I never thought I’d say this about a real network news operation, but ABC News is allowing itself to be used by Joseph Jackson, father of Michael Jackson, and a crooked concert promoter named Leonard Rowe.
Readers of this column and of my past column know that Jackson Sr. and Rowe tried to push their way into the Michael Jackson London concerts this past March. Jackson Sr. was furious that he had no part of the shows, and no cut financially.
J. Jackson and Rowe called this reporter trying to convince me to help them. According to sources at Jackson’s Holmby Hills rented mansion, they badgered Michael incessantly.
Attached here is a letter that Michael finally wrote to Leonard Rowe in May, telling him to take a hike. It reads: “this is to inform you that you do not represent me.” How much clearer could he be?
What ABC News is not telling its audience: that when Rowe and Jackson Sr. did not get their way, they went into business with Patrick Allocco of AllGood Entertainment. At the time of Michael’s death, AllGood was suing him.
What ABC News is telling its audience: in October 2008, singer R. Kelly was awarded $3.4 million by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge who determined that Leonard Rowe had defrauded him. Rowe was also ordered to pay R&B star Ne Yo $700,000 in conjunction with the same tour.
This is the man ABC News has let go on the air and tell the world he was Michael Jackson’s financial advisor. Leonard Rowe was never Michael Jackson’s financial advisor, not for a minute.
For a while this spring, Tohme R. Tohme managed Michael Jackson until he was dismissed. Late in the spring, Frank DiLeo, Michael’s trusted manager during the “Thriller” era and his steadfast friend for more than 25 years, returned as his manager. Jackson also rehired John Branca, his attorney for more than 20 years, and Joel Katz, the respected Atlanta music business attorney, to look after his affairs.
It’s shocking to see Chris Connelly, a very good journalist, interview Joseph Jackson on national television and let him spew nonsense about “foul play” and his son’s illnesses. Connelly doesn’t ask Jackson Sr. if he has any culpability in Michael’s death. Witnesses at the Holmby Hills house say Jackson Sr. ‘ whom Michael feared ‘ played on the singer’s lack of self esteem and hounded him.
“I have no money and it’s your fault!” a friend of Michael’s heard the father yell at the son in the month before his death.
You can only imagine what was going on in Michael Jackson’s life the weekend of March 28, 2009, for example. This reporter got sent a press release from one Ladd Biro, representing Jackson Sr. and Leonard Rowe, announcing that they’d taken over his management. It simply wasn’t true, but the pair hoped someone in the press would bite, print it, and make it sound true.
There are other people still filling the airwaves, by the way, who sued Michael Jackson and now purport to have been his close friends. It’s shocking. Brian Oxman is still out there on low end TV shows. There are others. The shows don’t seem to have researchers, and do no vetting of their guests. Michael Jackson isn’t buried, but his memory is being trashed nightly in an effort to get ratings.
In the end, though, ABC News must accept responsibility for turning this into a sideshow. Joseph Jackson told them, and it’s in their transcript, that “no artist could do shows like that, back to back …” Has ABC even looked at Jackson’s schedule? It was designed after the first two nights to give him an extraordinary amount of time off between performances. He wasn’t doing 50 shows in one month. They were spaced out over six months. And so on. It’s enough now.