Some dates and names: Review 3- The Return of the King

By The Last Tear (Lou)

This is a selective review of the years 2006, 2007 and 2008. We will only study some events which occurred during these years and which we have found important to bring up to the reader’s attention.

From a young age, even until his last breath, Michael Jackson fought vigorously to be in charge of his destiny. Alas! Not an easy goal to achieve when you are a person with a unique and extraordinary talent like Michael’s! Not an automatic right to have in a world dominated by names, shapes, figures and numbers!

On December 23, 2006 Jackson returned to the States, to claim back for the last time his stolen life.

Ireland postcard 001 ireland

Looking on Jackson’s schedule during 2006, we will see a busy artist-businessman who travelled all the time. Apart from some months when he and his family stayed in Ireland, they were on the move the rest of the year: Bahrain, France, Germany, Italy, UK, Japan, etc.

There is no sign that the man was retired from either the music or the business. The travelling he did was not always for pleasure even if the family had some fun. When you are a celebrity like Michael Jackson travelling is part of your life. Keeping contact with fans, friends and other celebrities and just being in the world are important tasks for an artist; especially for Jackson who was targeted a second time in 2005 in a set up trial.

We know that he created music at least in Ireland where he settled down for some months and experienced how a quiet life would be. People were friendly and not as nosey as in other places. Ireland looked promising but it could not be their home for good.

Why? Because all the enemies who were after Jackson, continued to stalk him from a distance.

And even though his manager called him every day and met him a few times here and there, running a business from abroad was difficult. He had to have a grip on his affairs because his enemies wanted him to disappear from both the business world and the music industry. They hoped that the false accusations, the pressure from all over – the media, the lawsuits, etc. would break the man and force him to sell all his catalogs and songs and go away!

Still the decision to move back to the States was probably not an easy one. After all, only three years before, Jackson had been arrested by an obsessed prosecutor who had stalked the star for at least 10 years. More than a year and half before, Jackson had to sit day after day in a court room with that same prosecutor who wanted to jail him for the rest of his life based on false accusations.

After his acquittal on June 13, 2005, Tom Mesereau, Jackson’s lawyer, advised his client to leave the country for fear that the revengeful prosecutor would play another game against the star.

Probably, Jackson kept this warning in his mind when he moved back to the US in December 2006; he did not stay too long in the same place and looked constantly over his shoulder to be sure of his and his family’s safety. That is surely why he stayed close to a very few people he did trust.

As we were writing this blog, Wade Robson’s outrageous lawsuit came up. If you are not familiar with Robson and his life, please read this blog Smears and lies: Why the media and money are killing Michael Jackson again

Howard Weitzman, the lawyer for Jackson’s Estate said (May 8th):

“This is a young man who has testified at least twice under oath over the past 20 years and said in numerous interviews that Michael Jackson never did anything inappropriate to him or with him. Now, nearly four years after Michael has passed, this sad and less than credible claim has been made. We are confident that the court will see this for what it is.”

About the timing of this lawsuit, Mr. Tom Mesereau has said that is suspicious because it has come up when Katherine Jackson and Jackson’s children are suing AEG Live. He also hinted that AEG Live might be behind Robson’s allegations and lawsuit.

We should not forget that the permanent show, Michael Jackson ONE in Mandalay Bay will also open to the public in May. There is no doubt that this show will be a big success. It seems no coincidence that Robson’s lawsuit comes just a little before the show’s opening!

Tom Mesereau’s advice to Jackson in 2005 about not staying in US was very accurate; the star and now his Estate are still targets. Wade Robson’s lawsuit is proof of that. In fact, Jackson’s haters consider the young people who testified in 2005 and defended Jackson in court as “potential accusers”.

They might harass these young people if they could; probably they observe them closely in case they have money or other kinds of problems. In such cases the haters could approach them with an offer to pay solutions to their problems in return for a retraction of their testimony in 2005.

This is what we guess has happened in the Robson case. And this is why Mr. Mesereau’s remark about AEG Live being behind this case rings true. Someone with a large purse could well be behind this; because when a young man like Robson makes such outrageous allegations, he has crossed over from the world of living to the world of shadows and he would not do that without a paycheck with many zeros!

Let us review more in detail some events in Jackson’s life.

Artistry, meetings and collaborations

On May 27, 2006 Jackson attended the MTV Japan Awards ceremony at Yoyugi Olympic Stadium in Tokyo where he was presented with the MTV Legend Award. Raymone Bain, his manager was there too and they had a business meeting. A few days later, Jackson signed an agreement with Bain and made her, his general manager and the head of a new company he had launched.

While Jackson and his family were still in Japan, he went to SMAP, a Japanese TV show and surprised many people!

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Later in September and October, he met the hip hop producer Ron Feemster and his manager Charles Stanton to discuss a possible collaboration on his album. He also asked Teddy Riley and Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas to work on new songs for him.

Jackson and the artists that we mentioned had an ongoing collaboration that extended into 2007 and even 2008. Later in 2007, the star also collaborated with Akon, Kanye West, Ne-yo, and others.

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In Michael Jackson Beat blog there is an article with many quotes from different artists who worked with Jackson during the years 2006-2008. We will just quote some of them and ask you to look at the rest of it on the blog:

What Will.i.Am Has Said
October 2006 At Access Hollywood With Billy BushSomething needs to put a jolt back in the music industry. And the only thing that can do that is the jolt itself. The energy that sparked the imagination of the kids that are… me, you know, the Justin Timberlake’s, we’re all products of this. (Motions to Michael) So the only person that can put that jolt back in to that monstrosity of entertainment and music is the one who created that.(Motions to Michael again)

On The Rolling Stone Magazine November 2006
For a month we probably talked three times a week. He’d be like, “I need you to dig deep inside! Do something that’s unprecedented!” He’d hum a little melody over the phone or something. Eight song sketches were conjured out of phone conversations, then we met up in Ireland for a week and finished three ideas. We tracked one song–the running title is “I’m Dreamin’.”

He just said, “Great melodies.” In January we’ll spend a month together. I want it to sound like Off the Wall for today. He’s been really open to ideas. But as far as his vocal abilities are concerned, he’s still killing everybody.

On another issue(Feb. 2007), Rolling Stone has reported…
The pair drafted eight new songs and physically tracked one, titled “I’m Dreamin'”.

Around the 13th of August that same year, they confirmed…
Will.i.Am told reporters at a Black Eyed Peas press conference in South Korea that another track he recorded with Jackson is titled “The Future”. Another song title that will.i.am has revealed is “Still The King”.[]
Cannes MidemNet Conference(January 2007)
Michael Jackson is working day and night on this great, great record. I heard and see him in the studio and he is creating a masterpiece. A lot of people in the industry are involved or want to be involved. From producers to marketing people.
[]
Interview With Ryan Seacrest(Aug. 2007)
Will.i.Am-I went to Ireland to work with Mike,that was a great experience.
We probably did like 3 or 4 songs – 2 of them are (finished)
I don’t know when he’s gonna put em out, its his project, ya know – I’d put em out tomorrow!
Ryan-How is he doin?
Will.i.Am-Awesome –
Ryan-How was he to work with?
Will.i.Am-The freshest.
When I was with him it was super-duper, ya know – Flying to Ireland, and being there for like a week, this great facility, great studios, great vibe, great atmosphere-It was just the awesomest.
the songs Are just feel-good joints-Just really feel-good songs. I wrote 2 songs, then he wrote one song, and we wrote one song together.

Interview With Trever Nelson On Radio 1(Sept. 07)
So we’re talking on the phone talking about ideas and two months later I fly out to Ireland and we, you know, start making some songs. Then four months later I fly out to Vegas and we make, you know, in the studio again. But about the time the record comes out I don’t know, he could be like ‘you know, the songs were cool ya know…I don’t think I’m gonna use them’. I don’t know. All I know is I work with the dude so…
Voice T.V.(With Kim Halling[Sept. 2007])
I cant even consider Michael Jackson’s record a comeback record; I don’t think he’s ever left. You know, ‘Thriller’, ‘Off The Wall’, ‘Beat It’, ‘Billie Jean’, ‘I’m Bad’, ‘Dangerous’, ‘Dirty Diana’, like, you still go to clubs around the world, they’re still playing this man’s music.

So regardless if they’re not selling, like just come out like ever Tuesday, right… A record comes out every Tuesday.. and no record has been as monumental as his records. So, you can keep on releasing records every Tuesday but his records will always be important to the planet; So, this is just another Michael Jackson record. You know, and I’m doing my best to try and, you know, make infectious melodies and nice grooves that could play in the clubs or play on your Iphone or Ipod or on internet or whatever. Where ever its gonna play, that’s what we’re trying to make. Workin with Mike, its like, there needs to be a new terminology. Its like, workin’ with Michael Jackson!
September 2008
There are all these artists in the world like Ne-yo, Usher Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake and Fergies and Rihannas and then there is Michael Jackson. Now he has a different pace and you can not put Michael Jackson in the same category so Michael Jackson will release his album when he is ready and work with who he wants”

Michael has come over to my crib recorded his vocals and said…. I like it here it’s nice and relaxing, comfortable is it okay if I come back tomorrow to record the rest of my vocals..I was like sure come on through, He is a cool dude.

Back again to 2006, in October, Jackson let Billy Bush from Access Hollywood come to Ireland and visit him at his home. They had an interview which also included Will.i.am (some of his talk above). The interview was aired at the beginning of November on NBC.

On November 14, 2006 Jackson and his family went to London. He collected his certificates of records sales at the Guinness Book of Records.

On November 15, 2006 he went to the World Music Awards ceremony at Earl Court where Beyonce presents him with the Diamond Award for the Thriller sales.

Michael Jackson

Conflicts and issues

As we said before, Jackson’s enemies did not let him be; as a matter of fact new lawsuits were still filed against him.

In this blog, we have chosen to study some of these conflicts and issues. Hopefully, we will analyze the others in the future.

The Prince

The first one is the conflict between Michael Jackson and the Bahraini Prince, Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Khalifa.

In fact, the Prince was Jermaine Jackson’s friend. The story of their friendship goes back to 1989 when Jermaine visited Bahrain for a concert. After that stay, he converted to Islam.

In an interview published on April 21, 2009 with a tabloid called, Gulf News, which Jermaine has known from 1989 and onward, he shares in our opinion some astonishing thoughts. We will talk about Jackson’s family later in another blog; however, we ask you to read this article and judge for yourself. You will find it at the end of this blog, in the Appendix.

A short quote from the article:

[Jermaine]  Jackson has called Bahrain home since converting to Islam in 1989 after meeting his close friend Ali Gamber there. He has since spent many years travelling in and out of Dubai and says he picked the location for his charity project because it is peaceful.

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The Prince who was an amateur songwriter, had some plans with Jermaine in 2004 and early 2005; apparently they had wanted to create an album. He had spent about $450,000 for his musician friend. Even though no album was produced, the Prince never sued nor asked Jermaine to pay him back.

It appears that the Prince wished to collaborate with Michael Jackson too in 2005. He was also among people who wanted “to revive Jackson’s career”; like Tom Barrack who came on board later and then AEG Live –AEG.

It seems that the Prince was the least fortunate among these people because all “the agreements” between the two of them came to nothing; there were no legal documents that would bind them together.

We do not exactly know why Jackson left the Prince and Bahrain; we can only assume that the star found the efforts that would “revive” his career too thin and too limited; also the price that he had to pay for it too high. Probably, he did not want to be regarded as “a court musician”.

UPDATE 13/7/5:  On June 24, Tom Mesereau had an interview with King Jordan He said among other things that Susan Yu continued to work for Michael Jackson when the star left the US. She took care of the lawsuits that came in while Jackson was abroad. The Prince’s lawsuit was one of them. Hopefully, one day we will know more about this particular lawsuit and even the others.

After Jackson left Bahrain, the Prince decided to file a lawsuit against the star. If you have not read any article about this legal fight, here it is the least biased one for you to read:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/11/24/us-jackson-court-idUSTRE4AM2B320081124

Michael Jackson, Bahrain prince seal legal deal

Sun, Nov 23 2008

By Mike Collett-White

LONDON | Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:57am EST

LONDON (Reuters) – Michael Jackson and a son of the king of Bahrain signed an out-of-court settlement on Monday ending a legal dispute under which the prince sued the pop star saying he reneged on a recording contract and owed him money.

Neither Jackson nor Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Khalifa were at London’s High Court to hear their lawyers confirm to the judge that a deal had been struck.

Two hours later, both sides agreed on the wording of a short joint statement, which they said formally ended the dispute.

“Sheikh Abdullah and Michael Jackson are pleased to confirm that they have amicably settled their dispute which was in litigation before the High Court in London,” said Philip Croall, senior partner at Freshfields law firm.

“They wish each other well in their own, respective endeavors,” he told reporters. Both sides said details of the settlement would not be made public.

News of a settlement “in principle” was announced late on Sunday, sparing Jackson the ordeal of having to travel to Britain to testify.

The reclusive 50-year-old originally said he would come to give evidence, sparking frenzied press interest and prompting court administrators to issue passes to media outlets to contain the crush in courtroom 73.

A small handful of die-hard fans came to the court on Monday to hear a lawyer address the judge for around 20 seconds, even though they knew Jackson had canceled plans to appear.

BUSINESS AND GIFTS

Jackson’s lawyers argued that there was no valid agreement with Sheikh Abdullah, and they tried to portray the prince as a generous but naive, star-struck pop music amateur.

They also say Sheikh Abdullah’s payments to Jackson and his staff were intended as gifts, not part of a business agreement.

Details of Sheikh Abdullah’s generosity toward Jackson and brother Jermaine emerged during hearings last week.

Jackson and his children spent time in Bahrain as a guest of the royal family following his 2005 trial on child molestation charges at the end of which he was acquitted.

The case left Jackson’s career, reputation and financial status in tatters and he has been a virtual recluse since.

Sheikh Abdullah said that as well as reneging on a contract to record a new album, write an autobiography and produce a stage play, Jackson also owed him $7 million.

The court heard how the prince, hoping to play a part in reviving Jackson’s career, gave the star and representatives $1 million before they had even met, and provided $35,000 for utility bills at the Neverland Ranch in the United States.

He paid Jackson $2.2 million in legal fees, and more than $300,000 for the services of a motivational “guru.”

Sheikh Abdullah also spent $450,000 on Jermaine Jackson in late 2004 and early 2005, and paid for a Rolls-Royce car for him in California.

Jackson and the prince spoke by telephone and collaborated on songs long-distance during the 2005 trial, but their efforts ultimately came to little. Jackson walked away from the collaboration in 2006.

We were saying that compared to Tom Barrack and AEG Live-AEG, the Prince of Bahrain was the least lucky. Nevertheless, the Prince, knowingly or unknowingly, did a great service to Tom Barrack. After settlement with Jackson, the Prince still claimed his money back from the star; this “debt” was also another “hole” through which Barrack got in and gained some control over Jackson.

As we know, Barrack also paid off the Neverland loan and signed a confidential agreement with Jackson and got a percentage of the ranch (all these moves happened in 2008). We do not know how beneficial this agreement was and perhaps still is for the businessman.

Barrack’s connections with Tohme Tohme who was brought in by Jermaine Jackson, helped him to establish his authority; he considered Jackson as “his investment” (Please see this blog).

Since Randy Phillips who had run after Jackson as soon as the latter was back in the States, was unsuccessful in entering into business with the artist – Jackson refused any collaboration because he felt that he was not ready – Barrack came in and fixed a meeting between Anschutz and Jackson. We know the rest of the story. But this is not all we have to say about Jackson and Barrack. Soon you will find more in this blog.

Rock City and more

When Jackson was back in the States, he only wished to be able to live his life without fearing for his and his children’s safety; he wanted regain back his name and honor; he wanted that name calling and the hearsay to stop.

His collaborations with younger musicians in 2006 and also his work with Jack Wishna – Rock City project – were all saying that he was ready to work more and to create music, films etc. That is what Wishna saw in him – the old Jackson, the BAD era Jackson as Wishna said to a reporter  – when the star left the plan at Las Vegas airport.

In case you do not know about Wishna and Rock City, let us enlighten you; Jack Wishna was Michael Jackson’s friend. He reached out to the star in Ireland and asked him to work together in a project called Rock City. Please read some quotes from several interviews that Wishna has done: 

http://blog.rockcityclub.com/abc-news-interviewed-jack-wishna-michael-jacksons-friend-and-rockcityclub-com-founder-about-the-conrad-murray-verdict/

ABC News Interviewed Jack Wishna, Michael Jackson’s Friend and rockcityclub.com Founder On Murray Verdict

Wishna Reflects On Moving Michael Jackson Back to America

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/                                    

[] Jack Wishna, Founder & CEO of Rockrena Inc., helped move Jackson back to America to work on rockcityclub.com, a company that develops undiscovered talent in new and unique ways.

Michael was excited to come back to America with his children and work on his career and rockcityclub.com. Wishna convinced Jackson, who was residing in Ireland, to return to America and Jackson left it up to Wishna to find him a home for him and his three children. Wishna secured a mansion for Michael and helped move Michael and his kids into their new home in Las Vegas. Wishna then brought aboard Don Kirshner, the legendary rock promoter and producer, and friend to Michael Jackson, to further help shape rockcityclub.com. In the interview broadcast on ABC News last evening, Jack Wishna stated: “I will forever feel haunted by the thought that if I did not help convince Jackson to leave Ireland and return to America, would Jackson be alive today. In launching rockcityclub.com I know that Michael will forever be a part of each undiscovered talent that we promote and nurture through rockcityclub.com. He was excited to come back to America, and I am very proud and honored to have had Michael as part of our early company history.

 

http://uk.eonline.com/news/its_going_be_disaster_associate_says/133691#ixzz1yhhloag4

“It’s Going to Be a Disaster”: Associate Says Jackson Was Too Weak for Major Comeback

Fri., Jul. 10, 2009 8:16 PM PDT by Whitney English and Natalie Finn

[]

The idea that they danced around from mid-2006 to mid-2007, and again earlier this year, was to have Jackson in residence at a Las Vegas hotel, where he’d star in a concert spectacular called Michael Jackson Presents that would also feature guest appearances by the latest R&B hitmakers.

In order to reach his goals – to regain his life in the States –  Jackson knew that he needed the backing of people with higher rank, people who knew others with higher rank; people who own newspapers, TV-Channels and radio stations. He wanted a cease-fire from his enemies and to work out a solution for his situation. If not, he would have stayed abroad and forgotten about a life in the US.

It is easy for us ordinary people to forget that Jackson was acquainted with nobility and high profile people. He worked with some of them in humanitarian projects before the ridiculous trial of 2005. One of the people on whom Jackson counted was Ron Burkle.

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In case you do not know about Ron Burkle – who was a close friend and business associate to Clinton family and played an active role in politics – and his connections with Jackson, please read the following quotes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Burkle

Burkle was born in Pomona, California. He got his start in the supermarket business as a bag boy at his father’s grocery store in neighboring Claremont. He later dropped out of college and founded Yucaipa Companies, a private equity firm[2] which invests in retail, manufacturing, and distribution. He also founded the Ronald W. Burkle Foundation[3]

Burkle has served as Chairman of the Board and controlling shareholder of numerous companies, including Alliance Entertainment,[4] Golden State Foods, Dominick’s, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, and Food4Less. He is currently a member of the board of Occidental Petroleum Corporation,[5] KB Home,[6] and Yahoo![7]

Burkle is a well-known Democratic supporter and fundraiser who raised more than $1,000,000 for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Bill Clinton is employed by The Yucaipa Companies to help identify possible investment opportunities.[8] He has supported California State Treasurer Phil Angelides and employed former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, both of whom are former California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) board members, but has also made contributions to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.[9] Robert Novak reported in June 2007 that 98 percent of Burkle’s $1.5 million political contributions to date have gone to Democrats.[10] Burkle helped finance Al Gore’s cable Current TV network.[11]

Burkle is also known for a tussle with the New York Post which tagged him the “Billionaire Party Boy”.

http://observer.com/2006/04/the-complete-ron-burkle/

The Complete Ron Burkle

[] []

But before Mr. Burkle’s name ever appeared in Page Six, before he ever met Mr. Clinton, he was a dental school drop-out getting rich on supermarkets [] []

According to Wikipedia, Burkle had several disputes with Rupert Murdoch and his newspapers. Also there was some tension between him and David Geffen. It has been said that Burkle lives now mostly in London, UK.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/billionaires-david-geffen-ron-burkle-love-hate-friendship-author-michael-gross-article-1.961835#ixzz2DkBe2ZNx

Billionaires David Geffen and Ron Burkle had a ‘love-hate’ friendship: author Michael Gross

A new book uncovers the secret histories of some of Los Angeles’ ritziest real estate

Tuesday, October 11, 2011, 4:00 AM

David Geffen and Ron Burkle – friends or frenemies?

In a new book that uncovers the secret histories of some of Los Angeles’ ritziest real estate, author Michael Gross describes a “love-hate” friendship between the neighboring billionaires, and quotes Burkle saying he suspected Geffen was a source for the controversial 2008 Vanity Fair piece that dissected his relationship with former President Bill Clinton.

In an email, Geffen called the story “bull- —-t” and both he and a spokesman for Burkle maintained that they are longtime friends []

http://gawker.com/239132/clinton-and-geffen-what-soured-the-greatest-friendship-since-damon-and-pythias

Clinton and Geffen: What Soured The Greatest Friendship Since Damon and Pythias?

[]

Mr. Clinton had long paid homage to Mr. Geffen, and was a frequent guest at his home in Los Angeles. But after his 1996 re-election, Mr. Clinton began staying more frequently with Ron Burkle, a longtime Clinton supporter and onetime rival of Mr. Geffen for ownership of The Los Angeles Times. Mr. Burkle, a supermarket tycoon, lives in a 40-room Beverly Hills home that once belonged to the silent-movie star Harold Lloyd.

By late 1999, the president felt so divided between his two billionaire friends that he once wound up leaving Mr. Burkle’s home late one evening to turn in for the night at Mr. Geffen’s nearby Beverly Hills home, all to avoid offending Mr. Geffen, one member of the president’s entourage said, even though Mr. Geffen was out of town.

Burkle and Geffen are actually neighbors, so this is sort of playing out as the world’s most bizarre billionaire version of those bitches in your freshman dorm who would sneak by your room on their way to hang out with someone more popular down the hall. This is why we drink so much: liquor keeps us from having to think too hard about the people who are actually running the world.

Burkle was one of three bidders when AEG was up for sale in 2013. Tom Barrack was another one:

http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/1537516/exclusive-aeg-bidders-down-to-three

Exclusive: AEG Bidders Down to Three

By Ray Waddell | January 31, 2013 4:53 PM EST

Sources tell Billboard.biz that the final three bidders on Anshutz Entertainment Group (AEG) are a group made up of Ron Burkle with Patrick Soon-Shiong and Goldman Sachs; Guggenheim Partners; and ColonyCapital and Qatar Sovereign Fund. A deal could be done as soon as the end of March.

However, a third source familiar with the process says the bidders have not partnered up and yet another round of bids is still to come, and no short-list existst yet.
 
AEG has been on the block since last September,  with Blackstone Group directing a sale process for AEG that could top out as high as $8 billion, according to some estimates. In a recent interview with Billboard.biz, AEG CEO Tim Leiweke declined to mention who the serious bidders were, but did indicate that the field has narrowed. 
 
“We’re getting down to the final straws here,” he said, adding, “the kind of people and companies interested are very good, and they share our vision for the future of the company. Now it’s just trying to get [owner] Mr. [Phillip] Anschutz and [potential buyers] together on the right deal.” []

However, as we know, Phillip Anschutz did not agreethe sale and Tim Leiweke resigned and left the company.

According to the following source, Ron Burkle had worked a while for AEG. But we could not find the Pittsburgh Press-Gazette article:

http://www.evilcowtown.com/2012-articles/april/for-those-who-do-not-knowhere-is-ron-burkle.html

Just as importantly, as noted in a Pittsburgh Press-Gazette article in 2010 (and 2007), Burkle has worked with AEG in the past.8

According to this information which has disappeared from the Internet, sometimes before 2010, Burkle was one of Tom Barrack’s friends:

Mark Hedstrom, Colony’s CFO

Tom Harrison, a chief lieutenant

Barrack and his casino operations chief, Nicholas Ribis

Barrack’s friend and fellow billionaire Ron Burkle.

Richard Nanula, a Colony principal

construction tycoon Ron Tutor

UPDATE 13/7/5: A quote from former AEG CEO Tim Leiweke’s deposition played for the jurors on June 26, Day 38, AEG Live trial. A confirmation about Ron Burkle being involved (ABC7 tweets):

Leiweke: “Michael asked to meet Mr. Anschutz to talk about films,” Leiweke said about the third meeting in Las Vegas.

Boyle: What was the reason of the meeting? Leiweke: There wasn’t really one. We prayed a lot

Leiweke: Second time was in the guest house of Ron Burkle in Los Angeles. Jessie Jackson was there too, Leiweke said.

ronbuckler

Ron Buckler

October 6,2005 at David Geffen School of medicine UCLA

October 6,2005, Barrack at David Geffen School of medicine UCLA

During 2007, Jackson and his children stayed at Ron Burkle’s home. But Burkle was not as influential as he had been before. He could not and / or would not help Jackson as he did for example in 2005.

In 2007, Jackson was deposed in a lawsuit brought against him by the finance company Hackensack. During the deposition, he explained how Jesse Jackson and Ron Burkle helped him in 2005:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,283552,00.html

Michael Jackson Thanks Jesse Jackson, Ron Burkle for Financial Advice

Published June 17, 2007

Associated Press

The Rev. Jesse Jackson and billionaire Ron Burkle came through with key advice to save singer Michael Jackson from financial disaster when he was fighting child molestation charges, Jackson says in a court deposition.

The Daily News said in Sunday editions it reviewed seven hours of transcripts, finding that the singer believed disloyal advisers took advantage of him financially before a Santa Maria, Calif., jury acquitted him of child molestation in June 2005.

Jackson testified that during his trial he received wise advice during bathroom break cell phone calls with Burkle, the billionaire friend of former President Bill Clinton.

Burkle brought in Jesse Jackson, who has known Michael Jackson since he was a child, to help with the consultations, the newspaper said.

Michael Jackson said in a deposition taken last summer in Paris that the entertainment industry was “full of sharks, charlatans and impostors.”

“Because there’s a lot of money involved, there’s a bunch of schmucks in there,” Jackson said. “It’s the entertainment world, full of thieves and crooks. That’s not new. Everybody knows that.”

The deposition was made in preparation for a civil trial expected to begin this week in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The case against Jackson was brought by a Hackensack, N.J. finance company that claims Jackson cheated the company of $48 million.

In 2007, things did not turn out as Jackson wished for. He had cash problems and was pressured from different people who wanted to sign contracts with him.

Jack Wishna has said that as time went on (in 2007) Jackson changed and became enervated, feeble and weak. They had some projects but they were abandoned for later. Wishna said that Michael was not ready. The star has been seen in 2008 sitting on a wheelchair. He was probably sick however his nomadic and unsecure life in 2007 and his undecided future played for sure an essential part in worsening his health.

Nevertheless, Jackson began 2008 with more hope. Thriller 25 was launched worldwide and was successful.

As we know, in the middle of 2008, Tom Barrack came along with Tohme Tohme and bailed out Neverland as well as paying back the Bahraini Prince. Now Jackson had to pay Barrack back!

Barrack describes one of his first conversations with Jackson:

http://nymag.com/nymag/features/69782/index1.html

“I told him: ‘Where you are is an insolvable puzzle unless you’re willing to go back to work. If you’re willing to do that, then we can help, but if you’re not willing to do that, it’s just presiding over a funeral.’” At first, Jackson demurred. “He really had a hard time with that, and he struggled for about three days. Finally, he calls back and says, ‘You’re right, I’ll do it.’

 

This is how Barrack wanted Jackson to pay him back:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121331476011469961.html

The Wall Street Journal- Hollywood Repport

Michael Jackson: The Next Elvis?

A Private Equity Group Hopes to Relaunch The Singer’s Career in Vegas

By ETHAN SMITH

A private-equity group is hoping to do for Michael Jackson something a long parade of music-industry veterans, lawyers and billionaire friends have failed to accomplish: Revive the pop star’s dormant career after a 2005 child-molestation trial and a financial meltdown.

Colony Capital, which owns the Las Vegas Hilton and is a major shareholder in closely held Station Casinos, is in discussions with Mr. Jackson to get him back onstage and in the spotlight via a long-term stand in Las Vegas. It also wants the singer to sell his Neverland Ranch, [] []

Colony in recent weeks has presented Mr. Jackson with a range of possible Las Vegas comeback scenarios — each of which borrows elements of other pop stars’ highly successful long-term Las Vegas runs.

One option would be for Colony to create for Mr. Jackson a purpose-built theater at one of its hotel-casinos, where he would need to perform up to 180 nights a year. Céline Dion’s four-year run at Caesars Palace grossed more than $400 million, while Barry Manilow earned $23.7 million for 88 shows at the Vegas Hilton in 2007. But the rigors of any such commitment would likely be too taxing for Mr. Jackson.

The most likely option would be to create something like “Love,” the Cirque du Soleil show built around Beatles tunes. Mr. Jackson wouldn’t be a regular part of the performance but would appear for 20 to 30 performances a year, possibly with his brothers.

Any of these scenarios would be paired with a plan to restore his image.

The first step in that plan is to distance the singer from Neverland, which, as a focal point for the trial, is indelibly linked with those charges in the eyes of the public. Mr. Jackson has vowed never to live at the ranch again, given its associations. But he nonetheless has entertained visions of turning it into a family-oriented theme park, with rides for children. Colony executives consider the residence completely toxic to Mr. Jackson’s image, and are urging him to restore the property’s original name, Sycamore Canyon Ranch, and to sell it as quickly as possible.

Colony is also urging him to make a public statement further distancing himself from the controversy, in a venue like Oprah Winfrey’s talk show. A person familiar with the discussions says the general idea of such remarks would be for Mr. Jackson, who moved temporarily to Dubai following his acquittal, to say that the American legal system exonerated him, and that he now hopes to move on.

The final step would be for him to stage some kind of televised performance — ideally in the context of a high-profile charity concert — to prove to the world that he can still sing and dance.

If all goes according to plan — a long shot, to be sure — in three to five years, Colony would like to develop a Thriller Casino with Mr. Jackson. That is something Mr. Jackson has kicked around for more than 10 years.

This plan was republished in several other tabloids and media. As you can understand Jackson could not agree with it. Becoming “the next Elvis” as they called it and performing at a Las Vegas Hotel was out of the question for him.

The next “suggestion” was to sell Neverland because it was “toxic to Mr. Jackson’s image”. And yet, Barrack in an interview tells us why keeping Neverland was actually vital for Jackson:

http://nymag.com/news/business/69782/

When it came to business matters, though, Jackson was lost. He knew only that if Neverland was foreclosed on as scheduled, it would trigger a cascade of financial devastation. For the past decade, he had repeatedly staved off financial reckoning by borrowing. Now he was out of options.

And more about this:

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/may/31/entertainment/et-michael-jackson31

He (Barrack) said that the economic downturn makes Jackson more attractive as an investment because his value has been overlooked: In times like this, he said, “finding little pieces of information that others don’t have” is more important than ever.

These “little pieces of information” related to Jackson’s business matters which should have been secret. For example that Neverland’s collapse “would trigger a cascade of financial devastation”. The question is how Barrack found out this information? Who gave it to him?

The worst part of the plan that, according to Barrack would “revive” the star’s career was to go onto Oprah Winfrey’s talk show and “to make a public statement further distancing himself from the controversy”!! It is not a surprise if Jackson did not agree with Barrack on that suggestion.

We were saying that, once Jackson was back in the States, he wanted a cease-fire from his rivals and wished to work out a solution for his unsecure life. He probably hopped that Ron Burkle would become “his negotiator” and work out a solution with his rivals. It seems that Burkle gave the job to Tom Barrack!

It would not be entirely wrong to consider the plan mentioned above as an answer from Jackson’s rivals. Since Jackson did not buy it, another plan came up: working with AEG Live.

Comparing it to Barrack’s plan (see above), AEG Live’s option seemed “promising” at least in the beginning. The preparation for TII began; soon Jackson was pressured to accept to do 50 shows instead of 10. And he was more and more pressured to get everything done until he passed on June 25.

It appears that the plans “to revive” Jackson’s career were in truth plans to enslave the star. He could not agree with any of them and paid a very high price for that.

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Let us finish this blog with a letter sent by Tom Barrack to the Santa Barbara community after Jackson’s death. Barrack hoped to turn Neverland to a Graceland and make more money from the deceased celebrity.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/06/man-who-controls-neverland-sends-open-letter-to-community.html

Man whose company owns Neverland sends open letter to community

June 30, 2009 | 1:47pm

Thomas J. Barrack Jr., the Los Angeles financier whose Century City private-equity firm, Colony Capital, owns Neverland, has written an open letter to the Santa Barbara community urging residents to “adopt an attitude of hospitality, warmth and tolerance.”Barrack has owned a home five miles from Neverland for decades, and his children used to attend field days on the property.Colony Capital effectively bought Neverland when Jackson defaulted on a loan. The deal was structured as a joint venture, with Colony owning the ranch and Jackson getting a cut of certain profits if the property were developed.

Read the letter here:

An Open Letter to the Santa Barbara Community
From Thomas J. Barrack, Jr.

The windswept face of Grass Mountain and the oak tree studded hills of the Santa Ynez Valley are once again the backdrop for a global drama of epic proportion. Michael Jackson has died at the age of 50 on the eve of a universal comeback.

As his family, friends and millions of fans across the globe seek outlets in which to express their grief, Michael’s only true home, the Neverland Ranch, has become a temporary sanctuary where fans and family can still feel the presence of his kind and compassionate soul.

The universal curiosity about Neverland and its connection to Michael is an unchangeable fact. How grieving fans are treated as they arrive to pay their respects will be viewed with great interest by the world. As we all know, the impressions left by Michael’s last interaction with Santa Barbara County were not positive.

Consequently, I would like to simply frame the issue upon which we all need to focus: It is a reality that the world will quickly descend on Santa Barbara and Neverland as fans continue to grieve, and as Michael’s legacy gains perhaps more appreciation after his death than during his life.

We must be prepared for the fact that visitors and fans will come, with or without permission or an invitation. As a consequence, all actions being taken at the moment are aimed at creating a well thought out and coordinated plan amongst the family, the Sheriff, the County regulatory agencies, the fire department, local proprietors, local press, local residents and the Highway Patrol to protect and preserve the interests of all constituencies.

We must also prepare to accommodate Michael’s family’s wishes as they contemplate the location of his final resting place and their own return to the tranquil grounds of the Michael Jackson family compound.

Michael Jackson was accused, tried and acquitted in our county and found innocent on all counts. As Michael’s final arrangements are planned, his family’s wishes should be welcomed by this county with open arms. Let’s adopt an attitude of hospitality, warmth, and tolerance and allow the world to pay their respects to this global icon by conducting ourselves with grace and elegance.

The consideration of the future of the Neverland property will be addressed in due time through normal process and with appropriate deliberation. Right now, the imperative is to be responsive at a sensitive moment in which the world is watching us and observing our conduct as we mourn the loss of one of our own long-time residents.

I have been a horse rancher and farmer in the Santa Ynez Valley for more than three decades and have raised my children to continue the legacy of stewardship and preservation that we all value so highly in this magical valley.

Our peaceful pastures are imbued with a Western tradition of kindness and hospitality, free of fence lines or locked gates. We further flourished from the legacy of a strong Chumash culture and civilization which became the footprints remaining in the minds of all those who visited this majestic world. This is our chance to teach the world what “mi casa es su casa” really means.

Padre Junipero Serra, pioneer California missionary, described the future site of Santa Barbara as a “dismal and treeless” place when he first saw it in April 1782. It has taken the work of generations of dedicated people to create a county known throughout the world for its beauty. Let us all keep in mind that reputations are earned in decades and lost in moments of haste and bad decisions.

Let us allow the world and our visitors to taste a few drops of the magic elixir that is the metaphysical mix between the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley sculpted by the soft hands of God, and the warm and kind environment crafted by the hands of its residents.

— Harriet Ryan

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Appendix

Jackson’s sweet charity

Is a reunion of The Jackson 5 still on the cards? Jermaine Jackson says it’s possible, as he reveals his latest Dubai-based project.

  • By Kelly Crane, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 23:01 April 21, 2009

A cheeky grin revealing a perfect set of white teeth said it all.

Jermaine Jackson was trying desperately to hide his utter excitement at even the thought of once again taking to the stage with his brothers Jackie, Tito, Marlon and, of course, Michael.

“Dubai could be in for a few surprises next year when it comes to the Jackson family, so watch this space.”

Trying hard not to give too much away, the former lead singer of arguably the most popular Motown band of all time – The Jackson 5 – let that smile speak for itself as he revealed the details behind his latest Dubai-based project – Come Together As One (CTAO).

Article continues below

The annual televised event, the first of which is scheduled to be filmed in April 2010, will honour and recognise humanitarian acts and commitments of the world’s celebrities at a glittering gala dinner.

“Each week, you switch on the television and there is an Oscar, Grammy or some other celebration of the work and achievements of these celebrities. Isn’t it about time the world wanted to tune in to an equally-glamourous event which recognises the wonderful work these people do when it comes to charity and helping children around the world?”

Jackson and his sister Janet thought so and have set about making it happen with CTAO.

But not just The Jackson 5 reunited, the UAE is more likely to see the Jackson 15 including their mum and sister Janet, as well as Jermaine’s wife and seven children.

“Janet is very excited and will be spending a lot more time in Dubai to prepare for the event,” said Jackson. “And the best bit is I’ll be her boss,” he added.

“I’d also like to involve my whole family where possible and I’m sure they will be here to support us. I have seven children who could do with being put to work.”

Jackson has called Bahrain home since converting to Islam in 1989 after meeting his close friend Ali Gamber there. He has since spent many years travelling in and out of Dubai and says he picked the location for his charity project because it is peaceful.

“It’s the perfect location because it is incredibly peaceful as well as glamourous enough to host such an event,” he said as if he was trying to sell Dubai to a non-believer.

“I want to try and change the American stereotype when it comes to the region and show them it is not all fighting, guns and bombs in the Middle East. It’s about time America realised what’s really happening here.”

Reading like a Who’s Who list of A-listers, the names mentioned (although no promises made just yet) include Angelina Jolie, Nelson Mandela and Mohammad Ali for the inaugural event.

There will be celebrities on stage, but the audience will also not disappoint when it comes to the star stakes. “On stage we will have celebrities and major music acts, but the gala dinner will also boast VIPs, royals and of course some big names from all over the world,” he said anticipating the next obvious question.

“I can’t say for sure who will accept, but we are approaching the likes of Oprah and many other big names to attend the event.”

Describing it as the “Nobel Prize of humanitarian awards” Jackson said Janet and himself were searching for the perfect venue, production company as well as broadcast partner in order to take CTAO into the maximum number of homes around the world each year.

With his brother Michael only months away from the start of his “final fling” – more than 50 sell-out concerts at the O2 Arena in the UK – Jackson said the family will be spending a lot of time in London this year in order to support the family’s most famous sibling.

“I can’t wait to go to the show and we will all be in London as much as possible in order to be there for him,” he said.

“Michael, I and our brothers have so many wonderful memories and I really wouldn’t change a thing.”

It’s mentioned that when Lionel Ritchie toured Dubai, he recalled many stories of the brothers playing jokes on each other off stage, while supporting the group in the ’70s. “Believe me, nothing has changed,” he laughed.

“We still have pillow fights and play practical jokes on each other even today. We really are the band who will never grow up.”

Now married to his third wife, Halima Rashid since 2004, Jackson has seven children – Jermaine Jr, daughter Autumn, Jeremy Maldonado, Jourdynn Michael Jackson, adopted son Donte, followed by Jaffar and Jermajesty.

“People still ask me why Jermajesty to this day,” he said looking confused as to why anyone may question such an unusual name.

“I had named all my sons with a name beginning with J and was starting to run out,” he joked.

“I was sat saying names and it just came out and I said ok.”

A devoted humanitarian himself, Jackson founded Earthcare International to help children around the world who are disabled and less fortunate.

“Our focus has been on Africa with the HIV/Aids problem, but we are concerned about people no matter where they are, and the disadvantaged and disabled.”

Even his stint on popular UK reality television show Celebrity Big Brother raised money for charity.

A popular contestant, Jackson held on until the final night of the show before he was evicted just half an hour before winner Shilpa Shetty. The series was the controversial edition where Jade Goody, who recently lost her fight against cancer, was evicted early after making what were deemed racist comments.

“I think she really is just a girl misunderstood,” said Jackson.

“I saw her with her children and she was the most amazing mother and that stands for a lot in my book. I stayed in contact with both Shilpa, Jade and her mother and was very sad when I heard the news,” he said lowering his head and looking at his feet.

“I didn’t go to either the wedding or funeral because I didn’t want to remember her in that way.

“I like my memories of Jade and she’ll always remain that way for me.”

 

    

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