I am not a supporter of Leonard Rowe in any way, shape or form. Personally, I believe that any concert promoter who sells shares of the concert shows without permission from an entertainer (R Kelly) is untrustworthy. Ne-Yo sued Rowe as well, and was awarded over $700,000. Rowe has also spent time in prison for wire fraud and bad check writing. So it really came as no surprise that Rowe was screaming that Michael's will was invalid, or that Branca should not be the executor of the will, or that Sony murdered Michael for his share of the ATV catalog. I do not agree with any of those suppositions, period. I have not read Rowe's book. However, I did run across a blog yesterday, and what I saw from Rowe's book could be, perhaps, one of the most under-reported facts in the death of Michael Jackson. But before we talk about Rowe's accusation of AEG, we need to backtrack and look at some of the history of AEG, its owner Phillip Anschutz, and AEG Live's CEO, Randy Phillips.
If you google Phillip Anschutz, the most common description of him is that he is a wealthy, reclusive Christian conservative. Reclusive is an understatement of Phillip Anschutz. He has not done an interview since 1974. The article from the previous link also states that Anschutz has used his wealth to influence politics with his conservative Christian line of thinking. To be fair, Anschutz has donated to worthy causes such as cancer research and indecency on television. However, he has used far more of his wealth to protest gay marriage, to protest evolution and promote creationism, and "campaigns for marriage and against single parenting." Anschutz doesn't really seem like Michael Jackson's "kind of guy". By that I mean, that Jackson was inclusive; heal the world, it's all for L.O.V.E, it doesn't matter if you're black or white (or gay or straight, single or married, for that matter.) Anschutz seems more of an exclusive person; pushing his personal beliefs that to be married and heterosexual is somehow the right way to live your life, and anything other than that is on a lower echelon in the game of life.
I'm surprised Anschutz even considered hiring Michael Jackson. But oh yeah, since Jackson is/was one of the biggest money makers on the planet, that fact probably had something (everything) to do with it. Anschutz hasn't been involved in any scandal except for his IPO spinning fiasco, in which Anschutz donated $4.4 million to charity and basically bought off his involvement in any wrongdoing.
Then there is Randy Phillips, AEG Live's CEO. What gives me a bad gut feeling about Phillips is how his story has changed over the past year.
The video above is a Sky news interview with Randy Phillips on June 30, 2009, only a few days after Michael's death. At 3:45, Phillips maintains that Michael insisted on hiring Dr. Murray. At 5:13, Phillips denies that Michael was frail. At 6:10, Phillips states that Dr. Murray, a social worker from UCLA and Frank Dileo told Michael's children that he had passed. Phillips' somber mood picks up at 9:08 when he speaks about the film footage that would become the movie, This Is It.
This next video (above) was done in early July, 2009. At 2:40, Phillips (rather abruptly) states that he could not tell if Jackson was taking painkillers or not. Michael Bearden corroborates Phillips statement. Phillips reiterates that Michael Jackson was excited and happy to be in rehearsal and to do the concert series.
The video above shows Randy Phillips in June '10. Phillips admits that Kenny Ortega and he had to go talk to Michael about missed rehearsals. Phillips previously denied that Michael had stage fright or that Jackson simply did not want to do the concert series. At 6:44, Phillips states that he believed that on the last night of rehearsals (June 24, 2009) that Michael had finally accepted that he could do the concert series.
So in June '09, Randy Phillips first maintained that Michael was happy and ecstatic to rehearsal and do the concert series, and that he could not tell that Michael was frail. A few weeks later, Phillips' admits that he hired someone to make sure Michael ate, because Phillips was worried. In June '10, Phillips admits that Kenny Ortega and he went to Michael's house, because they were concerned that Michael was not showing up for rehearsals. (And Oxman maintains that Ortega and Phillips gave Jackson an ultimatum; either Jackson started showing up or AEG was going to "pull the plug" on the concert series. However, this is Oxman we're talking about, so we have to take that statement with a grain of salt.) The point here is that when Michael first died, Phillips painted a picture of a happy and excited Michael Jackson on the verge of a comeback that nobody had ever seen before. However, as the months went by, Phillips then admits that he had to hire someone to make sure Michael was eating, and that Ortega and Phillips had to go talk to Michael about missing rehearsals. Phillips story is continually evolving. Phillips, in my opinion, only admits what he feels he has to admit. Randy Phillips' loyalty clearly goes to his employer, AEG Live first, and Michael receives a distant second.
Most fans have already read and come to the same conclusion about Randy Phillips and AEG Live. However, what has not been widely published is Leonard Rowe's accusation that AEG Live's contract was not with Michael Jackson the artist, but rather was with The Michael Jackson Company LLC. The reason why Rowe says the contract is between the Michael Jackson Company and AEG is because Michael's assets were held in the company. If Michael failed to do the tour or failed to live up to his contract, AEG could sue Michael for advances given to him and for the production costs of the tour. Michael's share of the ATV, according to Rowe, was held by the Michael Jackson Company LLC. According to this blog, Rowe is quoted in his book as writing:
"…This promissory note from Michael Jackson Company, LLC and Michael Jackson, the artist, required Michael to pay the principal amount of the note, in full on the maturity date as defined above to be about six months after the first leg of the tour in London, but not later than December 31, 2009.(whichever comes first), or six months after written request is received from AEG by Michael Jackson or his company. However, AEG gets really slick here in this promissory note, because the entire note is collateralized not by Michael Jackson the artist, but by Michael Jackson Company, LLC. Why is this you may wonder? More than likely it is because Michael Jackson’s business holding, which would include his publishing rights and catalogue, are owned by Michael Jackson, LLC and not Michael Jackson, the individual artist. So if the promissory note is for any reason not paid or defaulted upon, the assets of the Michael Jackson Company, LLC get forked over to AEG. In other words, owning Michael Jackson Company, LLC and/or its assets, means owning Michael Jackson." (Rowe, Pg. 173) (Thanks very much to the author of this blog.)
Below is a screen shot of the the beginning of the contract between AEG Live and the Michael Jackson Company LLC:
Am I saying that AEG murdered MJ? No I'm not. I'm saying that it might behoove MJ fans to look beyond the executors of the will and Sony, because clearly others had a monetary motive to kill Michael Jackson. And AEG was not the only one.....just sayin'.