New Frank DiLeo Case

As the media reported, Frank DiLeo has been sued again over another failed MJ concert. Below you may read some more details about this case.

DiLeo and his associates started to negoiating with Citadel Limited, a California limited liability company about a proposed MJ concert in Trinidad and Tobago. Citadel paid $300.000 in advance in seven installments.

Due to MJ's untimely death the company demanded for a full refund according to their agreement with DiLeo. That didn't happen since then.

Neither MJ or his companies are related to this case.


New Michael Jackson Drawings

The Estate of MJ just registered unpublished drawings of the star.

MJ created the materials back in 1994. The draws are named:
The Boy #1
The Boy #2 (is a modified version of "The Boy #1", with the same profile of a boy with certain changed features, primarily the drawing of the hair)

The artworks might consist other elements as well.


Old Projects V.: MJ HIStory Logo

In one of the comments here I have been asked about the old MJ logo he started to use around the HIStory project.

This is a very short story: the logo has been registered in Germany only for European use on October 27th, 2000. This might be a part of MJ's then deal with Dieter Wiesner about licensing some intellectual property rights for the region.

The logo was owned by MJ Net Entertainment AG (MJNE) that MJ partly owned with Wiesner. On September 22nd, 2006 the logo's rights were transferred to a company named TePax.

MJNE and TePax created some merchandise together, but due to a legal fight between MJ and Wiesner none of them has been sold. Furthermore TePax never been paid. After years of litigation the judge transferred the rights of the logo from MJNE to TePax. We know of no use of the logo since then.

The logo is still owned by TePax and it's trademark protection will expire on October 31st, 2010.

Legal Updates

As the media reported, AllGood Entertainment's (AGE) exorbitant case has been dismissed on Friday.
Some interesting tidbits, that the media didn't report about:
- AGE's president said to his colleagues in April 2009 that Joe Jackson haven't meet with MJ for nearly two years.
- AGE claimed that they didn't pay Frank DiLeo, because they learned that his partner, Mark Lamicka was incvolved in another court case.
- Around late 2008 AGE's president sent an e-mail to a fellow AGE team member about that “the deal dies if MJ catches wind of any dealings with Sony”.
- AGE previously heavily commented any court roulings on their websites, that they just removed after the dismissal.

On this occasion I will give an overview of the remaining legal cases for the Estate of MJ:

- MJ Estate vs. Heal The World Foundation: The Estate claims multiple copyright infrigments. Melissa Johnson just found a new legal counsel.

- John Landis, Ola Ray vs. MJ Estate: The joint case over the Thriller video incomes will continue this October.

- Nederlander Presentations vs. MJ Estate: The case about a proposed MJ musical will continue this September.

- Seven Echols vs. MJ Estate: This case is about an alleged unpaid security bill of MJ. Will continue this September.

- Richard Lapointe vs. MJ Estate: The case about the never sold MJ memorablia will go on trial next March.

- First Commemorative Inc. vs. Triumph International: The MJ Estate company has been sued by a merchandise partner.

- Bravado sued 20+ companies for copyright infrigment based on their exclusive MJ licensing deal.

In my opinion, no later than this December all the related cases can be closed down in the favor of the Estate.


Vintage Pop Projects - Updates

Few weeks ago I wrote about who is behind one of the recent Jackson Family projects. Now I have more information on this business venture.

As I talked about it many times in the past, the biggest Jackson Family memorablia collection is owned by a New Jersey businessman, named Henry Vaccaro. He took over the items after years of litigations with the Jacksons over a failed business venture. It is a very complicated and sad story. MJ's lawyers went through all the items at least two times over the years to remove all the personal items of MJ, as a family member who wasn't involved in the lawsuits. Though the collection still consists some of old stuff.

Despite recent media reports, Vaccaro still claims ownership over all the items. He somehow teamed up with a Canadian businessman, named Howard Mann and set up at least 3 entities in California to present the public with the items through different ways, and of course earn good money on them.

Mann got in touch with Katherine and Joe, and got their approval on using the items. It was an important move for Vaccaro and Mann, because having the Jackson parents on their side protected them from the Estate's public and legal battle. Mann set up a company along with Katherine and Joe in Delaware called "Never Can Say Goodby LLC" for the purpose of releasing a book full of old pictures, a calendar and other merchandises. Recently they attached a DVD interview with Katherine to the book.

It is very clear that Vaccaro and Mann are violating MJ's rights owned only by his Estate. They might own items related to MJ, but they can not sell his image for money. And they know it. The whole structure of the companies owned by them, the fact that they involved the Jackson parents, and that Vaccaro could not do any money out of the collection over the years prooves that. But most importantly a recent legal action against a website, called MichaelJacksonCasino.com. Their lawyer unnecessary refers to a previous legal battle between Vaccaro and MJ in the documents. On other parts they refer to the Estate as a similar entity to theirs. The only reason why they do it is to make clear for the Estate, "you can not do anything with us", and to plaint in the public that they are also owners of any MJ related rights. Come on, who cares about a stupid whitelabel casino website that's been there for years? Once they successfully defend MJ's rights on court, they will be able to pretend like an other legal entity to explore MJ's likeness.


Old Projects IV.: Jackson International LLC

One of the most complex business ventures MJ ever took part was "Jackson International LLC" (JI).

JI has been set up both in Delaware (on August 14th, 1998) and California (on December 12th, 1998). The sole owner of the company was MJ himself, the first known president was Myung Ho Lee, a Korean lawyer with US education. MJ and Lee started to work together in 1997, the later helped out the star with financial advises. The two enganged into other business ventures, that might led to set up JI. The company also hired Lee's relatives, like Soyoung Lee as a lawyer.
MJ fired Lee on the Summer of 2001 and re-hired him right after his 30th Anniversary concerts in New York. The two ended up on court in 2002 with Lee claiming MJ didn't pay him a $21 million fee for his services. The case has been settled in mid 2003, the details are unknown.

on April 5th, 1999 MJ announced an investment into Tickets.com Inc. He partnered with other companies through JI to back the $30 million founds. Right after this investment Ticket.com's losses started to grow. With dozens of aquisitions in the third quarter of 1999 it exceeded $50 million.
It's hard to find any further information on MJ's involvement on the project. Later SEC filings doesn't show any participation on his side. As well the company has been sold to Major League Baseball in 2005. Most likely MJ lost or sold his shares over the years.

I have been asked to cover MJ's involvement with the Sun International Hotels. In short terms, unfortunately MJ never owned any pieces of the hotel.
In 1998 MJ travelled to South-Africa on numerous occasions, even approached president Nelson Mandela for different business deals. In March, 1999 it has been revealed that a consortium led by MJ through JI might buy 27% of Sun International's stakes in South-Africa. Those stakes were hold by North West Development Corporation and had to sell them no later than May 10, 1999.
Altough it was big silent after the above mentioned deadline, North West Development Corporation did not sell it's stakes to anyone until September, 2003 when Kersaf Investments bought them. The other major stake holder at the time was Investec Asset Management who's involvement with MJ was never a question. According to Sun International's own website it's investors does not include MJ neither any of the known investment companies he was ever involved.
So there is a very slight chance for MJ to own anything in Sun International. Considering the fact that his businesses has been under scrunity over the past 10 years for various legal matters and no such revelation came out, I would say so that this is impossible.

On July 1st, 2000 it's been reported that MJ invested $2 million into HollywoodTicket.com through his JI company. Days later a "coming soon" text has been changed to an extensive intro and some other information appeared on the website. The service was designed to give some space for young movie artists, as well to give the fans a chance to get closer to their idols.
No other updates arised around this project. Other than the website got blank in early 2001 and that the managers of the project sued MJ for alleged unpaid bills. Both the website and the company behind has been shut down in January, 2003.

As an interesting fact, MJ owned the domain "mjco.com" for JI back then.

What makes the whole story interesting is that JI is still active both in California and Delaware managed by Estate lawyer Zia Modabber. It means that despite the many unfortunate business ventures one or the other might still work and produce money for the Estate...


Old Projects III.: TTC Touring Inc.

Another old project, with important impacts on recent MJ projects!

MJ established "TTC Touring Inc." (TTC) back on June 6th, 1984, one month before the Jacksons' Victory tour began. TTC was meant to represent MJ in his touring ventures (owner, operator, licensee, and promoter). TTC also represented MJ over his "Bad" and "Dangerous" tours and been suspended in the mid 90's.

Tidbit: here you can see the original contract for leasing an office for TTC signed by MJ: http://global.ebay.com/MICHAEL_JACKSON_SIGNATURE_ON_LEASE_AGREEMENT_AUTHENTIC/290453795417/item

TTC became famous after Marcel Avram sued the company for the cancellation of several concerts in the early 90's. And because of MJ sued the Daily Mirror through this company for a photograph taken at one of the concerts.

TTC also released concert memorablia, photo books and is the sole owner of the only officially released MJ concert video, "Michael Jackson: Live In Bucharest".

Why is TTC so important in recent MJ projects? TTC is most likely the owner of footages recorded on all "Bad" and "Dangerous" concerts. The previously suspended company just got activated in California! That means that the company is taking part in a new business deal or is a part of a legal litigation. I search through all court system, but couldn't find any cases involving TTC.

Furthermore TTC is now managed by Ziffren, Brittenham LLP, that's John Branca's company. Accounting is done by Michael Kane from Crowe Horwath LLP, the company that worked for MJ right before his death.

It's been never confirmed but sounds logical that MJ concert videos has been on hold due to MJ's bad business relationship with Sony. Sony had to approve any such releases. Now that the Estate re-negoitated it's contract with Sony, this might include or help the Estate to release any concert footage.

Anyways activating TTC gives new hope for MJ fans waiting to see the King live again.