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Katherine Jackson's Secret Contract

11/12/2010 9:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Katherine Jackson has been bitterly complaining the Michael Jackson Estate is not giving her enough money, and now we know what she's done to supplement her income in a big way.

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TMZ has obtained a contract Katherine signed with Vintage Pop Media (VPM), the company that owns tens of thousands of photos, videos and other MJ items.  Under the deal -- which is not sanctioned by the MJ Estate -- Katherine agreed to participate in the production of "The Katherine Jackson Story," some sort of MJ documentary set to music.  Katherine also agreed to pen the book that was just released, "Never Can Say Goodbye."

In return for her work, VPM -- owned by her controversial business partner Howard Mann -- agreed to pay Katherine 25% of the net profits with a minimum monthly guarantee of $10,000-a-month.  But here's what's really interesting ... there's no end date for the $10-grand-a-month, so if you read the contract literally, VPM agrees to pay Katherine at least $10k-a-month for the rest of her life.

And get this.  The contract also says Katherine has the legal right to "forever bind" Michael's kids, Prince, Paris and Blanket.  According to sources familiar with the MJ Estate, Katherine does not have the power to contractually bind Michael's kids.

Katherine is already raking in $26,000-a-month from the MJ Estate, but she's complaining she wants more.  Looks like she found it.

Howard Mann tells TMZ, "This is one of several agreements with Mrs. Jackson. This was a starting point in our relationship."


288 COMMENTS

No Avatar
181.

FlowerPower    

@mjuls
Thank you ver much for taking time to write down your reply. Very much appreciated.
As you very clearly explained the contact, Katherine's actions are much clearer now.
I do hope that estate will sort our these crooks!

"Whomever drafted this agreement attempted to be clever in their wording but they missed their mark in a BIG way. (If you have more questions about this aspect of the contract just ask and I will expound further.)"
What do you mean by this? What mark they missed?

My next question is regarding this
"In the agreement Katherine Jackson and Mr. Jackson’s minor children are collectively referred to as “The KJ Party.” Not only does Katherine Jackson agree that she will make herself available to promote the VPM projects, she commits the children as well."

I have no idea how system works on this kind of cases. I was thinking that this contract is so "out there" and I don't know whether Katherine knows what she has signed , would children's guardian ad litem intervene somehow and would it put Katherine's guardian ship to jeopardy if ad litem sees her as unfit to look after them?

"Magnify your version of the PDF and look closely at the sworn affirmation on the last page (page 12 of the TMZ PDF.) The contract unquestionably states it was executed under seal on the 3rd day of February. Now look at the seal which is clearly dated 25th day of February."
I did noticed the different dates but didn't pay any attention to it.
What does it mean if the dates are different?

Sorry, I don't know much about these legal things works so I need to ask all sort of silly questions:-(

Thank you again for your reply and looking forward hearing more of you.

1248 days ago
182.

Roseilicious     

Thank you very much, mjuls.

I had read the contract(s), and I am NO lawyer. I had taken contract law back in prehistoric times (lol) in my BPM program, and just reading this did not seem "professionally" put together at all. And, I have to agree... the word "exploit(ation)" ... lost count. Aside from legalese, it did not read to bode well for MJ's children.

Yes. I wonder about Ms. Lodise (PPB's guardian ad litem) so far remaining silent about all of this (so far? has it been kept secret from her and she's working on it as we speak? who knows...)

I too, can easily imagine, and would expect, KJ's attorney to step down from representing her over this. Why, do you feel, this will wait until 2011 to be addressed? Simply the court's overwhelmed docket with other cases? Seems, in light of this particular race of theirs to blatantly exploit her son and grandchildren the estate would move much faster to shut her down. (Even if only because of the $$$$ aspect, if not for the gross exploitation, and debauchery of ethics let alone the immorality of this 'situation')

"However, what is more disturbing is NOWHERE in this contract are the children financially compensated for their time, efforts, or participation in the VPM project(s). Katherine Jackson is compensated and receives 25% of the profits, but the children, either collectively or individually, do not receive a dime.


Regardless of any personal feelings you may have on the subject of Mr. Jackson’s children (I know from reading your posts opinions are wide and varied) this contract irrefutably shows Katherine Jackson is not above using Mr. Jackson’s children for the purposes of promoting and generating profits for “her” business ventures."

Disturbing, indeed. However, as far as I'm concerned not the least surprising. At all. KJ's history of "OBTUSE" is quite exhausted to the end of "intentional", IMO. I do understand, the "she's just so innocently ignorant of such things" rally - I just vehemently disagree with that opinion.

Personally, I hope the Estate does render KJ unfit for the position of legal guardian, and removes her as such. I can't remember if Child Protective Services mandated that she force all the cousins et al to leave the dwelling, and she merely chose to ignore it (until just recently? maybe?), and CPS has failed to force her to comply before now, or what...

**sigh**

Prayers with PPB. What else can we actually DO, right.

Except for try to hammer home:

You CARE about MJ, and his children? Then Hear Ye: Do Not Spend One Thin Dime On KJ/Mann Released MJ ANYTHING.

Thank you, again, mjuls.

Have a good evening.

1247 days ago
183.

mjuls    

In reply to: Sofi, FlowerPower, Roseilicious, MJ Lives On, et al.


------------------------------


Dear All,

I wanted to let you know I’ve seen your posts and will reply to your follow up queries no later than Friday (sooner if at all possible.) My calendar is packed this week. I will post my replies in this thread. I hope you understand. Thank you.


Be well all,

Mjuls, Esq.


**DISCLAIMER: The information expressed is not intended to substitute for professional legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should accept legal advice only from a licensed legal professional with whom you have an attorney-client relationship.

As a matter of record I state I am in no way affiliated with the Estate of Michael Jackson.

1246 days ago
184.

Roseilicious     

Mjuls~

Wholeheartedly understand, and greatly appreciate what ever time you make available in spite of your schedule, and in your gracious contributions in response; even more so, your having taken a moment to 'check in' and let us know of your situation.

If you can't make it back Fri., or before, it's okay - breathe.

Looking forward to your future response(s)/contributions of expertise whenever you CAN manage it, and wish you well 'unpacking' your week, as comfortably as possible.

G'Nite.

1246 days ago
185.

Ragana    

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAHDebjfoqk

1246 days ago
186.

Pat    

I can't believe how much hate is spewing from co-called "MJ FANS" How do you think he would feel about the hatred toward his own mother, a women he consistently and publically professed his love for. I wish all you haters would wake up and smell the corruption behind the Estate. The fake will, the fake music.
Do your homework. Everybody wants to slam Howard Mann- meanwhile he is the only one who went to Katherine to offer her money and grant her approval and ask for her blessing over MJ projects.
Meanwhile, any transactions that are happening with the Estate Katherine (THE BENEFICIARY) has to hear about in the News with the rest of the world. She nor the kids has ever seen this is it - John Branca has never met Michael's Kids . Yea they supposedly give her 26k every month...but ask yourself where the rest of the $275 million dollars went....hmm lets see...who is the executive producer on the This is It movie? Who is the chairman of the newly appointed charity to benefit from the allocated 20% of the will? Whose lawfirm is milking money from the Estate's "earnings" which by the way are now tied up in legal fees, how much of Michael's debt has been serviced?

If you only just did your homework...you will find all crooked roads lead to one person...and it ain't Howard Mann.

1244 days ago
187.

sofi    

Her actions speak louder than words,so if Michael was alive he would have been VERY UPSET.He protected his children from the media when she exploits them,she uses them as an excuse to justify her actions.
When Joe was beating the hell out of Michael she didn't do anything,at the Bashir do***entary she makes him A LIAR by saying Joe never lift a finger on Michael but disciplined him,she was supposedly afraid of her husband now she suddenly makes business deals.
And yes SHE DOES GET $26.000 a month for HER EXPENSES ONLY but wants more.

How touched i am from such a sweet mother.

1243 days ago
188.

check yourself    

"I can't believe..." LOL Grow a brain first, see if that helps . JUSTIFYING KJ's financial raping of her son and his children AIN'T a MJ Fan's doing that's a "donated your brain to porn, Mann Fan" - "so called" MJ Fan's doing. Thanks for pointing that out PAT member of their league.

He DEFINITELY woke up to his mama's capable nastiness a LONG time ago, and he wouldn't much appreciate the "so called Fans" that support what she has and is doing. ALL crooked roads lead to ALL the crooks in the MJ scenario INCLUDING KJ. The last thing MJ needs, or ever needed, was "so called" MJ Fans that are complete lost cause idiots like those that can't READ or COMPREHEND SIMPLE FACTS in writing, like this "LOVES MJ'S MONEY MORE" contract ON THIS PAGE with KJ sig all over it that she swan dives into to financially rape her own sons fame and memory INCLUDING publicity whoring out his children - which the Estate AIN'T doing - for HER profit.

The last kind of "so called" MJ Fan that PPB needs is for *those* "so called" fans such as your moronic self, supporting their grandma's NASTINESS against them and their father along side of her porn broker partner.

Stfu, go sit your "so called" MJ fan ass down somewhere and get back to your porn, and out of the way of MJ Fans working to shut his nasty piece of work mama and Mann down - FREAK.

1243 days ago
189.

Claire C McMillan    

Mrs. Jackson continues to make some poor decisions without working with the estate. Thus, I am reluctant to make any additional purchases at this time of MJ's products, because I can't clearly determine who is benefiting from the sales.

What do others think?

1242 days ago
190.

FlowerPower    

@mjuls
Just to let you know that we (at least me:-)) are still waiting for your reply when ever you have time to post it.

I also wanted to ask if you know about this Tohme case?
11/04/2010 Reply/Response (SPECIAL ADMINISTRATORS' AMENDED REPLY TO CREDITOR TOHME R. TOHME'S OPPOSITION AND OBJECTION TO MOTION TO FILE UNDER SEAL SPECIAL ADMINISTRATORS' REPORT RE MANAGEMENT OF THE MJJ BUSINESS...)

I couldn't find anything about result of this:
*Michael Jackson’s final business manager asked a judge Tuesday to unseal detailed financial records from the singer’s estate, arguing that the sealing of the do***ents could prevent him and other creditors from being paid.

A hearing on sealing the records and Tohme’s motion is scheduled for Oct. 7.

Do you have any information about this?

Thanks and looking forward hearing from you.

1238 days ago
191.

sofi    

Mjuls,i know you have been busy,i hope i hear from you soon.

1238 days ago
192.

TSIG    

...Outside of Janet the whole family has done nothing but use Michael... Posted at 4:50 AM on Nov 12, 2010 by janet


Janet Jackson was the first one out of the gate to exploit her brother's death, hastily pushing a "Number Ones" CD (just like her brother's) right after his death to capitalize on it. All she (and LaToya) have ever done is try to copy him. In her ad for Blackglama FUR (disgusting!) she uses a classic MJ open-mouth pose. (Note to Janet: It's very aggressive and worked well for your brother, but it's not very lady-like. Then again, your stage acts are little more than sleazy soft porn shows with virtually no real singing talent, so you're no lady. I would comment on your acting "skills," but "skill" does not describe what you are doing...) On any interview, the only thing that Janet Jackson has to say about her extraordinary brother is that he was a drug addict. What a great sis. Thanks, Janet.

1237 days ago
193.

TSIG    

Mrs. Jackson continues to make some poor decisions without working with the estate. Thus, I am reluctant to make any additional purchases at this time of MJ's products, because I can't clearly determine who is benefiting from the sales.

What do others think?

Posted at 7:34 PM on Nov 20, 2010 by Claire C McMillan

I won't spend ONE CENT on anything Jackson unless it's been approved by the estate. I've already purchased my Cirque tickets for 2012, and I'll be buying the albums and video collection, but unless I know it's "estate approved," I won't buy it. I'm not going to enrich the very people that Michael detested. I can't believe his mother is "partnering" will all of MJ's enemies. Thank goodness he's not alive to see this.

1237 days ago
194.

mjuls    

In reply to: FlowerPower, Roseilicious, Sofi, MJ Lives On, Siggisis, Daphne, et al.

--------------------


Good morning/afternoon/evening to all.

To those of you in the U.S., happy belated Thanksgiving. Thank you for your patience. I apologize for not being able to respond to your queries sooner. My replies are grouped by subject-matter below. (NOTE: Some of the questions addressed are from subsequent threads. For purposes of clarity and convenience I have grouped my responses into this thread. I will reference my replies here where appropriate in the other threads.)

(At the risk of expropriating Mr. Levin’s blog) if at all possible please post any follow up questions or comments directed to me in this thread (Katherine Jackson’s Secret Contract.) It will allow me to follow up with you much more quickly when I check in. Thank you.


KATHERINE JACKSON and VINTAGE POP MEDIA CONTRACT (FlowerPower, Roseilicious)

- The reason you will not see much new movement in the estate’s reaction to this “agreement” is due to the impending holidays and an overcrowded court docket. Rest assured the pace will pick up in the new year.

- "Whomever drafted this agreement attempted to be clever in their wording but they missed their mark in a BIG way.” What I meant by this statement is the parties involved in the agreement attempted to be clever by framing their intentions around Katherine Jackson without openly acknowledging the significance of Mr. Jackson’s involvement and contribution to their business dealings (work product, name, likeness, etc.) They are not out to make money exploiting Katherine Jackson and Katherine Jackson memorabilia. There is no question Michael Jackson is the object of their intentions. By not acknowledging the “elephant in the room” (Mr. Jackson) they are blatantly trying to hide (at least contractually) their exploitation of his enterprises. The bottom line is Howard Mann, Henry Vaccarro, and Vintage Pop Media Music, LLC do not have a legal leg to stand on. The law simply does not support their assertions. The estate will challenge the parties (with the full support and urging of Ms. Lodise, GAL) and the court will shut this operation down. Understand, Mr. Jackson’s children are the major beneficiaries of the estate, not Katherine Jackson. By Katherine Jackson and Vintage Pop Media Music, LLC entering into such an agreement it is the children’s long-term estates and holdings which are harmed.

- Your questions pertaining to Katherine Jackson’s custody of Mr. Jackson’s children have been addressed in the post immediately following this one.

- The fact the dates on the contract do not match the seal indicate the contract was backdated for some reason by Howard Mann and Katherine Jackson. (For what reason I do not know.) Irrespective, the Notary was negligent. She had the presence of mind to recognize the year was misprinted (corrected and initialed longhand) but did not note and/or correct the error in day on the same line. You may not apply a government seal to a do***ent you know to be untrue.


CONRAD MURRAY PRELIMINARY HEARING (Sofi, MJ Lives On)

First, I would be remiss if I did not point out to you that (as far as the law is concerned) Mr. Jackson was not murdered. Mr. Jackson’s death was ruled a homicide. All murders are homicides, however, all homicides are not murders. (I realize the legal parlance can be confusing. Think of it this way: all poodles are dogs, but not all dogs are poodles.) This is a very important distinction. Conrad Murray is charged with Involuntary Manslaughter, not murder.

You asked: “If the judge at the preliminary hearing in January decides that killer murray should stand trial his decision will be based on the events leading to poor Michael's murder, Michael's medical records and both autopsy reports or is the LA Coroner's autopsy report more official and accurate?”

In a preliminary hearing the judge’s calling is to determine if the prosecution has enough evidence of wrongdoing by Conrad Murray to support the charges and warrant a trial. The main issue to be argued at the preliminary hearing will be negligence on the part of Conrad Murray. To my mind and experience there is ONE irrefutable element in this case that guarantees the judge will be compelled to order Conrad Murray to stand trial.

As for Conrad Murray being found guilty at trial, I am much less confident.


THE MICHAEL JACKSON and AEG LIVE, LLC AGREEMENT “AEG CONTRACT” (Siggisis, Daphne)

The attorney whom represented Mr. Jackson in his contract negotiations with AEG Live, LLC was Dennis J. Hawk, Esq. The late Peter Lopez did not represent Mr. Jackson at the time and was not a party to the transaction.


KATHERINE JACKSON, ET AL vs. AEG LIVE, LLC (MJ Lives On)

I’m not sure how deep of an answer you are seeking. I can tell you after having read the brief filed on behalf of Katherine Jackson (et al) and based on the peripheral information currently available to this point, I fully expect the court to toss the case.

The lawyer representing Katherine Jackson (et al) in her lawsuit against AEG Live, LLC is Brian Panish of the firm Panish Shea & Boyle. They are a reputable organization and are what is known in legal circles as a “settlement firm.” (The term “settlement firm” is not derogatory. Settlement actions are an important and necessary aspect of civil law.) Mr. Panish’s area of expertise is personal injury and product liability. I am of the opinion their primary strategy is to convince AEG that it is in their best interest to negotiate a settlement with Katherine Jackson (et al) rather than move forward to verdict. (NOTE: Brian Panish is best known for having won a $4.9 Billion verdict - ANDERSON v GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION (1999) - the largest personal injury and product liability verdict in history. The case was eventually settled on appeal at a fraction of the original award.) If you find yourself in a position where you need to file suit against a party with deep pockets these are the guys to call.


SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR’S AMENDED REPLY RE: TOHME R. TOHME (FlowerPower, Roseilicious)

11/04/2010 Reply/Response (SPECIAL ADMINISTRATORS' AMENDED REPLY TO CREDITOR TOHME R. TOHME'S OPPOSITION AND OBJECTION TO MOTION TO FILE UNDER SEAL SPECIAL ADMINISTRATORS' REPORT RE MANAGEMENT OF THE MJJ BUSINESS...)

The above reference is an administrative notice of do***ents filed with the court. The estate has provided the court a written response (outlining their position) to the claim filed by Mr. Tohme. The court has not yet heard arguments.


JOHN BRANCA’S COPY OF THE LAST WILL OF MICHAEL JACKSON (Clarification)


I’ve seen many ill-informed posts in various threads questioning why John Branca had a copy of Mr. Jackson’s Last Will in his possession at the time of Mr. Jackson’s death. There is nothing disreputable about this. In the United States licensed attorneys (private practice/non-governmental) are required to maintain original copies of all legal instruments and client files they produce. (This remains true even in cases where a client issues what’s called a “closing letter” to council.) The length of time attorneys must maintain their client files will vary from state to state. Some jurisdictions have specific ethical rules pertaining to certain types of client records. For example, California requires records relating to clients to be kept for a minimum of five (5) years before being archived. I can tell you in my practice our RMP (Records Management Policy) classifies records as “active” until ten years after the date of the last original business.

Some do***ents remain “active” after all work on the matter is finished even when the client moves on to other representation because the possibility exists that the file may later need to be reopened as a result of subsequent developments (such as Mr. Jackson’s death.) In these situations, the do***ent(s) may need to be saved, perhaps indefinitely, even after the conclusion of the original business. Do***ents that MUST be retained include original estate planning do***ents such as wills and powers of attorney, real estate do***ents such as deeds and deeds of trust, and financial do***ents such as securities and promissory notes.


I hope you find these explanation helpful. Once again, my apologies for the delay in my reply. Please excuse any typos.

Some of you posted queries regarding Katherine Jackson’s guardianship and the guardian ad litem. I have addressed those issues in a secondary post which (hopefully) should be immediately following this entry.

Be well all,

Mjuls, Esq.

Portions of this post have been previously published by me. If you choose to copy all or parts of this post into another forum you must credit “Mjuls” and include the appropriate disclaimer.

**DISCLAIMER: The information expressed is not intended to substitute for professional legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should accept legal advice only from a licensed legal professional with whom you have an attorney-client relationship.

As a matter of record I state I am in no way affiliated with the Estate of Michael Jackson.

1235 days ago
195.

mjuls    

Good morning/afternoon/evening to all.

Having read a number of recent posts that incorrectly reference the role of guardian ad litem in regard to Mr. Jackson’s minor children and the cir***stances surrounding Katherine Jackson’s custody of the children, I think it is important to clarify for you exactly what the role of ‘guardian ad litem’ is as it pertains to the Jackson children.


GUARDIAN AD LITEM

The role of a guardian ad litem will vary from situation to situation (i.e. family court matters, probate matters, juvenile matters, etc.) and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Minor children cannot make legal decisions for themselves nor can they legally bind themselves to contractual obligations.

When the court appointed Margaret G. Lodise as guardian ad litem for Mr. Jackson’s minor children it was for the specific purpose of representing the children’s interests in the estate. Ms. Lodise is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that decisions made in regard to the estate are in the long-term best interests of the children. It is for this reason in previous posts when others have worried about actions taken by Mr. Jackson’s chosen representatives (the estate) I have advised them to look to Ms. Lodise. If in fact the estate was up to ANYTHING that could be construed as “funny business” SHE is the one that will bring it to the court’s attention. Ms. Lodise DOES NOT work for the estate. She is an independent advocate for the children with full authority to challenge the estate and others to protect the children’s interests. And she will. Ms. Lodise’s track record is stellar. (Full disclosure: I have personally dealt with Ms. Lodise in a professional capacity on two separate occasions. She is a bright, formidable woman and a talented litigator. She is also the Chair of the California State Bar Trusts & Estates Section Executive Committee. I can say with certainty Mr. Jackson's children are fortunate to have her competent counsel shepherd their interests throughout the probate process.)


GUARDIANSHIP and THE MICHAEL JACKSON MINORS

A Brief Explanation

The laws involving child custody and guardianship can be complicated. This may be particularly true for those of you residing outside of the United States where succession of child custody and guardianship rules may differ. (Rules also differ from state to state.) In California, child custody and/or permanent changes of guardianship must ALWAYS be approved and/or decided by the court.

The laws and statues pertaining to child custody and guardianship are voluminous and application of those laws will vary greatly depending upon the individual cir***stances of a particular case. It would be impossible for me to explain each facet of the law and the multiple scenarios which can occur as each case is unique. Herein, I refer only to the aspects currently acknowledged and/or relevant to the Michael Jackson minors.


THE MICHAEL JACKSON NOMINATIONS

Page four (4), section eight (VIII) of the will prescribes: “If any of my children are minors at the time of my death, I nominate my mother, KATHERINE JACKSON as guardian of the persons and estates of such minor children. If KATHERINE JACKSON fails to survive me, or is unable or unwilling to act as guardian, I nominate DIANA ROSS as guardian of the persons and estates of such minor children.”

This particular section of Mr. Jackson’s will and it’s actual meaning are one of the most misunderstood elements of the will en masse. When it comes to minors there are (may be) legal guardians, property guardians and, when necessary, custodial guardians. Often times the legal guardian is also the custodial guardian, however, this is not always the case and should not be considered the rule. As such, it is possible for each of the designations of guardianship to be fulfilled by different individuals.

Strictly speaking Mr. Jackson’s nominations (by will) in and of themselves have nothing whatsoever to do with the final determination of custodial placement of the Jackson minors. Under California law the court reserves the right to decide binding guardianship in ALL cases. At the time his will was drafted Mr. Jackson would have been, by law, suitably advised by his legal council.

By naming Katherine Jackson as guardian, and Diana Ross as secondary guardian, Mr. Jackson is asking the court to give special credence and weight to the suggestions and opinions of Katherine Jackson (provided she is of sound mind) when making decisions regarding the physical and emotional well-being of his minor children. His nominations indicate that, at the time his will was drafted, Mr. Jackson admired the maternal sensibilities of each of these ladies. As Katherine Jackson was able and willing to assume the role of guardian at the time of Mr. Jackson’s death, Diana Ross is no longer a part of the equation and she will not be involved in future proceedings even in the event of Katherine Jackson’s death. (NOTE: In July 2009, Ms. Ross, through her legal representative, informed the court that she had had no contact with Mr. Jackson for a significant number of years prior to his death and at no time did Mr. Jackson ever inform her of his intention to nominate her as a possible guardian to his minor children.)


It is highly unusual for a parent(s) to formally nominate someone to serve as a potential guardian to their minor children without having informed the presumptive guardian of their intentions. More often than not (in California) a supplementary written instrument is executed between the parties restating (for purposes of the court) the parental wishes and the presumptive guardian’s acknowledgment and acceptance of the designation should the need arise. There is no known record of Mr. Jackson having extended such overtures to Katherine Jackson or Diana Ross on file with the court. We know Mr. Jackson never approached Diana Ross about serving as guardian to his children (as noted above), and in July 2009 during the temporary guardianship hearing Katherine Jackson’s attorneys told the court they were “certain there is legal paperwork naming Katherine as ‘the custodial non-parent’ in the event of Michael's death." No such paperwork ever materialized.


Whenever possible the court will work with the parties involved to try and bring the decedent’s wishes to fruition provided the nominated party is found befitting by the court. Normally, in cases where the nominated guardian is a relative, the Court Investigator will conduct a formal investigation of the nominee including a complete background check on the nominee and all adults living in the residence where the minor(s) will reside; home study visits; personal interviews with the nominee, other adults in the residence, and the minor(s) involved (if possible.) Upon completion of their investigation the Court Investigator will make a formal recommendation to the court based on their findings. The court may then, in its discretion, elicit further testimony prior to determining guardianship.

There are many factors and criteria the court looks to when determining guardianship (for any minor.) One crucial factor is the age(s) of the potential guardian and the minor children. There is a very real probability, given her advanced age, the court may not have found Katherine Jackson a fit guardian. (Courts generally tend to frown upon awarding guardianship to persons over the age of 65, especially in situations where the child(ren) involved are under the age of 14.) Ultimately, I believe a “happy medium” would have been struck whereas Katherine Jackson was named “legal guardian of the person(s)”, and another person - perhaps Mr. Jackson’s eldest sister Maureen - would have been named “custodial guardian of the person(s).” However, THIS IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED IN THE CASE OF THE MICHAEL JACKSON MINORS.

The actuality is Katherine Jackson and Debbie Rowe entered into a “private” custodial agreement for Mr. Jackson’s elder children which, while approved by the court, was not DETERMINED by the court. (I realize this can be confusing.)

It is at this point Mr. Jackson’s intentions come undone. Under California law, as the surviving (legal) “parent with standing” Debbie Rowe’s wishes supersede those of Mr. Jackson. Had Ms. Rowe come forward IMMEDIATELY after Mr. Jackson’s death and moved for custody of her children the court would have had no reason to deny her request. In fact there is legal precedent to support the court awarding custody of all three children to Ms. Rowe. (NOTE: Ms. Rowe is the legal mother of Mr. Jackson’s two eldest children only. She has no legal relationship to Mr. Jackson’s youngest child, known as ‘Blanket’, whom is legally orphaned.)

The foremost intention of the court is always the best interests of the child(ren.) Given young Blanket has (a) no other legal parent; (b) the cir***stances and cohesive nature by which the children were being raised by Mr, Jackson and (c) the fact that Blanket’s older siblings are his only surviving immediate family members, the court would be extremely reluctant to entertain any scenario which would separate the children from each other. Had custody of the two older children been returned to Ms. Rowe, the court would have almost certainly allowed her to assume the role of guardian to young Blanket thereby allowing the children to remain together.

By mediating a private agreement between herself and Ms. Rowe, Katherine Jackson was able to cir***vent many of the potential barriers which may have presented themselves had the court employed traditional methods of determination in the matter of guardianship and has afforded herself greater influence down the road (legally.)

THE DEBBIE ROWE FACTOR

In 2002 when Mr. Jackson drafted his will, he did so as a single parent with sole legal and physical custody of his two eldest children. In 2001, Debbie Rowe had moved for a court order terminating her parental rights. Judge Stephen M. Lachs (Ret.) granted her motion on October 17, 2001. (NOTE: When Ms. Rowe and Mr. Jackson divorced they jointly elected to retain the services of a “private judge” in order to hear motions and other proceedings relating to their divorce, including child custody. This is not an unusual occurrence in high-profile civil proceedings.) Given the cir***stances AS THEY EXISTED AT THE TIME HIS WILL WAS DRAFTED, Mr. Jackson’s directives were appropriate and legally sound.


However, on December 31, 2003, after Mr. Jackson was arrested on child molestation charges, Ms. Rowe filed a motion to have her parental rights reinstated citing concerns about the future of the children. The motion was granted by Judge Lachs on February 23, 2004, and reconfirmed on April 2, 2004. Mr. Jackson vigorously challenged Judge Lachs’ decision vacating his earlier ruling eventually filing an appeal with the appellate court.

On February 15, 2006, while Mr. Jackson was living abroad, the Court of Appeal upheld Judge Lachs’ ruling that Ms. Rowe’s parental rights be restored. (NOTE: As some of you may be aware, court records show a number of captivating events occurred in 2004 and 2005 between Mr. Jackson and Ms. Rowe and Judge Lachs prior to Mr. Jackson filing his appeal. I have intentionally omitted those details as they are extraneous to this post.)

Between 2006 and his death in June 2009, Mr. Jackson never reached or executed any agreement(s) with Debbie Rowe pertaining to custody of their minor children in the event of his death. Because of this Debbie Rowe’s opinions will play a prominent role in any future custodial matters involving her children.

I hope you find this explanation helpful. Please excuse any typos.

Be well all,

Mjuls, Esq.


Portions of this post have been previously published by me. If you choose to copy all or parts of this post into another forum you must credit “Mjuls” and include the appropriate disclaimer.

**DISCLAIMER: The information expressed is not intended to substitute for professional legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should accept legal advice only from a licensed legal professional with whom you have an attorney-client relationship.

As a matter of record I state I am in no way affiliated with the Estate of Michael Jackson.

1235 days ago
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