For Jackson’s estate, 3 big claims are unresolved
Five years after Michael Jackson’s death, his estate continues to earn tens of millions of dollars a year and has resolved most claims filed against it by creditors. But some are still seeking a share of the pop superstar’s wealth.
Here’s a look at the biggest remaining threats to Jackson’s estate:
The IRS is seeking more than $700 million from Jackson’s estate, which includes taxes it contends are owed, plus penalties.
The dispute arises over a difference in valuations of Jackson’s assets when he died. The singer had borrowed heavily against his half share of the Sony-ATV music catalog, and hadn’t toured or had an endorsement deal in years.
The IRS says Jackson’s image was still worth millions, as were other assets, while the singer’s estate points to his debts and an image tarnished by child molestation allegations as reasons supporting lower tax valuations.
Choreographer Wade Robson testified in Jackson’s defense at the singer’s 2005 child molestation trial, vehemently denying the singer ever touched him inappropriately.
Last year, Robson sued Jackson’s estate for what his attorneys described as molestation that spanned a seven-year period. Robson met Jackson when he was 5 and spent the night at Neverland Ranch more than 20 times, sleeping in the singer’s bedroom on most visits, he told jurors during the trial, which ended with Jackson’s acquittal.
The merits of Robson’s claim against the estate haven’t yet been argued and his attorneys haven’t said how much they are seeking.
Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman has cited Robson’s previous statements supporting Jackson and called the new accusations “outrageous and pathetic.”
Tohme Tohme served as Jackson’s personal manager in 2008 and early 2009 but was fired during preparations for the ill-fated “This Is It” concerts.
He worked with Jackson’s estate in its first months in 2009 and returned $5.5 million to the estate that he said he was holding to purchase a “dream home” for the singer.
Tohme sued in February 2012, seeking a 15 percent share of the estate for his role in reviving Jackson’s career. Jackson’s estate is seeking to block any payments to Tohme, and the two sides have been battling over records and potential evidence.