64°F
weather icon Clear

Michael Jackson a hot commodity 5 years after his death

LOS ANGELES — It’s been five years since Michael Jackson died, yet his career is more alive than it has been in decades.

Just last month, the singer moonwalked across a Las Vegas stage in a nationally televised hologram performance. A new album recently debuted at No. 2 on music charts. And a traveling Cirque du Soleil show based on Jackson’s songs has logged nearly 500 performances worldwide.

The result has been an estate that has earned more than $600 million since the King of Pop’s untimely death at age 50.

Some of the earnings support Jackson’s three children and mother. Yet an analysis by The Associated Press shows much more has gone to erase the singer’s massive debts and to run the estate that powers his robust posthumous career.

As would be expected, the last five years have brought their share of change and adjustment for Jackson’s children, known to the world as Prince, 17; Paris, 16; and Blanket, 12. They were at their father’s rented mansion on June 25, 2009, when he was given an overdose of the anesthetic propofol in his upstairs bedroom. And they were at the hospital several hours later when he was pronounced dead. It would take more than two years before Jackson’s doctor was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

A father who taught his children philanthropy, threw them lavish birthday parties and meticulously masked them from the paparazzi is gone. Michael Jackson, however, continues to provide.

Nearly $20 million had been spent to support Jackson’s children and his mother, Katherine, through 2012. Payments to the family have increased each year since June 2009, according to court records. Adulthood will bring a sizeable inheritance for each child.

In the meantime, lawyers have busily untangled Jackson’s finances, which itself has been expensive. Among the disbursements between mid-2009 and the end of 2012:

— More than $91 million on taxes and licenses, including $45 million paid to the federal government for taxes.

— More than $25 million in compensation for the estate’s executors, Jackson’s longtime attorney John Branca and family friend and music executive John McClain. The men receive a percentage of the estate’s earnings.

— More than $17 million to lawyers who represent the estate, Katherine and her grandchildren.

— Nearly $4 million to properly store and archive the trove of personal belongings and unreleased music that Jackson amassed during his lifetime.

“This is a complex estate with unique issues,” said Katherine’s attorney, Perry Sanders Jr. “Under all the circumstances, Mrs. Jackson and the children are certainly being well cared for.”

Sanders, who has conducted audits of the estate’s spending, said everything is in order and detailed financial records match precisely what has been presented in court.

“It’s surprising how big the numbers are, but then when you realize what goes into it — and that a judge has approved those numbers — then it becomes not so shocking,” said Irwin Feinberg, an attorney who specializes in probate litigation.

While Jackson craved success, his priority in later years was his children. The trio is a large part of the singer’s legacy, and the music, dance moves and business pieces he left behind assure them a comfortable, if not care-free, lifestyle.

Jackson’s children live with their grandmother in a hilltop home in the celebrity enclave of Calabasas, home to the Kardashian family, Britney Spears and many others. The estate pays for private schools and tutors, a chef, private security and family vacations, giving the Jackson children the stability their father strived to provide.

“Michael’s number one priority was his children, not wealth or fame,” said Tom Mesereau, the attorney who successfully defended Jackson against child molestation charges and stays in touch with his family.

“He wanted them to get the best education possible,” Mesereau said. “He wanted them to be worldly.”

Although the family’s privacy is carefully protected — neither Mesereau nor Sanders would discuss specifics — some domestic drama has become public in recent years.

In 2012, Katherine was absent for 10 days when some of her children took her to an Arizona spa, causing a family rift that resulted in TJ Jackson, an adult cousin of Michael Jackson’s children, being named their co-guardian.

Paris and Prince were deposed in Katherine’s lawsuit against the promoters of her son’s planned comeback concerts. Prince ably testified about his father’s impact on the children, but Paris was hospitalized during the trial after authorities responded to a 911 call that the teenager had cut herself with a knife and taken 20 Motrin pills.

Lawyers and family members, including TJ Jackson, have said she is fine, but offer no further details. Paris, according to relatives, took her father’s death the hardest.

Prince is still interested in pursuing a career in film production. As a child, he and his father would watch movies together, meticulously dissecting scenes. He recently attended a Hollywood premiere.

Blanket practices karate and is looking forward to a summer of swimming, his cousin TJ Jackson said.

Mesereau said the family seems to be doing reasonably well. Of their father, the attorney said, “He’s missed very much.”

———

Associated Press Writer Hilary Fox in London contributed to this report. Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
EDC Las Vegas makes festivalgoers feel like family

Upon immersing oneself in the festival’s friendly fanaticism for three days, the question arises: Just what makes EDC elicit such a passionate response from many of its 450,000-plus annual “headliners”?