Poor Michael Jackson. Yes, he’s done a lot of weird things and maybe some bad things. But he’s also vulnerable to crazy lawsuits.
The latest comes from a New Jersey concert promoter Patrick Allocco and something called AllGood Productions. Allocco sued Jackson today in New York, along with AEG Live and Jackson’s long ago former manager Frank DiLeo — long ago as in 20 years. Why the suit was filed in New York is a mystery, since none of the parties is here.
Allocco says in his suit that he made a deal with DiLeo for the whole Jackson family — Michael, Janet, Sleepy, Snoopy – to perform at a concert in Texas. He claims that after that, all the defendants conspired together to put on shows in London and knock out his effort. He wants $20 million, of course.
Allocco’s going to have a tough time making his case. He says he met with DiLeo in October 2008, that DiLeo said he represented everyone, guaranteed the show, and that Allocco had an exclusive.
Only one problem: AEG started negotiating with Jackson in 2007. DiLeo wasn’t Jackson’s manager then, and isn’t now technically. He’s never represented the Jackson family, Janet Jackson, or even Reggie Jackson. DiLeo has only been working with Michael recently again and still, I am told, has no formal written agreement with him. Allocco is also claiming Jackson would do a pay-per-view event with him. But from the beginning there was no indication ever that Michael Jackson was going to be on pay-per-view, ever.
The AllGood lawsuit comes with some names in absentia: Joseph Jackson, Michael’s PT Barnum-like father, and Leonard Rowe, a concert promoter with a bad rep. These two characters called this reporter some months ago. Joseph was on the phone, and told me he wanted to get involved in taking over Michael’s AEG shows. “I’m the only one who can do them right,” he said.
At some point, Joseph Jackson and Rowe may have hooked up with Tohme R. Tohme, Michael’s official manager, now fired. A few weeks ago this reporter received an “anonymous” phone call from a man who said he had negative information about another Jackson associate, Arfaq Hussain, whom the caller claimed was now Jackson’s manager. The man said he’d be calling back with more info soon. The caller doesn’t know it, but I know who he is. He wasn’t too bright at masking his voice or his caller ID.
While all the hustlers, gypsies, tramps and thieves sneak around the Jackson saga to see if there’s any money for them, the onetime King of Pop is actually rehearsing his show. Right now, the whole enterprise is being tested at the Forum in Inglewood, California. In the next couple of weeks, when Lakers basketball is over, they move dress rehearsals to the Staples Center. On July 3, they head to London for installation. Like it or not, Michael Jackson is taking the stage at the O2 Arena on July 13th for AEG Live. Frank DiLeo may be back as the official manager. All systems are go so far.