Saturday, April 13, 2024

Michael Jackson’s Family At War With His Estate, Executors


Michael Jackson’s family has declared war on the executors of his estate. At least some of them have, and there’s massive dissension among the family members. A letter was sent, and made public, to the executors. It’s signed by five of Michael’s siblings–Janet, Rebbie, Randy, Jermaine, and Tito. Randy Jackson, on Twitter, insists the letter is real. But it’s addressed to John Branca and John McClain, which makes Janet’s participation questionable: McClain helped her launch her career, and they have been friends for years and years. Plus, McClain has always been the Jackson family insider with the estate since Michael died in June 2009. The letter states: “Michael always despised both of you.” So that makes no sense at all.

Who didn’t sign the letter? Marlon, Jackie, and LaToya. And Katherine Jackson, Michael’s mother. The letter was sent to everyone in the Jackson estate and to AEG Live and Colony Capital. But interestingly, it wasn’t sent to Michael’s estate attorney.

The estate has issued a response to the letter, which claims that Michael’s will was faked, and that Branca and McClain have hijacked it.

If the letter is real, and truly signed by all these people, it’s delusional at best. The Jacksons are no doubt sorely needing money and this is their last shot at trying to overturn the will. But as the estate’s response points out, the will was approved three years ago, Branca and McClain were certified as the executors, and they’ve carried out their duties. They’ve made a lot of money for Michael’s kids.

Ironically, the one person who could vouch for the executors is someone who was never treated so well by them, and is now, sadly gone: Michael’s manager, Frank DiLeo. It was DiLeo who brought John Branca back into Michael’s life six weeks before he died. It was DiLeo who saw Michael in the hospital just after he died.

The letter from Michael’s siblings corresponds with some other crazy stuff that’s cropped up on the internet. There’s a website suggesting that Peter Lopez, one of Michael’s former attorneys, was murdered. In fact he sadly committed suicide. No one knows why. But it’s extremely hurtful, I’m sure, to his wife and children to have Lopez’s name dragged into this.

Maybe the bigger issue is what’s going on with 80 year old Katherine Jackson. The three kids–Prince, Paris and Blanket–obviously love her and are protective of her. She’s their legal guardian. There’s no one else to raise them. The letter suggests that she’s in trouble. Paris’s urgent Tweets that nothing is wrong are a little suspicious. Her intentions are good. But what is the reality?  She wrote: “at this point i dont care what people call me or if they think i’m a bad person… if it means sticking up for my grandmother i will do it.”

There’s a question now of whether or not Katherine has had a “mini-stroke,” as the letter states. Michael’s daughter, Paris, age 14, Tweeted that she hadn’t, and that Randy Jackson was lying about all of this. Paris, the daughter of Debbie Rowe, is a chip off the block. She’s a pistol. What she actually knows is questionable, but you have to respect her enthusiasm.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
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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