They probably deserve it, but the lawyers and executors for Michael Jackson‘s estate are making millions and cleaning up. They won’t stop til they get enough, to paraphrase a Jackson hit.
In 2013, according to Estate papers just filed, legal fees for the Jackson estate– which go mostly to John Branca‘s firm– were $2.7 million.
Executor fees — to Branca personally and John McClain — came to $3.8 million. In 2012, the executor fee were actually higher– $4,454,011.
According to the filing, all of Michael’s loans on his MiJac Music Publishing have been paid off. His Sony/ATV Music Publishing loan is being paid off under a separate agreement.
Public relations fees — mostly to L.A. firm Sitrick–came to just under $800,000. For 2013, January-December. For a man who’s been deceased since 2009.
The Estate has $25 million in cash on hand.
Gross receipts in 2013: $67 million
The grunt work here is from a website called dailymichael.com which monitors every bit of Michael Jackson minutiae. They posted the papers. My hat is off to them.
Accordingly, Michael Jackson’s kids and his mother received $8,151,308 in 2013. On top of her $1.2 million guardianship fee, the 85 year old Katherine Jackson also received a $1.3 million consulting fee in 2013. Cousin T.J. Jackson, her co-guardian, received just $154,071.
What is Mrs. Jackson doing with all that money? If history is a lesson, she’s splitting it up among many of her children and grandchildren and Joseph Jackson. All her bills are paid separately plus she’s taken loans from the Estate.
Michael’s three kids– Prince, Paris, and “Blanket” aka Bigi– received $4.3 million in allowance. That covered school, clothes, gas, snake food, and pencils.
There’s nothing egregious here, no smoking gun to suggest someone’s doing something wrong. But I do think of Michael talking on his cell phone to his friend Ron Burkle from the urinal in the Santa Maria courthouse in April 2005, begging for a loan because he had no money. Everyone was foreclosing on him. Burkle always helped him out. Or Michael grabbing $7 million in cash from Prince Abdul of Bahrain because he was broke. Or flying to Japan to sign autographs for money.
The $25 million the Estate has on hand now? Michael would have blown through it in a week, maybe less.
The accounting here is ironic. Yes, a lot of people are now making millions from Michael Jackson. A lot of people also aren’t, some of whom are in dire straits. At the same time, it’s true that if Michael had listened to his advisers when he was alive, he’d have had money and not been so desperate all the time. The Estate and executors, though their fees are astronomical (not just this year but cumulatively since Michael died) have turned the Estate into a well oiled machine.
More to come… keep refreshing…