Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Michael Jackson’s Mother, the Estate, and Money–the Real Story

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After a weekend of wrong headed reporting and terrible TV specials that didn’t get much right–like ABC’s ridiculous “20/20” extravaganza and Ian Halperin‘s hideous “documentary”–here’s the real story of Katherine Jackson, Michael’s estate, and money.

Mrs. Jackson went behind her own lawyer’s back–that’s Adam Streisand–and signed a contract with Howard Mann, the Toronto entrepreneur. Mann has said on TV that his deal with Mrs. Jackson makes her a wealthy woman. But that’s not exactly true.

According to the contract between Mann and Mrs. Jackson, which I’ve seen, Katherine Jackson is getting $10,000 in advance and 10,000 a month for promoting audio and video recordings that could be turned into a book or biography called “The Katherine Jackson Story.” The contract was signed on February 3, 2010 and witnessed only by Sonia Lowe, Mann’s collaborator. Streisand has never seen the contract. “The Katherine Jackson Story” became her book, “Never Can Say Goodbye.”

“My expectation is Katherine nets $10 million,” says Mann of Mrs. Jackson’s participation in the project. He thinks “Never Can Say Goodbye” will sell a million copies. So far it’s sold between 25,000 and 50,000.

The contract for these “performances” states that Mrs. Jackson will receive $5000 for promotional appearances. In other words, she was paid for showing up at the Jackson family event on Saturday at the Beverly Hilton. That may be why she agreed to return from Indiana on Saturday morning to promote “Never Can Say Goodbye.” Those audio recordings, transcribed and written by Sonia Lowe, became the copy for the book. The video interview was used in part for the NBC “Dateline” show on Friday night.

Insiders are scratching their heads wondering Mrs. Jackson entered into such an agreement, especially without legal representation. Going along proper channels, Mrs. Jackson could have picked up a seven figure advance from any New York publishing house.

“we did the deal between us,” Mann says. “Who was she going to call? Adam Streisand? He’s paid by the estate.”

Indeed, until the estate is settled–there are still outstanding claims–Michael’s estate is paying his mother’s lawyer’s fees. But that is not unusual.

And it’s not like Mrs. Jackson needs the money. According to those familiar with the as yet unsettled estate, Mrs. Jackson’s financial life since Michael died has been an easy one. Before he died, she was constantly in debt with the threat of foreclosure.

But since then, the Jackson executors have paid off the $5 million mortgage on the Encino estate known as Hayvenhurst (and always owned by Michael, not his parents); given Mrs. Jackson a new $90,000 Cadillac Escalade; paid salaries for everyone at the house including private chefs and Mrs. Jackson’s secretary, Janice; and all of her needs separate from funds which the children receive.

“She’s never been denied one thing she’s asked for,” says an estate source.

But Howard Mann insists that Mrs. Jackson is receiving “only” nine thousand dollars a month. It’s not enough, he says, to cover her expenses in Encino and at homes she maintains in Las Vegas and Gary, Indiana.

As for the children attending private school this fall, my sources say Mrs. Jackson has never even asked the estate for help or guidance.

Altogether, I am told, approximately $8 million has been spent on Mrs. Jackson this year including the buying out of the mortgage. So where has it all gone? And why would she make a deal for $10,000 a month to be in business with a total stranger?

The overriding theory: that Joe Jackson–who has no income and has tried to get an allowance of his own from the estate without success–is prevailing upon his much beleaguered wife for funds. He lives in Las Vegas, for example; Mrs. Jackson does  not.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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