possible to function or be happy in life without being on some type of substance, according to the interview, but that his sense of responsibility to his children helped him realize he had to get control of himself. He added in the documentary that “I would say to anybody, it does get better.’”

    Prescription Drug Abuse
    Like many Americans, prescription medicines were Eminem’s drugs of choice. However, since they kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined, they are far from the safe, legal drugs they seem. Doctors may prescribe medicines such as Vicodin and Valium for legitimate medical conditions, but stories like this remind us all that they do have the potential for abuse. In fact, they’re often similar in chemical properties to many illicit drugs, so they carry many of the same risks.

    A Warning and a Message of Hope
    The new film encourages a rethink of the global war on drugs which is so obviously a gross failure, and does so through a tongue-in-cheek “how to” guide to profiting from the drug war. It’s an important message, and one that is getting out more and more regularly, but the personal stories really drive the message home. High profile stars like Eminem opting to open up about their drug addictions give the rest of us important insight into the damage addiction does to lives.
    Mathers’ story is another much-needed warning about the risks of prescription drug abuse; especially because of his brush with death. However, it’s more importantly a positive message of hope for anybody struggling with an addiction. After spending years assuming that because he wasn’t taking illicit drugs he didn’t have a problem, he was able to see the truth about his addiction and do something about it. It isn’t just a story of an affluent celebrity falling into substance abuse; it’s a story of a man making a positive change in his life after being inspired by his parental responsibility. As a result, he even reconnected with estranged members of his family and approached his career with renewed vigor.
    Celebrity stories aren’t a greater source of hope than the story of any addict who managed to kick drugs would be, but they are inevitably more widely dispersed. Perhaps he has a cushier job to fall back on than most of us, but his story is still a positive one for anybody tackling addiction. As he says in the documentary, it does get better.


    And an old press release from Billboard Magazine before Em’s recovery.


    Eminem In Rehab For Sleep Medication
    Eminem “is in the hospital under doctors’ care,” his spokesperson said in a brief statement.
    Four days after canceling the planned European leg of his Anger Management tour due to exhaustion, Eminem has begun treatment for a dependency on sleep medication, according to his label, Interscope Records.

Eminem “is in the hospital under doctors’ care,” his spokesperson said in a brief statement.

The European Anger Management leg, which was set to open Sept. 1 in Hamburg, was axed on Tuesday. Tour co-headliner 50 Cent is lining up make-up dates along the route, beginning Sept. 13 in Nottingham, England.


    And a few excerpts from a Rolling Stones review of Em’s Relapse album, listing some of the many meds Em mentions in his lyrics on this album.


    “So how did Eminem spend his time off? Drugs, mostly. “I fall in bed with a bottle of meds and a Heath Ledger bobblehead” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Relapse, Em’s first album in nearly five years, is studded with brand names, but not Lexus or Cristal — more like Lunesta, Ambien, Vicodin, Valium, NyQuil and other brain candy that helped Marshall Mathers turn himself into a zombie, before he got clean last year. It’s hard to keep all the drugs on this album straight, but that’s probably the point. Relapse is like a hip-hop version of Richard Pryor’s Live on the Sunset Strip, the classic 1982 stand-up flick where Pryor makes the audience squirm through jokes about freebase addiction and setting himself on fire. If it’s stronger than his last album, Encore, that’s because Em’s doing what he does best: cleaning out his closet. And there’s more psychotic shit piled up in there than ever.

    Déjà Vu is a brutally funny confessional, unpacking the whole gruesome story of where Em’s been lately: addiction, rehab, overdoses, ambulances, hiding his pills from his daughter in video boxes. When he went to the hospital in December 2007, it was reported as pneumonia, but Em admits, “That whole pneumonia thing/That was baloney/Was it the methadone, ya think?” When Hailie finds him passed out in his car with a bag of Three Musketeers bars, he makes excuses and pops more pills: “It’s 12 noon, ain’t no harm in self-inducing a snooze/What else is new?/Fuck it/What would Elvis do in your shoes?” He’s always made a joke out of identifying with Elvis, but the joke stings a little more now that he’s passing out cold on the bathroom floor.”


    Now I’ll throw in a few youtube clips, some are from Em’s documentary involving him and fellow rapper 50 Cent, and some are discussions with the director Bert Marcus and reporters at Crime Time. Actor Adrian Grenier also collaborated on the film by producing it.



  19. alice permalink
    August 27, 2013 7:46 pm

    pps, on another matter teamMJ have just reported on their twitter that AEG just tried to get Murray’s latest audio recording (which we heard and I transcribed a few days ago) -admitted into evidence for the trial. but the judge has said NO.


  20. alice permalink
    August 27, 2013 7:43 pm

    ps, to clarify the idea I floated in my first post on the valuation matter with the Reuters article, I asked if we could generalise Michael’s net asset/projected earning value at comfortably $2billion. The Forbes contributor estimates that the IRS believes Michael’s asset/estate worth alone to be in the $1.25billion range. This, combined with Erk’s projections of $1billion future earning capacity bumps up my original guess of $2billion combined to $2.25billion thereabouts. Also, from what I can determine in the Forbes article, the estate value the IRS settled on is from date of death (June 25, 2009). So I posit that it would not be wholly unreasonable to suggest it’s worth is far greater now after Michael’s death – more than $1.25billion (and subsequently raising my combined number of earning capacity and assets higher). but it does not seem that this is what the IRS focuses on for it’s valuations. still, it does give us an idea of how much higher Michael’s worth, excluding loans to be repaid and taxes etc, could be.


  21. alice permalink
    August 27, 2013 7:35 pm

    Hi again everybody,

    I’ve found a more detailed and recent article from a Forbes contributing tax writer on the valuation IRS vs estate issue. Please see below. She has gone into much more detail as to the working specifics of tax and valuation of assets, and the role of death in both of these.


    “Kelly Phillips Erb, Contributor
    IRS To Michael Jackson’s Estate: Who’s Bad?
    8/26/2013 @ 1:43PM

    Days after the Internal Revenue Service filed an answer response to the Estate of Michael Jackson’s Petition in U.S. Tax Court, we now know how much of a gap exists between the two: over $700 million. That is the deficiency between what was actually paid with Jackson’s 2009 federal estate tax return, the federal form 706, and how much the IRS believes should have been paid.

    At issue, as previously explained, is a matter of valuation. Federal estate tax is calculated based on the date of death values for the estate – or based on the value as of the Alternate Valuation Date (AVD), which is six months after the date of death. For valuation purposes, all assets under the control of the decedent at his or her death are considered taxable and that would include corporate interests, real estate and contracts for future earnings.

    Federal estate tax is calculated by adding up all of those assets (sometimes called the gross estate), deducting the debts owed by the decedent at his or her death and then deducting reasonable costs of administration. The latter would include attorney’s fees, trustee’s fees, accountant’s fees, appraiser’s fees and the like. The difference, the net of the gross estate less debts and expenses and any other applicable deductions, is then deducted from the personal exemption amount (after taking into account any adjustments such as those made for taxable gifts during lifetime), and that is considered the taxable estate.

    Federal estate tax is calculated based on a progressive rate just like your federal income tax. In other words, the more that you own at death, the more that you owe. In 2009, the federal estate tax exemption was $3.5 million which means that a taxable estate would be subject to tax at $3,500,001. In that event, the taxable estate would be roughly $1 (remember, you get the benefit of the exemption amount). In 2009, federal estate tax rates started at just 18% but the rate climbed to 45% on taxable estates worth more than $2,000,000.

    According to reports, the federal estate tax return for Jackson’s estate reported a taxable estate of approximately $9 million. That’s pretty amazing considering that most estimates placed his worth at the low end at $400 million.

    The IRS, however, believes that the estate was worth even more than that. They claim that the estate significantly undervalued assets for reporting purposes and, as a result, issued a Notice of Deficiency to the estate demanding nearly $700 million. That figure includes interest and a penalty – likely close to 40% – for not properly reporting the amounts due (that’s the equivalent of the IRS’ punishment to the estate for trying to get away with an undervaluation). Assuming that the increase in tax due alone was worth nearly $500 million, that suggests the IRS values Jackson’s estate at nearly $1.25 billion. To quote Jon Lovitz from A League Of Their Own: that would be more.

    Since the Estate doesn’t agree with the Notice of Deficiency, the Executors for the Estate have filed a petition in U.S. Tax Court to formally contest the difference. This was done, reportedly, after the two sides have bickered for months over the real valuation.

    Tax Court is a real federal trial court and, as such, operates like one. There will be a federal judge assigned to hear the case which will involve lots and lots of filings, depositions and – unless the matter settles – testimony. The testimony will involve, at a minimum, a battle of qualified appraisals, each explaining exactly how the figures were determined. For math, tax and pop geeks alone, the case will no doubt be a draw.

    It is, of course, to the advantage of the Estate (and thus, Jackson’s heirs who are made up largely of his children) for the court to agree with a low valuation. A low valuation means less tax is due and thus more money passes to the heirs. A higher valuation would result in more tax due and less money passing to his heirs. As discussed in the comments previously, valuation is subjective, which is what will make the testimony going into this case so fascinating.

    Stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted.”




  22. alice permalink
    August 27, 2013 7:16 pm

    Hey everyone,

    I spotted this Reuters article while going back through updates on my newsfeed from the last fortnight, it’s from Aug 23. I then just checked TeamMJ’s twitter and website to see if they had spotted it and they have also.

    It details some inconsistencies between the valuations done by the MJ estate of Michael’s assets and what the IRS has valued some of them at. & remember AEG’s so-called expert economic witness Eric Briggs was one person employed to do these evaluations for the estate!

    Looks like this could end up going to federal court, with the IRS arguing the estate’s tax return used fudged figures and excluded others to downplay the worth of Michael’s assets to evade taxes and penalties. Whatever the truth of this matter, this article does give us, from the IRS numbers, a concrete indication of what Michael’s assets were worth and which AEG are intensely trying to downplay.

    According to the IRS, Michael’s likeness and image alone is valued at $434 million (the estate claimed it as $2,105 in their initial tax return). The MJ/ATV catalogue publishing stake in Sony/ATV was valued by the IRS at $469million. This asset was not included in the estate’s return at all.

    Can someone please clarify for me – my overloaded brain cannot recall right now – that the valuation by the IRS of the MJ/ATV stake of the whole Sony/ATV publishing catalog does not include the MiJac catalogue also? As in, would the MiJac catalogue be considered a third possibly-million-dollar asset with an amount yet to be made public by the IRS? And consequently could it be safely said that, including a rough guesstimation of its worth (do we have the MiJac worth already? I can’t recall) Michael’s asset worth totals comfortably somewhere over $1billion dollars?

    This would be excluding the potential worth of his future earning abilities (which Erk projected up in the $1billion range also) and not deducting loan repayments. So, without factoring in loan repayments, could we say that Michael had a combined existing and projected asset/earning worth totalling around $2billion?


    “By Patrick Temple-West
    WASHINGTON | Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:15pm EDT
    (Reuters) – The estate of pop music legend Michael Jackson owes $702 million in federal taxes and penalties, the Internal Revenue Service charged in U.S. Tax Court, accusing the estate of undervaluing some of the star’s assets by hundreds of millions of dollars.

    The dollar amounts in dispute had not been previously disclosed in the court challenge that the Jackson estate filed in July to a bill from the IRS, the U.S. tax-collecting agency.

    At issue is the wide difference between what the estate said Jackson’s legacy was worth versus what the IRS determined was its taxable value.

    An IRS spokesman and lawyers for the estate declined to comment.

    Jackson died on June 25, 2009, the date of the estate tax return. His estate’s beneficiaries are Jackson’s mother, Katherine, his three children and charities.

    The estate’s 2009 tax filing said the total Jackson estate had a $7 million taxable value. In May, the IRS issued the estate a tax deficiency notice for $505.1 million in taxes and $196.9 million in penalties, according to Tax Court documents dated Tuesday.

    Jackson’s image and likeness were valued by the IRS at $434 million. The estate said its taxable value was $2,105.

    The largest taxable item was the estate’s stake in some of Jackson’s recording assets, listed as MJ/ATV Publishing Trust interest in New Horizon Trust II, which was valued at $469 million by IRS. It was not valued in the 2009 estate filing.

    The IRS’s alleged tax deficiency also includes some items that were overvalued by the estate.

    A Jackson estate spokesman said the IRS’s appraisal values “were based on speculative and erroneous assumptions unsupported by the facts or law.” The Jackson estate has paid $100 million in taxes, he said on Friday.

    Under Tax Court rules, the Jackson estate will not need to pay any taxes or penalties unless the court rules in favor of the IRS.

    Jackson died at age 50 from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol while rehearsing for a series of comeback concerts in London.

    (Reporting by Patrick Temple-West; Editing by Kim Dixon, Howard Goller and Bill Trott)”


    I will keep looking through my newsfeed and google to see if there are any other details as of Aug 23 on the matter of IRS vs estate. As a side question, do we know what the value of Michael’s antique collection may be?


  23. Sina permalink
    August 27, 2013 7:13 pm

    “It is also seems that Frank Dileo never took part in any decision making and was performing formal functions only.”- Helena

    Yet, according to his contract he was entitled to 10 % of Michaels gross monies earned from every single one of Michaels endeavours ,” regardless of wether such materials are created and/or such services are rendered folllowing the experation of the Term.”


  24. August 27, 2013 4:23 pm

    “I wonder what kind of agreement this was meant to be. Can you tell me what it is exactly, Helena? I’m not sure if we already had seen it.” – Susanne

    This document was meant to be MJ’s agreement with Frank Dileo but it remained unsigned. It was mentioned in Shawn Trell’s testimony. I have no opportunity to look into it now but what caught my eye is the name of the company to which it was addressed. It is Joel Katz’s company.

    And c/o means “in care of” which was unclear to me, so I had to look up its meaning:

    “care of” — it’s a way of getting a letter to someone who may not be able to receive it directly by addressing it to someone you know can receive it through the mail> E.g. “John Doe c/o Jane Doe”

    So at the beginning of June 2009 this matter and probably other legal matters were decided through Joel Katz. And as far as I remember Joel Katz was on retainer with AEG.

    At least Panish asked Shawn Trell about it on May 23, 2009:

    Q. Did you tell us that Mr. Katz was an attorney for Mr. Jackson, Sir?
    A. That was my understanding.
    Q. Sir… Mr. Katz was on retainer for AEG at this time, wasn’t he?
    A. Not to my knowledge.
    Q. Would you agree with me there was conflict of interest for an attorney to be hired and on retainer for one person and then represent another person that’s in an adverse business relationship?
    A. Yes.

    I am sorry for not answering everyone today – it’s too late here (1.20 am) and I really need to go. Hope to be back.


  25. August 27, 2013 3:32 pm

    Among the exhibits is an unsigned letter of Dileo to MJ of June 5, 2009, it’s Exhibit 697-3:

    Click to access Exhibit-697-3.pdf

    I wonder what kind of agreement this was meant to be. Can you tell me what it is exactly, Helena? I’m not sure if we already had seen it.


  26. August 27, 2013 3:28 pm

    “These emails and documents should be available forever to show how AEG Live treated the world’s greatest entertainer.”– Susanne

    Yes, like meeting the “freak” for example.

    And meeting him on January 28 when they were reportedly signing a contract with MJ, though in his testimony Shawn Trell said they signed it on the same day as Tohme’s agreement which was January 26 (according to the same Shawn Trell).

    So AEG’s lies are seen best when compared with the stories they told in the courtroom.


  27. August 27, 2013 3:13 pm

    “Michaels manager to ensure his personal and/or production insurance, including advances, probably agreed to in his 100 k contract .(do we have his contract?)” – Sina

    Now that you’ve asked I realize that we don’t. It must one of the exhibits but it is not on Mr. Panish’s website. We’ve only heard of Tohme’s contract during Shawn Trells’ second day of testimony on May 22.

    “What strikes me in AEGs june 19 email about the split of the expense between MJ and the ‘Tour ‘ is that it only needed AEGs approval and it seems like Michaels side was not consulted.”

    Branca was hired on June 18th and this was the same day the split of expenses was suggested by those on the London side. Technically they should have sent a copy to Branca at once, or at least the next day when Gongaware sent him written approval to everyone involved, however Branca was not among them. It would be interesting to find out when the accountant Kane was employed.

    It is also seems that Frank Dileo never took part in any decision making and was performing formal functions only.


  28. August 27, 2013 2:46 pm

    Oh wow, I was looking through some of these exhibits and need more time to check them out. Some I have seen already, but some I haven’t (as well as the videos) Thanks Helena for making us aware of it. But I hope they will stay on their website also after the trial ended, at least for some time. It is of great help for more evaluations after the trial. These emails and documents should be available forever to show how AEG Live treated the world’s greatest entertainer.


  29. August 27, 2013 1:57 pm

    “to know that insurance decision-makers took tabloid garbage into account when considering providing insurance cover doesn’t say anything honorable about those decision-makers or the insurance industry in general, whichever way you look at it.” – BG

    Yes, it would have been much more natural for insurers to rely on independent medical examinations than on media reports. I am also amazed to see that their decisions depended on some fantasies of irresponsible journalists who told lies about MJ for their own profit and raising the circulation of their newspapers. It is another proof that lies are not “harmless fun” – lies kill.

    “AEG Live took responsibility and approved Conrad Murray’s housing cost as a tour expense, something AEG would be liable for and would recoup through the gross income from shows or insurance. It was not considered by AEG to be a cost that should be attributed to Michael directly.”

    Now I understand why those expenses were never attributed to anyone specifically. They were indeed Tour costs and not Michael’s directly. If the tour did not take place they were to be covered by the insurance, and not from MJ’s pocket. For the $5mln. advance given to him personally AEG did get the respective papers from Michael and this sum was to be returned by him in case of cancellation, but the Tour expenses were not, unless there were some written consents from MJ – but there were none.

    But that email from AEG is also very important for determining Conrad Murray’s status. From the way they wrote about a house they were renting for him in London they made no difference between Conrad Murray and Karen Faye (or Michael Bush). And as far as I know AEG never denied that Karen Faye was in their employment. The fact that AEG was handling Conrad Murray’s affairs in the same way means that he was enjoying the same status as Karen Faye.

    As you also pointed out, things changed, and AEG’s use of Frank Dileo and Tohme Tohme and Dileo’s and Thome’s willingness to co-sign an authorization of AEG’s budget figures (when seemingly neither had such authority) puts them all in the same fraudulent boat.

    The paper signed by Tohme says that Michael approved the budget, but even from all those emails we see that AEG never sent any budgets to Michael and his representatives. AEG can say that they did it afterwards, but then Tohme must present some proof of it.

    “Meetings regarding these issues took place and were ‘nutted out’ through “big and little meetings” in the law offices of John Branca’s firm, according to Ms Jorrie’s testimony. What to make then, of the estate’s executors’ acceptance of these (fraudulent) dealings as well as their continued dealings with AEG? Can they plead ignorance? It must be fully considered that these meetings took place in the offices of a firm of entertainment attorneys, a firm that is consistently mentioned as one of the top firms of its kind in the business.”

    I’ve been thinking about why Branca accepted those papers, and unless he tells us himself can only guess. My guess is that he was new to this particular deal and confronted with Tohme’s powers of attorney presented to him did not doubt them. It probably took some time to find out Tohme’s real status and discovering the paper where Michael was firing Tohme.

    AEG was also confirming that Tohme continued to be MJ’s manager and the fact that Tohme announced the news of MJ’s death with Jermaine by his side did not give grounds to suspect anything.

    And if Branca was suspicious of Tohme’s words he still had Frank Dileo who confirmed Tohme’s statement, and Dileo he did know from their past experience together and probably trusted, especially since it was Dileo who reportedly brought Branca into This Is It deal at all.

    The second reason why he didn’t dispute it is that it wasn’t in the interests of the Estate to quarrel or litigate with AEG over anything then. This isn’t even a supposition, this I am absolutely sure of. There were too many other pressing issues and their focus was on generating money and not losing it through litigation.

    I hope that these days they look different on the same situation. But again it depends wholly on how secure their financial situation is now.

    I’ve recently read that the higher money evaluation given to MJ’s catalog by the goverment automatically means that the Estate owes them a lot of money in taxes, and this is getting them in the debt again – which is extremely deplorable if true. I do not rule out that all these games with plunging the Estate into this tax problem may be the doing of one company all of us heard of that will not stop at anything to ruin Michael’s financial well-being.


  30. August 27, 2013 10:23 am

    “Some debunking fun I’ve been having while re-reading through the exhibits on Panish’s website.” – Alice

    It’s great that you have also looked into those exhibits and see that the truth is simply on the surface of it – so I don’t know why this trial is going on for so long. I encourage everyone to go there and see everything for themselves while I make the next post. It will take time as my internet has slowed down due to the exceeded monthly capacity and opening each extra document not to mention videos is a problem.

    The link to the exhibits on Panish, Shea and Boyle’s site is here:

    There are also some videos among the trial exhibits, so if you watch them and fish out something there it will be great. I haven’t opened the videos due to my current internet problems.

    All I can say about those emails is that each gives an ocean of information. Look at only point 6 of the budget and “explanation” to it dated May 16, 2009:

    6. 3D+2D Song videos
    Making video treatments in both 3D and 2D to accompany action on stage was wholly unanticipated. The Ortega effect. More importantly, the extension of the show from 1:20 to 2:00 hours means that more variety and production value has to be put into the show to make it a vehicle to continue on track for 3 or more years.

    If you compare it with the actual number to which this “explanation of differences in expenses” is given you will see that those videos added to the budget more than $5mln. Now here is the story which transpires from this point if you know the background for it:

    1. It is May 16, 2009 and on May 9 or so Ortega joined the company.

    2. Point 6 of the “Explanations” is named “Ortega effect”. The most probable reason for it is: when Ortega joined the company and they started discussing the creative side of the show, MJ came up with the idea of 3D videos instead of (or in addition to) the usual 2 dimensional ones, and Ortega agreed with him – hence the “Ortega effect”. Now TWO directors of the show (MJ + Ortega) insist on 3D videos. But 3D videos are very costly – more than $5mln.

    3. These videos do not only extend the show from 1:20 to 2 hours (see the insurance limitations please), but are also an increase in secondary production expenses as they will be accompanied by dancing, effects, costumes, etc. adding “more variety and production value”.

    4. Point 6 also says that the show was planned to be on track for 3 or more years (which AEG now denies).

    5. The fact that AEG financier calls the paper “explanations of the differences in expenses” as compared with February 2009, means that the owner of AEG demanded explanations why the expenses grew so high. And indeed we learn from Randy Phillips’ testimony that at the end of May there was a big meeting at AEG where Phillips and others responsible for This Is It tour had to explain why the budget grew to $23mln. I doubt that the meeting was a peaceful one. Tim Leiweke called Phil Anschutz a “scrooge”, so we can imagine what kind of a row it could be.

    6. There are actually two variants of the budget which the executives were preparing for Phil Anschutz. One of them dated May 16 showed the expense as $23 mln. The second was dated four days later, May 20 and showed a lower figure of $20 mln. The implication is that AEG executives grew so frightened of the first figure that they decided to make a second, “milder” variant to present to their boss.

    7. Let us also recall that on the last day before moving to Forum on May 29 (?) Michael disclosed to his fans that he had not agreed to 50 shows and it resulted in hue and cry in the press, all of which sent Randy Phillips into a rage.

    8. Let us also recall that at the beginning of June Michael started making those 3D videos which were the subject of AEG’s indignation anyway, and as a result of that he didn’t attend the rehearsals at the Forum.

    All this taken together more or less recreates the atmosphere of the end of May – beginning of June. Randy Phillips is livid with rage, Ortega is challenged by AEG and ashamed for allowing MJ to indulge in 3D videos and making AEG go into so much spending, and Michael is upset by all the repercussions. As Karen Faye said he kept repeating: “Why can’t I choose?”

    Why can’t he choose to make those videos if AEG recoups all the expenses from the shows? It will be deducted from the money due to him anyway, so why can’t he?
    Why can’t he choose to go to the studio and not to the Forum where they demand he should rehearse? It is none of his obligations and he is training at home anyway!
    Why can’t he talk to his fans and truthfully say to them that he never agreed to 50?
    Why is it his guilt that those huge expenses are not covered by the insurance? It is them who increased the number from 10 to 50, so why is he to blame? He did what was expected of him and passed their test with flying colors in February that year, so why do they blame him for it now?

    Almost each point of that budget can be unfolded into a story of its own.

    Here are the first 7 points out of 29. The document is called:
    AEG/O2 Project

    February 7, 2009 budget
    May 16, 2009 projection

    The budget:


  31. alice permalink
    August 27, 2013 7:13 am

    Some debunking fun I’ve been having while re-reading through the exhibits on Panish’s website.

    CONFIRMATION of a world tour of This Is It being included in the budget considerations, as evidenced in an email from Timm Woolley to Randy Phillips, Rick Webking, Julie Hollander and Paul Gongaware (all excerpts were also seen by these people):

    “6. 3D+2D Song videos
    Making video treatments in both 3D and 2D to accompany action on stage was wholly unanticipated. The Ortega effect. More importantly, the extension of the show from 1:20 to 2:00 hours means that more variety and production value has to be put into the show to make it a vehicle to continue on track for 3 or more years.

    7. Props & Scenic
    In the original timeline an amount of $3.5m was budgeted for indoor staging and it was posited that a further $3.5m would be made available to augment staging if the indoor shows were a success and we could go outdoors after London.

    8. Wardrobe, Hair & Makeup
    The original London budget for 8 dancers and MJ onstage for 1:00 out of a total running time of 1;20, altered and remade designer clothes were considered sufficient to last 30 shows. Current wardrobe is for more people & changes, applies 15 different ‘looks’ for MJ and the entire wardrobe is expected to last 4 years with care and maintenance.”

    CONFIRMATION in the budget considerations by Woolley that they had received confirmation that Tohme is ‘gone’ (therefore we must ask why he was suddenly considered the appropriate party to contact after MJ’s death on any matters??) and can thus be removed from the budget projections.

    “27. Tohme Gone
    Production Supervision agreement of $100,00 per month following confirmation of non-appearance is no longer necessary. ”

    (note: the total projected savings of this is later noted in the email as $400,000, ergo a total of 4 months)

    and CONFIRMATION that Murray is to be included in the budget projections also.

    “29. Dr Conrad Murray
    MJ wishes to have a permanent physician available on call throughout the pre-tour period an operational period. There are 2 months at $150,000 newly budgeted.”



  32. August 27, 2013 7:00 am

    Thank you Helena for the very professional article re the insurance. So many e-mails at a time when Michael already was moribound according to testimony in AEG trial by Dr. Czeltic,even without further adminestrations of propofol. Also, Alice, I find your observations on the Murray trial, him, Murray, trying to change the verdict of his first, very interesting. I made a longer post of them ,but was informed by WP that the post could not be made . Why I don´t know.


  33. August 27, 2013 6:25 am

    Thanks for a great detailed post on the subject of insurance. It never ceases to anger me how the media infected Michael’s business dealings (not only in the lead up to TII) with its irresponsible, false and cancerous reporting, not to mention what a crushing effect it must have had on Michael’s quality of life in general since the early ‘80s. (How he survived it is something else.) And to know that insurance decision-makers took tabloid garbage into account when considering providing insurance cover doesn’t say anything honorable about those decision-makers or the insurance industry in general, whichever way you look at it.

    As you’ve shown, AEG Live took responsibility and approved Conrad Murray’s housing cost as a tour expense, something AEG would be liable for and would recoup through the gross income from shows or insurance. It was not considered by AEG to be a cost that should be attributed to Michael directly. (Will be interested to read your next post.)

    As you also pointed out, things changed, and AEG’s use of Frank Dileo and Tohme Tohme and Dileo’s and Thome’s willingness to co-sign an authorization of AEG’s budget figures (when seemingly neither had such authority) puts them all in the same fraudulent boat.

    Meetings regarding these issues took place and were ‘nutted out’ through “big and little meetings” in the law offices of John Branca’s firm, according to Ms Jorrie’s testimony. What to make then, of the estate’s executors’ acceptance of these (fraudulent) dealings as well as their continued dealings with AEG? Can they plead ignorance? It must be fully considered that these meetings took place in the offices of a firm of entertainment attorneys, a firm that is consistently mentioned as one of the top firms of its kind in the business.


  34. Sina permalink
    August 27, 2013 5:54 am

    Good find Helena.! Panish’s website is a great source of information, everyone should check it.
    Your analysis of AEGs tactics to hire dr Slavit under the pretext of independence and to lie about what was actually checked is a piece of meticulous work because the devil is often in the details. Kudos for that!
    The reason why imo AEG could easily recoup their advances, was because it had been Tohme’s responsibility as Michaels manager to ensure his personal and/or production insurance, including advances, probably agreed to in his 100 k contract .(do we have his contract?)
    Tohme was not familiar with the entertainment business and most of what he said or did was bluff . If he failed to acquire the insurance he should have been helt Personally liable for nonperformance, and should have had his own Insurance, that a manager of an artist like MJ needs to have, to cover that.
    But no, Michael was again to pay for his managers failure.

    What strikes me in AEGs june 19 email about the split of the expense between MJ and the
    ‘Tour ‘ is that it only needed AEGs approval and it seems like Michaels side was not consulted . This was the most important document in Michael/AEG relationship , it was the execution of the AEG contract and settled Michaels future earnings and expensess. How come his representatives were not involved, despite Branca’s warning on june 20 that “he should not sign anything that is not reviewed by Joel (Katz) and me “. I tend to believe that it was a onesided approval and no one ever showed it to or reviewed it for Michael, because his representation at the time of his death and in the weeks before ,was not settled.
    That is what AEG took advantage of .
    That is why MJs side could not object to AEGs claim against the MJE and why Tohme and Dileos signatures were needed to make it legal. Which in itself raises many questions.
    Makes me wonder how the MJE vs Tohme / Tohme vs MJE cases are going.


  35. alice permalink
    August 27, 2013 5:51 am

    ps, Helena I noticed that Murray’s favourite stripper/”actress” girlfriend Nicole Alvarez (who Murray was living with during April, May and June of 2009 and leaving their apartment every night to go and inject Michael with drugs and record him while sedated…) said in her testimony with Ms Brazil that she knew she and Murray would be moving to London to go on tour because, and I quote her, “they were sorting out a house for us.”
    So she also confirms what we know, that finding accommodation for Murray was done by AEG just like it was done for other members of the tour hired by AEG and not hired by Michael directly. just something I remembered when reading your new post. from memory, I believe it’s day 6 of Murray’s trial that she says this.


  36. alice permalink
    August 27, 2013 5:31 am

    Hi everyone,

    Hope you are all doing well! As I’ve mentioned in a few previous comments, I’ve been re-watching the Murray trial on youtube during the interim of the current break in case proceedings for the Jackson trial (they only have one day in court this week, which will be Thursday). As I’ve been watching, I’ve taken more consideration of the emails and phone calls from and to Murray leading up to Michael’s death, with particular consciousness towards AEG’s involvement. None of the emails or calls shown on the projector during the Murray trial by prosecutor Walgren have any redactions, something of which there are plenty in the current email evidence provided by AEG for the Jackson trial. Of course, to make out what is shown requires me to pause the video and transcribe. Fun times! Maybe I’m just bored, who knows. Anyway.

    At first I was only reading them before continuing to watch but then I wondered if there were any inconsistencies between what was being shown in the Murray trial as to what is either being shown or not being shown/disclosed in the Jackson trial in terms of AEG – particularly the insurance issue as brilliantly analysed by you, Helena, in this post. I’m sure most of what I have transcribed from these projections may already be online somewhere but just in case some aren’t, or the versions we have online feature redactions or some emails/evidence here are not included in the Jackson trial, then I thought a word-for-word typed record may help, just in case.

    In total, they are very long but I feel could be a useful source for future corroboration or to fill in any blanks if needed. Most I am sure we are generally familiar with anyway. I am only up to Day 7 of the Murray trial so these efforts are primarily from screenshots taken from Murray’s 702 number mobile from June 25 and June 24, plus emails from these and other days. I have noted them down as they appear when placed on the projection during the Murray trial by Walgren (who is amazing, in my opinion. Ms Brazil is brilliant too. I wonder how they would have handled the Jackson case – or whether they only deal with criminal cases not civil?)

    I know we have seen the contents of quite a few emails already in the Jackson trial but the prosecution have probably not been given everything by AEG, and much of what has been given is very heavily redacted. Either way, I don’t know if my work here is a pointless exercise, but I just wanted to be sure that evidence from the Murray trial shown briefly on the projector was retained for the purposes of the truth in our forum here 🙂

    I also feel the stream of emails shown briefly on the projector (not long enough to read without freezing the video) from and including AEG and associates and Bob Taylor and Murray may be of particular relevance now. Some may already have been covered in the current trial but some may not. Helena, I’m sure you have already covered many of them in general scope, but, like I say, I wanted to be sure nothing was missed due to AEG’s secrecy, heavy redactions, or being obfuscated by their lies. Please let me know if anything helps!

    To outline how I have transcribed, I have used ellipsis (…) to indicate sections of text that are missing, either due to not being shown or my inability to decipher them. I have also used question marks (?) to indicate missing/ineligible words or numbers. Incomplete words also feature ellipses but carry directly on from the beginning or end of a word that I have been able to identify. Again, as in my transcription of Murray’s recent audio recording, I have included my own personal notes indicated by (note: …) and (sic).

    Now, to the first transcript. It shows Murray’s 702 mobile phone number and the email inbox on this phone. The messages in the inbox appear as below (who they are from and what the opening lines are for each email, plus the subject line). They also display a day but not a date or time. Please note that they usually appear as the most recently received at the top. The limited parts I can see show the following. If days or subject lines have been left out, it is because they could not be seen due to the way the projection screen was zoomed in.

    The first screenshot was taken at 7.03am on June 25, automatically recorded by the phone when Murray checked his email inbox at this time. It shows the inbox of his email on his phone.


    (note: due to the screenshot only catching part of the inbox, the first email does not show the day sent or the full name of the sender, but it is a long name with at least two lower-case g’s in it, from what I can see. Possibly three. The first g is in the first name, and the second one or two are in the second name. I cannot tell what order the names are in (i.e., surname first or second)

    subject line: your certificate of Sponsorship
    “Dear Dr. Murray Please find attached a list of the MJ crew party. You will find your name…”

    sender: Jorrie, Kathy
    subject line: RE: Michael Jackson – Revised Agreement…
    “Dear Dr Murray As you can see from the string of emails below, I had a mistake in…

    sender: Jorrie, Kathy
    subject line: (No Subject)
    ******************CONFIDENTIAL Luce, Forward, Hamilton &Scripps LLP This email is sent…

    sender: Timm Woolley
    subject line: FW: Artist Medical
    “Dear Conrad Please see the information below regarding the schedule medical & re…”

    sender: Timm Woolley
    subject line: FW: Michael Jackson — Revised Agreement… (note: this forwarded email is a different one to what Kathy Jorrie later forwards because Timm’s email features two separate hyphens in the subject line between Jackson and Revised, while Kathy’s features a single extended hyphen, commonly known as either an ‘n’ dash or an ‘M’ dash)
    “Dear Conrad Please see the (note: unable to make out the middle of this section until it drops to a second line and continues as the following) below regarding the schedule medical & re… ”

    sender: Tim Woolley
    subject line: FW: Michael Jackson — Revised Agreement…
    (note: the screenshot is cut off before the opening lines of this last email can be seen.)


    The next screenshot quickly placed on the projection is of 9.45am on June 25.
    This is also when Murray again checked his email inbox on his phone. And again, the most recent email is shown at the top.


    sender: (note: unable to see)
    subject line: RE: Artist Insurance
    “<> 25th June 2009. Hi Conrad, Thank you for calling me last evening…

    sender: Bob Taylor
    1.51am, June 25
    subject line: RE: Artist Insurance
    “Paul/Shawn . Please confirm receipt. The consultation in London is critical they will…”

    sender: Connie Ng
    Yesterday (June 24)
    subject line: Omar Arnold – Medication Log
    Attachment: Medication Log.jpg

    sender: Connie NG
    Yesterday (June 24)
    subject line: MRI
    attachment: (note: yes attachment indicated but cannot identify it)
    “Dr Murray . Is Paul Farance him too? …. this MRI result for a Paul Farance…”

    sender: Connie Ng
    Yesterday (June 24)
    subject line: Omar Arnold – 2D-Echo
    attachment: Echo1.17.08.jpg


    The third screenshot shown is a detailed version of an email Connie Ng (Murray’s volunteer assistant at his clinic) sent to Murray on June 24 at 5.33pm.

    -BEGINS –

    sender: Connie Ng
    June 24, 5.33pm
    subject line: Omar Arnold progress notes
    attachments: Progress Notes1.11.06.jpg; Progress Notes.jpg
    “Hello Dr. Murray, Here are his progress notes. Pls let me know if can’t open it. Thank you. Connie.”


    Now I’m going to attempt to transcribe the handwritten notes as depicted in the first attachment to Connie’s previous email on ‘Omar Arnold’s’ progress notes. A pseudonym for Michael.
    Bear with me, I may achieve very little due to the handwriting and the definition of the youtube video I’m watching from. I will indicate spaces I can’t understand with either ellipses (…) or question marks (?). Ellipses trailing directly off letters without a space also indicate where I can make out part of a word but not all of it.


    Rx Xanax .05 mg ? po qu h
    Restoril 30mg / po hs PR

    Insomnia – Restorial 30mg … mg… pa…

    Cough, Nasal congestion, chills, 2-3 days, generalize fatigue, all ? family & sick… Assessment/Plon : URI? … /viral… fluids … cough suppressant, antibiotics …

    Onchomycosis (sic? spelling probably wrong)… – La…til … daily … x 3 mod, LFT & 1st … (know … may take 6mth … – 12mth … to app… fully)

    – “M” cough, chills, punctuate in cough, intermittent specs of blood …, deep coughing Phlegm greenish brown …, Pleuristic (sic? wrong spelling) chest pain = cough R … lower rib cage. C – X-ray + RLL pneumonia amount of pleural fluid @… Plan 1) Omicaf GEO… 2) 2-pak 3) lotal (sic? spelling) 4) R… 5) Flu… 6) May…


    The next screenshot shows the second page of the ‘progress notes’ on Omar Arnold sent to Murray by Connie Ng on June 24 which Murray opened. I have a feeling this is already in evidence and probably exists online somewhere so this section is probably a waste of my time!


    Name: Omar Arnold
    DOB: 8/?/58
    Age: 4?
    Date of visit: left blank
    Primary MD: Dr C Murray
    CC: left blank
    Subjective: c/o (complained of) weakness, body aches, persistent cough, white yellowish phlegm, had some chills … have been fever … children have … symptoms, not feeling … Well all members … consuming fluids. No ?… loss of appetite … pains.
    ROS: blank
    Angina: blank
    PND: blank
    Orthopea: blank
    Edema: blank
    SOB: blank
    Palpitation: blank
    TIA: blank
    DOE: blank
    Claudication: blank
    Family/HX: blank

    1) None (sic? at first I thought this said Dave or Nave… but ‘None’ makes sense lol)
    2) blank
    3) blank
    4) blank
    5) blank
    6) blank
    7) blank
    8) blank

    Objective: BP (blood pressure) 11/70. HR (heart rate): 70/mlm Reg (regular). R: 16/mlm
    WT (weight): left blank. HT (height): left blank
    Other: benign …?
    Chest: Clear, 0 Rates, 0 Wheezes WM Accessory Muscle
    Abdomen: Soft Hepatospleucoragaphy (sic? spelling wrong): 0
    Edema: 0
    Pulses: Femoral Right 2, Femoral Left 2, DP Right 2, DP Left 2, PT Right 2, PT Left 2.
    Cranial nerves: intact
    Neurology: Motor/Sensory: blank
    Reflexes: blank
    Gait: blank

    1) Dehydration – fluid intake
    2) …
    3) cough
    4) Generalized Vertilligo (note: I suspect he means vitiligo… lol)
    5) MENIA PEDIS oxychonycosis

    1) fluid hydration, …
    2) … Z-PAR, Robitusin
    3) ? – DECHO
    4) Benoquin 20% cream, 32-5sqm
    5) apply to affected skin
    6) Youth … moisturising apply as directed
    Allergic – (NRDA) OI…


    The following is the next screenshot of the other attachments to the June 24 email Connie sent to Murray. I can only see a small portion.


    Name: Omar Arnold
    Date of Visit: 1/1106
    CC: Cough, chills, fatigue
    Subjective: As above


    The next is another page of the same attachments. This stuff is all probably online but it’s clearly all Connie responding to a request from Murray to send all of Michael’s records (under pseudonyms) to Murray for the purpose of insurance for AEG.


    Name: Omar Arnold
    Date of visit: January 11, 2006
    CC: blank
    Subjective: c/o weakness, white yellowish phlegm, have been fever, children have…


    The following is the next of Connie’s emails shown. This was also sent to Murray on June 24, 2009 at 5.34pm. Attachments included and I’ve transcribed from what attorney Walgren reads out.


    sender: Connie Ng
    June 24, 2009 at 5.34pm
    subject line: Omar Arnold – 2D Echo
    attachments: Echo1.17.07.jpg; C-xray3.26.07.jpg
    one attachment is:
    “echo cardiograph report. physician Dr Murray.
    report date: January 17, 2007.”
    second attachment is:
    “examination of Omar Arnold by physician Conrad Murray. date of examination is March 26, 2007.”
    last page of email is a duplicate of the echo cardiograph report.


    Second email entry from Connie Ng follows, the one asking Murray “is Paul Farance him too?” is then discussed. Clearly she is asking if Farance is a pseudonym for MJ. I noted this email above in the screenshot of the inbox.


    sender: Connie Ng
    June 24, 2009, 5.36pm
    subject line: MRI
    attachments: various relating to Paul Farance
    “Dr Murray, Is Paul Farance him too? I have this MRI result for a Paul Farance. Connie”


    The following is the first attachment to this Farance email from Connie to Murray on June 24.


    Tower Imaging

    Conrad Murray, MD.
    Patient: Paul Farance
    DOB: 08/08/2008
    Patient ID: 85718
    Exam ID: 216876
    Exam date: November 13, 2007



    The next email references an attachment in the other June 24 email Connie sent of Omar Arnold’s medication log.


    Global Cardiovascular Associates
    Patient: Omar Arnold
    DOB: Aug 29 1958
    Home phone: blank
    Work phone: (303) 605 2379 W?GK (708) 836 9095 Maryland

    (note: There’s a lot of lists of medication and the dosages and directions here, so I will just pick the clearest medications out… spelling is all over the place, sorry)

    Benoquin 20% (note: this is the whitening cream that Michael needed for his vitiligo)
    Vitamin C
    Lentab (sic?) 75/500mg
    Lamissal (sic?)
    Bactroban (note: this is another skin medication which I used to use myself during my teenager years on my face for acne treatment and for a rash I developed)


    The following is a screenshot of an email dated June 25, 2009. Time of 5.54am. It is one that I mentioned earlier above in a screenshot of Murray’s inbox. The sender is Bob Taylor to Murray, Shawn Trell, Randy Phillips, Paul Gongaware, Timm Woolley and John Silcock. The forensic computer examiner testifying at this time said the fact this email was recorded by an automatic screenshot on June 25 at 5.54am shows Murray was awake then and opened the email. But what interests me now in terms of this case is the specific communication between Taylor and Murray, with all AEG members included on the email.


    sender: Bob Taylor
    to: Conrad
    cc: Shawn, Randy, Paul, Timm, John Silcock
    subject line: RE: Artist Insurance

    25th June 2009

    Hi Conrad,
    Thankyou for calling me last evening. We are dealing with a matter of great importance and your urgent attention … appreciated.
    Please forward the clearance that you wish me to sign to my direct fax 022344 207 538 3084. I will sign and return it to you immediately. Once you have that I understand you will release to me a copy of your records/consultative … of your involvement. Please note, the release may be signed by my partner John Silcock (CEO of Robertson Taylor) if I am out of the office when the letter arrives. I have advised the insurers that your records go back from the present time to 2006 when you first met with MJ in Nevada. You confirmed that as far as you are aware you are the only doctor consulted during that 3 year period. You also agreed to check with him if he had undergone any cosmetic work during that period. We briefly discussed the period between April 2004 and when you took ver in 2006. Whilst you have no records for that time you agreed that you would speak with MJ and members of his staff who were present for those years to establish if any of them can recall who the appointed doctor was and if any medical record is available (perhaps payments for treatments could give a lead on this).
    I am sure that you will recall that the trial was during this period and it was well publicised that he went into a rest home for a while during that period … insurers believe that he would have consulted with a doctor and it is he and any other records could give a lead on …

    The insurers have specifically requested information:
    Press reports on the artist at various times using a wheelchair, and whether any of these occasions were as a result of a medical issue.
    Press reports that the artist had, or has, suffered a back injury
    Press reports that the artist is suffering, or has previously suffered from lupus
    Press reports that the artist is suffering, or has previously suffered from cancer
    Press reports that the artist was hospitalised in 2005
    Rates and brief details of any cosmetic procedures and specific details of any cosmetic
    Press reports that the artist has suffered from lung infections/emphysema and chronic gastrointestinal bleeding.
    Press reports that the artist has minimal diet (is possibly anorexic)

    As with all insurance policies there is a duty of full disclosure, and it is therefore vitally important that the information provided is full and complete. Non-disclosure of vital subsequently decide is a material fact may lead to the insurance coverage being called into question.

    One final point: I have just received the attached letter from Justin Burns, the leading Lloyd’s underwriter on this policy. You can see this is correspondence between him and Dr Ettinger concerning the doctors attending and the appointing times. Please confirm this is acceptable.

    I look forward to hearing from you on the above as soon as possible …

    Thank you for your help in this matter, best regards, Bob Taylor.”


    Murray responds to this email from Bob Taylor as follows on June 25 at 11.17am.


    “Dear Bob
    I’m in receipt of your email I spoke with Mr Jackson and requested his authorisation for release of his medical records in order to assist you to procure a cancellation insurance policy for his show,however,authorisation was denied. I therefore suggest that someone from AEG should consult kindly with mr Jackson as to it’s relevance for he is of the opinion that such a policy is already secured in the US. As far as the statements of his health punlishef (note: he means published) by the press let me say they’re all fallacious to the best of my knowledge. Sincerly (note: he means sincerely) Conrad Murray. Sent from my iPhone.”


    The following is my personal transcript of the infamous voicemail recording from Frank Dileo to Murray on June 20, 2009. Time the voicemail left was at 7.48am pacific time. I know we already have this but I’m doing it anyway for the purpose of consistency. It sounds like he’s in a helicopter.


    “Ah, yeah, Dr Murray it’s Frank Dileo, Michael’s manager. I’m the short guy with no hair (sic? this is honestly what it sounds like but I don’t know if it is!). To please call me at, ah, 213 304 9110. I’m sure you’re aware he had an episode last night. He’s sick. Today’s Saturday, tomorrow I’m on my way back I’m not going to continue my trip. Um, I think you need – I think you need to get a blood test. We gotta see what he’s doing. Okay. Thankyou.”


    Now the defence take over from Mr Walgren, people’s prosecutor. Now it’s Mr Gorgian (spelling?), not Flanagan or Chernoff. The following is an email from Justin Burns, which was included on a thread of emails, which were ALL forwarded to Murray AND cc’ed to Shawn Trell, Paul Gongaware, Randy Phillips and Timm Woolley and John Silcock by Bob Taylor on June 25 regarding insurance. This particular email is dated on June 22.


    sender: Burns, Justin (
    3.27pm on June 22, 2009.
    to: Ian France
    CC: Danny Burns (
    subject line: M ar K Jones
    Importance: High
    Further to our discussions, wide of the basic examination and bloods etc
    The specialist examinations are required in order to fully asses the medical risks of the performer whom you are insuring.
    Clearly his performance is very physical and we would want an expert musculoskeletal orthopaedic surgeon to advise on his ability after so many years without being on stage to perform , the person who be involved is the most expert orthopaedic surgeon in UK and advised many high performance athletes . In regard to his cardio and respiratory capacity the cpx measures heart lungs oxygen etc and he would be wired up so that this can be performed with egg leads and a mouth piece
    Further at this time the 2 specialists required for these tests are currently only available on the Monday afternoon. If the medical is to be any other time please advise URGENTLY
    Trust this helps
    Kind regards


    The following is another email from Justin Burns, also included on this thread of emails, which were ALL forwarded to Murray AND cc’ed to Shawn Trell, Paul Gongaware, Randy Phillips and Timm Woolley and John Silcock by Bob Taylor on June 25. This email is dated June 24 and Mr Gorgian suggests it appears to be a response to the previous email. It is cut off at the bottom, as shown by ellipsis.


    sender: Justin Burns (
    8.14am, June 24, 2009
    to: Ian France
    cc: Danny Burns, Todd, Jane, Spicer, Katie
    subject line: Mark Jones
    Importance: High
    “Dear Dan
    As discussed yesterday there are several reasons why we need the depth of the medical being required and at the location specified.
    1. Firstly and most importantly Dr Ettinger advised what is being proposed is no different than would be considered the ‘norm’ when carrying out a full medical on a 50 year ld individual. Let alone one who is about to embark on a major tour.
    2. Dr Ettinger further advised it would be impossible to carry out a satisfactory medical at the artists home due to the unavailability of essential medical equipment there.
    3. Despite many requests the 5 year medical history has still not been provided.
    4. Despite many requests the artists fitness program (5/6 hours a day) has not been provided
    5. The whole media circus has also ensured a very negative edge to the situation. As you know there have been several occasions we have asked the assured to confirm or deny press speculation, always with no response
    6. There have been several high profile medical issues over the years, either confirmed by the act, his management, or in a court of law – none of which appear on the medical originally submitted for our consideration.

    Given all of the above, the high profile nature of the risk and the relentless questions and clarifications of the situation we are having to provide …”


    The following shows another email from Bob Taylor (this email previously mentioned in the screenshot of Murray’s email inbox below the chain of emails detailed previously) to Paul Gongaware, Shawn Trell (both of his emails), Timm Woolley, Dr Murray and Randy Phillips on June 25 at 1.54am. This email is also a thread containing older emails, so all people just mentioned are privy to what is written. I will transcribe the first and follow immediately with the older message this one replies to.


    sender: Bob Taylor
    to: Bob Taylor, Paul Gongaware, Shawn Trell, Timm Woolley, Dr Conrad Murray, Randy Phillips
    1.54am, June 25
    subject line: RE: Artist Insurance
    “Paul / Shawn . Please confirm receipt. The consultation in London is critical they will not agree the house. The doctor is holding the afternoon of the 6th July open at Harley St. but keep in mind the visit could take 2 hours plus. Thanks Bob T”


    As I said above, the following is the email that is also included with the previous one.


    sender: Bob Taylor
    June 24, 8.32pm
    to: Paul Gongaware
    cc: Shawn Trell, Timm Woolley, Dr Conrad Murray, Randy Phillips
    subject line: RE: Artist Insurance
    “Paul … They will not accept that. They are insisting that this be done in Harley St (a 50 min drive at that time of day). The equipment is all installed in a specialist suite and is readily available for use. The doctor is however available through the afternoon so if 1400 hrs is a bit easy we can go later but it will have to be London. The suite has a private access area and they would be awaiting his arrival. There is a good spin on this in that if he sails through the tests we can put an end to the press garbage once and for all. I await hearing from Dr Murray. Bob T.”


    The following is another two emails included on this chain. Paul G, Randy, Shawn, Timm and Conrad will all see this as they were sent the whole chain.


    sender: Paul Gongaware
    June 24, 7.04pm
    to: Bob Taylor
    cc: Shawn Trell, Timm Woolley, Dr Conrad Murray, Randy Phillips
    subject: RE: Artist Insurance

    Dr Murray copied here. We need to do this at MJ’s house & Dr Murray can comment on the availability of the records.

    Paul G.”

    sender: Bob Taylor
    June 24, 10.37am
    to: (note: this section has been removed)
    subject line: (note: this section has also been removed)
    “Gentlemen, Please review the following email trail. Justin Burns is the … ”

    (note: the defence, Mr Gorgian, tells the prosecution’s forensic computer expert witness that the following section is the continuation from this section mentioning Justin Burns but I suspect it isn’t because there is no conclusion to the point about Justin Burns. When Mr Gorgian introduces the second page, the sentence about Burns is not completed so I feel there may actually be a page missing or a section excluded on purpose between these two points. It is not clear whether the next chunk of copy is actually part of the email from Bob Taylor or someone else entirely either because of this break in copy and the fact the end of the email is not shown so we cannot identify it via a signature. so we must assume what we can. it does make sense that it is Bob, though. but it still does not clear up the issue of why the first sentence does not come to a conclusion. because the next page defence Mr Gorgian showed the prosecution’s witness after the first page showing the Justin Burns line begins at the top of a fresh page with a new paragraph, a new sentence, and it does not flow smoothly from the first chunk. and as I said, they do not show who the email is signed from or whether there is anything below it, such as another email. weird. anyway, it continues.)

    “We first became aware of these medical stipulations on Monday 2nd June in the afternoon, following which we have had several protracted discussions with insurers in attempts to alleviate or amend their requirements. Insurers have, however, refused to move on this as having consulted with the doctor, and given the huge amount of speculation in the media regarding the artist’s health, they feel that if they are to consider providing illness cover on this particular artist, they must have a very thorough medical report.

    The insurer registers his major concerns in the second of the 2 e-mail letters in that he feels that insufficient information has been forthcoming This includes the past 5 year medical detail and the absence of comment on possible press speculation as to the artist’s health, especially the media articles about skin cancer.
    With the medical scheduled for PM on the 6th July we must act quickly to ensure that we are able to comply with these requirements.
    They can be summarised as below.

    1. MJ will need to attend the doctor at a secure location in Harley St, London
    2. MJ will need to agree to actively allow and assist with the various tests
    3. We have been informed that the doctor would like to examine MJ alone, and with no other party (even Dr Murray) present in the examination room.
    4. MJ will have to set aside sufficient time for the examinations – it could take in excess of 2 hours to complete the consultation.
    5. We must locate and supply the 5 year medical record as top priority. The insurers have been firm from the very beginning of the coverage that they will only give illness cover after completion of a further medical and also a review of MJ during a rehearsal. We have made numerous efforts to remove these stipulations.

    As regards to item 5 I understand that Dr Murray is to contact me shortly in order that I can guide him on what is needed.

    Shawn asked recently if there is any possibility of Term or disability insurance. At this moment we have been unable to secure any interest for the Term Life aspect, but needless to say with the medical information that could change. We are still working on a permanent disability quotation.

    I am available on my mobile telephone all evening for further … ”


    Like I said in the beginning, I know a lot of this is already available and has been covered but considering the redactions, lies, and cover-ups by AEG (plus the idea they may not have supplied all relevant emails for the purpose of this civil trial) thus far I wanted to be sure that we had some kind of redaction-free record of everything witness-able in the Murray trial in case it is relevant at all. I also know this chunk is obscenely long, and it’s only from Day 7, so if anyone has a problem or would prefer me to not post anymore transcriptions please do say so. My last intention is to be a nuisance or a time-waster!
    Thanks guys.


  37. Nan permalink
    August 26, 2013 10:19 pm

    Thank you for doing this..I am reminded of Mr Chernoff closing statements to the jury in the Murray case , where he said Murray was a little fish in a big dirty pond..It is incredible how much greed surrounded Michael Jackson


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