Maureen Orth is the fraudulent journalist that reported false stories on MJ for most of her career. She also implied that Michael Jackson intoxicated a 13-year-old boy, Richard Matsuura, with wine served in soda cans. Matsuura went on TV denouncing the story as completely false. And the father corroborated the son’s statements. The place these reports deserve is a dedicated parodies site of fake news. And it’s still Maureen Orts, the sloppy researcher that together with FX and Netflix is currently being sued for defamation by the Versace family over her portrayal of Versace in a show.
Among the vultures that surrounded Michael Jackson for most of his life, Myung-Ho Lee turned out as one of the central figures regarding financial malpractice against MJ. History tells they met in Seoul in the fall of 1996. But Mr. Lee’s first documented presence in the commercial MJ universe appears on a company called Jackson International LLC which shows him as “President” in 1998. With the resignation of Mr. Tarak Ben Ammar from the co-trustee position in the MJ/ATV trust on January 16, 1998, Mr. Lee’s fill the hole on December 23, 1998, just in time to co-sign a loan of 60 million over an already open line with the other co-trustee Mr. Branca.
On this occasion, Bank of America required MJ to put his 50% of Sony/ATV Music Publishing as collateral. And wanted Sony to agree on the loan as co-guarantor, being the other partner in the company. Sony/ATV officialized the bank request with an amendment in the Operating Agreement.
It consisted of Sony’s obligation to pay off the loan Capital to the bank only in case of MJ defaulted to reimburse. It recites that from December 1, 2005, and on or before February 28, 2006, MJ could require the Sony Music Publishing Members to purchase his company interests for a purchase price of $140,000,000 (the “Put Price”). If MJ did not exercise the Put Option on or before March 1, 2006, Sony Music Publishing could require to MJ, from March 1th, 2006 to May 31, 2006, to purchase their SMP Interest in the Company (Sony/ATV) for a purchase price equal to the Put Price.
On April 5, 1999, MJ announced an investment of rumored 30 million dollars in Tickets.com Inc. partnered with other companies through his Jackson International LLC. He owned 20% of Ticket.com for a short period. Right after this investment, Ticket.com’s losses started to grow. MJ likely lost or sold his shares. In brief: he lost money.
On September 29, 1999, a new credit line facility of 30 million was put in place using as collateral the trust MJPT, which included among others his catalog MIJAC. As usual, the security agreement was signed by Lee and Branca, and additionally, there was a continuing, unconditional guarantee provided by MJ.
On July 1, 2000, it was reported that MJ invested in HollywoodTicket.com through Jackson International LLC company. The service was designed to give space to young movie artists and give the fans a chance to get closer to their idols.
The website got blank in early 2001, and managers of the project sued MJ for alleged unpaid bills. Both the site and the company behind had been shut down in January 2003.
In December 2000, a third increase of 45 million dollars guaranteed by the MJ/ATV trust at the rate of 7.14 % per annum. Signature by Lee/Branca.
MJ fired Lee in August 2001 to rehire him almost immediately. It’s unclear when they separate their ways for good, but it occurred sometime between fall 2001 and the filing of Lee’s lawsuit in April 2002.
Lee sued MJ alleging had signed a document to pay him 12 million of arrears. Court documents immediately available to the press caused the diffusion of some specific facts of Jackson’s private life.
In December 2002, MJ lawyers presented a complaint against Lee’s claim. In March of the same year, the judge ruled in favor of Jackson, who could go ahead to countersue Lee for breach of contracts and fraud. In an affidavit, Jackson denied that he signed the deal, saying he was “not even in Los Angeles” that day. Jackson alleged that someone forged his name on the agreement Lee introduced to the Court. He added to have paid Lee for his services 3.5 million, but he wanted more. MJ alleged that Mr. Lee stole millions from him. Jackson lawyers asked the judge to toss away the suit.
The 140 million dollar loan hoax had ignited the imagination of journalists to the point of messing up a growing proliferation of millions while divulging a story much closer to the multiplying of loaves and fishes described in the Gospel than fair and informative reports. Except the situation was unpleasant anyway, I guess MJ would have had much fun reading it.
Here the mess transpired in the press:
- Lee alleged claimed having arranged a 140 million dollars loan for Jackson in 1998 using as collateral “the complete catalog of Beatles’ songs.”
In reality, MJ already had the Beatles catalog since 1985. And the loan was far from being a new one. And it was not organized by Myung-Ho Lee but by “the only and the one” John Branca. Michael Jackson was a well-known client of the bank, having an escrow account where EMI credited the catalogs royalties. A credit facility with NationsBank, then absorbed by Bank of America, was already in place since 1993 and guaranteed by some of Michael’s assets. The 140 million of December 23, 1998, so much trumpeted by Media was nothing than a restated and consolidated Loan Agreement with the 90 million loan facility already in place. In short, there was an additional 60 million disbursement. The expiring date of the loan remained December 20, 2005.
It is common practice to open, close and expands credit facilities when you have commercial activities. When MJ expanded his operations and purchased the Northern song’s publishing in 1985, he sold a small catalog of about 6 million and borrowed something like 40 million dollars from Chemical Bank.
His companies always worked with banks, credit lines, loans, direct or indirect. Michael Jackson was a brand, a creator of services in the entertainment world, a music industry producer, a marketing genius. He was an International Corporation. I’m not going to list the number of companies he headed, directly and indirectly, the web has all these lists. What I care to point out is that when it came to business, MJ was not the sensitive, fragile, and the childlike guy showed in public.
Thanks to Chandler extortion, Michael’s life changed sharply. Countless of frivolous litigations arrived on his desk (from alleged false molestations claims to crazy women allegedly pregnant or with an already done child by him). I think many of us underestimate how desperate people can be. The entertainment industry is rife with beggars and hangers-on who leech themselves to a celebrity looking for power, fame, money, and opportunities. MJ tried to contain the whole lousy publicity, paying settlements and tremendous fees to lawyers. He was billed tens of thousands every month by the PR consultants and advisors.
MJJ Productions and Kingdom Entertainment, produced the short film GHOSTS coming from an old project of 1993 the “Addams Family Values.” Michael Jackson recorded a horror-themed song for Addams Family Values and filmed a music video to promote it, he invested a large amount of money in the project, which was then shelved in the wake of the Chandler child molestation allegations.
GHOSTS “entire project cost Michael a reported 15 million straight out of his pockets, but he wouldn’t see much of a financial return. Television stations were offered the film as part of an hour-long special but were put off by the high price”.
- Lee alleged that in the middle of 1999 procured for Michael a $30 million line of credit.
In reality, in February 1999, the promissory note of 140 million been reinstated per the same amount. It means that interests and fees been paid regularly, and the reinstatement was due to amend company documents. The applicable interest rate of the loan was 6.16 % per annum, provided that any overdue amount on principal, interest, and fee was payable on demand, at a rate equal of 2% per annum. Signature: Lee/Branca. And on September 29, 1999, Bank of America opened a new credit line facility of 30 million that was put in place using as collateral the trust containing MIJAC. As usual, the security agreement signed by Lee and Branca, and there is a continuing and unconditional guarantee signed by MJ.
- In October 2000, Lee alleged to be able to raise the original loan by 60 million — with the provision that Jackson uses 30 million dollars of the increase to pay off the credit line, which was now due.
In reality, in December 2000, there a third loan over the MJ/ATV Trust of 45 million at 7.14 % per annum, provided any overdue amount on principal, interest, fee, payable on demand, at a rate equal of 2% per annum. Signature: Lee/Branca.
Once Myung-Ho Leech (sorry Lee) was fired for fraud and incompetence MJ liquidity shortage is evident.
On September 30, 2002, there’s reinstatement of both loans with the relevant security agreement. (which mean that all matured interests and fees were paid, and the principal amount reinstated) and a loan increase of 11.5 million under the MJ/ATV facility. What ‘s weird about this third loan? That the only purpose was to fund the cash collateral account as per the loan contract, pay the amendment fees, and the remainder to finance MJ’s professional and personal expenses.
Most of MJ royalties and incomes derived by his compositions and the licensing of the publishing catalogs were linked as a collateral of the various investments he went through his career. Michael Jackson earning estimation was around 20 to 35 million annually. Despite records sales reduction and losses in doubtful and insecure transactions, he could still manage the coverage of the bank interests and fees and deal with his life. The 11.5 million borrowed look as a Sony/ATV advance guaranteed distribution not received from Sony due to one of the many priorities at the company benefits. MJ was entangled with them in excess, and they had control over most of his assets and money.
The roughly 115 million dollars Sony had to pay to reach the parity on Sony/ATV shares seem to have been settled in several installments over the years. Most of the money remained in the company books to capitalize on the company and to serve operational costs. That’s was the situation Michael Jackson was at that point.
Meanwhile, South Korean Myung-Ho Lee had become Maureen Orth “adviser,” a woman representing the definition of trash journalism, as her sole competitor is Diane Dimond. Lee told Orth an incredible number of stories. Among many, one was about Jackson cleansing himself with sheep’s blood. Another, that Jackson sent Lee in Switzerland, to wire 150,000 dollars to an African witch doctor named Baba to perform a “voodoo ritual” intended to curse twenty-five people of a Jackson’s alleged “enemies list.” Orth spared no details such as Baba’s curses had been sealed with the blood of forty-two ritually sacrificed cows.
In April 2003, Orth targeted MJ writing the article on Vanity Fair magazine. Being a magazine of international resonance, and the article content highly ridiculous, news had a full day of laughing. (at that time).
What is more incredible is that her shit binge was once again rehashed the moment Leaving Neverland mockumentary appeared.
Despite Jackson nearly had Lee’s lawsuit thrown out, the Korean attorneys successfully scheduled a deposition of Michael Jackson in June 2003, where the singer’s finances would have been fully explored. It was an obvious tactic to scare the Jackson camp into settling before the expensive trial started. And it worked: the day before he was to be questioned, he ended out of court Lee lawsuit. A predictable Hollywood story.
Knowing how MJ used to keep his private life out of tabloid headlines, what Myung-Ho Lee delivered to the press, it was nothing also that pure poisoned retaliation aiming to extort some extra money to him.
Had he a spending habit? Who wouldn’t have got it, when earning for millions of dollars since he was a child? Then note that “burn” 90 million dollars in 4 years means 22.5 million per year. And Michael Jackson was a Corp, giving jobs to hundreds of people. There’s nothing sensational in the amount when you read the way money was employed.
The group of floaty vultures around him are guilties. Most of these former advisors are sitting on their ass, counting the millions of dollars they made and still make on his dead body. Whatever it turns on Michael Jackson’s financial issues, his former advisors, are far more than outrageous individuals.
Avram vs Jackson Case no. 1007622 November 4, 2002 pacermonitor.com/case/16787632/Prescient Acquisition Group, Inc v MJ Publishing Trust et al 2006-2008Joe Jackson objection documents case no. bp 117321 November 10,2009