Home Celebrity Michael Jackson Estate Report: Debt Slowly Being Erased

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….

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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.
8 replies to this post
  1. Frankly i dont care about how much money he had or his financial ruince after or before his death .People just critised and judged before he was convicted of anything and me personally do not believe Anything i read anymore from what i believe and heard was he a stunning caring man who gave to others in need. I also believe that i will be one of those people who’ll see him in the after life just the way he was as a performer & there things will be alright ,there where no-one can be or will be judged. I luv u micheal always

  2. Michael Jackson was in debt $400mil but his assets worth $1billion.
    Wow, he really was broke (rolling my eyes).

    Hmm, let me think: USA is in debt in billions as well, but also has assets in trillions. Is USA broke? No. Same thing with Mike. People in show business seems to be so jealous of Michael owning infamous catalogs, that they can’t, even you Roger, digest the fact but they (even you) opt for sensationalism and gossip.

    Eat your hearts out Roger, the catalogs are not for sale, it will always stay in MJJ estate… Good thing Mike didn’t sell it.

    I just don’t know how you can be so critique of Michael when you have no complete knowledge of his business affairsl.
    “I’ve kept MJJ alive” by Jane Heller from Bank of America- what she is saying is pure bull. Since when Bank helps people without charging huge interest? Why she is not saying how much she charged interest for the loans to Michael Jackson? Every MF banker is keeping american alive, but how many have ended in foreclosure and bankruptcy? Is Bank of America in lawsuit for overdraft fees? Yes.
    Mike had huge assets, lets not lie to ourselves about it, ok Roger.
    It is amazing how I always find loopholes in your blogs about Michael Jackson, it is a shame for someone (like you) who claims that has followed Michael for so long fail to report facts, without spinning gossip and foolish rumors into equation…

  3. Jackson was not the financial genius he and others tried to make him out to be. The lawyers for his estate are making a huge mistake investing their time in money in Jackson’s affairs. The interest in him is already starting to slow to a trickle. Maybe, they should try to make a deal with E.P.E. to do a joint ELVIS/Michael Jackson show since they seem to share some fans. It might increase Jackson’s popularity even more.

  4. There was nothing wrong with Michael Jackson’s finances before the unfortunate trial of 2003-2005. But after that, it seems he was emotionally stuck and couldn’t move on. He was still highly creative, which gave him the feeling he’d at some point start earning again, but he was not able to get anything to real fruitation.

    It looks from the outside as if he was deeply depressed, whether he realized it or not. Everyone who has suffered from depression, recognizes his inability to get anything done in a sensible way, to let A be followed by B and then C. He wasn’t sloppy and lazy – he never was before the trial, he was the very opposite – so his basic passivity after it speaks volumes.

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