DAN REED BAITING THE JACKSON FANBASE IN A DESPERATE NEED FOR ATTENTION

Hear ye, hear ye: Dan Reed put on notice the Michael Jackson community, given the new twitter provisions.

It was probably a mere attempt to raise his profile traffic on twitter or looking a loophole to find a way to be interviewed and spread awareness of how many Mr. & Mrs. Looney there are in the MJ fandom. Who knows: it might have been a way to support his friends during their soon lost cause against the Michael Jackson Estate.

In reality, few accounts wished him words concerned with the new Twitter restrictions. It’s common knowledge that bad education and lack of common sense exist everywhere globally, even among, and particularly within his fans.

90% of the MJ community’s tweets directed to this unknown individual before 2019 are precisely related to his one-way mockumentary. Reed inexorably and virally amplified his two protagonists’ voices, without other party intervening to contradict or deny their heavy accusations. And of course, being the accused Michael Jackson, one of the most famous, celebrated, and important artists of the twentieth century, it was a fruitful deal.

The documentary “Leaving Neverland” stirred up perplexities within a rational audience and the fans’ anger.

Above the first comment of director Marcos Cabotà, who attended Leaving Neverland’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2019.

Here the reaction of Joe Vogel,  American author, scholar, and popular culture critic. 

and Judi Brisse, a former housekeeper of Neverland Ranch

  • Was Michael Jackson, a great performer and a good person?

“That may be true, but he raped children,” Reed said during interviews on TV. Reed admitted he never met Jackson, and also before shooting the movie, he didn’t even know his story. So, based on which proof this MJ’s neophyte dare to express such strong accuse?

  • Why did Reed only wanted to show part of the narrative, without asking those who have always professed Michael’s innocence?

The protagonists’ words leave little room for interpretation if the other side of the story is unknown: Robson claimed to have been molested by Jackson from 7 to 14, Safechuck from the age of 10. 

And both stories are characterized by the sudden end of attention for them, being replaced with Macaulay Culkin and Brett Barnes, who always denied that Jackson treated them like sweethearts.

“It’s almost easy to try to say it was ‘weird’ or whatever, but it wasn’t, because it made sense,”  He understood me and identified with me,” These are the words of Macaulay Culkin, who always remain consistent with his version. Culkin reiterates the peculiarity of his relationship with Jackson, stating that: “He reached out to me because a lot of things were happening, big and fast with me, and I think he identified with that. He was the kind of person who’d been through the exact same frickin’ thing and wanted to make sure I wasn’t alone. He was ironic and sweet. People have no idea how funny he was”. Listen to Culkin’s interview with Michael Rosenbaum.

Therefore, it would have been ethically correct for Reed to interview the defense counterparts or present concrete elements in favor of Robson and Safechuck’s stories. Instead,  there is no objective confirmation beyond their words.

Furthermore, a check of the content shows space-time inaccuracies. Invented episodes and editing in the footage archives to present Jackson in a certain way. Here are some examples that cast doubt on the integrity of Leaving Neverland:

  • Safechuck said having spent Thanksgiving 1987, which fell on November 26, with Michael at his home. That specific day, Jackson was in Australia for the Bad Tour, as anyone can check on google.
  • The question Safechuck asked Jackson on the plane, “What’s the best thing about going to Hawaii?” to which Michael would have replied, “Stay with you.” The sentence is not remotely enough to indict anyone in a court trial, but it’s interesting to note how Reed cut the final part of Jackson’s answer, which continued like this: “Being with you and your family: I can’t wait to spend more time with them. “
  • Another rather bizarre example is Safechuck’s recalls that Jackson gave him oral sex while he was sleeping. How it is possible for someone not to wake up for such an episode is weird.
  • Safechuck’s mother stated she had doubts about Jackson, but too often closed her eyes. The sentence means nothing and certainly does not constitute a tangible proof. However, if there were these doubts, why she kept bringing her son to Neverland?
  • Robson claimed to have been to Neverland numerous times, while he swore he had gone 14 times at the time of the trial deposition, of which only 4 with Jackson present.
  • The last example here, but there are many others, is a futile and ineffective fragment:  a ring the singer supposedly would have gifted to Safechuck. Still, there’s no receipt or anything that confirms that it was Michael who gave this gift. 

You can find the whole set of discrepancies and invented stories the Michael Jackson fanbase and objective journalism was able to find in Dan Reed’s mockumentary in the following articles:

Why is U.S. Media Silent on the Implosion of Leaving Neverland, While the U.K. Press is Pouncing?

These two men recounted alleged sexual encounters and other oddities, including fake marriages and mutual masturbation episodes at Neverland ranch when they were under 10. Astonishing how Robson and Safechuck look incredibly at ease declaring their new versions in front of a camera, – when no longer a lawyer like Tom Mesereau is on the other side to ask questions.

A documentary to be defined “such” should support the protagonists’ statements with facts and evidence because not everyone is willing to accept a story that does not present evidence other than two witnesses’ oral statements.

Jackson was no stranger to such allegations. In 1993, while he was performing in Bangkok during the Dangerous World Tour, he was accused of sexual abuse by Evan Chandler, the 13-year-old boy father of Jordan. Still, the affair was resolved with nothing because the complainant was not considered a reliable person. Still, rather it was believed that he was looking for visibility. The following year the Chandlers received a considerable sum of money in exchange for a document stating the innocence of Michael Jackson. Despite the messy narrative we still have today about the Chandler accusations, those who were adults at the time remember how the matter was handled internationally. Only journalists like Diane Dimond and few other faunas of the American gossip entertainment kept supporting those who had to defend Sneddon’s vicious and failed actions.

When the documentary “Living with Michael Jackson” was released in 2003, made by the British journalist Martin Bashir, who followed Jackson from May 2002, the troubles started again. Jackson is immortalized hand-in-hand with 13-year-old cancer patient Gavin Arvizo, and the media started their smearing game again. At that point, once again, the Santa Barbara County Attorney’s Sneddon launched a criminal investigation, and, after a search of his estate, an arrest warrant was issued. At the end of the trial, in 2005, Jackson was acquitted of all charges. As for the 1993 case, the accuser’s low credibility affected the already weak evidence brought up by Sneddon: Gavin’s mother was a repeat offender for state tax fraud and fraud against insurance companies, and Jackson later spoke of an organized plot to deprive him of his assets.

It was May 5, 2005, and Wade Robson was twenty-three when he voluntarily testified in favor of Michael Jackson, claiming he had never been abused by the latter. Twelve years earlier, a15-year-old James Safechuck also declared the same in 1993 to the Grand Jury. Both under oath confirmed the Michael Jackson innocence then, before changing their version today. Both filed a complaint in 2013 against Michael Jackson’s Estate requesting alleged material damage. That same court that in 2005 heard 200 witnesses and found Jackson innocent on 14 out of 14 counts; Furthermore, in the 333 pages of the FBI, nothing incriminates Jackson.

Jermaine Jackson stated that Leaving Neverland was a further step in search of fame that never came for Robson. “After being excluded from the MJ Cirque du Soleil show, Robson was looking for a contract to realize a book on alleged abuse, but no publisher took into consideration. Soon after, he sued the MJ’s estate for $ 1.5 billion but was thrown out of court. “

In Dan Reed’s documentary, the story is not changed slightly but appears completely distorted: Leaving Neverland defines Michael Jackson as a monster, a pedophile of perverse thoughts and concrete actions. For years he allegedly pursued sexual assault on numerous children, two of whom he met by chance, namely Safechuck (they met while shooting a commercial for Pepsi) and Robson (winner of a dance contest in Australia).

Last year the impacts of the testimonies contained in “Leaving Neverland” were devastating. Radios banned Jackson’s music. An episode of the Simpsons in which Jackson lent his voice has been eliminated. Louis Vuitton decided to remove clothes of the fall/winter 2019 collection inspired on MJ, and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum decided to remove some objects from an exhibition dedicated to his memory.

The Transport of London decided to remove the posters in defense of Michael Jackson, which were on the English capital buses, after the concern expressed by a CSA association, according to which the advertising could have discouraged victims of violence from making reports in fear of not being believed.

However, lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons, and Michael Jackson is back to being listened and contrary to predictions, his fanbase has increased. That’s because time has given space to other voices with reliable evidence. An example is a Robson’s collaborator, who worked on the documentary and with no shame, called Robson a liar in public. 

Kevin L Lipsey Sr., who collaborated in Leaving Neverland production, made clear that Robson is a liar: “I worked with Wade Robson before Leaving Neverland aired on HBO. I collaborated on the sound of the documentary. We talked about Michael Jackson, and Robson told me a very different story! Let’s just say I haven’t seen or talked to a man who has been touched inappropriately by Michael Jackson!”

 

Reed documentary does not correspond to objective reality but is a subjective purpose, built and assembled through reconstructions, testimonies, archive images, fitting music, and any other cinematic gimmick capable of confirming the truth he wants to tell.

By giving voice to Wade Robson and James Safechuck, he provided them a loud enough megaphone for all to hear. Provable bogus but extremely detailed passages of the sexual abuse suffered by the two protagonists, alternating with private audio and cuts to the montage of Jackson’s photographs and faxes, transforming the boyish glitz of the Californian ranch into a real psychological nightmare.

And yet, paradoxically, the film’s great strength also ends up becoming its only weakness. Reed focused so much on the two protagonists and their stories that deliberately forgot to look out the window, omitting and unhinging basic journalism, not listening to other opinions or recording other versions of the facts, and telling other truths.

The ill-concealed Reed’s goal was to exacerbate the two protagonists’ truth exclusively, and for this reason, the narrative remains monothematic and immobile.

However, it does not shift the viewer’s individual opinion about Michael Jackson, Wade Robson, James Safechuck, and the Neverland ranch by an inch. Whatever the idea he had about these dark and controversial facts before starting the movie, remained unchanged when movie credits scrolled. He added a series of unprofessional and unhappy interventions on social channels showing his petty spirit, full of trivialities, full of idle talk to all of the above.

It is not surprising that the visual level of this sort of movie is abysmal: about fifty shots of Los Angeles or Neverland’s environment in long shots, extensive drone shots to link the various sequences – since everything is focused on the listening to these two men, some members of their families, and their stories. There no need to believe either one or the other to find them equally shocking, gruesome, and in bad taste. A real testimony of what TV has become today. A real crap in terms of content and people who work there. It isn’t journalism, and it’s not fair, yet the media continued to spread these stories even if several episodes don’t add up. Jackson has a public timeline, and it wasn’t hard for fans to counter and debunk the legends told in this fiction with a suspected pro-pedophile aftertaste.

Dan Reed didn’t realize that he aired an unlikely indictment of Michael Jackson, built up by tabloid journalists and the Hollywood industry powers with Leaving Neverland.
Reed set up a worldwide mess by creating this filth. I don’t even know how to define it because it certainly can’t be described as a documentary. Ridiculous, unfounded, malicious, defamatory without a shred of evidence adduced: a sadness and a victory of ignorance, the apotheosis of common sense, of the indifference, and lack of sensitivity of those who, with blatant luck, had the opportunity to meet Michael Jackson and spent time with him.

Now Dan Reed resent because the fans don’t believe in his trashy work and they are disgusted after hearing the testimonies of Wade Robson and James Safechuck? The director should be ashamed along with those two slackers—words word words, instead of analyzing the facts.

The whole criticisms that Michael Jackson fans addressed to Robson, Safechuck, and especially to Reed can be easily summed up in two words: disgusting opportunists.

I leave the publishing of curses and wicked wishes to journalists like Maureen Orth, aka the voodoo woman, another one who does not check his sources.

Recommended website to understand the allegations: https://themichaeljacksonallegations.com/

MICHAEL JACKSON’S 2006 REFINANCING ASSETS: GIVE US ALL YOU OWN

This blog is a continuation of MJ 2006 refinancing assets: the Sony- Fortress-obstacles. I want to highlight that the clause Citigroup imposed on Sony clearly must have come following the examination in detail of Michael Jackson’s Bank of America accounts statements, which had highlighted payments shortcomings of royalties and revenues of MJ 50% partnership Sony ATV. So, contrary to what the press kept writing, it’s not hard to deduce that when Michael Jackson screamed at the world, his record label was screwing him about royalties accounts and not crediting him the money from his Sony / ATV stake, was right.
The new agreement that Fortress had to embrace contained explicit instruction for the Sony group: Michael Jackson Sony ATV revenues had to be paid in due time, and third-party offers were acceptable in case of the assets sale. Also, MJ companies would not be penalized to pay additional interests if no payment would have been caused or neglected by the Sony Companies, which was the main problem he had for ten years during the financial relationship with Bank of America.

The structure of MJ Group entities changed as per these below tables:

After Fortress confirmed the intention to exercise its first right offer by matching the Citibank project, it started the complex procedure to establishing the clearance of all the titles of MJ assets being used as security, including the creditors’ identifications.

Mr. Branca UCCs

During its due diligence process for the refinancing, Fortress was already aware that on September 27, 2005, John Branca, former MJ attorney, had filed UCC Financing Statements against the MJ Trusts claiming an interest in the assets. Given that Branca appeared as a secured creditor of MJPublishing Trust, Fortress and Sony were apparently uncomfortable completing the refinancing and restructuring of the Jackson Entities’ debt. Settling the Branca claim was an essential precondition for the refinancing to close because it directly affected the collaterals being used as security.

• A UCC-1 financing statement (abbreviation for Uniform Commercial Code) is a legal form that creditor files to notice that it has or may have an interest in the personal property. This form is filed to “perfect” a creditor’s security interest by giving public notice that there is a right to take possession of and sell certain assets to repay a specific debt with a particular priority. Such notices of sale are often found in the local newspapers. Once the form has been filed, the creditor establishes a relative priority with the debtor’s other creditors.

For some reason, Mr. Branca decided to join the “MJ bankruptcy fansite club,” and asserted to possess a membership interest in Sony/ATV and MIJAC Catalog for about 50 million.
Here below the detail of the figures requested by Branca’s to MJ.

  • 16’121.943.73 principal capital. 
    14’089,984.33 and additional amounts for the following reasons:
    1’621,943.73 representing his percentage on the 300 million Fortress loan then discounted to 589’,894.33
    1’032,049.40 representing attorneys fee
    13’500,00.00 being the principal balance

All items were contested by Michael lawyers except the principal balance amount of 13’500,00.00 that was accepted and paid.
In case of foreclosure or bankrupt of MJ during the refinance Fortress period, John Branca’s request included an amount of 4.5 million-plus interests payable by Sony Corp. Mr. Branca’s document specified that – if the amount collected in the bankruptcy proceedings had not had enough balance to pay his allegedly 4.5M – he would get the money in installments from Michael Jackson’s royalties up to March 2008.

Actually, Mr. Branca had an agreement as an agent since 1993, allowing him to take an overall 5% over Michael Jackson’s whole business. In addition to it, he was one trustee on MJPT trust.
Strange that he still had a signature over the trust in 2006; when MJ had him fired in 2003, he was asked to resign from all the trusts and return all the legal documents. He left the MJ/ATV trust, but nobody cared to check if he was out from all the other entities. Here Michael Jackson answers concerning his the trustees in connection with his trust entities:


White and Case law firm followed the matter. The unpleasant story was liquidated and closed for good on April 13, 2006, with 13.5 million representing some unpaid legal services to his law firm and the official mutual release agreement to give back all Michael Jackson legal documents.

However,  Mr. Branca’s disappearance from the creditor’s line meant to mortgage Neverland once again because Fortress refused to add amount the principal loan that was enough overcollateralized to be enlarged by a 20 million. Instead, they opened a separate mortgage procedure on Neverland property.

Before approaching the specific issue, let’s face for good, how misleading the media were towards MJ. Fabricated headlines that became a relentless smear campaign that wanted him ruined and on the verge of bankruptcy since 1995.

To confirm the above,  read what happened on the morning of April 13, 2006. Fortress had not even made the loan disbursement – the closing of the transaction occurred in the afternoon of the same day – but somehow, the press spread the news that Michael Jackson to have the new loan done and had to agree with Sony the sale of part of his 50% stake in Sony/ATV. The Prescient litigation lawyers were astonished after reading in the press. Nobody knew nothing about the turn of events: they had to interrupt the deposition because there was no such document within the court papers.

The testimony of Mr. Daniel Groppel – then Managing Director of Fortress Corporation –  reviewing an exhibit related to the Prescient lawsuit, was an enlightening reading.

It must be clear that Fortress, though purchased in May 2005 the Bank of America loans, had not yet refinanced the loan itself, so to give an extension, all conditions had to match with the Bank of America package of collaterals.

The document was nothing less than the negotiation that took place toward the end of December 2005 when MJ’s team asked for an extension of time to stop the payment due to Bank of America then purchased by Fortress Investment.

Below  “Put Option” clause as per Sony/ATV Operating Agreement on December 20, 2005.

The media divulged messy and selective news. In this respect, one wonders what kind of document was delivered to reporters – and above all, who instructed to give away these crappy masterpieces worthy of winning the Pulitzer for the trashiest journalism of the decade? If ever there was one.

As I said before, the refinancing with Fortress was already agreed upon but not concluded. But somehow, the lawyers and all the people involved found the below headlines all over the international media.

Everybody can remember headlines such as 

(published on Fox News and signed by R. Friedman) trumpeting that Michael Jackson will give up a part of his most prized asset for 200 million to Sony Corp.

This lawsuit’s documents show that what the media have been reporting since 2002 about MJ’s investments -from Bank of America to Fortress – are lies that have been deliberately released to mislead the public about MJ as a person. All the narrative about this cause is approximative and manipulated and has been set-up since the beginning.

The executed copy of the Credit and Security Agreement between Fortress Credit Corp and Michael Jackson Entities was a 35-page document consisting of five main articles and 20 sub-sections. The first article describes the definition and interpretation of the form.  Here the Sony Purchase Option:

The so-called purchase Option is nothing else than the Put option.
The put option was inserted at the beginning of Sony/ATV full administration of the ATV catalog.

It has been inserted in the third amendment of the Operating Agreement on December 23, 1998. The date coincided with the end of the ATV administration contract MJ had with Emi.

During the Fortress refinancing, the put option came into force three months after the loan disbursement date and remained in place until the end of the loan. The reason was that from May 2 up to July 30, 2006, the option to purchase the Sony shares in Sony/ATV was on Michael Jackson’s side, as per the dates agreed in the previous forbearance agreement. In jargon, it is called the baseball arbitration.

The put option was exercised by both parties for a limited period and was there to protect all parties’ interests. The purpose of keeping up the undertaking to the end of the loan was additional collateral representing the face value of the outstanding principal amount of the loan. The cost of this other collateral guarantee was for the MJ account.

The clause was a sort of first auction price, and in case of opening of the proceeding – subsequent rules had to be applied to get the real and commercial value of the asset.

Mr. Groppel, in fact, said:

And he was talking about the company corporate debt, not of Michael Jackson supposed debt with his record label.

On top of all, the put option amount represented a collateral guarantee to the principal amount of Michael Jackson loan and not a pledge over his 25% as the media insistently reported.

The 1995 Operating Agreement and its relevant amendments show the deal’s details and confirm that Sony never had a purchase option that they could exercise no matter what. It was always for a restricted time, and in case of no execution, the same option turned automatically to MJ and vice versa (in the context of the operating agreement).

It’s also understandable why both parties never purchased each other at that time. In fact, during the ten-year partnership, the company’s value grew starkly – and neither Sony nor MJ had the chance to pay each other such significant amounts. MJ suffered big losses due to bad managers, who stole and invested in questionable business endeavors (Not to mention the 2005 criminal trial that exhausted his vital energy and personal money. On the other hand, Sony was in financial distress since 2002 and had another deep crisis in 2008, and still today, some of its divisions are in bad shape.

As you can see, MJ’s financial transactions are referred to as investments – not loans, which is what this was. When Robert Holmes à Court sold ATV Music to Michael Jackson, documents show that MJ arranged a 30 million loan with Chemical Bank to facilitate the purchase, before transferring the ownership of Northern Songs to Nassau in the Bahamas – and appoint two local bankers to the board.  

The whole ATV group was acquired (including Bruton Music Ltd., ITC Filmscores Ltd., Marble Arch Music Ltd., and the long-established publishers, Lawrence Wright Music Co. Ltd.). There is no clear documentation of the total price paid, although press reports indicate Usd. 47 million.

The money of these transactions was used to make investments, pay corporate bills, lawyers, employees, offices, and business expansions – not to buy personal cars or shopping antiques, as MEDIA and some so-called friend claim.

But Sony/ATV structure was harmful to his finances from all points of view, and his money somehow kept disappearing, and the Citicorp dedicated chapter related Sony payments confirm so.

This Michael Jackson financial lawsuit –forgotten in the court archives’ depths confirms that investigative journalism no longer exists that MEDIA lives on financial connivances with the corporations and doesn’t check the sources. Inside these documents, there is enough material to overturn the news on Jackson’s economic problems.

It is also the key to believe Michael Jackson’s words when he was telling: “They want my catalog…. there is a big fight for it”. He frequently addressed these issues. And when he passed away, music producer Mr. David Zard and Michael Jackson’s former manager for the History tour, Tarak Ben Ammar, mentioned how Sony mismanaged his finances. The last one was Dieter Wiesner in his book Michael Jackson: The Real Story: An Intimate Look Into Michael Jackson’s Visionary Business and Human Side.

What the reader sees on this blog is public material and available to the press since then. The sealed records of this lawsuit had been destroyed on 13/10/2011. But almost nothing was divulged by the media. After the closing of the case, few headlines reported Michael Jackson press release through his PR people.

The point is that Michael Jackson was a target, and Sony, an influential group not in the business of exclusive gossip headlines. Michael Jackson was the biggest victim in the history of that type of journalism.

After twenty-four months, Fortress refinancing was in place and disbursed as well on April 13, 2006, although it didn’t solve Michael Jackson’s problems. The MIJAC catalog was still linked to the whole loan package and potentially at the mercy of Sony.

Stay with me…

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UCC-1_financing_statement

Rockmine.com

pacermonitor.com/case/16787632/Prescient_Acquisition__Group,_Inc_v_MJ_Publsihing_Trust_et_al  2005/2007

1987: BAD AND MICHAEL JACKSON ALONE AT THE TOP

Jorge Luis Borges emphasized that in Spanish, to say that something is outstanding, it is said that “it is enviable.” However, envy is one of the worst feelings that exist. It harms who feed it and those who are its object, because often this person is forced to overcome all kinds of obstacles that the envious put in his way. Envy is a corrosive feeling that can ruin a life. Carrie Fischer and Nelson Mandela brilliantly described it with these words: “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. ”

While MEDIA acclaim the BAD album today, I remember very well that it wasn’t like that in 1987. The process to debased and minimize Michael Jackson’s geniality and art started long before the so-called “allegations.” He always had to fight to earn respect releasing fantastic products that went beyond any impossible reproach. 

Since January 1984, the world had awaited the successor of “Thriller.” But months became years, and that damn album was pushed back to a “TBN” date. Moreover, Michael loquacity matched to the one of a Neanderthal man, and since he didn’t give interviews, Media had to scribble soap opera stuff and malicious gossip.

It was the usual unctuous stream of nonsense: the oxygen tank, the llama, the boa, Liz Taylor, the mask, the aesthetic surgery, the Elephant Man bones he wanted to buy at the London Museum.

Editorialists of that time printed the same rumors“This guy is clearly a nutcase! He has animals at home and a boa under his buffalo skin bed and a chimpanzee flipping over the kitchen’s fridge. Is he mad? Is he not?” What else’s…ah, yes! “The weirdo prefers to be in Liz Taylor’s company rather than socialize with others of his age. And to complete the picture, he decided not to release any album before having an excellent product to offer to his public… Pfft… A sort of toddler (black…) who does what he pleases…” And then what else? “He has no girlfriend. And WOW! He believes in God!” All MEDIA stigmatized these as “abominations”… But what was so awful and dreadful?

Tabloids criticized him for refusing to license a Beatles song to the Beastie Boys and accused of exploiting another Beatles song licensed to Nike.  

During an interview immediately after Thriller, a journalist asked Quincy Jones how long it would have taken to release a new album, he answered: “Twenty years if necessary.  It will be the end of a trilogy, and for me, the trilogy is a fundamental thing. The third step must always be very different from the previous two. Therefore, it will create a surprise by changing style, and we had already planned it”. And nobody would have ever repro to his producer Quincy Jones.

When the Victory drama tour ended – Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones got into the studio to start preparing the world the successor of Thriller. The music industry’s hectic events in those days might help to understand why the release of Bad suffered many delays.

I can’t help but emphasize to those who think of the ’80s as a great music decade, how wrong they are. There were a thousand crappy sounds for one great song, and it’s good that most of them have not been uploaded on the internet. At that time, pop music was still a profitable business. But audience tastes were rapidly changing due to the emergence of new music genres in the international stage, creating a healthy competition in terms of the global ranking.

New bands like Guns n’ Roses, R.E.M, Bon Jovi, U 2, and many others were defining the end of the 80s, launching a new music scene that exploded in the 90s. And it’s hard to believe now, but MTV was awesome back then. Its rock shows and “alternative” shows were simply gorgeous. A band like Nirvana appeared on Top of the Pops and attracted a legion of teen fans.

Pop artists such as Madonna, Whitney Huston, Prince, George Michael, and Janet Jackson were experimenting with new sounds to keep up with the times. And Michael Jackson with them.

In 1985 Michael composed and recorded with Lionel Richie We Are The World at the Westlake Studio, West Hollywood. Meanwhile, CBS begin to inquire, push and pressure for a new album. MJ was a busy guy and was spending his time between recording studio and movie set. In fact, in 1986, the 3D science fiction film Captain EO  directed by Francis Ford Coppola (who came up with the name “Captain EO” from EOS, the Greek goddess of dawn), reached the public.

Two new MJ songs appeared in the film. The first was an early version of “Another Part of Me” and “We are Here to Change the World,” then officially released in 2004 as part of  Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection.

In September 1986, Quincy Jones contacted the Run-DMC, who were on tour in Paris, because Michael wanted to work with them. They had “Walk This Way” number one in the US for fifteen weeks. The official group comment was: ” We hesitated.” Actually, they didn’t hesitate at all. They ran to Westlake Studios and met with Michael and Quincy, but they could not get in tune with their rap – something, according to Quincy Jones  – was missing from their lyrics. He told them to try to rap with more sophistication on it but again could get anything together, and then they left.

In November 1986, Michael Jackson shot with Martin Scorsese the short film for Bad. It was filmed in Brooklyn’s Hoyt Schermerhorn station.

Modern legends tell us that the album delay was due to MJ perfectionist and his production. However, also this one is one of the many misleading information. News of those years gives a different approach reporting the release’s delay due to the Musical Industry intrigues. Power and marketing were the driven delay force and was mainly due to external problems that kept coming up against the release.

In an article on Rock This Town (September 1986), Philippe Manoeuvre describes in a semi-serious form an anecdote that took place in 1986 and early 1987. Here an excerpt:

“December 1986 CBS called “Strike” on Michael Jackson: the album was finished and ready, but CBS did not want it! What happened? It happened that Bruce Springsteen – against all odd – authorized the publication of a box with five discs and other amenities of his live concert recording. If CBS were going to release during the same month Bruce and Michael, it would have placed a big dilemma”.

Here you can read few old Billboard screenshots related to music recording industry games in November / December 1986.

Below Walter Yetnikoff lame statement in a 1988 interview to Rolling Stone magazine.

Taking these facts into account, a change in perspective is due to many episodes, including Michael Jackson’s pissy mood at the 1988 Grammy. Apart from the Grammy award-winning technicalities rules, MJ was aware that it was almost impossible to win a Grammy in 1988 with an album released at the end of the summer ’87, with just a few months of sales and four singles published.

It might be the reason why the Dangerous album was released on November 26, 1991, bringing “home” three American Music Awards in 1993, without counting Billboard, Soul Train Music Awards, and others worldwide.

In February 1987, Springsteen’s live box beat all the unsold records, as consequences of CBS and the American store’s greediness. As in the United States, the record stores could send the unsold units to the record companies, CBS got back home about 700,000 and in March 1987, while a terrified Yetnikoff discovered that Michael and Quincy Jones returned to the West Lake West Hollywood studio.

It seems they wanted to redo everything again. But considering that four months before the release of Thriller, Michael returned to the studio to add to the album two tracks such as Billy Jean and Beat It, everyone shut their mouth. Finally, in May 1987, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones gave CBS the master recording of the Bad album.

To top it off, someone realized that rapper LL Cool J. was also releasing an untitled album Bad. Clearly, L L. Cool was asked to stop his bullshit. His album came out with a “bad” print on the cover, but in the catalog, it was named in extremis “Bigger and Deffer.” (Once a thief, always a thief…)

Now, have you ever waited for a release like that? The answer is: NO. To find mediatic traces of a similar frenzy, it is necessary to go back to the Stars Wars saga’s third episode. And the deliriant expectation that separated Bad from Thriller became increasingly wide.

Also, the delay in releasing Bad had Michael financially tied up: long leagues away from imagining that CBS would push back “Bad,” Michael had planned to flood the market with a branded clothing and doll lines, ballpoint pens, “love necklaces,” and perfumes which he financed for about 20 million of dollars, plus a 10 million dollars “standby” deal with Pepsi that consequently had to cancel its advertising campaign. 

When just invested 47 million dollars in ATV, these kinds of delays could seriously upset anyone. So it was evident that when the album finally hits the shelves, Michael rode the international scene cravings for murder…

Then finally, on July 22, 1987, the single teaser “I just cannot stop loving you” was released. It was a paradisiacal slow. The track starts with a monologue whispering and continues likewise. Charming, subtle, but in no way vulnerable.

“People do not understand me / That’s because they do not know me at all / I just want to touch! Hold you / I need you. I love you so much …” The irruption of the chorus drives the listeners in the sonic master and great rolls of timbales. In two listening, no more, the melody is inscribed in our subconscious.

But the album starts with Bad, and immediately, we are killed on the spot. Huge, devastating, meticulous mime, urban, the single is a rhythmic bomb, with a sound that wakes up the dead. Not Run DMC, as the story suggested, but a splendid organ solo by jazzman Jimmy Smith.

The words I’m Bad carrying the track like an avalanche. This exceptional sound, which will transfigure the songs throughout the album, is really worthy of another dimension. One must approach perfection in the matter; the blend’s art is not an accumulation or a breathtaking sum of ingredients, but rather a science.

Dirty Diana starts with an intro worthy of a horror movie, the false live atmosphere, the public shouting that this Diana bitch is going to get what she deserves. This is the track that will cause the following question forever: this Diana, whose does every musician, this first-class bitch is it, or is it not the famous Ross who fans fantasize be the sentimental and sexual life of the recluse MJ? Anyway, the song beats hard, is the Beat it of Bad within a guitar chorus without pity, in which one recognizes Steve Stevens hands, lead guitarist of Billy Idol.

“Smooth Criminal” with a fantastic intro (the intros are  Michael Jackson’s own genius), and other swings in the gums confirm MJ is BAD!

The “Way You Make Me Feel,” remember the Jackson 5,  the fleshy, melodic rhythm & blues filled with female chats, Michael forgets his barking at the beginning of the sentences, and his voice goes up to vertiginous heights.

“Speed Demon,” it’s like a punch from Mike Tyson.

As soon as the Bad World Tour started, the MEDIA tune changed; they had no choice. Why? Because numbers never lie. Michael Jackson’s first World Tour was the biggest grossing tour ever. It was a two-leg tour in which Michael performed 123 concerts to an estimated 4.4 million fans.

[Read what EBONY MAGAZINE  – April 1989 – had to say about the legendary Bad Tour]:

Megastar entertainer drew 4.4 million fans, earned $125 million on Bad tour, and now says he will retire from the stage to market records and films. It had been announced as the “farewell concert,” and the crowd that jammed the Los Angeles Sports Arena showed its love: “Michael! Michael!” the thousands chanted as the stage smoke cleared, the lights and lasers dimmed, and Michael Jackson, exhausted after two hours of nonstop singing and dancing, made his way to his dressing room. The man now called “the greatest entertainer in the world” had just sung the last note dazzled with the final “moonwalk” of a grueling, 16-month tour that had taken him almost around the world with 123 concerts in 15 countries and drew 4.4 million fans. It grossed $ 125 million and more than any other entertainer has ever grossed on a single tour.  After some kind words and embraces for the family and friends he had invited backstage, Michael said his thanks and goodbyes to the crew of his “Bad” tour, then sped off into the night to rest before beginning work on new album and movie projects. The tour, Michael’s first without his brother — Jackie, Tito, Marlon, and Randy of The Jacksons — began in Japan in the fall of 1987 and moved to Australia, the US and Europe, then back to Japan before ending in January in Los Angeles. The Japanese, who turned out 450,000 strong to see him, was as affected by “Michaelmania” as the other four million who jammed stadiums on several continents, sometimes paying “scalpers” as much as $1,000 ticket, many of which had been forged. The concert frenzy boosted sales of Michael’s Bad album to more than 20 million. His Thriller album sold some 40 million worldwide and is still the biggest-selling album in history. Bad has spawning unprecedented five No. 1 singles: “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Bad,” “Man in the Mirror” and “Dirty Diana,” and helped sales of his autobiography, Moonwalk [some 450,000 copies have been sold in 14 countries], and videos Moonwalker, which sold over 500,000 copies in the US alone. Wherever he appeared, Michael drew celebrities in droves: Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Ava Gardner, Joan Collins and Harrison Ford in London; Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida [who had not spoken to each other in years until Michael brought them together for a photo] in Rome; Elizabeth Taylor and Bob Dylan in Geneva; Grace Jones and designer Patrick Kelly in Paris; opera star Placido Domingo in Hamburg; Altovise Davis and Roger Moore in Nice, and Gregory Peck, Barbara Streisand, Sylvester Stallone and Sidney Poitier in Los Angeles. At most stops, Michael showed his concern for underprivileged children by inviting them to concerts as his personal guests and contributing to hospitals, orphanages, and other charities. In New York, he donated $600,000 to the United Negro College Fund, boosting the UNCF/Michael Jackson Scholars program that now funds the education of 78 students at Black colleges. It is no exaggeration to say that much of the entire world waits to see if, at age 30, after 25 years in the spotlight, Michael will indeed “retire.” Or, as with Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Frank Sinatra, and others, the familiar roar of the crowd brings him back on stage for at least one more encore“.

Leave Me Alone was released in February 1989, as the eighth single from the album, though only outside of the United States and Canada. The song was recorded during the original album sessions but only appeared on the CD editions of Bad as a bonus track and the 2001 cassette edition. Internationally, the song peaked at No. 1 and two in Ireland and the United Kingdom, respectively, and reaching the top 10 in Belgium, New Zealand, and Spain.

The short film – which is a masterpiece – was the recipient of a Grammy Award in 1990 for Best Music Video.  Despite the success of the single, the song never appeared on Jackson’s world concert tours.

That’s how this so much-awaited, mocked, celebrated, and feared album came to life. The album BAD was released on August 31, 1987.

 Sources:

  • “Michael Jackson”  Biographie  – P. Manoeuvre (1988)
  • “MICHAEL JACKSON” de Tom Lamotta (1988)
  • “Sequins & Shades “The Michael Jackson reference Guide” De Carol D. Terry  (1987)
  • Les Enfants du rock (1986)
  • https://disney.fandom.com/wiki/Captain_EO

CHILDREN SPEAK OF MEMORIES AND LOVE FOR MICHAEL JACKSON

Many people still think that Michael wrote only “Moonwalker” and “Dancing The Dream.” He indeed has been involved in the prefaces of books of various gender. In 1993, Michael wrote the introduction of Pigtails and Frog Legs, a cookbook for families published by Neiman Marcus and illustrated by Warner Bros. Cartoon artist Chuck Jones.

 

“To a child, food is something special. It isn’t just a delicious taste or the vitamins that build a healthy body. Food is love and caring, security, and hope — all the things that a food family can provide. Remember when you were little, and your mother made a pie for you? When she cut a slice and put it on your plate, she gave you a bit of herself in the form of her love. She made your hunger go away, and when you were full and satisfied, everything seemed all right. Because that satisfied feeling was in the pie, you were nourished from a deep level. Food is something we all need physically, but so is love, the deeper nourishment, that turns into who we are.
Think about how necessary it is to nourish a child with a bit of yourself when you use this book. It is full of delicious things. Every recipe has an extra ingredient of caring because the people who wrote them were thinking of the children. They were especially thinking of those who aren’t able to take nourishment for granted because they are poor, sick, or disabled. These are the children who need food to heal. The theme of ‘Heal the World’, which has been close to my heart, is also the central theme of this book. Here are recipes for the spirit. Please make them with that in mind. Your child is a growing spirit that can be knit strong with love. When you break an egg and measure a cup of flour, you are magically mixing the gift of life. The food’s proteins and minerals will turn into bones and muscles, but your feeling as you cook will turn directly into a soul.

It makes me happy to think that the needs of children’s spirits are at last becoming important in this world. Children have no power to end wars directly or to mend age-old differences.
All they can do is be themselves and shine with gratitude and joy when love is turned their way. Yet isn’t that ultimately the greatest power? In the eyes of a child, you become the source of joy, which lifts you into the special category of caregiver and life-provider. You may think that your apple pie has only sugar and spice in it. A child is wiser — with the first bite, he knows that this special dish is the essence of your love.
Enjoy!
Michael Jackson, 1993 

Michael was able to capture the beauty and magic of anything, even in a recipe book. Just a few words that catch your soul from the first to the last syllable. Michael was indeed a mix of magic, sensitivity, and infinite depth. He was able to convey an important message through straightforward concepts and could see beyond, giving importance and value to small things, crucial, and often forgotten. His words are so full of meaning, elevating a simple recipe book into a universal message of love.

When MJ writes, “Food is something we all need physically, but so is love, the deeper nourishment, that turns into who we are,” goes further, explaining the difference between unprocessed industrial food and meals made out with love and healthy products. I find it totally ahead of his time and very aware of the harmful effects of fast foods and other very poor industrial groceries awful for health too. Today the market is filled with organic products and detailed information, but in 1993 it was very far from being the case.

The ability to express great concepts with simple words and images is the main reason MJ’s art is popular within children. For a clear understanding, there’s nothing better than reading what children said about him through the years.

  • Ngoc Linh, won a Pepsi-sponsored singing contest to become one of five Vietnamese teens sent to Thailand for a chance to perform with Michael Jackson on his 1993 Dangerous World Tour in Bangkok.

The first time she saw Jackson, he drove by and waved to the kids from a Tuk -Tuk (motorized rickshaw).
“It was just a few seconds, but that made us very happy,” said Linh.
Linh was chosen that day as one of only four kids who would perform alongside Jackson on stage. She and a Thai child were scheduled to perform the first night.
In the evening, Linh and the other kids introduced themselves at a press conference.
“I was extremely nervous… I felt happy and proud when they asked me many interesting questions and showed me affection.”
Jackson then asked to meet Linh. They shook hands, and he asked her about Vietnam and her feelings about the upcoming show. “It was awesome!” said Linh.

But she also said she regrets not keeping a photo of the meeting, though she stayed up all that night thinking about her encounter with the King. The big night. On the night of the show, Linh was incredibly anxious as she watched Jackson’s performance. He opened the show by flying out on stage from the basement. “It was amazing,” said Linh.
Jackson then sang 20 songs without a break before announcing the last number, “Heal the World.” Jackson came backstage and held Linh and the Thai singer’s hands. “Let’s start to sing, ok?” he said.
And with that, the three of them closed the show with one of Michael Jackson’s most famous songs.‘ magic day out.’
(Original Source: Thanh Nien News)

  • Thanks to a Michael Jackson project, this girl found the strength to realize her dreams of overcome poverty. In Lidia Kight’s childhood, there were no vacations to Disney World, no piles of Christmas presents, no closets stuffed with shoes and clothing. She was born in a one-room shack with dirt floors, and she was lucky to have food in her belly or a pencil to take to school.

Lidia grew up in the Dominican Republic, barely a two-hour flight from Miami, but it might as well have been another planet. Now 41 and living in Jackson, Lidia has a driver’s license, a high school diploma, a job and a college degree in the works. She has carpeting on the floor, a refrigerator full of food, a hot shower every morning — and a big story to tell about how she got to this point in her life.

It started with a new pair of shoes and a dream. The shoes came from a project sponsored by Michael Jackson. Lidia and the other children also received a pair of socks, a backpack full of school supplies, and a small boombox that played Jackson’s music.

“A seed was planted in my heart. I knew I needed to get out of there,” she says. “I was determined to change something, and it was not going to happen if I stayed in the Dominican Republic. I came to believe I could do it.” http://www.semissourian.com/story/1748399.html

The warmhearted story of Daniele Parisi, a boy from  Italy diagnosed with AIDS at aged 8. The virus was transmitted from his biological mother, HIV-positive. Daniele was a big fan of Michael Jackson, and in 1997, when he was 14, he had the opportunity to attend a concert of the HIStory World Tour in Milan on June 18. On the same day, he and his mother entered Michael’s dressing room, where the star gave him kisses and hugs and thanked for the gifts they brought. Daniele and his adoptive mother attended the concert from one side of the stage, along with Debbie Rowe and Luciano Pavarotti. During the concert, an MJ team member gave Daniele a gift bag, including the tour program. Towards the end of the concert, during the song “Heal the World,” Michael went to Daniele, sitting in a chair unable to walk due to his illness’s weakness, knelt before him, and filled his hands with kisses. Then he picked him up and walked to the center stage, posing for several photos.

After this experience, Daniele’s health has noticeably improved so fast that the doctors called it a miracle. It was as if Michael had given him a few years of life. Daniele started to walk again — sometimes even running — eating better (gaining weight), but most importantly, he gained the self-confidence to keep fighting and keep going. Unfortunately, Daniele died two years later from a brain infection due to the flu. The beautiful memories of Michael and his mother’s loving care gave him the strength to keep fighting until the end.

Here is what Antonietta Parisi, the adoptive mother of Daniele, wrote after the 2005 trial ruling:

Dearest Michael,
I’ll never forget what you did for my son, Daniele. After meeting you, the doctors called it a miracle, because, for some months, it was like he never had AIDS. Now that justice has been served, I just wanted to express my gratitude and my happiness. Please, don’t ever let people get at you like that again. I know you are kindhearted and want to help everyone, but not all people deserve so much attention. My child is not no more with us, but I know that he’s always looking over you from up there. He’s never forgotten what you did for him.
God bless you,
Antonietta (Italy)

Michael’s response to Antonietta:
Thank you for your testimony. May God always bless you and Daniele.
Michael Jackson

http://mjthekingofpop.wordpress.com/…ia-di-daniele/

Hailey and Ashley joined the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait in 2010. They both took part in the Michael’s Angels + New Generation of MJ Fans = L.O.V.E. incentive, collecting school supplies for the Children’s First Academy of Phoenix, Arizona. Both young ladies are Michael Jackson fans, advocates for animals, the environment, and proud members of the MJ community.

Heather: What is your favorite Michael Jackson song or songs?
Hailey: My favorite songs are, “They Don’t Care About Us,” “Dirty Diana,” “Ghosts, Thriller,” “Earth Song” and “Scream.”
Heather: Why are these songs your favorites?
Hailey: The first time I heard the “Earth Song,” I felt like it was a slap in the face. Very powerful song talking about the environment.
Heather: Why do you say, “It was like a slap in the face”?
Hailey: It was like a wake-up call, letting us know we must do more for the environment before it’s too late. I realized that I must do my part to make this world a better place, not only for people, but for animals too.
Heather: If you could pick any song out of those you listed, what song would you pick and why?
Hailey: “Scream” and “Ghosts.” I think Michael was singing about injustice. People judge too quickly without getting their facts straight. When you have one person that spreads gossip about another, the next person tells the story and it can become twisted. When you get to know Michael, you come to an understanding of what he really stood for; everything good. In his songs you will find he only wanted to help the planet and to help people. He had to deal with rumors on so many different levels, but yet, he still was nice to everyone and wished them well. I admire Michael for that.

Heather: Do you have any other thoughts about Michael or his music?
Hailey: Michael understood many things that even grownups don’t understand. He didn’t judge you by the color of your skin or the way you looked. I think he stood up for those who were scared to speak for themselves, saying that it is okay to be the person you are, and not to change ‘You’ for anyone.  thejamcafe-mjtpmagazine

LETTERS FROM THE HEART by Howard McCrary

Dear Michael,

My Daughter Sarah woke me up this morning at 7 am to tell me of your passing. I was hoping this was some type of publicity stunt that only you or Houdini could pull off.
I remember the first day we met in the summer of 1979 when my family as on tour with your family. The Jacksons and The McCrary’s. Did you know we used to be called The McCrary 5? Oh never mind, long story.
When my sister Charity introduced me to you with my brothers Alfred and Sam at that swanky Texas house party you asked me if I was married and I told you I was separated from my wife and we were going through a divorce. That’s when you folded your hands and said, “I will be praying for you.” Then you introduced me to your beautiful cousin Jackie and folded your hands again and said, “I’ll be praying for you.”
10 minutes later you went to the other side of the room and made the praying gesture and smiled as you pointed at your cousin. I remember you doing this two more times before finally saying good night again saying I will be praying for you.
Michael right now I am praying for you. I am praying for you beautiful parents you introduced me to at The Omni Hotel in Los Angeles on your 45th private birthday party the evening your sister Janet asked me to play ‘Triste’ and her fiancée Mr. Dupree seemed a little upset as she held both my hands to thank me from her heart for 2 or three full minutes for playing one of her favorite songs. It was so good to see Jackie that night and Tito and Randy too. Latoya was looking so beautiful as well. Every member of your family are so beautiful and gifted. I remember meeting up with Jermaine at Cocscos and as we shopped together we would talk all about you.
Do you remember that Christmas morning at your home in Beverley Hills when you and your children wanted to hear the children sing?
Seth Riggs called me and at your request asked me to arrange a choir of 12 children to sing at your home on Christmas morning.
I called my sister Charity and we contacted 12 of the best singing kids we knew, of course, some of them being our own family members.
We had less than 48 hours to rehearse a coordinate this private production before the children got into the limousines from me and Tammy’s home from Sherman Oaks to be convoyed to your Beverly Hills Estate.
Seth proudly was there that morning to vocalize all the young ones as I conducted as the children sang with charity accapella, ‘Heal The World, Silent Night, Santa Clause Is Coming to Town ( Jackson style)’ amongst other songs as they sang on you staircase and you and your children and family sat in that grand foyer combined with the Cathedral like acoustics I could hear additional voices of angels that morning. It was a sacred moment for us all.
As you hugged Charity and I to thank us we did a group hug with Seth and sumptuously enjoyed The Christmas Buffet you prepared for all of us. For these children it was a Christmas dream come true. If any of you children are reading this letter please share what that morning meant to you.
Your children Michael looked like cherubs.You were such a loving father.
Michael I could never understand how could the press could be so ruthless towards you. You are Michael The Angel.
I will never forget when I had the joy to work with Andre and Sandra Crouch on your Dangerous CD at Westlake Studio and we were recording the background vocals on ‘Keep The Faith’ and as Andre was conducting we came to an impasse for over 20 minutes until Andre turned to me and said, “Howard fix it!”
So I gave out the parts to the ascending figure of the word ‘FAITH’ leading to the release and you jumped up and down in the control room saying, “I Love It!”
It was that day you invited me up to the green room with my son Darius who was 12 years old at that time .He was part of a new TV sitcom called Family Matters and you told him, “I hear you have been hanging out with Bobby Brown, he is not a good influence. Here take my number and call me anytime. If you need someone to talk to or spend time with, I’ll be there. The only thing is when you call don’t ask for me or they won’t put you through, ask for Norma Jean, it’s the code name.”
For the rest of that day at West Lake Studios he spent with you and was in heaven.
All the way home he held your private phone number in his hands aglow and raving about his new awesome friend.
As soon as we got home he asked if he could call you and I said yes of course.
So very excitedly Darius dialed the number and ask for Michael…click! Then he remembered the code name, called back and asked for Norma Jean…click!
Even still to this day he talks about that wonderful day he spent with you at the studio and learned the lesson of how important it is to follow instructions.


Once again and lastly when you went to trial in Santa Barbara and it seemed like the whole world turned their backs on you at another session producer Bruce Swedien pulled my sister Linda and I to the side and said,
“Howard and Linda , don’t believe The Press. Michael is an angel… he would never hurt the children.”
I never stopped believing in you or the pure soul that you are. I remember when you thanked my sister Charity and I for bringing 10 busloads of ministers and some of their members to support you during your trial at The Santa Barbara Courthouse. We had singers singing on behalf of you innocence and ministers interceding on your behalf for justice.
Thank you for graciously hosting all of us at Neverland not once but twice as we came to show you how much we loved you and believed in your innocence.
It is an outrage what some people will do for money. Greed, Delusion, and Anger is something you wanted to see our world healed of. Michael it’s not too late. I know there are others like myself who believe in your dream that we can have a better world if we only Keep The Faith.
As I began writing this letter the sun was shining in Hong Kong and now as I close we are in a Typhoon…strange but Michael…I am not surprised you were always bigger than life and now we know that you are.
You and your music, your smile, your dance, but most of all your message will live in our hearts forever.
You not only are ‘The King of Pop’, you are also…’The King of Hearts’

https://www.howardmccrary.com

Above are just a few of the many children and people touched by the loving soul of Michael Jackson.

Michael was known for his divine way of dancing and singing,  providing indescribable emotions during his concerts. A great artist, but also a great man. Sensitive to our planet problematics with great anticipation about environmental degradation. A man that distributed huge benefits to charity organizations, helped children, and many people who were in need. That’s the way he deserves to be celebrated.

 

 

MICHAEL JACKSON’S 2006 REFINANCING ASSETS: THE SONY/FORTRESS OBSTACLES

At the beginning of January 2006, while media carried on to portray Michael Jackson’s apparent fluffy life, splinted between marriage invitations and shopping binge, his middle eastern advisors were actively looking for solutions to close the loop around useless meetings and related postponements that seemed very much an excuse to drive MJ to the point of no return: bankruptcy.
Bahrain-based financial adviser Ahmed Al Khan and Omni representatives were principally responsible for the restructuring of financial aspects on behalf of the various Jackson entities involved in the transaction. Five groups expressed interest in getting into business with Michael Jackson: Cerberus, Cheyne Capital, Citigroup Global Markets, Goldman Sachs, and Fortress.
Until that time, except for the documentation assignments with Bank Of America loans and the short-term forbearance papers, Fortress made no effort to present a concrete refinancing plane to Michael Jackson.

After the previous tentative of refinancing and sale collapsed with Dubai’s own government company Istithmar, due to Sony’s objections, Fortress, with the right of last offer condition, blocked a proposed deal with UK-based Cheyne Capital in early January 2006.

Mr. Zu’bi, with two other MJ’s financial representatives, Gaynell Lenoir and Frank Correa of Omni, met with Fortress and Sony at Sony headquarter in New York.  On that occasion, they concluded that there was a need for New York counsel to be brought in on the borrower side. There when White & Case, came in.

Villiers Terblanche, of White & Case LPP, described during a deposition of Sony people inappropriate behavior that was still around while he got his initial debriefing of the transaction. Sony people at different points, came in to pick up their bags and their documents, so they had to stop the meeting. During the deposition, Attorney Terblanche felt to point out this: “Can I just point out, I don’t think, I may be wrong about this, but I don’t think the original financing, meaning the old Bank of America financing, was with Mr. Jackson himself. He was ultimately added as a guarantor, correct to point out; I think that he was–He may not have been a borrower, to begin with”, which confirms that the initial project of an investment loan to support Sony/ATV expansion. 

 AQ was able to obtain Citigroup’s interest through a commitment letter and term sheet Citigroup’s stake. And among the other offers, it was the best. When Fortress was asked to put forth a financing proposal, most of the guidance line of terms came from Sony exec Rob Wiesenthal, who insisted on keeping the collateral assets pledged as per the Bank Of America loans (50% of Sony/ATV interest, Mijac catalog, Neverland & MJ personal guarantee). The value of Jackson’s collaterals was the ballpark of the total refinancing loan, and Fortress was not competent in the field. I ‘m going to summarize part of the testimony of Daniel Groppel, who was the managing director of Fortress at that time and supervised all the transactions.

There was no specific value in the catalog, other than saying that Mr. Jackson’s interest in Sony ATV exceeded the value of both loan facilities. The catalog is an income stream, and royalties are collectible for what is in the catalog. Music royalties have been bundled together and valued in the past, but different types of catalogs trade at very different types of valuations.  It was challenging to put a value on the Sony/ATV catalog because there had not been a music catalog like Sony/ATV, so it would be difficult to say with any level of precision that the catalog is worth X or 1.5 X because it was such a valuable asset that someone would have paid a premium for it.

And the full potential exploitation of MJ asset was the central point for Fortress connected with this financing. They knew that there was a way to value and even sell that music royalty stream; they knew that bonds tied to music royalties were valued and sold as futures. It had been done in the Bowie context and other artists. But they could not focus on valuing this collateral with the securitization that had occurred previously concerning music royalties, which was among other things, a work done by  Mr. Koppelman for various artists but not for Jackson, who had paid him 1 million per year for two years to have “the nothing” but an offer that did not suit his requirements. 

Mr. Joe Lee of Fortress, who had some knowledge in the field of music catalogs securitization, confirmed that it would be complicated to put a value on this catalog. Traditionally music catalogs trade in a range of 10 to 15 times NPS, which it’s some kind of income stream coming off of a music catalog, but Sony/ATV catalog might have been inside or outside that range because of Sony’s control due to the agreement with which Sony operated the catalog and the fees that get laden onto the asset.

Fortress made the decision, based on a range often to times NPS, adjusted for those factors, that the loan would be comfortably covered. setsTen to 15 times NPS in this context, gave the gross number NPS $115 million, which would have been a billion to a billion six hundred-ish.

Fortress valued at the minimum of a billion gross value for 100 percent of the Sony ATV catalog for the very significant difference of this catalog between NPS and cash flow because Sony charged the ATV entity much money to manage. Sony ATV had about $250 million of debt on it, at the corporate level. It also had much cash, around $100 million-plus, some of which was being distributed to Sony.

With these numbers, anyone could think: “put the cash aside, it would be whatever value you put on the ATV catalog less than $250 million of debt,  times 50 percent plus the $100 plus million of cash.”

Well no: a lot of that cash was being distributed, cucked out to Sony and Mr. Koppelman and many other people, many executives knew a lot was going to Sony.

The method used for calculating this point was to take the low end of the range, which generally banks do,  which was one billion dollars, take away 250, which gives 750, and half of that is 375.

Sony was sucking all that money off the top, that $250 million of corporate debt plus the cash distributed at their own discretion, a legit liberty that was included in the operating agreement. It was how the ownership of Sony/ATV was structured right in 1995. That was money that came off the top when it came to determining what Sony ATV members got. But for some reason, although Michael Jackson was indeed 50% member and a director of the board, did not have the correct distribution or sometimes received the crumbles left.

If the catalog were sold, possibly the operating agreement might not exist; therefore, the catalog would have a higher value because fewer expenses were laden into that catalog. That’s why Michael Jackson wanted to sell to a third party. Selling 100 percent of the catalog might have been more valuable because it would have taken out that “administration fee,” that Sony used to get according to the pursuant Sony ATV agreement, as understand how it operates. For example, Sony was charging to Sony/ATV the double of what EMI was charging to MJ when he was the owner of 100% of ATV.

So, here is crystal clear that media was feed by false statements, or they were in cahoots with the industry into smearing Michael Jackson’s reputation. There’s no doubt that in 2006 Jackson owned 50 percent of Sony ATV. Also, Sony Music was cheating on Michael’s royalties’ calculation of his personal intellectual property and Sony/ATV revenues.

The result of all of the above was a no binding offer from Fortress with a high-interest rate and elevated fees proposal. It also included a right of Fortress to buy half or all of Mr. Jackson’s interest in Sony/ATV in case of the loan defaulting.

These coming and forth caused due to the lack of collaboration of Sony and Fortress, resulted that on January 13, 2006, the forbearance period was extended to February 18, 2006, according to an Amended and Restated Put Extension Agreement, among Fortress, MJJ, MJPT, MJ-ATV, and Sony. And Michael Jackson’s financial situation incurred substantially more liabilities, including liabilities arising from his delay in obtaining the necessary financing.

The short-term forbearance period granted by the Fortress entities, however, did not eradicate the risk of a foreclosure on the assets of MJJ, MJPT, and MJ-ATV, which would in all likelihood put them beyond the reach of any future judgment creditor, absent a refinancing of the existing facilities.

A couple of weeks later, the Citibank proposal came across Fortress desk. Fortress had a small period during which they had to determine whether they wanted to match the Citigroup financing, as was their right, and in the end, they decided to align with it.

In short, MJ came nearly to signing onto closing with Citibank; and then around February, Fortress purported to exercise a right of last offer, which basically gave them the right to match any refinancing on substantially the same terms and conditions as the refinancing. And that exercise caused everyone to revisit the City financing and explore the legal ramifications of going or not going with Fortress.

Contrary to Fortress, the Citigroup offer was a serious, professional, and structured financial project. And compared to the others, the most convenient one. Michael’s signature on the documents was already arranged through Mr. AI Kahn’s office. As of January 26, 2006, Citigroup was the potential lender to the trust in connection with this refinancing arrangement they have planned. 

Michael Jackson in Hamburg to visit the Shleifer family in January 2006

Citigroup proposed a bankruptcy-remote structure to refinance the Bank Of America loans to which the MJ Trusts’ assets would be conveyed in return for the beneficial ownership of the new trust. Citibank would then loan to the newly organized trust $300 million, secured by the assets conveyed by the MJ Trusts to the newly organized trust. The loan proceeds would then be distributed to repay the MJ Trusts’ existing indebtedness under the BOA loans.

Citigroup imposed on Sony and its affiliates that the guaranteed advances had to be paid and that third-party offers were acceptable in the event of a sale procedure. The project also had taken out the negative covenant – the main worry during the Bank Of America financing – defining “ no Event of Default “the failure of the borrower to pay interest when due or accrued upon the occurrence of default attributable to any net or omission of SME, Sony/ATV or Sony guarantor, (any such approval in a clause or above not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed). 

It must be clear that Fortress is not a bank but a financial group acting as the main contractor and purchasing credit lines from banks, then re-selling them to its customers at a higher interest rate.  Fortress was “placing a bet” on Jackson’s debts; they were specialized in distressed debt, typically associated with overleveraged entities or those at risk of impending bankruptcy.’ The firm and others like it “are designed for wealthy investors looking for big returns on riskier bets.”

Distressed debts are risky investments, but they have considerable profit potential, either in the event of the entity’s turnaround or because, in a lending-to-own strategy, the investor would acquire the asset should the debtor fail in Fortress’s case, that meant a chance at owning Jackson’s share of the music catalog. Fortress’s acquisition of Jackson’s debt was a risk, so replete with profit potential that – after Michael’s death – an analyst questioned Bank Of America’s “wisdom” — not for lending to him but for removing the loan from its books. Because the point was that Michael Jackson’s assets were NOT overleveraged entities either at risk of impending bankruptcy. But someone or something was actively working behind the scenes to bring his assets in those conditions.

The Citigroup project structure – re-establishing a decent interest rate for MJ entities – had a risk-adjusted rate of return, and based on the risks associated with the transaction, it provided an “appropriate” return.

  • The return is the interest rate and the points that were charged on loan.
  • Risks were assessed: the unique risk in this transaction was the chance of not getting paid back due to an event of default.
  • Risk covering: having determinate that the collaterals over-covered the loan value, from the return side, it was balancing the probability of getting repaid in full or getting repaid with or without default and whether or not the interest rate and points you were getting compensated.

Comparing Fortress’s request to one month LIBOR plus 3.50 % spread and Citigroup at one month LIBOR plus 1.50 % spread, it’s evident that the return was not interesting enough for a loan sharks entity like Fortress. I’m sure there are other reasons for the acceptance of a conventional and marketable refinancing structure as per Citigroup’s offer.

On February 14, Fortress informed Jackson by fax that they wanted to exercise their first right offer, matching the Citibank’s offer. Originally the closing refinancing was on March 2; however, due to complex open issues, included of the creditors’ identifications, as well as establishing the clearance of all the titles in Michael Jackson assets being used as security, the date was postponed.

  • What were the reasons that moved Fortress to comply with a substantially conventional and structured transaction?

They answered not to want this lucrative and over-collateralized deal to sneak from them, but – having read the depositions available of the plaintiffs and the defendant, Sony’s efforts and suggestions in the whole negotiation is self-evident.

Meanwhile, Media ran around Europe in search of “signs” of MJ in Italy and then in the UK.

MICHAEL JACKSON MIGHT HAVE WANTED TO SELL SONY/ATV. BUT NOT TO SONY

On May 25, 2005, Michael went to court, along with his parents, to listen to Chris Tucker’s cross-examination. Meanwhile, the two trusts created by Fortress for the specific acquisition of Bank Of America was processing plenty of documents.

MJ’s loans with Bank of America were an investment deal at ten years, both expiring in December 2005. From the execution copies of assignment and assumption agreements, between Bank of America and Fortress, there was a fourth loan agreement with MJ-ATV Trust, which appeared to have no balance. Actually, there existed specific unfunded commitments within the loan of about 3.5 million dollars and was also contemplated an undertaking to look at a $25 million further advance based upon due diligence and an analysis of the underlying assets.

Fortress Music Trust II held this money, and Yucaipa Company – Mr. Burkle organization, instructed to credit it to the MJ’s accounts.
It constituted the first Fortress refinancing of the Jackson Entities Bank of America Debt.

On May 25, 2005, the Jackson Entities entered into a new advance agreement with Fortress and requested an extension of credit for $25 Million. Fortress agreed to stop any action against the default under the BOA loan documents.

On June 13, the Jury reached the verdict. Michael acquitted on all counts! The trial is over, and on June 14 attorney Tom Mesereau gave an interview to Larry King:

With his passport back, Michael does not lose time, and already mid-June rumors tell he was in Paris with his kids to meet with documentary-maker Mark Stewart – the son of racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart. At the end of the month, he flies to Manama in Bahrain as guests to Prince Abdullah, a friend of his brother Jermaine.


When Jackson arrived in Bahrain, beside the open and pressing financial issue to refinance the now Fortress debt, he owed substantial amounts of money to his trade creditors, business and legal advisors, and employees. The situation precipitated Jackson’s efforts to seek new financing.

Pictures surfaced of MJ in Dubai for his birthday, along with Media comments of him trying to spend further money on useless amenities and in glittering parties.

Instead, MJ was around the Middle East with a Bahraini delegation to discuss and looking for fresh alternative refinancing. His middle east exilium was not a walk along the Arab sea.

At just one month of his acquittal back to back shitty events started again: 

  • July: Prescient sued MJ for $48 million for the direct Fortress acquisition of the BOA loans.

  • In New Orleans, there was a court proceeding in the Joseph Bartucci case. Michael was fined $ 10 000 for not showing at the hearing. The trial was later denied: it was another case of someone trying to extort money.

  • September: Michael had to go to London to give deposition of Marc Schaffel‘s lawsuit. Jackson lawyer filed a countersuit against Marc Schaffel, accusing him of misappropriating artwork, funds, and mishandled financial records. Schaffel was involved in“What more can I give,” a song supposed to would have raised 50 million dollars for victims and families of the September 11 terroristic attack and that Sony and some Jackson representatives lobbied to refrain the release. Schaffel was a well-known sex industry scumbag, and when MJ discovered his background, immediately ended the association with him. Schaffel was desperate to get the single release and was around the press, claiming he owned the song. In reality, he had no rights to exploit, distribute, or in any way interest in the master recording of ‘What More Can I Give.'” Shaffel was booted off of the recording project because of his lack of musical expertise and the rights to the song, was of Michael Jackson. He falsified books and records to try to get as much money as possible from Michael Jackson before the termination of his collaboration. After being fired, he postdated $784,000 in checks he wrote on behalf of the company Neverland Entertainment. When asked by an attorney to explain his fraudulent actions, he answered: “I just didn’t want to get caught holding the bag for expenses Mr. Jackson had agreed to,”; adding that MJ agreed to keep paying his expenses (including basics like rent and utilities) for another six months after letting him go.

  • John Branca filed UCC Financing Statements against the MJ Trusts in California. Branca claimed 5% of MJ-ATV’s membership interest in Sony/ATV and 5% of MJPT’s interest in the MIJAC Catalog.

Meanwhile Media reported a lot of fun and leisure. Michael and his kids back to Dubai. A great scandal was created when MJ mistakenly entered a “ladies’ room” in the Egyptian Court of IBN Battuta Mall in Dubai. The episode shows as an innocuous individual, in front of the opportunity reveals its wretchedness: the woman was a teacher.

Michael was shopping at the Emirates Mall in Dubai with Chris Tucker.

Michael was attending the Dubai Desert Rally Racing Tournament at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Hotel in Dubai with a close friend and renowned UAE rally driver, Mohammad Ben Sulayem, and Saeed Hareb, managing director of the Dubai International Marine Club.

In Bahrain, Sheik Abdullah’s record label displayed posters advertising of 2 Seas Records single “Music to Heal the Pain” using images of the Katrina disaster and conveniently leaving out MJ’s name.

  • While in USA Dieter Wiesner filed a civil complaint against Michael and his company Triumph demanding $64 million for fraud & breach of contract of MJ Net Entertainment.
  • Good Morning America aired a recording of anti-semitic remarks during a phone call taped without permission two years before by Wiesner. The tape was given by the lawyer of Dieter Wiesner and Marc Schaffel.

Michael and family in Muscat (Oman) having dinner at the American Ambassador’s residence in Oman for Thanksgiving.

Most of Jackson’s efforts in the Middle East were to refinance his debts and liabilities, including the Fortress debts, and I call them debts and not loans because Fortress purchased a debt from BOA but did not provide any sort of refinancing project after that.

On November 26, 2005, MJ formalized an arrangement with AQ Business Consultants to assist him in obtaining new financing. AQ Business Consultants is a company organized under the laws of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The agreement provided that AQ would receive one percent (1%) of the financing committed to the project of loan financing. They commenced an aggressive effort to secure new financial commitments.
However, although they located several entities interested in the transaction, two main obstacles prevented a quick refinance securitization: Sony consent to Jackson’s for any further guaranteed loan and the Fortress right of last offer to provide financing for Mr. Jackson.

For example, Istithmar World, an investment group owned by the government of Dubai, expressed interest in providing Jackson with the necessary refinancing in exchange for his interest in the
Sony/ATV. MJ was not the idealistic fool that many fans still want to believe. He was wise and skilled when it came to business, also for the Sony ATV catalog. Being the visionary he always had been, he knew that times had changed quickly. With the right partners and at the right price, he was willing to sell part of his catalog to streamline his complicated financial situations. You have to keep in mind that being the owner of the 50% of Sony ATV meant for him to be also responsible for 250 million dollars of Sony/ATV corporate debts generated by stranger expenses and company management high fees.
However, the deal collapsed in the wake of Sony’s objections. Their refusal, clear out that Sony did not want any other partner, but MJ, waiting to put him in a corner and take the whole catalog at Black Friday discount price.

That’s the reason AQ’s initial endeavors to obtain finance before the date for repayment of the Fortress Loans failed. Sony didn’t help Michael Jackson to find a bank that would solve the problem. Actually, in the particular case of this refinancing, they had done their best to object and delay everything. By the documents I have read, I saw so much red tape to choke in.

Considering that part of his investments with Bank of America, were hedged, and Jackson activities generated royalties and right incomes wholly credited into the dedicated loan accounts, he had to support about $4.5 million monthly interest.

Which means Jackson had been paying more than 20 percent in monthly interest payments. That comes to about $50 million a year just in interest. That is familiar in the world of credit cards, subprime lending, and loan sharks and not commonly encountered by wealthy people with substantial assets. Michael Jackson had a first-class asset, and I could not believe he was paying the trailer-park credit card rates on $270 million worth of debt since I analyzed the BOA documents. What were they doing his financial advisers? What about Sony?

The financial calculation of these loans has a multitude of variabilities: there are managerial fees, compliance fees, and marketing expenses. All paid for by the guarantor. It means that 3-6% of funds are going out the window. And most of the time, these costs are not visible to borrowers entering these investments. It is also essential to understand how the mechanics of costs work. One of the things that can lead to increased costs of these funds are brokers, guilty of some degree of churning into their client’s account (and this is the Michael Jackson case), and it constitutes mismanagement. The industry sells performance and does not talk much about cost. And financial advisors are like any profession – there are good ones, and there are bad ones. But a competent advisor should alert you and explain what you are paying and whether there are better and cheaper alternatives out there. And Michael could not believe he didn’t have enough money to repay the loan. Here his testimony of 2006 June 12 and 13:

The Default on the Bank Of America Loans and the Forbearance Agreement

When it was clear that the MJ entities did not have sufficient funds to repay the loans, AQ representatives helped to negotiate an agreement under which Fortress agreed to forbearance any enforcement action based upon the existing loan defaults due in December 2005.

This agreement allowed MJ a forbearance period of 30 days, including January 16, 2006, extendable of additional 30 days that cost him a 1% the total due amount as fee.
Another condition included was a breakup fee of $2 million payable to Fortress if the refinances would have come from another party. Everything was nothing else than a copy/paste coming from the original Bank of America notes. The forbearance was that Fortress would stand down concerning their rights on loan.

The genesis of the forgiveness was the result of a negotiation that took place toward the end of December and involved AQ, as MJ representative, Sony, and Fortress.  Chief Financial Officer of Sony Corporation Rob Wiesenthal guided Fortress, due to the problematic comprehension of the “Put Extension Agreement” and the relevant amendment of Section 7.9 of the Sony/ATV Operating Agreement, which was part of the collateral package for the Bank of America loan. And part of the condition for extending to 60 days was the agreement by Sony to maintain their support under the put agreement for Fortress on the Sony/ATV loan of $200 million. What Sony had regarding the “put option” was an obligation, not a right. Fortress had the ability in loose terms to put the Sony/ATV interest to Sony and require Sony to buy the Sony/ATV interest for $200 million, and the “put option” was governed by a period that had an expiry. Since Fortress was giving forbearance on loan, they wanted to make sure that Sony’s credit support for the ATV loan would have the time associated with it extended as well.

  • December in USA Michael’s lawyer had to officially respond to tabloids reports of Tom Sneddon alleged investigating MJ for the use of illegal drugs. The law firm clarified that Michael prescription drug use is nothing illicit or illegally obtained.

  • MJ’s “Christmas gift,” that year, was a Court hearing in the Debbie Rowe’ s children visitation rights case in Los Angeles.

The year closed nibbling around the edges, and future perspective had obstacles premise to be solved. Meanwhile, media doodled and spread pictures of a careless Michael Jackson in disguises strolling around the Manama Malls with family and friends.

Sources:

Pacermonitor.com/case/16787632/Prescient Acquisition Group, Inc v MJ Publishing Trust.  

Hollywood, Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon — The Case Against Celebrity by  Andrew Breitbart &‎ Mark C. Ebner 

https://www.eonline.com/news/52782/jackson-lawyer-plaintiff-had-no-right-to-charity-record.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WELCOME TO THE ENTERTAINMENT WORLD: CROOKS, CHARLATANS, IMPOSTORS

“Word of mouth is the best publicity. Nothing beats it”. And considering the countless passages of Michael Jackson’s financial papers in so many hands and in such a short time, I feel having to start beginning the story in a fairy tale fashion.

‘Once upon a time’ Prescient, together with Perfect Circle, contacted Copper Beech Equity partners and explained that Michael Jackson was looking to refinance his debt. Copper Beech Equity partners contacted Transitional Investment LCC and told them that Mr. Jackson and his entities were looking to refinance particular credit facilities. Transitional had a preferred financing relationship with Fortress Investment Group. Fortress was a company specialized in distress debt and asset-based lending Investment.

Displaying the discretion of a jackhammer, this bunch of idiots (I cannot find a better word to qualify them) had meetings and phone calls with some of Jackson’s former advisors. A practice that ignored the strict caution guidelines Michael expressed, especially regarding Koppelman/ Branca and without informing him.

So, let’s trench on through because the events happened in chains that brought up suspicious numbers of “randomness.”

In December 2004, under the request of the group guided by Prescient, Transitional provided a letter of intent (LOI) for a first bridge loan to be used to close the relationship with Bank of America, and a project fitting Michael Jackson’s desire to exercise the buyout option and purchase the 50% of Sony/ATV owned by Sony Music. The aggregated amount was 537.5 million dollars. The initial LOI referred to a senior secured credit facility for $420 million, the percent subordinated note for $80 million, and a redeemable convertible preferred stock for $37.5 million.

February 1st, 2005: Michael Jackson enters the court if Santa Maria where Jury selection takes place.

On February 1st, 2005, the LOI became a commitment letter for bridge financing. The commitment letter now being presented by Transitional Investors LLC as a joint venture partner of Fortress Investment Group.

Between January and February of 2005, Transitional met with the accountants, reviewed the financial statements, and evaluated the condition and the obligations of Michael Jackson, including his income and expenses.  The result was the below report:

From the documents, it appears immediately an agreement between Transitional and Fortress Credit Corp, represented by Chief credit officer Constatine Diakollas. The reason for the bridge facility was an entirely expected refinance of this preponderance with a comprehensive package that included providing financing for the acquisition of the other half of the Sony/ATV library. The commitment letter and the term sheets have three components: Senior bridge loan of 207.5 million, a subordinated bridge loan of 80 million, and preferred bridge stock of $40 million.
They initially wanted Michael Jackson to sign it. But between the various handlers, there was concern that there would take an extended time for him to sign another piece of paper that he would want to be explained. Then, accordingly, they kept as good the signature what they understood to be the advisor to MJ Publishing and Michael J. Jackson. Don Stabler.

Here now comes the beauty: from his testimony, Transitional Managing Director Mr. Shelley confirmed to having talked to Mr. Branca to explore the financial condition of Michael Jackson.

Structure and put in place that kind of refinancing package, would have taken some time that MJ did not have. BOA threatened to call the note, and such an event could have triggered a potential sale of assets. The group of handlers requested to put together and immediate refinancing for the credit line, On March 25, Transitional/Fortress presented a new LOI.

March 25, 2005: Michael Jackson in Santa Court. Testimonies about DNA found on adult magazine.

Clearly, their interest was not just lending money to Michael Jackson to allow him to recover and to pay off his obligations; In fact, that loan would be upside down, so they structured an investment, which would not usually have done, that would allow them to also participate In the future contemplated transaction which was the buying a partial interest in the Sony/ATV through several different operations.

On April 6, Jackson and Tom Mesereau attended Johnnie Cochran Funeral. There they found friends such as Reverend Jessie Jackson and supermarkets mogul Ron Burkle.
MJ was reluctant to the whole situation, and opened up with them regarding these financial transactions. He asked Mr. Burkle to help and revise the papers. It resulted in suggesting to MJ not signing the commitment and consequently taking all the duly actions with BOA blocking all authorization previously made to represent him except for his brother Randy Jackson and Mr. Burkle company.

The handlers supposed to have Michael sign the deal. Instead, there was an unpleasant discussion that ended with MJ invited them to get out of Neverland. When they left, Michael’s assistant phoned and told them to go and meet with Ron Burkle. The discussion was around the meeting and had to do with the Fortress deal and why they thought that was a good deal for Michael. Burkle told them that he didn’t believe that Fortress would be able to do such a deal because they didn’t have the money.

Michael was also supposed to signing off on loan secured against the Hayvenhurst property. In this regard, Mr. Burkle’s and his attorney Mr. Mortensen felt they could do better due to the interest rate being charged on that loan was too high. Still, considering there was not enough time to set up the loan documents, they could not provide financial information to have Michael’s FICO score generated, the right solution was to take what they had already opened.

As necessitated by the emergency, Mr. Burkle lent money to Jackson in a few days. He forwarded the cash to Allan Whitman’s account on MJ behalf, and bills could be paid. Mr. Burkle advanced over a half-million dollars without asking any type of guarantee. Jackson immediately reimbursed Burkle as soon as the funds were credited.

Meanwhile, Transitional worked on the refinancing documents with Fortress lawyers. On April 18, Fortress sent to the old group of handlers a 92 million Senior secured loan commitment and 3 million secured option purchase.

April 18, 2005, Michael Jackson goes to court with his mother Katherine

I insist on explaining the flow of events before the refinancing cause we are faced with what in finance is called by definition, predatory lending.

Predatory lending is any lending practice that imposes unfair or abusive loan terms on a borrower. It is also any practice that convinces a borrower to accept unfair terms through deceptive, coercive, exploitative, or unscrupulous actions. If it is not clear enough, I’ll give you an example: predatory lending practices triggered the subprime lending crisis in the United States and global recession. If someone from your friend lost his house after 2006, you have to thank these kinds of financial companies.

Within the negotiations, the transaction comprehended a 1.5% to Fortress upon the commitment letter’s execution. 1.5% was on Prescient, for its role as advisor. And in case Jackson would not use the facility or some alternative financing were completed within a specified period after the agreement had been signed, a break-up fee of 1 million would have to be paid to Fortress. In short, if Michael Jackson signed this letter of commitment with Fortress and not get into financing with them, he would have to pay 1 million still to compensate the financial institution for the use of their stationaries. The offer nullified all the previous ones but did not include the obligation to pay the 9% break-up fee as liquidated damages, as outlined in Section 6 of the letter dated December 30, 2004, (which 9% break-up fee is comprised of a 2% break-up fee to be paid to Fortress and a 7% to be paid to Prescient as advisor). Fortress agreed to fund $3,000,000 before April 30, 2005, against an option to purchase 51% of Michael Jackson’s beneficial interest in the MJ/ATV Publishing Trust for $175,000,000. The validity of the offer was 90 days. Crook behavior? Definitely. You can read the whole document here.

Here the compensation formula developed by Lehman Brothers in the ’60 for investment banking services related to the finder fee that financial brokerage companies used at that time.

-5% of the first million dollars involved in the transaction
-4% of the second million
-3% of the third million
-2% of the fourth million
-1% of everything thereafter (above $4 million).

Despite Lehman was and still is the most common form in use, this does not mean that rates are not still negotiated on a case by case, particularly for $100 million and higher transactions. Serious brokers take 0.25% of the whole loan. 

Something was off with that financing, and Michael Jackson did not sign the commitment letter. All the conversations with Fortress ceased as soon as Yucaipa Company controlled by Ron Burkle, got involved with Michael Jackson. Fortress conversations with them began after the purchase the loan from BOA. In fact, Fortress had other surprises in its sleeves.

Unexpectedly, the first week of May 2005 the Media announced Fortress acquisition of the Bank Of America’ Michael Jackson loans leaving the handlers high and dry. It came out of the blue even for Jackson. Prescient’ people read it in the newspapers and alerted Transitional.


During his testimony, Shelley was asked if any sort of complaint had been addressed to Diakollas. He admitted he asked: “Don’t you think you owe us at least our fee for the purchase under our agreement, our joint venture agreement?” Diakollas went through the preamble, and responded, “I thought we had a better relationship than that this. That’s right? Other people, not you, showed us the deal.”
Diakollas was correct. The proposal came out from another source: it came nothing less than from Jane Haller, Michael Jackson personal banker.

Fortress intentionally withheld from Mr. Jackson any written agreement between the Fortress entities and Jackson’s entities and did not tell anyone that it was negotiating with Bank of America the loan purchase. As already explained, Fortress was still in active negotiations with Michael Jackson and his people concerning the $92 million loan facility on April 17th and 18th. Yet, by May 3, they executed assignment and assumption agreements with Bank of America.

  • What was going on during those two weeks between April 18 and May 3? It’s possible that Fortress thought, “Well, if we hear from Bank of America, maybe we will just buy this loan directly?
  • What were all of the reasons why Fortress didn’t tell MJ that it was in discussions with Bank of America to take an assignment and assumption of his loans?

Fortress defended the subject by saying they signed a confidentiality agreement with Bank of America. But they also had entered into a confidentiality agreement with Michael Jackson. So it was just inappropriate not to tell him that they were trying to buy his loans.

In the end, Michael Jackson was the one that received a “hello” letter that basically says: “Hello, Mr. Jackson. You owe us something million dollars. You don’t owe the Bank of America anymore. We have purchased the debt, and here is some information for the current status and some further pieces of information that we require from you”.

Some other factors might have motivated Fortress business decision to pursue the purchase of the BOA loans directly from BOA. In fact, in April 2005, MJ needs to cap off a relatively small interest payment of about 600’000 dollars due on the credit line with Bank of America, and funds were not available to cover it. As a result that Bank of America called the note to actuality accelerate the default. At that point, MJ was “technically” in default with the bank.

May 3, 2005: Michael Jackson enter to Santa Maria Court to listen testimonies of Steve Robel, John Duross & Rudy Provencio.

MJ was under criminal trial, and all his cash, when available, served to pay defense experts, apartments of the lawyers, and the employees that had to live in the area at the time.

The technical default of the credit line was triggering a mechanism that competitors were waiting for years, any of them with their own reason. Still, all with the same intent: divest MJ from intellectual property ownership. Like Koppelman with the revised offer of Goldman Sachs, Branca, with two different offers and Sony, that drove the bank actions behind the curtains, waiting for the step that, in the end, would have brought to bankruptcy procedure.

Fortress’s handy and straightforward solution to purchase the loan directly rather than bid against anybody else or continue to negotiate something according to the commitment letter that was existent and issued by them with MJ while entering the confidentiality agreement had been a winning move.  That what Mr. Burkle suggested that happened. Whether that’s plausible or not, the reader can decide it.

However, the Fortress purchase was not a refinancing yet. They had to find a bank to pay the loans to Bank of America.

 

MJ:”SOMETIMES PEOPLE DO THINGS BEYOND THE SCOPE OF WHAT I TELL THEM TO DO”

On January 16, 2004, his formal arraignment drew a horde of news media and in Santa Barbara County. The press did not cease to put their nose in his business and in what they called “his mysterious finances.” Depending on the source, Jackson was either spending his way into bankruptcy or presiding over wealthy music and real estate empire.

In reality, MJ had been the target of numerous lawsuits over the years, many of which cost him millions. ( Lee, Sotheby’s, Avram, Vaccaro, Royalty Claim lawsuits dismissed with Motown and Universal). The only successful trial was one of five former Neverland employees that lost a wrongful termination suit against Jackson and were ordered to pay $1.4 million in attorney fees and $60,000 in damages. A jury rejected claims that the employees were fired for cooperating in a probe into the 1993 molestation allegations.

When in March, the Arvizo’s were deposing before the Grand Jury, Michael Jackson had to increase his credit with Bank of America on the credit line guaranteed by MJPT (Michael Jackson Publishing Trust). The lending aggregate principal amount was $72,500,000 at that point. 

Here too, The New York time through Al Manik’s interview, published misleading pieces of information one month before the documents were filled and signed. This third amendment and restated loan agreement of 2.5 million dollars had a specific use, which was: to fund the Minimum Interest Reserve Account, to finance the Borrower’s expenses and professional expenses, to pay the Guarantor’s taxes, to pay the legal fee and approved Invoices.

I wonder which documents provided the “insiders” who diligently fed Media jesters. From 1997 on press was wild and meticulous in detailing over MJ’s crazy borrowing.

Too bad that these assets were already pledged under the bank agreement. By the documents disclosed in various financial lawsuits, it’s clear that numerous agreements were entered into in connection with the MJPT Loan, including, among others, the MJPT Trust Agreement and a Security Agreement between BOA and MJPT, dated September 29, 1999. MJPT was restricted in disposing of, transferring, or selling the MIJAC Catalog or the Administration Agreements until full payment and performance of all obligations under the Loan Document. In short, MJ could not take any action before the loan would not have been fully paid. Neverland was pledged to BOA under this agreement, and if it was not enough, a personal guarantee of MJ was imposed.

2004 April 1, Humanitarian Award

On April 2, 2004, Mark Geragos and Ben Brafman brought a massive amount of pieces of evidence into a Santa Maria courthouse for the preliminary hearing into the Jackson case. The material impacted the credibility of witnesses. One of the evidence they obtained was the Arvizo family court documents in the JC Penney case.

On April 11, Medias reported the allegations of Daniel Kapon, a young man who claimed to have been abused by Michael when he was a kid. It turned out that the Santa Barbara Police Department did not find him credible and closed the case after investigating it.
Regarding the episode, Geragos said: “This appears to be a malicious attempt to undermine Mr. Jackson’s right to a fair hearing on the presently pending charges.”We have to question the timing and purpose of this 20-year-old false allegation being raised at this time.”We believe that this smear campaign is driven by money-hungry lawyers, seeking to capitalize on Mr. Jackson’s current legal situation.”

But everything started to become too dangerous. Gavin Arvizo deposition had been leaked, and several of Jackson’s associates faced charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice for allegedly threatening the child’s family accusing the MJ molestation. The co-conspirators were: Marc Schaffel, Dieter Wiesner, Ronald Konitzer, Frank Tyson (Cascio) & Vincent Amen.

Michael, who was in Orlando, learned that the Grand Jury had indicted him. He asked his brother Randy to intervene, and Tom Mesereau, that knew Randy for many years, eventually came on board. On April 25, Michael announced that he had changed his legal team. And a few days later was the Nation of Islam turn.

I’m going to introduce a summary of a series of testimonies collected in one of the scummiest lawsuits MJ had to confront with. It would have revealed almost illegal acts of many industry big names and open an embarrassing can of worms. So, most of the media wisely shirked the real content deflecting public over gross gossip against his brother Randy and the charlatans’ group who tried to defraud MJ. By the testimonies, I can say that Randy helped as much as he could. Still, most likely, MJ’s financial structure was beyond its capabilities, and he got into a bunch of crooks with a poor understanding of the whole situation. 

This transaction became a sort of pyramid selling. Time wasted to assure everyone the “right percentage,” too many people involved, and not following the MJ request of discretion in disclosure of pieces of information. It was a real mess that allowed who had an interest in having MJ bankruptcy to organize themselves and buy some time.

These people had to go through examinations and cross-examination in detail, offering a clear understanding of the dirt that was behind MJ finance troubles. Their statements provide and visualize the vultures that stalked Jackson for about all his life, the way Sony directed and sanctioned his loans from the beginning. The not precisely crystalline attitudes of some of his historic and essential former collaborators, the percentages and bribes applied to his investments, rates that belong to usury banking crimes, prosecuted and convicted in many civilized countries. And last but not least, it shows what Michael Jackson went through during the preparation and all along with 2005, as if the trial and the risk of lengthy detention were not enough.

Michael Jackson at the Santa Maria Court House in Santa Maria California on August 16th, 2004
Fame Pictures, Inc – Santa Monica, CA, USA – +1 (310) 395-0500

 

During the summer of 2004,  Michael Jackson was preparing to be on trial in connection with the criminal matter involving allegations of child molestation. He was understandably preoccupied with the criminal case and, therefore, could not personally handle his financial and business affairs.

Michael had fired his prior managers, except a few, including the accountant Mr. Whitman. MJ put his brother Randy Jackson in charge of securing a partnering entity to assist in refinancing particular then existing debt. Debts were owed to Bank of America by two of MJ’s Trusts, the MJ Publishing Trust (MJPT), and the MJ-ATV Publishing Trust (MJ ATV).

Randy hired Don Stabler in July 2004, to assist him with the financial management of Michael’s affairs. Mr. Stabler had had an ongoing relationship with Randy Jackson for services concerning tax return. Stabler’s tasks were to order documents and reduce costs.

In September of 2004, Jackson was in a horrific financial crunch.  At the time, the principal concern was the credit line.  Bank of America had an open lockbox and was sweeping all of Michael Jackson’s income into it to repay the interest on those loans. All of the royalty payments and all the other sources of income that Michael had were swept into that BOA account proceeds, and they shouldn’t have done it.  They were, in essence, overreaching. Moreover, the loan terms and conditions were extraneous and very difficult for Michael to manage his own affairs, and as a   result, they wanted to get out of them.

The situation was pretty much tapped financially. There was not enough money to pay the monthly expenses; there were many of the costs for people staying up in the Santa Maria area being charged to Randy’s credit card. Randy’s credit cards had been run-up to the max. Not only his credit cards, but Randy had used the credit cards of friends of his or people who were assisting him during the trial and his representation of Michael.

 (Photo by Hector Mata-Pool/Getty Images)

 

Tom Mesereau and Susan Yu needed funds to bring experts on due time because they feared that the judge would prohibit them, if not careful, in bringing them on time. In fact, most of the resources were to just get to Mesereau team the money that they needed to hire the experts or to retain them. Throughout the trial, Susan always thought that there was more money than we acknowledged. And she had a hard time believing that Michael Jackson was cash poor.

Due to the enormous expenses derived by the upcoming criminal trial, MJ was looking to refinance the Hayvenhurst property because it was the one asset that was free and clear that could get income. So in an attempt to circumvent the covenant of Bank of America line of credit, it was asked to Janet to get the loan against the Hayvenhurst property. However, she could not handle it.

In October 2004, Mr. Stabler and Randy contacted Robert Pryce of Perfect Circle Entertainment, Inc. with the intent to find sources or contacts in the financial industry to enable refinancing of the BOA debt.  After reviewing the documents received relating to the Bank of America financing and the securitization against the Mijac and the Sony ATV catalogs, the consultant expressed a specific concern detailing various aspects of the documents, including the trust. The analysis was focused on the potential jeopardy to the Jackson Entities’ ownership interest in the Sony ATV Catalog. 

The refinancing purpose was to restructure the outstanding BOA Debt and provide much-needed liquidity to MJ.  Also, the Jackson Entities and their advisors believed that the BOA Loans’ terms and conditions were extraneous and very difficult for MJ to manage his own affairs.

Given the loan amount, the asset of Sony/ATV was more than sufficient. There was no need to have Neverland as a pledge, as well as there was no need to have MIJAC as securitization. Bank of America loan guarantees seemed like it was an overkill request. The Sony/ATV catalog was worth in between one billion, possibly 1.2 billion, which means that the 50% owned by MJ would have an average value of the half. So, why did they need to take all his assets? Something was not right with these loans, and further testimonies will explain it.

Perfect Circle located Prescient, who was “apparently” engaged by the Jackson Entities as an agent to secure financing and “take out” the BOA debt, keeping as security asset the MJ/ATV Trust only. If the loans were funded, Prescient would then be entitled to a fee.

The initial scope of the loan was the $72,500,000 loan of the credit line. That was the focus when these people got involved. The loan was imminent for a disaster that needed to be taken care of first. And that was supposed to be the mezzanine or bridge loan of 90 million dollars. It was the one that could get MJ out of trouble. As previously stated, the $200  million loan was not in jeopardy because it was secured by his interests in the Sony/ATV catalog. 

The line of credit caused everyone the most heartburn. MJ accounting had to provide to BOA with monthly reports because there was a covenant in Michael’s line of credit saying that if at any point in time his accounts payables exceeded $2 million, Bank of America would call the note. So Randy’s role was to try and make sure it kept it below the $2 million. Any funds that either Mr. Jackson received or his trust would go through Bank of America. They would then take the portion needed for the loan. And the amounts not required would then be forwarded to a bank account controlled by Allan Whitman at his firm and then used for paying expenditures.

In that line of credit agreement, there were several covenants, any of which could have triggered a default, which would have caused damage to Michael. One of the most uncommon conditions was that Bank of America finance documents required Charles Koppelman to remain as trustee in the trust governing that asset for so long as the loan existed. It also had Michael Jackson to pay Mr. Koppelman a fee of 1 million dollars a year for his consulting relationship for that trust.

Why MJ had to pay someone $100,000 a month? What did he do for him? What did he get for it, when there were other more pressing matters not being paid. Mr. Koppelman was not a trustee of the MJ Publishing Trust or MJ-ATV Publishing Trust. He was merely a consultant tied into the Bank of America loan, which required him to remain as a consultant and paid separately by Michael Jackson, not for his services on an annual basis, paid quarterly. And that troubled everybody because Mr.  Koppelman was providing no services for the fee he was receiving, and Michael Jackson didn’t have the money to continue to pay him.

In 2003 Jackson hired Charles Koppelman to do some kind of a deal or loan to restructure his contract with Bank of America before the expiring date loan. Mr. Koppelman had at least a two-year head start on working on something to do just that and had people in place who were pretty much ready to go. In fact, they had tendered an offer that Michael flat out rejected.

What was Charles Koppelman’s involvement regarding Michael Jackson and the Bank of America loans, again, still staying in late 2004? None: Koppelman was still trying with Goldman in either buying out Michael Jackson’s interest or financing it in some other way.  John Branca also wanted to introduce a deal with a publishing group called Blackstone Group while helping Koppelman with Goldman. But Michael Jackson was specifically interested in terminating the employment relationship with Koppelman. As a result of that fact, Koppelman was fired by Randy Jackson and by Don Stabler.

Bank of America notified them that it would cause a default in the loan documents and that they could not do that first. Secondly, if they didn’t pay Mr. Koppelman his fee as required under the loan documents, that would also cause a default on the Bank of America loan documents, which would give them a basis for calling the loan. The default would cost MJ a 1 % rate increase and possibly 10 million upfront penalties.

Michael believed that the trial’s primary reason was happening, and going forward, was because of a conspiracy connected with the business involved, and he didn’t seem to trust many of the people around him. Michael was extremely concerned that he had the potential that this conspiracy involved taking his catalog of music Sony/ATV and, the major part of this conspiracy had to do with his ownership of the catalog of containing the Beatles music.

Michael was also disenchanted with Sony Music and how it was managing the Sony ATV catalogs. He also felt that Sony Music was siphoning his proceeds, those that he should have received as part of his interest from the income of that entity and securing it for his own profits on the one hand and expending it for extraneous costs and expenses on the other for purposes of the management of the catalog.  So, at the appropriate time, he wanted to buy out or somehow remove Sony from the transaction.

Barlowe and Dash also talked of MJ’s personal catalog and his possible interest in wanting to be involved in companies on Wall Street that might be interested in financing. There was contact with various brokerage firms and a hedge fund. A couple of the companies expressed an interest but had reservations due to Michael’s pending trial. That was a problem for several companies. An example was when Dash reached out to GE Capital to financing for the BOA debt. GE was very interested in the deal but very concerned about the status of Michael Jackson and the negative publicity that was being generated with it. In the end, no transaction was ever effectuated.

In December 2004, another company appeared in the already crowded scenario. Transitional Investor LLC. The task is the same: refinance the permanent loan, the credit line financing. They added an offer for Michael to purchase the 50 percent interest of Sony Corporation in the Sony Music ATV company. Meanwhile, still in December, a meeting regarding Sony/ ATV catalog was held in New York, and Al Manik, one of the two trustees of the MJ/ATV Trust, sent an email informing he only flew charter. Clearly the expenditure was not authorized this time.

In between November and December 2004, some of Michael’s friend Hamid Moslehi files a civil complaint about no payment followed by a crazy Dr. Sebi and Marc Schaffel.

 

 

MICHAEL JACKSON: NOT TO TRUST EVERYBODY IN THE RECORD INDUSTRY

 

The 2002 scenario marked the public back and forth of the war and the problems between MJ, Sony, and CEO Tommy Mottola. MJ words on Mottola speak alone.

There is no need to comment any further, primarily because it must not be forgotten that Mr. Mottola was a hired man at the end of the day.  Rumors tell of MJ and Masao Morita of Sony Entertainment Worldwide busy working on a video game with using the Invincible songs, and neither of them bothered to tell Mottola.  But in the USA, the hard fight to destabilize MJ  financially was officially on “screen.” 90% of the press was on random aspersions.

Also, people such as Russell Simmons and Ricky Martin had spoken out against Michael Jackson in his feud with Mottola and made in derisive public statements about him. Comedians like Dennis Miller and Robin Williams had bad mouth using comedic references to the allegations that MJ faced several years before. And even the people who have worked with him suddenly disappeared. No one stood up for MJ, and their non-support was uncannily the same when Michael faced molestation allegations.  Only the Jackson family supported MJ and, in particular, Jermaine Jackson, who defended his brother in public fiercely.

Jackson’s attorney Martin Singer stated during an interview that a lawsuit against Sony was into consideration. They had enough forensic audits. There were claims for breach of the agreement and fiduciary duties, accounting claims for under-reporting of revenues, and other alleged improper accounting practices worth hundreds of dollars.

Sony has always been famous for this kind of practice with artists under contract with them. They did not get money from their hits because the record label said the artists owe them money. It was their consolidated skill being mainly aware that only a minority of artists would have been able to fund on its own the audits (we are talking about a few hundred thousand dollars).

Sony, methodically diverted revenues from Jackson’ and his companies disguising the revenues of reproduction, use of it, and exploitation of his musical assets, as “profits” instead of “royalties,” by removing the royalties from the pool of revenues upon which MJ royalties were calculated and purposely reducing the royalties and his Net Receipts. Jackson recording artist contract agreement also provided that Sony should credit to Jackson account an amount equal to the portion of the foreign tax credits attributable to Jackson royalties.

Another Sony game was the allocation of the available tax credits.  An example is subparagraph 11.02 of Michael Jackson’s recording agreement. It provided that Sony would credit  MJ’s account an amount equal to the portion of the foreign tax credits attributable to MJ’s royalties after a final audit by the IRS. Once the IRS completed its audit, it became evident that Sony did not allocate to Michael Jackson a portion of the available tax credit. 

Contracts must be written in plain and understandable language and cannot contain unfair contract terms. The complexity of contractual clauses was instead the winning tool of the Sony strategy. And the issue with MJ lay in between good-faith interpretation and the abuse of the right. 

The same story of MJ for the Sony/ATV catalog. Another example of how Sony could mess up the accounts is showed in the letter sent to Sony/ATV by Jackson’s company to summarize the agreements they had gotten into:

The letter mention two crucial issues: 

  • The bank involvement (his infamous loan, pictured by the media, as frivolous expenses and capricious)
  • Further payments to him upon liquidation of the company. 

The capital contribution represents what Sony had to pay MJ to reach 50% of its shares. Sony/ATV, being newly born and having insufficient funds to assume operating expenses, took loans from Sony Entertainment to pay Jackson. These loans were bearing interests per annum rate of LIBOR plus 100 basis points. And here it started the debt circles that affected the company for all their partnership. To make a long story short: MJ was getting money for the sale of his 50% wholly-owned catalog, and Sony ATV generated debts to become 50% partners. Not to mention the byzantine priorities of financial management and the discretionality of how profits were distributed.

The Joint Venture signed between them in 1991, and the publishing catalog resulted in a multi-millionaire contracts/agreements intersected with each other was a breeding ground for accounting manipulations since the money flow passed largely in Sony coffers.

Sony could be able to show MJ account in debt somehow.  Because if it is true that as per the contractual principle that record labels cannot sue an artist if they cannot recover the advances disbursed, MJ was a business partner involved in gains and losses.

Wendy Day, founder of the artist advocacy group Rap Coalition correctly understood the situation. She said in a 2003  interview: “Michael Jackson’s problem is like racism: when you’re not the person being oppressed, you tend not to see it.”

It had nothing to do with Jackson’s personal issues toward Mottola. It was a dispute involving the recording agreement and relates to their business relationship in the publishing venture, Sony/ATV.

Jackson claimed Sony acted inappropriately in the marketing of  “Invincible,” and the record company defended its budget to show initial support for Jackson. In reality, the 25 or whatsoever Million claimed to have spent making and promoting the album were inflated and far from accurate, as well as the number of record sales attributed to it; because there’s a world of difference between them spending money and spending it adequately. The cash was, in no small measure, purposely wasted. Recording studios and hotel rooms left empty and booked for months with no one caring about it and pressures put on MJ to use new and young producers, convincing him he needed them when indeed it was the contrary. Sony’s mismanagement during the production of the album was well documented.

It was only in  November 2001, after the acquisition of 50% of the MJ ATV catalog, that Sony started to deposit copyrights into Sony/ATV. Sony/ATV signed a co-publishing deal and acquired Martin’s Baby Mae Music catalog of 600 songs. In July 2002, Sony/ATV Music Publishing purchased country music publisher Acuff-Rose for $157 million. It’s a mistake to think that Jackson had deposited no additional copyrights into the catalog since Sony/ATV was a partnership, and MJ was on the board of directors. The company could not act without his consent. The Operating Agreement specified that both shareholders were forbidden to purchase catalogs if not for the interest of the company.

Meanwhile, the company had raised substantially in value. There’s an official survey dated 1999 saying that Sony/ATV value was 993 million of dollars. And MJ 50% was still the most valuable and significant income of the company.

Since 2000 Sony Corp. was in full crisis, having many of its divisions in precarious situations, and their interest was to put MJ into liquidity constraints, not to squeeze him into a bankruptcy procedure. If MJ had gone bankrupt, as news had deceitfully reported, Sony would not have been able to apply to the option imposed by Bank of America, namely the “Put Option” price. If this had happened, the bank would have owned 50% of Sony/ATV shares and subsequently auctioned them to the highest bidder. And Sony couldn’t let it happen.

By the timeline of the events, it is clear that the album boycott and the purchase of new catalogs were the occasions to absorb most of MJ’s incomes deriving from Sony/ATV and consequently for Sony to acquire more leverage in their joint-publishing venture. Michael Jackson’s financial situation wasn’t insecure to the extent that Sony could put some hopes on it. But the truth was that Michael had his assets pledged into Bank of America loans, and part of his revenues placed in the reserve accounts to guarantee the payments of the interests and secure the loan itself.  That’s was the reason he was seriously planning other ventures and solutions to diversify and strengthen the sources of funding and developing other corporate alliances.  

On September 30th, 2002, a third amended and restated term loan agreement between Bank of America and MJ-ATV Publishing restates in its entirety the Existing Loan Agreement plus the already agreed third loan od 11.5 million of dollars that inject cash in the collateral accounts, and settled banking costs, interest, and expenses. Only 3 million were available for MJ corporate expenses.

Contrary to what the press was heralding,  it was the same old corporate loan in agreement with Sony since 1995. At that time, MJ’s financing had gone from a prime rate regulated by Federal reserve funds to LIBOR to try to earn on futures operations through collateral accounts that accrued interest.

The year 2003 started with management “clean up.”  There was another change of the structure of MJ/ATV, and MJPT trusts with Mr. Branca and Mr. Siegler replaced by Mr. Malnik and Mr. McClain.

Dieter Wiesner and Ronald Konitzer were working on a plan named MJ Universe, which was supposed to relaunch Michael’s career. Meanwhile, Jackson strolled around the world journalist Martin Bashir, who was introduced to him by his friend Uri Geller.

As per a 2005 testimony of attorney David Le Grand, Wiesner and Konitzer tried to take over Jackson’s management, working subtly behind his shoulders. They messed up a great time with Michael’s money to synthesize their work, but they did not succeed in their intent. There were too many people around and too much at stake for everyone.

Michael was not a fool and immediately realized that Le Grand was unable to care for his publishing affairs and dismissed him after only three months. And this was his consideration regarding Konitzer: (excerpt from the 2006 Schaffel lawsuit) regarding Konitzer: 

So, even if in bad terms,  Mr. Branca law firm still had the management for the licensing of MIJAC. However, it was a real mess.

The controversy that arose after the broadcast of  Martin Bashir’s documentary,  Leaving with Michael Jackson,  followed by the leaked Chandler’s 1993 deposition, appeared “magically” on The Smoking Gun website had almost immediately a disparaging effect on his business efforts and his finances.

It resulted that by the end of August 2003, he raised the credit line guaranteed by MIJAC from 35 to 70 million and the relevant amendment of the Sony inter-creditor agreement. The document shows MJ was in debt with Sony Music of 12.5 million.

An Intercreditor Agreement sets out the arrangement between financiers providing loans or credits to a borrower and reconciles their different interests. It deals with the commercial behavior of the parties and also the ranking of their debt and security, particularly on insolvency, by subordinating junior lenders (Sony in this case) and regulating the rights of lenders.  Commercially this kind of agreement provides for the subordination of the Inventory lien solely to the loans made under a Revolving Credit Agreement. 

I have no documents related to it, so I cannot have a clear understanding. What it’s sure is that the agreement is linked directly to MJ advance on royalties and the exploitation of his music and intellectual property.

I found a document dated 1998 referring to various agreements between them. The most interesting is the “use period” connected with Michael Jackson’s recording contract.

The document refers to the sixth album for which MJ was still under contract, specifying the insertion of a new wording in the Subparagraph of the Recording Agreement.

“Notwithstanding the foregoing, if prior to your delivery of the sixth album of your recording commitment Jackson, MJJP or MJV becomes a debtor in a case under the Bankruptcy Code section 365 (an applicable rejection order) the used period shall continue until the later January 1st, 2024, and the date that is seven years after entry of an Applicable Rejection”.

The above is another example of the many interpretation legal diatribes that must have been to get out of Sony. MJ was strangled in a finance facility that engaged all his assets. He still had other resources, but the lack of liquidity gave him little room for maneuver when negotiating new agreements or renegotiating existing ones.

 

All of the above, it makes me wonder why all of a sudden, almost a year after MJ had lashed out at Tommy Mottola, the new allegations came about. So I wonder why the very same day of the Number One’s CD release, Tom Sneddon with a search warrant and 70 cops went to raid Neverland.

And also why in October of 2004, while Michael was facing child molestation charges in Los Angeles, there was news spread in the Media asserting MJ was on the way to agree to sell his 50% catalog to Sony. And they dared to go into details such adding that general discussions between Sony and Jackson’s representatives, John Branca and Charles Koppelman, were in place to discuss already the post-merger direction of the partnership. 

 

 

MICHAEL JACKSON’S 2005 VINDICATION DAY: A RETROSPECTIVE

21.4.17

Sneddon’s case against Michael Jackson was bulls-it. That was the logical conclusion of a brilliant journalist such as Matt TaibbiHowever, the few articles that evenly reported the Michael Jackson 2005 trial drowned down in a slime of packed lies.

 Actually, the havoc, the shame, the scam should have been debited to the Californian Legal System, which allowed  a trial based on circumstantial evidence and in total conflict with the American statute, which clearly states that: “ YOU ARE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY BY A COURT OF LAW.”

Michael Jackson was arrested in November 2003, days after sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant at his Los Olivos ranch.  MJ was tried on 10-count indictments but in April 2003 he was charged with four more counts of child molestation; four counts for providing alcohol to a minor to facilitate that molestation, one count of attempted molestation, and one count of conspiring to hold the boy and his family captive at his sprawling 2700-acre Neverland compound.

Sneddon’s intricate conspiracy charges —that Jackson held hostage the family of his so-called victim and plotted to fly them to Brazil—was proven to be ludicrous. Attorney Tom Mesereau had no difficulty in illustrating to Jury that family members had gone on a shopping binge during their supposed confinement, including body waxes for the mother of the alleged victim and various orthodontic works for the children.  Testimonies declared that the family “escaped” and returned to Jackson’s Neverland ranch at least three times, once in a Rolls-Royce, but never called anyone for help.

Prosecutor Tom Sneddon slandered Jackson publicly, creating a situation where Michael ultimately was forced to face two trials: one in the courtroom and the other in the newsroom. Jackson was ridiculed and dehumanized by the media – and not just in the rags. The awful headlines that trumpeted prosecution claims while burying more subdued and smaller articles about the defense arguments contributed to winning over the public opinion.

The media found Jackson guilty before the trial even began. To this day, there still people who speculate on the charges acquittal formulation saying that “no guilty” verdict means “lack of evidence”Actually, it does not work like that. Lack of evidence produces the dismissal of the judgment, not a verdict of “not guilty.”

When someone is formally charged and gets into a courtroom, no-one is ever found ‘innocent.’ That’s how USA Law is constructed. A verdict of not guilty constitutes an acquittal. At trial, an acquittal occurs when the Jury determines that the prosecution hasn’t proved the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case should never have been brought in a court. Prosecutor Sneddon was aware of the evidence’s poor quality, yet indicted Jackson anyway. Moreover, the parade of witnesses with poor credibility did more than undermine the prosecution’s case. It also sent an ugly message: this prosecutor wanted to get Jackson even if he had to suborn perjury. And in order to procure substantial prejudices against the defendant, the prosecutor’s misconduct went so far as producing pieces of evidence that were then proved false.  But after all, we have to be thankful that the smart and thoughtful Jury did the right thing.

In his closing argument, Tom Mesereau called the family a pack of scam artists trying to pull off the ”the biggest con of their careers.” He was kind enough not to say the same about Santa Barbara’s District Attorney’s office.

With this short introduction, I will let you go through a collection of articles, videos, and pictures of what happened on June 13th, 2005.

June 1: Judge Melville gives the Jury the rules of Jury  Deliberations.

Jurors, who listen to 98 pages of legal guidelines to help them decide the case against the pop star, will hear closing arguments starting this morning. Michael sat motionless, staring at the jury, as Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville recited dense legal language for more than 90 minutes. The judge has ruled that one of the lesser charges against the singer can be revised, increasing the likelihood of a guilty verdict.
Judge Rodney Melville agreed to a prosecution request that the jury could consider a lesser charge of giving alcohol to a minor. Mr. Jackson had been charged with providing alcohol to a minor to enable a felony, a charge which carries a sentence of two to four years. If convicted of the lesser charge, which is a misdemeanor, not a felony, Mr. Jackson would face a fine and the possibility of less than a year in jail. The jury will consider a lengthy indictment that includes four charges of committing a lewd and lascivious act on a minor, one charge of attempting to commit a lewd act on a minor and one of conspiracy involving child abduction, extortion and false imprisonment. The conspiracy charge alone alleges 28 overt acts. The jury only has to find that Mr. Jackson was involved in one of the acts to find him guilty of conspiracy. Should he be found guilty of all charges, he faces up to 20 years in prison. With Melville’s instructions fresh in their minds, jurors will hear closing arguments starting this morning before retreating into the jury room for their first discussions about the case. The defense and the prosecution each had long as four hours to make their final appeals in a cliffhanger trial that has careened from one dramatic piece of evidence to the next over nearly 14 weeks of testimony.  Among Melville’s instructions were rules for considering a videotape played just days ago that maybe one of the most powerful weapons in the prosecution’s arsenal. In the 2003 video, Jackson’s young accuser haltingly told Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies that Jackson had molested him. The nervous 13-year-old boy on the tape was a marked contrast to the wisecracking, sometimes prickly 15-year-old who testified at the trial in March. Defense attorneys tried to show that the accuser’s mother coached him to come forward with the molestation allegation so the family could sue Jackson. Melville reminded jurors that they could view the videotape only to observe the boy’s demeanor and gauge whether he was parroting a fabricated story, and not to decide whether he had been molested. The other videos include “Living With Michael Jackson,” a British TV documentary in which the pop star admitted that he enjoyed nonsexual sleepovers with children. The worldwide uproar following that broadcast prompted a “rebuttal video” from Jackson in which the accuser and his family lauded him as a loving father figure. Jurors saw the rebuttal video several times in the trial and are likely to see snippets again. Prosecutors allege that Jackson held the family hostage to force them to make the video. The defense had used the tape to argue that the boy and his family, so enthusiastic about Jackson before the camera, were not captives. In his instructions, Melville also said the jury might opt to find Jackson guilty of a misdemeanor — furnishing wine to a minor — rather than the more serious charge of administering alcohol in order to commit a felony. That instruction may offer jurors some room to negotiate. At the end of the court day, Jackson and his entourage left without comment.

June 2: Ron Zonen gives his closing statement followed by Tom Mesereau who doesn’t have time to finish.

The Michael Jackson trial reached a climactic phase yesterday as the prosecution and defense presented starkly different views of the singer to a jury expected to start its deliberations today. For the prosecution the trial was “about the exploitation and sexual abuse of a 13-year-old cancer survivor by an international celebrity”, said the deputy district attorney Ron Zonen. The defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau told the jury: “The issue before you is the life, future, fortune and reputation of Michael Jackson. That’s what is about to be placed in your hands.” While both sides concurred on the momentous nature of the decision facing the jury, that was about all they agreed on. Both teams focused much of their closing arguments on the credibility of Gavin Arvizo, the 13-year-old accuser in the case, and his family. Mr Jackson is accused of sexually molesting Gavin Arvizo and conspiring to imprison the Arvizo family. If found guilty on all counts he faces up to 20 years in prison.”If you don’t believe [the Arvizos],” Mr Mesereau said, “Michael Jackson must go free.” Mr Zonen told the court: “There are two themes, that Michael Jackson inserted himself into the Arvizo family, not the other way around,” and that, “Janet Arvizo never asked Michael Jackson for a penny.” He then launched a withering attack on Mr Jackson’s defence. Reminding the jury that Mr Mesereau had made several promises in his opening statement, Mr Zonen said: “He was inviting us to judge him. Let’s begin the judgment.” The defence, he said, had promised evidence that the Arvizo family had tried to “shake down” numerous celebrities for money. He said the promised parade of celebrities had failed to materialise and those who had testified had not backed up Mr Mesereau’s assertions. He also disputed the defence’s assertion that Mr Jackson, 46, had taken time out from his career to help the young cancer patient. He had, Mr Zonen admitted, made numerous calls to the boy. “That’s what he does with all the boys who end up in his bed,” he said. “That’s how Michael Jackson functions. That’s what he does. That has nothing to do with benevolence.” He went on to describe Neverland as “the world of the forbidden. Michael Jackson’s room was a veritable fortress with locks and codes which the boys were given … They learned about sexuality from someone only too willing to be their teacher.” Pouring scorn on the prosecution’s conspiracy charge, Mr Mesereau said: “Does he look like the kind of person capable of masterminding a criminal conspiracy of this magnitude? It’s absurd.” He also defended Mr Jackson’s practice of inviting children into his bedroom, arguing that Mr Jackson was often taken advantage of by the children. “They like you to think it was all Michael Jackson taking these innocent lambs and corrupting their lives. That’s all baloney,” he said. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/jun/03/michaeljacksontrial.music

June 3: Tom Mesereau completes his closing arguments.

Michael Jackson’s fate is now in the hands of the eight women and four men of the jury, who began their deliberations shortly after noon on Friday with the task of deciding whether he is a predatory pedophile or Peter Pan. Lawyers for Mr. Jackson and for the state ended their closing arguments on Friday with two videotapes portraying him in starkly different lights. The defense showed a videotaped interview in which Mr. Jackson proclaimed his innocent love of children and complained that he was maligned and misunderstood by other adults. “No matter what you do,” Mr. Jackson says in his breathy voice, “there’s always some jerk, some mean-spirited person who wants to bring you down.” The other tape, shown by the prosecution for the second time in a week, shows the accuser, then 13, haltingly telling a police detective how Mr. Jackson served him alcohol and molested him in bed at Mr. Jackson’s Neverland ranch near here. “You have just witnessed the worst seven minutes of this young man’s life,” said Ronald J. Zonen, the deputy district attorney who delivered the closing argument for the prosecution. “This is an absolutely sincere revelation by a child about a man he had been close to.” Outside the courtroom, crowds have grown somewhat this week as the denouement of the 14-week trial approaches. On Friday morning, about 75 fans stood outside the fence ringing the courthouse, jeering reporters and chanting, “Michael’s innocent.” They cheered again as Mr. Jackson left the courthouse shortly after noon accompanied by his parents and his brothers Jermaine and Randy. On most days, only a handful of Jackson fans showed up. Mr. Jackson’s sisters, Janet, LaToya and Rebbie, were in court as his lead lawyer, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., ended his closing argument with a ringing denunciation of the accuser and his family as grifters who were “trying to pull the biggest con of their careers.” The pop star’s sisters left the courtroom before Mr. Zonen took to the lectern to complete his summation. “They found listening to their brother being vilified like that very difficult,” said Raymone K. Bain, a Jackson family publicist. Mr. Jackson faces 10 felony counts – four of child molesting, one of attempted child molesting, four of administering alcohol to aid in the commission of a felony, and conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. If convicted on all counts, he could be sentenced to more than 18 years in prison. Calling the accuser’s family “con artists, actors and liars,” Mr. Mesereau said that the accuser, his brother, his sister and his mother had repeatedly lied on the witness stand.”It only takes one lie under oath for you to throw this case out of court,” he told the jury. “Just one.” “This case is a fraud,” Mr. Mesereau said. He concluded by saying to the jury, “Ladies and gentlemen, this has been a nightmare for Michael Jackson.” He acknowledged that Mr. Jackson had mismanaged his fortune and had been foolish to befriend the accuser and his family, who have now turned on him. But he said voluminous evidence in the trial had shown them to be dishonest and not to be trusted in anything they said. “Under the law and the facts,” Mr. Mesereau said, “you must return a verdict of not guilty on all counts. It’s the only right verdict.” Mr. Zonen reminded jurors that no one had contested that Mr. Jackson shared his bed with a succession of young boys, in one case over the period of a year on two world concert tours. “Why would Mr. Jackson do it? Because he could,” Mr. Zonen said. “He has no restraints on his impulses.” He said that Mr. Jackson had prepared the accuser, who is now 15, for weeks before ultimately molesting him on at least four occasions. “This child was in love with him and would do anything he said,” the prosecutor said. “His opportunity was there and the child was ripe.” He answered Mr. Mesereau’s assertion that the accuser’s family had repeatedly committed perjury by saying that the defense could point out only about 40 minutes of inconsistent testimony during the 12 days that family members spent on the witness stand. Before sending the jury off to deliberate, Judge Rodney S. Melville of Santa Barbara Superior Court delivered a few last-minute instructions. He told the jurors, who are not being sequestered, to be in no rush to reach consensus and not to enter the jury room with fixed opinions. “You are not partisans or advocates in this matter,” the judge said. “You are the impartial judges of the facts.” Ms. Bain, the Jackson family spokeswoman, said that Mr. Jackson was relieved that the trial was over and was proud of his defense team. “He is hoping and believing that the jury will acquit him of these false charges,” she said. She said that he was healthy, despite his gaunt appearance and at times glazed look in his eyes. “He is not falling apart,” she said. But Ms. Bain added that the next days, as the jury deliberates, will be difficult. “This is the hardest part now,” she said, “the waiting game.”

 

MEANWHILE, THE MEDIA CIRCUS SPENDS ITS MISERABLE TIME MAKING BETS WITH UK TRADERS

June 3-13:   Here an excerpt: 

Jurors in the Michael Jackson case is heading home for the weekend after wrapping up a sixth day of deliberations in the star’s child molestation trial . So far the jury has spent 28 hours behind closed doors without reaching a verdict. This leaves Michael Jackson’s future up in the air— and lots of speculation on the final outcome. Some of it is just idle speculation around the courthouse. But there’s also serious speculation on the Jackson verdict with dollar signs attached. These range from offshore betting sites to Dublin-based online trading exchange intrade.com. The Website claims their traders called every state and the District of Columbia correctly in the 2004 election. Here’s how it works: Traders can choose from one of two sets of charges (the molestation charges or the administering an intoxicating agent to a minor charges). Then they choose to bet whether Jackson is guilty or not. They decide to buy or sell depending on their prediction.  As the percentage chance of guilty goes up or down in the minds of the traders, some people are losing while others are making money.  For example, before Jackson attorney Tom Mesereau made his closing arguments, the smart money was on him to sway the jury. Guilty contracts dropped down to 35, meaning they generally believed there was just a 35 percent chance of a conviction. But when the traders found his closing disappointing, contracts for “guilty on molestation” went up from 35 to 45— meaning those who had bought at 35 were making some big money. The “he is innocent” crowd who had put money on an acquittal were suddenly losing money. If they wanted out they would have to pay the difference. As the jury deliberations have continued, many are thinking a compromise verdict could mean Jackson is only found guilty on the alcohol charges. Right now a “lewd act” conviction for Jackson is trading around 50 percent with “intoxicating liquor” over 72. As that “market” trades up and down on the futures… let’s not forget that Michael Jackson’s future really hangs in the balance. It’s hard to imagine Jackson going from the magical place called Neverland— with almost 3,000 acres of child-like fun complete with amusement park rides and a petting zoo— to the confines of a drab eight by 12 foot jail cell in the California Department of Correction if he is convicted.  MSNBC.com 

Worldwide on the News….

June 3, 2005: Jennifer London Defense Cl. arguments

June 6, 2005: Abrams Reports MJ’s prison cell.

June 7, 2005:Jennifer London visits Jesse Jackson

June 9, 2005: Jennifer London/verdict watch

June 9, 2005: Katie Couric/ MJ in hospital

June 9, 2005: Dan Abrams/Jesse Jackson

June 10, 2005: Jennifer London/ Fans at the courthouse

June 11, 2005: Frank Cascio/J. Tacopina on Court TV

2005 June 13, MSNBC Full Coverage Before the Verdict

Michael Jackson NOT GUILTY!

Michael Jackson Exit The Courtroom After The Verdict

Michael Jackson going back to Neverland after verdict reading (wonderful video shot by french fans who followed MJ during his sad journey)

Victory of Verdict/Neverland Party

Abrams Report/ MJ not guilty

June 13, 2005: Dileo reacts after the verdict

June 14, 2005: Today Show/ Couric, Mesereau

“Good Morning America” Interviews the Jury that Acquitted Michael Jackson.

For Tom Sneddon, A Broken Record By Libby Copeland  Wednesday, June 15, 2005

How bad is it to be Tom Sneddon now? For the second time in 12 years, Michael Jackson has gotten away from him. Anyone who sat in that courtroom in Santa Maria saw that Sneddon could be cranky and, perhaps worse for such a high-profile trial, bland. Jim Thomas, a former Santa Barbara County sheriff turned NBC commentator, said that on Monday evening he and Santa Barbara County District Attorney Sneddon and others involved in the prosecution engaged in some post-game analysis at the house in Santa Maria where Sneddon and members of his team had been staying during the trial. They had dinner. There were no tears. Sneddon even talked a little about golf. But he was “disappointed,” Thomas says. “They were all disappointed, because they believed this boy.” The boy, of course, is the 15-year-old who accused the pop star of molesting him two years ago. His testimony was followed by the testimony of his mother, a combative, melodramatic witness who helped torpedo the prosecution’s case. On Monday, several jurors said they disliked her and doubted her motives…..You can read full article:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn…061401676.html

I would like to conclude with the article excerpt of Ishmael Reed dated June 29, 2009, THE PERSECUTION OF MICHAEL JACKSON

Last Thursday, while working on some writing deadlines, I was switching channels on cable. On CNN they were promoting “Black In America,” an exercise meant to boost ratings by making whites feel good by making blacks look bad, the marketing strategy of the mass media since the 1830s, according to a useful book entitled “The Showman and the Slave,” by Benjamin Reiss. The early penny press sold a “whiteness” upgrade to newly arriving immigrants by depicting blacks in illicit situations. By doing so they were marketing an early version of a self esteem boosting product.

One of the initial sensational stories was about the autopsy of a black woman named Joice Heth, who claimed to be George Washington’s nurse and over one hundred years old. It was the O.J. story of the time. Circus master, P.T. Barnum, charged admission to her autopsy, which attracted the perverted in droves.

And so, if the people broadcasting cable news appear to be inmates of a carnival, there is a connection since the early days of the mass media to that form of show business. According to Reiss, early newspapers were not only influenced by P.T. Barnum, but actually cooperated with him on some hoaxes and stunts.

I would classify CNN’s “Black in America” as a stunt. In preparing for a sequel to the first “Black In America,” which boosted the networks ratings (the O.J. trial saved CNN!), CNN rolled out the usual stereotypes about black Americans.

Unmarried black mothers were exhibited, without mentioning that births to unmarried black women have plunged since 1976 – more than that of any other ethnic group. Then we got some footage that implied that blacks as a group were homophobes even though Charles Blow, a statistician for The New York Times, recently published a chart showing that gays have the least to fear from blacks.

Recently, the media perpetrated a hoax that blacks were responsible for the passage of Proposition 8, the California proposition that banned gay marriage. An academic study refuted this claim, but that didn’t deter The New York Times from hiring Benjamin Schwarz to explain black homophobia. Schwarz is the writer who wrote in The Los Angeles Times that blacks who were victims of lynching in the south were probably guilty.

In the last “Black in America,” Soledad O’Brien, CNN’s designated tough love agent against the brothers and sisters, scolded a black man for not attending his daughter’s birthday party. The aim of this scene was meant to humiliate black men as neglectful fathers. Ms. O’Brien won’t be permitted by her employers to mention that 75 percent of white children will live at one time or another in a single-parent household and that the Gov. of South Carolina’s not showing up for Father’s Day isn’t just a lone aberration in “White America.”

How would CNN promote a “White in America?” The thousands of meth addicts who have abandoned their children? The California rural and suburban white women who do more dope than Latino and black youth? The suburban Dallas white teenagers who are overdosing on “cheese” heroin? Why not? Can’t get State Farm, Ford, and McDonald’s to sponsor such a program? All of these companies are sponsoring “Black in America,” the aim of which is to cast collective blame on blacks for the country’s social problems. For ratings. You can read the full article here:  http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/06/29/the-persecution-of-michael-jackson/