Friday, November 26, 2010
1. When Katherine Jackson first was given an allowance by the MJ estate, the amount was set at $26,804 per month. MJ3 were given an allowance of $60K per month. However, in January of 2010, MJ3 had their allowance raised, although the amount was not disclosed publicly. In September of 2010, Katherine Jackson asked for a raise in her monthly allowance. This IBT article states that "Jackson's move may be justified since Michael Jackson's estate finances have improved..." Court documents state that Beckloff said "Court will give notice of proposed action re: adjustment of family allowance for the benefit of Katherine Jackson." If we went with a low estimate and stated that the court gave MJ3 and Katherine a 25% raise, the total income received from the estate would be approximately $1.3 million.
Something very important that I had to throw into this blog, is the fact that MJ3 and Katherine have received raises in their allowance. The more revenue going into the estate, the more willing the court and the estate is willing to raise the monthly allowance. In addition, when the revenue flows into the estate, the debt is paid off. Once the debt is paid off, the revenue will be put into a trust for MJ3. So for those who claim that fans who buy MJ products are only funding the estate executors, they are dead wrong. Buying MJ products helps to raise the monthly allowances of Jackson's heirs, and helps to reduce the debt of the estate.
2. When Jackson died, he had outstanding loans on both the Hayvenhurst compound in Encino and a condominium nearby. While the amount outstanding on the loan for the condo is not disclosed, the IndyMac loan taken out on Hayvenhurst was $5 million. The status report from the executors of the estate report that they loaned Katherine Jackson money for repairs to her home in Encino, along with buying her a car. If we take a low estimate of $2 million for the loan on the condo, plus $500K for the repairs to the house, plus the $5 million for the Encino loan, plus approximately $90K (Friedman reports) for Katherine's Escalade, we arrive at approximately $7.6 million. (Friedman reports that roughly $8 million has been spent on Mrs. Jackson, and she has never been denied anything she requested from her son's estate executors.)
Of importance in this status report is that on page 16 (pdf page), the court requires the estate to report every 9 months. This means that the estate must report to Judge Beckloff all accounts payable and receivable for the estate. Therefore, those who claim that Branca and McClain have free reign over the estate are dead wrong. The executors of the MJ estate must report to a judge every 9 months, period.
3. According to the status report filed by the estate executors in October, 2010, attorneys's fees accumulated in the amount of approximately $4 million. These fees are not Branca's, but attorneys he uses on a regular basis. Of note is Weitzman's firm claim for $745K.
4. Everyone knows that the MJ estate has made a deal with Cirque de Soleil for a Michael Jackson themed show. What I'm not sure fans realize is that the estate agreed to share the development and production costs in a 50/50 split. Bloomberg reports that the Cirque show, Ka, ran $30 million in production costs alone. Fast Company reports that development costs can run in the vicinity of $25 million, and that Ka took $165 million to produce. So if we took the production and development costs of Ka as a model, the approximate cost for the estate of the Cirque show would be half of approximately $50 million, or $25 million.
UPDATE: One of the readers of the blog who totally rocks sent me this. In this article, it states that "Cirque has budgeted an amazing $100 million just for creating and developing (the two Michael Jackson) shows and expects that another $150 million will be added to the final costs for staging and theater construction." So just for the startup costs for the Cirque show, we're looking at $50 million rather than my previous estimation of $25 million. A big thanks to the reader for this!
5. Jackson fans are aware that he was in debt and highly leveraged at the time of his death. Jackson had taken out a loan against MIJAC, his own catalog of music. The Wall Street Journal reports that Jackson's catalog was leveraged for $75 million at the time of death. WSJ reports that this loan will be paid off in June,2011. This means the estate probably has paid off $37.5 million on the MIJAC loan. The interest rate has been lowered from 16.5% to 4%, so the figure could be lower.
5a. The same WSJ article states that AEG had loaned Jackson $35 million, which was paid through proceeds of the This Is It film.
5b. The executor's status report does state that the estate has refinanced the ATV loan. There is no information released publicly that states how much the estate has paid on this loan. However, as most fans know, the loan on Jackson's half of the ATV catalog was approximately $270 million. Even with loans from Sony, most assume the payment made would be massive. Since the WSJ articles states that the estate has paid off $200 of the $500 million debt, I would assume that the ATV payment was somewhere in the vicinity of $100 million.
So at this point, we're at roughly $200 million that the estate has paid, give or take $25 million for other expenses we don't know about. So where's the other $800 million?
Wondering why you're looking at a hundred dollar bill? Is this some transition to an "all about the Benjamins" theme? Nope. It's because it was Ben Franklin that said that the only thing that is certain are....death and taxes. The MJ estate is subject to an estate tax of 45%. MJ's will (page 2) states that the estate taxes should be paid by the executors from his estate. This CBS article stated that the estate tax could be as high as $80 million, but it was written before all of Jackson's assets were known and valued. When I went to this estate tax estimator here, and entered in Jackson's figures as assets totalling $1 billion and debts of $500 million, the estate tax was $450 million. $450 million?? Now I realize that seems like a really high figure, but it's possible, however I did not deduct charitable contributions or the salaries of either Branca or McClain which are tax deductible. (Estate taxes are normally due in 9 months from the date of death. They can be paid in four installments over a year with a small penalty. Estate taxes can be stretched to a 14 year period in some cases, however the penalties are extremely high. I would assume that the estate is trying to get this huge debt paid in full as quickly as possible.)
We have left out Branca/McClain's income, which I calculated in a previous blog at $78 million. Also we need to add in the amount of lawsuit settlements that were paid per the status report (including $341K that was paid to Tom Mesereau) which totals approximately $1 million. (I did not add in any claim that was in settlement terms).
Also not added in are Jackson's personal income taxes (both state and federal) and federal and state income tax on the revenue coming into the estate for the year. $1 billion reported is a gross profit figure, not a net profit. The 20% given to charity is not added in either.
So what's the grand total now? We had approximately $200 million earlier, and with the estate tax, the estate executors' salaries, the lawsuits paid out, we come to a total of $729 million in debt for the Michael Jackson estate. This leaves out federal and state income tax.
I realize that a lot of people will say the estate tax estimation is too high, but there is no way to truly know and I did take the high figure rather than the low. The point of this blog was to inform fans that although a headline of the Michael Jackson making $1 billion even in death makes a good headline, it is important to remember that with that kind of revenue, comes equally large debt.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Before you start to read, please push play and listen to this inspirational, amazing Michael Jackson song. (And before Sony deletes it, or readers say I stole it, I bought Hold My Hand from Itunes, so cool your jets.) I had almost finished another blog entitled "Myths Regarding the MJ Estate that Just Won't Go Away", detailing the finances and the MJ Estate, until I saw a few tweets that really stood out for me. I put the unfinished blog on hold due to these tweets. Here is the first one:
Qbee on 11/17: Its NOT about Jacksons, Money, Revenge, Sony Politics or Fans Its about "MICHAEL" & what HE deserves. #1 You know what 2 do & how to do it.
How can I argue with that? (Moral of the story: you never know how a tweet will affect the reader.) How true this statement is. Right now, we can argue about Sony, the MJ Estate, where the revenue goes, Branca, OR we can choose to unite as Michael Jackson fans and fight for his legacy, with or without a celebrity to lead us.
The other tweet that stood out for me was this one:
Charles Thomson on 11/17: New Blog -- OFCOM ignored 115 complaints; ITV ignores hundreds more: http://tinyurl.com/39cdp2t
155 complaints??? Is that it? This is the same fan base that pushed #holdmyhand to the #1 trending topic in a matter of hours? Pushing a trending topic to the top ten probably takes tens of thousands of tweets, but to number one? That's a LOT of tweets. Yet, there are only 115 complaints to ITV who allowed Kelvin Mackenzie to make horrible statements regarding Michael Jackson and his children??? Where is the logic in that?
So again, MJ fans, there are many who are still working TIRELESSLY to continue this protest against ITV and also a new protest against KFI AM 640 Radio Jock Bill Handel, who made equally horrid statements about Michael Jackson.
I'm not going to make this a long blog filled with the histories of either Kelvin Mackenzie or Bill Handel, like I usually do with subjects on the blog. I am going to simply ask the MJJ community to once again hold hands together in unity like Michael would want us to, and send a civil and polite complaint to ITV regarding Mackenzie and the FCC regarding Handel.
Per Deborah Ffrench who has worked SO DILIGENTLY ON THIS PROTEST, here are the two email addresses to complain about Kelvin Mackenzie:
email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
To complain about Bill Handel's remarks on KFI AM 640, complaints can be filled out online at the FCC here.
MJJ family, if we do not protest, when will it end? It won't end until we stand up and raise our voice as one as Michael has said, it's as simple as that. PLEASE, PLEASE RAISE YOUR VOICES AS ONE AND PROTEST!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Dear Mr. Crozier,
I am writing to you in the hope that I can appeal to your business sense, as well as morality and ethics regarding Kelvin Mackenzie's comments about Michael Jackson on ITV's The Morning Show. I will not bore you with a repetition of Mackenzie's comments. I only ask that you read this letter personally, and at least consider my stance regarding Mackenzie's statements on ITV.
I have done some research on you and your background with Saatchi and Saatchi, the Football Association, Royal Mail Group and now your relatively new position as chief executive of ITV. Your proven track record highlighted by your leadership at Royal Mail Group is exemplary, and is quite impressive. Clearly, as a savvy business executive you are aware that one of your largest hurdles regarding ITV is to continue to recruit advertising that brings in vast amounts of revenue. I wonder if you have considered that advertising related to Michael Jackson at this point in time is nothing less than a cash cow. In death, everything the Michael Jackson estate has touched has turned to metaphorical and literal gold. In addition, Jackson fans number in the millions worldwide, and everything from large corporations to small family owned business may refuse to advertise on ITV. Your potential and present viewers could very possibly hold the belief that by allowing Mackenzie to libel Michael Jackson and his minor children, ITV should neither be viewed nor used for advertising purposes.
In addition, I would also like to appeal to your ethical sense in the realm of ITV. As I am sure you are well aware, Michael Jackson, even in death, makes headlines worldwide. Michael Jackson's children have endured malicious and libelous statements made by the media for their entire lives and continue to do so even though their father is now deceased. Through no fault of their own, the media continues to sensationalize these children. For Kelvin Mackenzie to state that Jackson's children would be better off without him around had to cut like a knife into these children's hearts.
Mr. Crozier, I believe you are a man who realizes how traumatic statements like those that Mackenzie made can be on a child. I also believe that you are trailblazer who might just be the first person in the media to stand up publicly and state that enough is enough regarding negative statements that involve minor children. Whether Mackenzie broke any ITV rules is irrelevant. What is truly relevant is that men in your position have a business and ethical obligation to either publicly apologize or publicly state that ITV does not share the same opinion as guests who make negative statements about minor children.
I am hoping that this letter will reach your sense of business and ethics. Please consider a public apology or a statement from ITV that states that Mackenzie's statements will not be tolerated.
Andjustice4some (I used my real name for this email.)
Monday, November 15, 2010
To Taj Jackson and Akon, please consider how much influence you have in the community. If you tweeted a link to either Deborah Ffrench's, GatorGirl's, or Seven's blog, millions would have access to the protype letter needed for fans to protest. Charles Thomson's blog has several illuminating and inspiring entries regarding the protest as well, including the fact that Taj's friend Paul Jones, US Ambassador to Malaysia, has now complained about Mackenzie's statements.
We have to think in terms of the Uncover Michael's Name campaign. This was the first campaign where the Jackson family and MJ fans saw results. This campaign maintained dignity, composure and class throughout; and equally important was the fact that this campaign maintained a steady pressure to get Michael's name uncovered. This protest could see the same result; that Mackenzie would issue an on air apology if only we continue a mass pressure on ITV and Ofcom.
In addition, the those who are prominent in the MJJ community, we are appealing to you to help because you have a large influence and following as well. Whether to boycott or not, whether to agree with estate or not, whether to buy the album or not, whether to believe the voice is Michael's or not, does not matter right now. Every fan, no matter what, wants justice for Michael Jackson.
To Erin Jacobs, Cowboy MJJ, Muzik Factory 2, Insanity X, Qbees, Jennifer Marino, Houdini's Ghost, and all other prominent and influential members of the MJ family, please provide links to Charles Thomson's, Seven's, Gatorgirl's or Deborah Ffrench's blogs so we can protest Kelvin Mackenzie!!!
Let's make this protest the next campaign where we see results, MJ family. I urge you to continue protesting. We need all MJ fans to hold hands with the Jacksons, and get the result we want. We want to send a clear message to the media that libelous statements about Michael Jackson and his children will NOT be tolerated, period.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Tonight, with the release of Hold My Hand, I felt something I have not felt in a very long time; since perhaps before Michael Jackson died. When I listened to the track for the first time, I felt that same chill run through my spine that always happens when I listen to Michael Jackson. I felt that sense of magic; the combination of an unexplainable excitement and soothing familiarity that comes to me when I listen to Michael Jackson's voice. In addition, I felt a sense of solidarity between Akon and Michael. Their harmonies and melodies fuse so smoothly together that a sense of comfort came over me that I have not felt in a very long time. Tears of joy mixed with sadness for the loss of Michael Jackson overcame me and so I sought solace in Twitter.
Even more comforting was the fact that many of the MJJ family were on Twitter, expressing the same feeling that I had. And so the MJJ community began to tweet #holdmyhand. In only one and a half hours after Hold My Hand was released, it was trending at #1 worldwide. And at this point, I broke down and sobbed. But this time, although bittersweet, I cried at what I had forgotten. I sobbed because I had given up hope in some small way that the MJJ family will ever see true justice for Michael Jackson. Tears streamed down my cheeks because of the irony of the name of this specific track, and the fact that in this hour and a half that I had been on Twitter, I had literally held hands around the globe with those who love Michael Jackson as much as I do.
It was truly an amazing and life altering experience to be a part of the power of what Michael Jackson fans can achieve. With that said, I want to state that my last blog, which urged the Jackson family to file a libel lawsuit against Kelvin Mackenzie rather than fans to protest, was a reflection of my own despair over the lack of justice that Michael Jackson has received since his death. After feeling the surge of power of the MJ fans, I believe in earnest that if fans put their force into a public apology from Kelvin Mackenzie, it will happen.
I am now publicly apologizing for my lack of faith in the power of the MJ fan base. I urge all fans to look at Charles Thomson's, Seven's or Deborah Ffrench's blog http://tinyurl.com/35gp35k, and publicly state in a polite and civil manner, that Michael Jackson fans will not stand for libelous statements against him or his children.
Tonight, I felt Michael holding every fan's hand in the world. I felt many fans holding my hand. Fans around the world held each other's hand, and used the power of L.O.V.E. to show MJ3, the Jacksons and the world that Michael's message was to UNITE the world, not to divide it. I haven't felt so much love in a very long time, and I thank the MJ community for that. Tonight, Michael would be so proud to know that his fans will never forget his message, his music and his love. I know he's watching us from heaven, because I can still feel him holding my hand.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
There is another well written blog by Seven about this subject, appropriately titled "Kelvin MacKenzie: Ignorant Buffoon." In it, Seven provides email addresses and phone numbers in the UK for fans to complain about MacKenzie's comments. She has gone as far as to write a prototype letter to help MJ fans organize their complaints. However, her blog also reports that Ofcom, the regulatory committe for the UK, stated "Whilst we understand that some viewers may have been offended; it does not break any of our rules. The complaints have not been upheld."
And so, MJ fans have been disappointed for the zillionth time, as Michael Jackson's name has been and seemingly always will be drug through the mud, with no consequence for the offenders' actions. Or is there? Let's take a trip down memory lane with Mr. Kelvin Mackenzie.
1987 ~ MacKenzie and the tabloid trash rag The Sun, write that Elton John has had his Rottweiler guard dogs' voice boxes removed. In addition, The Sun, under MacKenzie's watch, allege that Elton John is having sex with underage "rentboys". Elton John sues for libel, and the Sun/MacKenzie pay a one million pound settlement.
1989 ~ In what is now called the "Hillsborough Disaster", 96 people are crushed to death at a UK football (the equivalent of U.S. soccer) game. The Hillsborough Disaster was the worst tragedy in UK football history, and a report that later surfaced placed the blame mainly on a lack of police control. Kelvin Mackenzie, true to his soul-less form, prints in The Sun, that one of the causes of the disaster was that Liverpool fans' drunkenness. Mackenzie and The Sun also accused Liverpool fans of stealing from corpses and urinating on the dead. Below is the front page of the Sun in 1989:
MacKenzie did apologize for what he printed, but he admits that the only reason he did it is because his boss, Rupert Murdoch, made him. In 2006, Mackenzie reignited the same fury when he stated that he was not sorry for printing the accusations against Liverpool fans, and that he stood by his allegations. Mackenzie also claimed that Murdoch forced an apology because those from Liverpool and other British readers boycotted The Sun, resulting in a loss of 50,000 papers sold per month.
MacKenzie is a man with no compassion, no empathy, no soul. If he allowed The Sun to print that Liverpool fans were stealing from and urinating on corpses in the aftermath of the worst stadium tragedy in UK history, does anyone think it's feasible that Mackenzie is going to publicly apologize for libeling Michael Jackson? Take a good look at this interview given by Mackenzie in 2002, and see if you believe there's a snowball's chance in hell Mackenzie will ever apologize. Ofcom, the UK's regulatory committee, has made their position very clear: Mackenzie did not violate their rules.
Above is a letter from the BBC to a member of Parliament, addressing George Galloway's (member of Parliament) concerns on comments Mackenzie made. The BBC backed Mackenzie, stating that Mackenzie's views were not shared by the BBC. Basically, Mackenzie feels can get away with saying whatever he wants, whenever he wants and there's not much that anybody can do about it.
And yet, Mackenzie's own words may come back to haunt him. When commenting in 2006 over his libel lawsuits with the Sun, Mackenzie stated, "Libel can only have a value if there has been some kind of damage, right?" Any court of law will award a monetary amount for libel against someone who has stated that some children are better off with their father dead because they would have been corrupted had their father lived.
On Twitter today, Taj Jackson tweeted: "If we don't get an on air apology from ITV soon, my next step is legal. The time for bad mouthing & spreading lies about my uncle are OVER."
Go Taj, Go! I pray to God that you and your family sue Kelvin Mackenzie for libelous statements made against Michael Jackson and his children. And with that, let it be known throughout the media that the Jacksons and their fan base will NOT tolerate dragging the Jackson name through the mud any more.