Michael Jackson died deeply in debt

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The moon-walking pop star drove the growth of music videos, making cable channel MTV mainstream after its launch in 1981. His 1982 hit “Thriller,” still the second-best-selling US album of all time , gave birth to a movie directed by John Landis. music video broadcast by MTV every hour.

“The ratings were three or four times higher than they normally were each time the video was shown,” said Judy McGrath, President and CEO of MTV Networks of Viacom Inc .. “It was inextricably related to the so-called MTV generation. “
Five years later, “Bad” has sold 22 million copies. In 1991, he signed a $ 65 million recording contract with Sony.

Jackson was so popular that The Walt Disney Co. attached its cart to its star in 1986, opening a 3D film in its parks called “Captain EO”, produced by George Lucas and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The last attraction in Paris closed 12 years later.

One of Jackson’s smartest deals at the height of his fame in 1985 was the $ 47.5 million acquisition of ATV Music, which held the copyright to songs written by John Lennon. and Paul McCartney of The Beatles. The catalog provided Jackson with a steady stream of income and the opportunity to indulge in a lavish lifestyle.

He bought the sprawling Neverland Ranch in 1988 for $ 14.6 million, a fantastic 2,500 acre property nestled in the rolling hills of Santa Barbara County wine country.

But the bomb hit in 1993 when he was accused of assaulting a 13-year-old boy.

“This kind of represents the start of walking down a tragic path, financially, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, legally,” said Michael Levine, his publicist at the time.

He settled down with the boy’s family, but other accounts of his alleged pedophilia began to emerge.

When he encountered other financial problems, he agreed to a deal with Sony in 1995 to merge ATV with Sony’s song library and sold the Sony music publishing rights for $ 95 million. Then, in 2001, he used his half of ATV’s assets as collateral to secure $ 200 million in loans from Bank of America.

As his financial troubles continued, Jackson began borrowing large sums of money, according to a 2002 lawsuit by Union Finance & Investment Corp. which claimed $ 12 million in unpaid fees and expenses.

In 2003, Jackson was arrested for assaulting another 13-year-old boy. The 2005 trial, which ultimately ended in an acquittal, shed more light on Jackson’s strained finances.

A forensic accountant said the singer was having a “continuing cash flow crisis” and was spending $ 20-30 million more a year than he was making.

In March of last year, the singer was locked out on Neverland. He also repeatedly failed to make mortgage payments on a house in Los Angeles that had been used for years by his family.

Additionally, Jackson has been forced to defend himself against a slew of lawsuits in recent years, including a $ 7 million claim from Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the second son of the King of Bahrain.

Souvenir auctions were frequently advertised, but were the subject of legal disputes and were often canceled.

Time and time again, however, Jackson has found a way to withdraw money from high-value assets, borrowing tens of millions at a time or relying on wealthy friends for advice, if not for advice. money.

Al Khalifa, 33, took Jackson under his wing after his acquittal, moved him to the small Gulf estate and covered him with money.

In his lawsuit, Al Khalifa claimed he gave Jackson millions of dollars to help him consolidate his finances, burn an album, write an autobiography and subsidize his lifestyle, of which more than 300,000 $ for a “motivation guru”. The lawsuit was settled last year for an undisclosed amount. Neither the album nor the book was ever produced.

Another wealthy benefactor came to Jackson’s aid last year as he risked losing Neverland in a public auction.

Billionaire Thomas Barrack, chairman and CEO of Los Angeles-based real estate investment company Colony Capital LLC, has agreed to bail out the singer and form a joint venture with Jackson that has taken over the vast estate.

Barrack was unavailable for comment on Thursday, but called the singer in a statement “a gentle, talented and compassionate man.”

A final piece of the financial puzzle fell into place in March, when billionaire Philip Anschutz’s concert promotion company, AEG Live, announced it would be promoting 50 shows in London’s O2 arena. Tickets sold out and the first show of the “This is It” tour was scheduled for July 8th.

Jackson, who won 13 Grammys, had not toured since 1997. His last studio album, “Invincible”, was released in 2001.

But the opening date was later postponed to July 13 and some shows were pushed back to March 2010, fueling speculation that Jackson was suffering from health issues that could reduce his candidacy upon his return.

His death, caused by cardiac arrest according to his brother Jermaine, raised the question of whether an insurer would refund money to ticket holders. AEG Live did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Jackson was training for the concert in Los Angeles at the Staples Center with Kenny Ortega, choreographer and director of the “High School Musical” films, who worked on previous Jackson videos like “Dangerous” in 1993.

“We had a 25-year friendship. It’s too hard to understand,” Ortega said in a statement. “He was the greatest performer in the world and he will be missed by the world.”

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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