Michael Jackson’s estate is in great shape considering how broke he was at his death. TMZ is all excited today because a filing on the estate shows that Michael was more $400 million in debt at the time of his death. This is not a headline. Readers of this column and my old column know the story quite well: Michael had borrowed more than $300 million against his ownership of Sony/ATV Music Publishing and tens of millions against his MiJac Publishing. He’d been sued by everyone and had lost ownership of his Neverland Ranch.
For years prior to making a deal with AEG Live for the “This Is It” concerts in London, Michael had refused to work. He simply kept refinancing and borrowing. My older readers may recall Michael’s banker from Bank of America, Jane Heller, telling me tne years ago: “I’ve kept Michael alive.” It was Jackson’s own financial irresponsibility that caused his problems.
Frankly, if he hadn’t agreed to do “This Is It,” Jackson would have been out of business. He had nowhere to live, and would not return to Neverland. All of this was becausde he refused to sell his stake in Sony/ATV, relieve himself of the staggering loans, and start fresh. When he died, it became easier for his executors to make decisions that would improve his finances considerably. If only Jackson had listened to his advisors when he was alive–but he refused, and frequently went behind their backs to make deals– all failures that had to fixed later.
More to come on the estate report….