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Michael Jackson and his foes: TWO MAJOR WINS BY THE ESTATE

June 20, 2021

Resuming writing for this blog after a long hiatus is not easy, but I will nevertheless try.  And the first question I ask myself 12 years after Michael Jackson’s death is where we are now as to his legacy and his name?

Judging by the comments here and there, only the inquisitive managed to go beyond the superficial propaganda of that fantasy piece called “Leaving Neverland” and the tall tales told by the media. This does not surprise me because most of the mainstream media has turned into fake news delivering sheer propaganda, and unfortunately the public tends to swallow it uncritically.

And this is no surprise either as millions have proven themselves unable to interpret facts correctly even when flatly facing them and even in much easier cases than the intricate scam around Michael Jackson.

At first the media tested their massive fakes on the poor Jackson and then continued with everything else playing people for fools, alas.

An example of the media duping the public is the way they reported on Anthony Pellicano’s release from prison in March 2019.

DEPOSITIONS

I mention his name because the recent MJ Estate memorandum asking Wade Robson to pay around $113,000 in legal costs now that he lost his civil case against the Estate, listed two Pellicano’s depositions taken in August 2020, which sounds to me as a sheer sensation.

The memorandum of costs to be paid by Wade Robson shows that Anthony Pellicano was deposed twice in his case

A quick reminder of Pellicano’s role in MJ’s life: he was hired by Michael Jackson’s lawyer Bert Fields to investigate the Chandlers’ case in 1993 and agreed to handle it only after warning Michael that he’d better not be guilty or he, being a father of nine children, would “fuck him over”:

Pellicano reveals that when he agreed to work for Jackson during the star’s 1993 child-molestation case, he warned Jackson that he’d better not be guilty.

“I said, ‘You don’t have to worry about cops or lawyers. If I find out anything, I will f–k you over.”

We know that Pellicano didn’t “f—k him over” because he didn’t find a single proof of Michael Jackson’s guilt. Since then Pellicano has never said a negative word about Michael, even when a tabloid offered him half a million to lie about Jackson.

However when reporting Pellicano’s release after he served 16 years in a federal prison on wiretapping charges, every media outlet thought it necessary to reshuffle the old fakes that Pellicano quit “in disgust” when he allegedly found some “dark secrets about MJ” and mentioned that Michael did “far worse things to young boys than molest them”.

A sample of it:

“He was disgusted by truths even darker than those alleged in Jackson’s molestation scandal. “I was offered $500,000 to tell the whole story by a tabloid, and I declined, even though, while incarcerated, I needed the money.”

[the Hollywood Reporter]

Well, the dark truths Pellicano did find, only they were not about Michael Jackson, but about the Chandlers family and this is how it was originally reported by the Daily Beast in 2011 in a chart which is now certainly defunct because it mentions damning information about the accuser’s family:

As to things “far worse than molestation” it is possible that Pellicano did say it, only it is obviously a figure of speech and anyone with a little bit of brains realizes that he didn’t mean murder (the only thing that is worse) but something different – probably the fact that these youngsters were first taken to the top of the world where they basked in the reflection of Michael’s fame, and then felt inevitably frustrated when they had to return to their routine life.  So when other youngsters were only stepping into life in anticipation of all the good awaiting them, those few had to live with a feeling that their best times were over and the future held nothing comparable to their brilliant moments beside Jackson – no more royalty and Hollywood stars to meet …….what a frustration!

And Pellicano did indeed quit the 1993 case and probably even ‘in disgust’, but this was done in solidarity with his boss Bert Fields, who was dismissed and replaced by Johnny Cochran, and any negative feeling Pellicano might harbor was not for Jackson, but for the opportunistic ways of Johnny Cochran and his team, of which his Carl Douglas is an example.

In other words, it is an established fact that Anthony Pellicano was completely, totally and absolutely sure of Michael’s innocence and this is why he wanted the Chandler case to be tried in the court of law. Actually Michael himself insisted on a trial (only imagine insisting on your own trial!), however Cochran was inclined to settle the case from the very moment he was retained. The OJ Simpson trial was looming ahead, so Cochran didn’t focus too much on Jackson. And he was also so much awestruck by Larry Feldman, the Chandlers’ lawyer, that as soon as the Chandler’s case was over, he hired him as his own attorney – all of which was of course disgusting to Pellicano who is known for a rare and exceptionally strict personal code of honor.

This is the real truth about Anthony Pellicano’s take on Michael Jackson. It has been discussed in this blog many times over and is backed up by numerous sources. So when the current media perpetuate lies about Pellicano and MJ, it means that the media propagandists lie about them knowingly, and this alone testifies to their nefarious goals.

One day we will probably have access to the transcripts of Anthony Pellicano’s depositions in Robson’s case and I genuinely look forward to that day.

So if we go back to the question “where we are” at the moment the answer is that on the surface everything is the way it used to be – the media goes on lying, and the lazy and the infantile swallow the toxic stuff spoonfed to them by the official propaganda.

A disgusting sight.

But none of these people notice that the actual environment around Michael Jackson has drastically changed and it happened due to two major wins made by MJ’s Estate in the past few months.

Only those who are masterminding this massive anti-Michael campaign surely took notice of their failures and must be furious at their plan falling flat in its key elements. As to the smearing campaign against Jackson being orchestrated by someone from behind the scenes, this fact cannot be even disputed.

TWO MAJOR WINS

The first massive win is the recent MJ Estate’s victory over the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which claimed back in 2013 that the Estate owed them $702,000,000 in underpaid taxes. The ludicrous claim forced the Estate to petition the US Tax Court and litigate the case in which they prevailed (here is the document). The Tax Court judge leaned towards the Estate’s valuation of Michael Jackson’s assets, so the sum to be paid by the Estate after the court’s ruling this May should be no more than $50 mln, which is a fraction as compared to the initial IRS demands.

And the second major win is the recent dismissal by the US Superior Court of Wade Robson’s case against Michael Jackson’s companies as having no merit and not deserving of a trial. I place this event second because to me it is indeed secondary to the IRS case.

Though seemingly different I see the two cases as absolutely interconnected as  both pursue the same goal – that of ruining the MJ Estate. In my opinion the financial factor was the crux of both matters, and even Robson’s complaint was meant not only to shred Michael Jackson’s reputation into pieces and enrich the accuser beyond measure, but to also rob the Estate of everything they had.

And I do mean everything as the creditor’s claim filed by Robson’s lawyers with the probate court was reportedly for 1.62 bln Australian dollars (the equivalent of 1.5bln in US dollars). This news was first published in the Australian media, hence the difference in the sum.

Up to today the notorius filmmaker Dan Reed goes around telling the gullible public some nonsense about Robson and Safechuck not seeking any money at all, let alone $1.5 bln. – as they allegedly “just wanted their experience of abuse put on the court record”. If you listen to him any money award in the civil court is just an unintended consequence of litigation 🙂

To be fair to the sceptics, the sum of $1.5 billion claimed by Robson was indeed so stunning that even Michael Jackson’s fans didn’t believe it, thinking it to be a mistake and that Robson’s demands were confused with the gross amount of everything the Estate had earned by that time ($600 mln) plus the cost of Michael’s share in the ATV catalog thought to be worth around $1bln then. 

But it wasn’t a mistake, and I see no reason for doubt that Robson indeed demanded the sum of $1.5 billion.

When on May 1st, 2013 his legal papers for a late creditor complaint were filed with the probate court, everything was very much hush-hush on Robson’s part as the papers were filed under seal and his then lawyer Granstein even said that they did not ask for any specific amount of money, making it unclear why they filed the creditor’s claim at all.

See point 6 of the Claimant’s Notice of filing under seal which says that they filed a Creditor’s Claim, form DE-172

But the sole purpose of a creditor’s claim is to demand a certain amount of money – see the special Judicial Council form DE-172 any such claim requires and taken by me from the official Judicial Council website.

Just one look at this standard form makes it clear that it is impossible to file a creditor’s claim without specifying the sum wanted by the claimant and this means that Robson’s lawyers lied.

A little later Robson filed a civil lawsuit against the Estate and its companies MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, which were named “co-conspirators” responsible for the alleged abuse. At some point the allegations were made public in their most graphic detail, and the huge sum demanded by Robson under the creditor’s claim seemed even instrumental in manifesting the gravity of the accusations.

It was at this point that the media reported that the creditor’s claim was for 1,62 billion Australian dollars:

The Estate’s lawyers did not comment as they discarded the allegations as rubbish from their very start, but occasionally they did mention that both Robson and Safechuck demanded hundreds of millions dollars in their lawsuits.

For example, five years later, on February 7, 2019 Howard Weitzman, attorney for the Jackson estate, wrote a 10-page letter to HBO chief executive Richard Plepler criticizing Leaving Neverland as journalistically unethical and this is where he wrote about the two guys’ demands in black and white:

“Given that they were both seeking hundreds of millions of dollars against the Estate, they had hundreds of millions of reasons for aligning their stories” [from Howard Weitzman’s letter to HBO, Feburary 7, 2019]

“…contrary to Robson’s and  Safechuck’s lawyers’ predictions when they first filed their lawsuits for hundreds of millions of dollars in 2013, no “flood” of further identifiable “victims” ever came forward beyond these two” [Howard Weitzman’s letter to HBO]

Also remember Robson’s note “It’s time to have mine” and the fact that he was infuriated that the job of directing Michael Jackson’s ONE went to Jamie King (as Cirque du Soleil and John Branca didn’t think him qualified enough for it)

Also remember the amount of money he wanted for his book that was so large that no publisher would accept it.  

All these things testify to Robson’s enormous appetite for money and to his possible desire to take revenge on the Estate, though at his deposition he certainly “didn’t remember” any of it.

  • Q.        BY MS. KLEINDIENST  When I spoke to Mr. Nevins on the phone he volunteered to me that you had demanded a large amount of money for your book. Are you saying that he’s lying?
  • THE WITNESS: Tell me again what he said I said.
  • Q.        That you were demanding a very large amount of money for your book.
  • A. Not true.
  • Q.        The last sentence says, “It’s time for me to get mine!” Do you know what you meant by that?
  • A. I don’t.

To me there is no question that Robson did demand a huge sum and possibly even wanted everything the Estate had, which was thought to be around $1.5 bln at that time, and that he possibly even intended to plunge the Estate into a deep debt.

Actually making Michael Jackson penniless has been the most coveted goal of some people since the moment in early 90s when he made really powerful enemies in Hollywood and entertainment industry.

In other words, I regard Robson’s and Safechuck’s heinous lies not as something separate but as part of a long and multi-faceted campaign aimed at turning Michael’s name and fortune into ashes and attempting to force the Estate into no less than bankruptcy. 

You may wonder who on earth would be so intent on trying to deprive Michael and his Estate of all their money?

As to who is the most probable force behind orchestrating this never-ending anti-Michael Jackson campaign, there are several posts in this blog – here and here and here and also here and here and here are only some of them.

The modus operandi of this person is always the same and is pursuing two goals simultaneously. These are 1) damaging the reputation of the designated victim beyond repair and 2) financial ruin of the victim so that nothing is left of his fortune but a pile of dust. Otherwise the revenge plans are not complete.

And the third notable feature of those plans is that they are always carried out by someone else.

The malice of this operator is legendary and there are numerous examples of his revenge taken on lots of other people, including Walter Yetnikoff, the long-time President of CBS Records under whose guidance Michael Jackson thrived, and Michael Ovitz, the one-time entertainment mogul who had the misfortune to be regarded by this person as an enemy and whose money and success were gone for the only reason that they had different views on family life. And many, many others.

In fact even Anthony Pellicano seems to have also fallen victim to this person’s campaign against Michael Ovitz (which his foe actually admitted). Pellicano was working for Ovitz when he was first sentenced for illegal possession of weapons that belonged to a client and were kept in his evidence safe:

“The FBI guys asked if there was anything in there that could hurt them,” he recalled of the raid.

“I opened the safes and left the lab, completely forgetting about the C-4 and two grenades that were locked in one of my evidence safes. Well, you can imagine the result of that.”

After serving the initial 30-months sentence for possessing those weapons and just weeks before his scheduled release Pellicano was charged with racketeering and wiretapping, and was sentenced to another 15 years in prison.

To see the severity of the sentence, compare it with a similar case of private investigator Ernie Rizzo who openly boasted of exactly the same methods, but was only stripped of his PI  license and even went on working as an investigator after being sentenced to a “work-release program”. Incidentally Ernie Rizzo was also a one-time investigator for Evan Chandler and was Pellicano’s rival.

See how all these seemingly unrelated factors are actually tightened into one knot? Someone wanted to keep Pellicano behind bars until his dying day so that he didn’t tell the real truth about all the rope-pulling done by the powerful few, while the unsuspecting public is fed by the media with kindergarten fairy tales.

Getting back to the main point again let me make a conclusion after 12 years of studying the Michael Jackson case: the life-long smearing campaign of Michael, and now his Estate, is aimed not only at the irreparable damage to their reputation but also at their total and unconditional financial ruin.

This conclusion is also confirmed by the lurid claim made by the Internal Revenue Service right at the time when Wade Robson made his.

THE IRS CLAIM

An extremely interesting point about the IRS claim is not only its timing, which coincided with Robson’s claim almost to the day, but the fact that they also demanded from the Estate a crazy amount around a billion dollars.

According to Tax Court documents IRS wanted $505.1 million in taxes and $196.9 million in penalties plus the accrued interest. All of it totaled $702 million (plus the interest to be added to it).

At some point the IRS claim reached the unholy figure of $1.1 billion and this happened in the course of litigation when Michael’s image and likeness were adjusted upward by $434 million, one of his Trusts by $469 million and the other Trust by $58 million.

In case you are interested in details here is an excerpt from the Forbes article about the IRS whose figures were mostly rejected by the Tax Court judge in May this year:

Michael Jackson’s Estate Mostly Prevails In Valuation Fight With IRS

May 4, 2021

 “Jackson died in 2009 and the Tax Court case has been going on since 2013. The Estate and the IRS narrowed their differences over the years leaving just three assets for Judge Holmes to value. There were two bankruptcy remote trusts NHT II and NHT III and Jackson’s likeness and image. 

In the litigation the Estate valued the likeness and image at $3,078,000, The IRS had likeness and image at $161,307,045. Judge Holmes went with $4,153,912.

 The estate, in Tax Court, argued that NHT II was worthless because of the debt it was buried under. [ ] Judge Holmes [ ] agreed with the estate that there was not enough value to overcome the debt. IRS had NHT II at $206,295,934.

The estate valued NHT III whose principal asset was an interest in a production company called Mijac jointly owned with Sony at $2,267,316. The IRS had NHT III at $114,263,615, Judge Holmes leaned toward the IRS on that one coming in at $107,313,561.

The notice of deficiency that prompted the petition that got the litigation rolling had much more dramatic adjustments. They totaled over $1.1 billion with image and likeness adjusted upward by $434 million, NHT II by $469 million and NHT III by $58 million. [ ]

In short, both IRS claim and Robson’s complaint demanded from the Estate the sums revolving around a billion dollars each

And both came at a time when the Estate must have invested millions in their second Cirque du Soleil show (2013) called “ONE”, and devoted to Michael Jackson same as “IMMORTAL” that opened two years prior to that, in October 2011 (the Tax Court documents say that the ‘Immortal’ show was sponsored by Cirque du Soleil).

‘COINCIDENCES’

To see that something is not right about the various coincidences of that period look at the dates of the events that took place in the highly condensed spring of 2013.

February 21– the Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil announce that “Michael Jackson ONE” directed by Jamie King will start its preview performances on May 23, 2013 and have its official premiere on June 29, 2013.

March 21 – the judge dismisses AEG’s appeal and rules the trial to go ahead.

March 21 – Wade Robson puts his LA house up for sale for $789,000 and enjoys much luck with it as just a week later he sells it for $825,000 at a price higher than the asking price by $36,000.

April 30 – the AEG trial begins. The Estate is no party to the litigation as it is Katherine Jackson’s lawsuit against AEG Live. The media is having a field day with the sum of $40 bln allegedly demanded by Katherine Jackson. During the trial it turns out that the complaint itself never specifies any sums and that the above figure was taken from a draft of the lawyers’ statement that was not even filed with the court and was never seen by Katherine Jackson. The correct sum calculated and claimed by her lawyers was $1.5 bln.

April 30 – Robson’s lawyers sign his late creditor’s claim with a probate court, and it also amounts to the sum of $1.5 bln as discussed above. Following the usual practice the text of the complaint does not specify the sum wanted by Robson and only enumerates the type of damages he requests (“compensatory damages, punitive damages, an award of interest, an award of attorneys’ fees, the costs of suit and further relief the Court deems appropriate). The demand for $1,5 billion was stated only in the creditor’s claim which in Robson’s case was filed with the court.

May 1 – Robson’s lawyers file their late creditor’s complaint.

May 7 – Robson’s allegations go public.

May 10 – Robson files a civil complaint against the Estate.

May 13 – the Internal Revenue Service sends the Estate a “Notice of Deficiency” disclosing the deficiency in the amount of $505,142,894 and intending to charge the additional  $196,910,310 in penalties “plus interest to be computed at the legal rate on the amount due”.  This happens four years after Michael Jackson’s passing.

May 16 – Wade Robson goes on national TV.

May 23 is the date of preview performances for the Michael Jackson “ONE” show, which was first announced at the end of February that year.

In other words, the spring of 2013 is virtually packed with all sorts of coincidences:

  • Robson puts up his house for sale on the day he learns that the AEG trial will go forward
  • his creditor’s claim is signed the same day as the AEG trial starts
  • Robson wants $1.5 billion from MJ’s Estate for the alleged abuse which he vehemently denied only 8 years earlier, same as Katherine Jackson wants $1.5 billion from the AEG for the death of her son
  • in the midst of it all the IRS sends a note of deficiency to the Estate claiming immediate payment of $702,000,000 plus interest in “underpaid taxes”
  • and all of it happens right before the premiere of the new Cirque du Soleil show in which the Estate has surely invested a lot of money.

Impressive, isn’t it?

I remember those events and my disbelief at the intensity of it all, when all those blows kept coming one after another. We can imagine that a similar feeling of a sudden avalanche of unimaginable money claims overwhelmed the Estate executors too. 

Not only did the two complaints amount to the unheard of sum of a billion each, thus wiping away twice the sum the Estate had at that moment, but their timing right before the premiere was putting the show at a huge risk and threatened to deprive the Estate of the future earnings too…

The first impression of this avalanche was that it was a way for AEG Live to intimidate the Jackson family and divert public attention from their trial. However what restrained me from denouncing it as AEG’s foul play was that this company is no fool to expose itself so openly and the fact that both claims were targeted not at the Jackson family, but the Estate.  Besides that the IRS claim also looked like something separate and coming from a seemingly independent US tax agency, so the whole picture was not yet clear.

But as the dust settled all those coincidences as well as the magnitude of those claims began to point to something different.

With AEG Live now gone from the scene, what stood out was Robson’s and Safechuck’s continuous legal saga financed year after year by we-don’t-know-who and the still ongoing IRS fight with the Estate for all the money they had.

On top of that came the ‘Leaving Neverland’ movie which was somehow obtained by no other than David Geffen for a private screening with Oprah Winfrey, done obviously for publicity sake and well in advance before the movie was shown to the general public.

Someone was definitely on a war path against MJ’s Estate so that it would lose all its past and future revenue due to the massive legal claims and bad publicity, same as someone wanted total Michael Jackson’s ruin through legal claims and bad publicity when he was alive.

But could anyone have the power to manipulate and influence the federal agency like the IRS led by the Commissioner appointed by President himself?

At first the idea looked impossible, but only until the moment when the news came that the IRS estimation was based on the appraisal of one person only and this person (Weston Anson) was caught in several lies during litigation, which greatly undermined his credibility.

THE SOLE APPRAISER

Here is another piece from Forbes explaining that in his 271-page memo released on May 3, 2021, Judge Holmes of the U.S. Tax Court didn’t mince words as regards Weston Anson:

The first hint that things will not go well for the IRS comes on page 59 when Judge Holmes discusses the credibility of Weston Anson, the sole appraiser used by the IRS, who had been caught in a lie about whether he had previously worked for the IRS.  Judge Homes indicated that the hit to credibility affected the judge’s factfinding.

That was on page 61. On page 133 Judge Holmes really gives it away when discussing Anson’s valuation of Jackson’s “image and likeness” he wrote “We reject Anson’s analysis as fantasy”. 

Yes, you’ve read it right – the judge rejected Anson’s appraisal of Michael Jackson’s image and likeness as sheer fantasy. Here is a quote from the Tax Court memo:

“We reject Anson’s analysis as fantasy. He:

– valued the wrong asset,

– included unforeseeable events in his valuation, and

– miscalculated the assets’ value.”

Of Anson’s credibility the judge said:

“As the Commissioner’s only expert witness, Anson’s credibility was an especially important part of the case. And it suffered greatly at trial. When asked whether he or his firm had previously been retained by the Commissioner to write an intellectual-property valuation report in Whitney Houston’s estate-tax case, Anson replied: “No. Absolutely not.” That was a lie. [ ]

Anson also testified that neither he nor his firm ever advertised to promote business. This was also a lie. In the midst of trial, Anson touted his testimony in the Hollywood Reporter which called CONSOR Chairman Weston Anson “the expert of the century [that] will be testifying on behalf of the IRS.”

As Anson was touting himself in the Hollywood Reporter, the latter presented the case in the craziest manner possible, leading the public into thinking that the Estate valued all Michael Jackson’s assets at a mere $2,105 while Anson’s estimation was close to $1billion. So no wonder that the original HR source quoted by the judge is actually no longer found on the Internet.

Here is a piece from the Judge’s memo starting with a quote from the Hollywood Reporter:

“The big discrepancy in the value of the Jackson estate will be sure to bring testimony tailor made for a Hollywood blockbuster. While CONSOR valued the intellectual property assets of the Jackson estate at a total close to $1 billion, the estate initially valued the assets at time of death at a mere $2,105.

And in a lecture given before trial Anson referred to his valuation in this case, stating, “I’m sitting today [ ] in a deposition in what’s known as the ‘Billion Dollar Tax Case.’  When asked at trial whether he had in fact referred to this case as a billion-dollar case, Anson replied with his own question: “Would you like to be called the lawyer of the century?”

The judge explained:

“…there is nothing wrong about marketing one’s services or taking on another case for the IRS while working on this one. But Anson did undermine his own credibility in being so parsimonious with the truth [ ], as well as in not answering questions directly throughout his testimony.”

And when the judge stated that Weston Anson consciously overvalued Michael Jackson’s assets the whole thing began to smack of a scam:

We note that Anson’s overbroad description of the asset he was valuing was conscious.

We have his earlier draft report, in which he based his valuations solely on the image-and-likeness rights defined by California law. We conclude from this that he tried to reach a higher number by broadening the rights he valued.

It turned out that not only did Anson broaden the valuation of Michael Jackson’s image and likeness to the point of it becoming a fantasy, but sometimes – when evaluating MJ’s unreleased songs, for example –  his appraisal was based on Wikipedia as his ‘primary source’ in addition to ‘an interview that is two decades old and a book whose own sources are unclear’:

His primary source was Wikipedia though he also relied on a deposition Jackson gave back in 1993, a book, Michael Jackson: For the Record, and a 2015 report from the Estate showing previously unreleased songs at the time of death that have since been released.

So this is how the so-called independent IRS auditor made his evaluations? By studying Wikipedia as his primary source? And it is as a result of these findings that the IRS wanted the Estate to pay more than $700 mln?  What an amazing stuff!

Surprisingly, many of the IRS auditor’s arguments coincide with the constant criticism of the Estate by MJ fans so that it often looks like either Anson repeats the fans’ arguments or the fans echo Anson’s populist declarations.

The latter seems a much more likely scenario and this means that Anson’s ideas were somehow imposed on the MJ fan community so that the unsuspecting and often well-meaning fans would ‘rise as one in their struggle against the horrible Estate executors’ who undervalued the great (truly great) Michael Jackson. Little did they know that someone was deliberately stirring up enmity towards the Estate to minimize the Estate’s chances in defending their case against the IRS and undermine their ability to generate income for Michael Jackson’s children in principle.

In other words, by seeding all that discord some forces used the MJ fan community for their own ulterior motives and this also adds to the list of all those strange coincidences enumerated above.  

ANSWERS TO SOME QUESTIONS

It would be interesting to hear some of Judge Holmes’ answers to the most frequent fans’ reproaches addressed to the Estate on a regular basis. For example:

  • Why doesn’t the Estate release one album after another, though rumor has it that there are hundreds of unreleased songs in Michael’s vault?

Hundreds of unreleased songs is a rumor on which the IRS appraiser capitalized very well – he turned it into millions of dollars which according to his projection the Estate could potentially make and therefore had to pay taxes for.

The judge didn’t agree:

The first major disagreement between the experts is how many unreleased songs Jackson had at the time of his death. The experts came up with two very different numbers.

Anson believed that Jackson had an enormous number of unreleased songs on the day he died. At one point in his review he thought there were more than 153, though he noted that some sources hinted that the actual number of unreleased songs could be much higher — possibly over 200. At another point in his report he said that there were 133 unreleased songs at the time of death. But, in any event, he was sure there were at least 105. [ ]

After Jackson’s death, Sony engaged in an extensive search for unreleased songs to evaluate for possible future release. Jackson was [ ] known to over-record songs on his albums. He kept these unreleased recordings in his personal vaults.

Sony’s corporate spelunkers crawled through these vaults and found 7,000 to 10,000 pieces of tape. These were mostly tailings and very little pay dirt. There were only 2 completed and unreleased recordings and approximately 25-30 full vocals with some music. The Estate has confirmed a total of 83 songs — fragments of lyrics, tunes, and vocals — that were unreleased at the time of Jackson’s death.

They also found that there was often a reason for an unreleased song to remain unreleased, or a “full vocal” not to be a “song”. Sony executive John Doelp credibly testified that once a vocal was identified, Sony had “to take a step back” and ask whether it was commercially viable.

Doelp described the process as follows: “If it’s a demo vocal, it’s very possible that it’s just a bad performance. There could be notes that are flat * * * [or] not well recorded. * * * It could just not sound good, and then the song itself just might not be good or just not up to Michael’s standards.”[ ]

The most compelling reason for this finding is that Jackson was in a dire financial position for the last several years of his life and yet did not release any of these songs. We know that he was searching high and low — even going to usurious lenders — to bring in money. It is inconceivable that he wouldn’t use unreleased songs to boost that income, and we find it more likely than not that he did not do so because he thought the vast majority were commercially nonviable; and we further reason that if Jackson himself thought this, so would hypothetical reasonable buyers and sellers.»

And finally:

“Since we believe that a reasonable investor would believe that there were 22 marketable unreleased songs at Jackson’s death, using the average of 11 unreleased songs per album, we believe there would only be two albums’ worth of posthumously released songs.”

However the biggest reason for the fans’ discontent with the Estate is their estimation of Michael Jackson’s image and likeness at the meagre $2,105.

  • Indeed, how dare they?

Judge Holmes explains it in another thrilling piece of his memo:

The Estate reported Jackson’s image and likeness on its return as worth only $2,105. This might seem absurd when one recalls Jackson’s fame, but the Estate’s position was based on an appraisal from Moss Adams, a large and reputable accounting firm. And Moss Adams did focus entirely on the value of the Estate’s opportunity to license merchandise with Jackson’s image and likeness.

What Moss Adams discovered was that in the years before Jackson died and when he was in dire need of income, he had earned close to nothing from his image and likeness. … [The] allegations had a dramatic effect on Jackson’s ability to win sponsorships and merchandising deals once they became public. The fact that he earned not a penny from his image and likeness in 2006, 2007, or 2008 shows the effect those allegations had, and continued to have, until his death.

Moss Adams did not rely only on this historical financial data. It also looked at Jackson’s scores on the Davie-Brown index — a quantitative measure of a celebrity’s reputation derived from public surveys. Jackson’s Davie-Brown scores showed [] that he was one of the most recognized celebrities in the world but one who ranked among the lowest in trustworthiness as well as other important characteristics that corporations consider when looking to use someone’s image and likeness to promote their products. Taking all this information into account, Moss Adams — using a DCF analysis — determined the value of Jackson’s image and likeness was $2,105.

With this valuation in hand, Moss Adams went to the Estate. The Estate was surprised. Moss Adams was, after all, valuing the image and likeness of one of the best known celebrities in the world — the King of Pop — at the price of a heavily used 20-year-old Honda Civic. Moss Adams nevertheless gave this valuation to the Estate to rely on for the estate-tax return.

When asked if he stood by his opinion at trial — over seven years after the report — Dahl (a former principal of Moss Adams) responded that he “absolutely does.” He emphasized that though Jackson’s image and likeness may have increased in value after he died, all information available at the time of his death showed that [he had] serious significant issues when it came to the issue of licensing image and likeness in a non-music setting.” In the end, the Estate deemed this valuation credible and relied on it while filling out its return.

[ ] in the course of preparing for trial the Estate brought in two more experts to value Jackson’s image and likeness. The main expert was Jay Fishman — managing director of Financial Research Associates. Fishman valued Jackson’s image and likeness at just over $3 million.

The $3 mln was the sum finally used by the Estate in their litigation with the IRS.

  • But still, how come Michael Jackson could sell out 50 concerts nearly instantly but his image and likeness was evaluated at so low a sum?

Judge Holmes explains:

…. even in London, one can see the pattern that had long since marked Jackson back home — a great appreciation for his music and performance, but little for his personal reputation. Despite the near instant sellout of dozens of performances, AEG Live was utterly unable to find a tour sponsor. Potential sponsors did not want to tie their own reputations to Jackson’s …[ ] …which as we learned from credible testimony is a driving force behind the purchasing of branded merchandise, and which caused him to not be able to market his image and likeness.

Historical data shows that in the years before he died, Jackson had no merchandising deals despite his success in selling his music. Anson fails to adequately acknowledge this fact.[ ]

Anson simply glossed over Jackson’s having been accused multiple times of the most heinous acts in his analysis of each supposedly foreseeable revenue stream.

Well, being accused of some acts doesn’t mean that they were committed.

What stands out to me in this last paragraph is the mind-boggling double standard so clearly manifested by the IRS – when the two scumbags fantasize about the ‘most heinous’ acts allegedly done to them, their uncorroborated and contradictory story is considered enough for stigmatizing Jackson for life, but when it comes to levying taxes on Michael Jackson’s Estate the same accusations are simply glossed over and are regarded as insignificant trash.

This is a type of Orwell’s double-think at its worst.

John Branca says about the outcome of the IRS case:

“With years of disputes cleared and a pandemic-forced delay on projects lifting, the estate’s leaders feel like they are in an excellent spot to again start promoting Jackson’s legacy.

“We’re at an absolute turning point,” Branca said. “I think people have come to realize that Michael was innocent of any charges and unable to protect himself. We’ve got a wonderful Broadway play coming, we’ll be reopening our Cirque du Soleil show soon and we’ve got some surprises coming.”

And this is what the Forbes article says about Branca:

….in Judge Holmes’s narrative John Branca seems to be a strong factor in Jackson’s financial success.

The executor faced a challenging problem after Jackson’s sudden and unexpected death [ ]. His executor and team did pretty well. According to this story by Madeline Berg of Forbes Jackson was the highest paid dead celebrity of 2020 at $48 million. He has been on top of the list every year since 2010 except for 2012 when Elizabeth Taylor knocked him down to second place. The great success that the team had in rehabilitating Jackson’s image and monetizing the various pieces is fascinating….”

I fully agree and am glad that the judge and others worded it so clearly. The success of the Estate’s executors is indeed fascinating. And even incredible. Especially when you keep in mind the formidable forces John Branca and his team had to confront.

It is high time all of us grew up and gave the heroes their due. Because Branca, the late Howard Weitzman and all the others in that team did the impossible.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Des permalink
    June 22, 2021 1:35 am

    Hi Helena it’s nice to hear from you again miss you.You know how many times I respond to some comments in my mind I get frustrated with some things that people say but because of my English it’s hard to find the right words to express myself and I don’t want to be nasty because am not so I don’t write them down.Anyway you know what sometimes I ask myself what would have happened if Michaels family was in charge of his estate with everything that had to fight over the years after Michael was gone and being that successful and now that Michaels son is involved in some way and Tom Mesereau it’s a good thing. I agree with everything you say and I believe that better days will come for Michael not many people believe everything they hear anymore not just about Michael about everything especially these days people searching for the truth and sometimes we are too busy to look for it. I do inform myself about Michael and I believe most of his fans doing an excellent job,but for me you are the best source of the truth,thank you again for everything you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. June 22, 2021 4:22 am

    Hi Des, I am also happy to hear from you. And I also have the same thoughts as you do – “I ask myself what would have happened if Michaels family was in charge of his estate with everything that had to fight over the years after Michael was gone”.

    Even though I never doubted the Jacksons’ family best intentions they wouldn’t have been able to handle all of it so successfully. Or rather handle it at all. So the fact that Michael’s Estate was handled by Branca and McClain was actually a blessing.

    But I also think that neither we, nor the Estate should relax – Michael’s foes are extremely powerful and they will certain think of something else. So let’s stay vigilant!

    Like

  3. appleh permalink
    June 23, 2021 3:15 pm

    Hi Helena, thank you for your post, it was very informative and gave great insight in the work
    of the estate and all the trouble they have to deal with on a daily basis. I am very furious about the malignancy his enemies are after him for decades. Every one should read this, because it is absolutely eye opening. I truely hope, that when his worst enemies are gone, times will get better and more people come out in support of MJ. DG and O are not the youngest anymore.
    I usually do not wish someone death, but in this case it is different.

    Like

  4. June 23, 2021 3:51 pm

    “I usually do not wish someone death, but in this case it is different.”

    I understand your feelings, but hope that Michael Jackson’s worst foes will live to see the collapse of their plans and full exposure of their malice. So let them live for as long as it takes the Divine Justice to make things right :))

    Like

  5. Des permalink
    June 25, 2021 12:17 am

    Hi Helena, I am here again today to say that our world misses you Michael, we miss you.You have gone but you left an army of love behind you that they will never let you down.You never sowed hatred, you never played the race card you never played the victim (but you were the biggest victim of all) you stood tall and proud but humble,you are more alive than ever in our hearts and you are present in everything we do because of you we are better people.Thank Michael.Thank you Helena.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. June 25, 2021 2:10 pm

    Thank you, Des! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Michael indeed never sowed hatred, never played the race card and never played the victim, though he was the biggest victim of all. He stood tall and proud but was nevertheless humble. And because of him we are indeed better people now. And we have discovered in ourselves the strengths we never knew we had.

    If Michael were still alive, his own country and the whole world would be a totally different place today. A much, much better place. And this is probably the ultimate reason why the wicked and godless so much wanted him out of their way.

    THANK YOU, MICHAEL for having visited this world.

    It was not in vain.

    Somehow your presence is still felt about us.

    Please stay with us.

    And be our support and inspiration.

    Like

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