Michael Jackson Estate SuesFormer Manager


Michael Jackson **’s estate sued
the singer’s former manager on
Friday, claiming he lined his own
pockets by persuading the pop
superstar to sign unconscionable
contracts in the final year of his
life.
The lawsuit against Tohme R.
Tohme came after more than a
year of wrangling between
Jackson’s estate and the former
adviser who has claimed he is
owed 15 percent of the more
than $310 million collected by
the estate since the singer’s
death.
The lawsuit seeks the return of
Jackson’s property and financial
records along with damages and
a ruling that Tohme is not
entitled to any money from the
estate.
The contracts involved a
refinancing of Jackson’s debt
related to Neverland Ranch and
a producer’s fee that Tohme
negotiated for himself for
Jackson’s series of planned
comeback concerts in London.
“This lawsuit is necessary to finally
put a stop to abuse of fiduciary
obligations owed to Jackson and
seeks to unwind the self-serving
and unconscionable agreements
(Tohme) encouraged Jackson to
enter into” and to compensate
the estate for failing to return
Jackson’s property, the complaint
states.
Tohme’s attorney Paul Malingagio
did not immediately return a
phone message seeking comment
Friday.
Tohme served as Jackson’s
manager from January 2008 until
March 2009.
Estate attorney Howard
Weitzman wrote in a statement
that he expects Jackson’s former
manager to file his own lawsuit to
try to gain money from the
estate.
“We believe the facts will show
that Mr. Tohme’s claims are
meritless and that Mr. Tohme
engaged in wrongdoing with
respect to Michael Jackson
starting early in their
relationship,” Weitzman wrote.
The lawsuit states that Tohme
forced Jackson to pay him a
finder’s fee for introducing the
singer to a group that saved
Neverland Ranch from
foreclosure. That deal earned
Tohme more than $2.4 million
and was just one of several deals
he was involved in that the estate
claims improperly benefited the
adviser.
Tohme also negotiated a
producer’s fee of $100,000 a
month for the “This Is It” shows
planned in London, although
Jackson died before the concert
series began.
The legal action also alleges that
Tohme improperly signed away
the rights to artwork created by
Jackson.
Tohme told The Associated Press
in July 2009 that he had turned
over more than $5 million to
Jackson’s estate that the singer
had stockpiled to purchase a
“dream home” in Las Vegas.
In September 2010, Tohme
sought more than $2.3 million
from the estate and claimed he
was owed 15 percent of revenue
from the film “This Is It,” which
used footage from Jackson’s final
rehearsals.
Tohme was credited as Jackson’s
personal adviser in the film.

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