John G. Branca Grows Wings
The Get Branca Mantra ("Get Shorty"):
This report needs to be challenged with factual information. To date it has been allowed to circulate in our community without giving it a second thought. Thus, this tabloid has attained a bogus credence, following, and merit in the eyes of many. This bogus report will no longer go unchallenged--this will simply not be tolerated. Attempting to convict John Branca without one shred of valid and conclusive evidence or a trial for that matter? That would indeed be hypocritical. Are you telling me many have an abundance of mere daydreams, assumptions, and fantasies to corroborate this rhetoric? Michael Jackson wasn't the only client of John Branca. Michael Jackson also had plenty of bottom feeders around him unfortunately.
John Branca Shaman
My, my, what do we have here?!!! Mrs. Jackson has stated the following:
- "It is only natural for people who loved Michael, including family members, to be suspicious about the circumstances surrounding Michael’s untimely death. So far I have not seen one shred of evidence that anyone associated with Michael’s estate conspired to kill him. She continues, "If such evidence ever comes to my attention I will be the first to bring those facts to light."
-Mrs. Katherine Jackson
I have personally bore witness to plenty of diatribes which stated that Mrs. Jackson was being diplomatic regarding her statements about the estate administrators. I find extreme difficulty when processing the full spectrum of these statements. Then they proceed to dissect Janet Jackson's statements regarding substance issues via the "Michael Was Perfection"--which is ridiculous.
Plenty have stated that Janet must be mistaken about her brother including any issues he would have! The majority of this clan hasn't ever gotten close enough to Michael other than a concert! They are just reading news reports and referencing community gossip! I have not been in Michael's inner circle just as well which is why I defer to his family. I also reference them along with countless others which have attested to this fact. I would like to remind you of Michael's own words regarding his recollection of events in 2003. Michael stated he could have been impaired. He also stated he didn't know or he couldn't recollect at times. There have been certain instances which dictate the cross checking of facts. I look to verifiable sources for any confirmation when this arises. Please I beg you to immediately cease! It can't be stated that Michael was taken advantage of by these various physicians if there is no admission of Michael's issues. Knowingly taking part in this behavior is severe a miscarriage and obstruction of justice! There's more than enough conclusive evidence to prove this as the case. However, this is for another blog back to the "Get Branca Mantra".
Putting The Branca Lie To Bed I
*On Board Sony Music:
Absolutely! John G. Branca was on the board of Sony/ATV! How many people have I heard make an attempt to distort this as conflict of interest? I cannot count them on my fingers and toes. This is misinformation if you are spreading this lie please stop! This simply isn't true. This does NOT constitute a conflict of interest! The actual truth is that John G. Branca was representing Michael on the board of Sony/ATV because Michael was a shareholder of this company. John Branca's share was linked to Michael's share--Michael's interests were John Branca's!
|John Branca Attending The 4th Annual MAP Awards |
November 5th, 2003 Beverly Hills, California
|"Branca has represented such industry heavyweights as Berry Gordy, Dick Clark, Richard Branson, and Rick Rubin, and such independent labels and investors as SBK, Interscope Records, Fujisankei, JVC, MCI, Vivendi, Rhino Records, and Motown Records, among others. Branca also handled the acquisition of ATV Music (the Beatles catolog) for Michael Jackson, and the merger of ATV and Sony Music, on which he represents Michael Jackson on the Board of Directors." -MAP AWARD -MAP AWARD |
Has anyone ever seen the MAP article before? Well, here is the PDF in its entirety as it relates to the MAP Award. Please read it carefully so that you will learn some interesting facts. If this was such a conflict of interest why would this "conflict of interest" be listed in an article citing the MAP Award?
Besides, I can find no prior or current information stating that John Branca represented Sony in the capacity of being Michael's attorney when he wasn't aware. Furthermore, the law allows representation of two separate parties.
Rule 1.7: Model Rule Comparison states the following:
1.7:101 Model Rule Comparison
- "CRPC 3-310 addresses conflicts of interest with a different structure than MR 1.7 and related MR provisions. CRPC 3-310(C), dealing with conflicts between concurrent clients, is the California provision most analogous to MR 1.7(a). CRPC 3-310(C) differs from MR 1.7(a) in several respects. First, CRPC 3-310(C) does not contain a provision similar to MR 1.7(a)(1) which requires the lawyer to reasonably believe that the representation of one client will not adversely affect the relationship with the other client. In contrast to MR 1.7(a), CRPC 3-310(C) allows a lawyer to represent two separate clients notwithstanding an adverse effect on the relationship with one or both clients, so long as the informed consent of each client is obtained."
If we needed more tabloid media it would be the hottest career of the decade and of "The Brave New World". "The WRAP" series was an interesting read and it had lots of information. However, it quoted Al Malnik and when it came to Michael and John Branca it was biased in certain sections--we'll get to Al Malnik later! "The Wrap" called Michael paranoid! Can the average reader discerningly isolate the bias in certain segments of "The WRAP" for themselves? Our job as bloggers is to pinpoint when certain information is biased. If we are valid and accurate we can confirm or discredit anything which is factual or unfounded. There are very few blogs that I will bother to ever read. I read them and they provide me with confirmed and substantiated information. To conquer ignorance you need knowledge and understanding.
- "In 2008, changes in the tax law that allowed songwriters to pay a small capital gains tax instead of a larger income tax prompted Branca to advise some of his clients that this was the perfect time to sell their music publishing catalogs, thereby establishing new precedents in valuation. Ensuing sales included: Kurt Cobain and Nirvana copyrights; Steve Tyler's Aerosmith publishing catalog of 160 songs to Primary Wave Music Publishing for $50 million; Julian Lennon's share of The Beatles' royalties, and the catalog of the legendary song-writing team of Leiber & Stoller to Sony/ATV, which created a new yardstick by which the worth of catalogs was measured. He also sold Berry Gordy's Jobete Music to EMI, which changed the method and standard by which catalogs were valued."
- "In 2009, in a highly-watched move, Branca beat out Wall Street investment banking houses to represent the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization and sold their catalog for an excess of $200 million, despite predictions by the Wall Street Journal and others that the catalog wouldn't fetch more than $150 million."
- "In addition, Branca helped songwriters such as Don Henley of The Eagles regain copyrights of their songs, or to help them secure royalties that they’ve lost, as he did with John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival.
- "These deals prompted Marty Bandier, CEO and chairman of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, to call Branca the "number one music publishing lawyer in the country."
- "Before bidding, he said he checked with Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono and McCartney’s lawyer and brother-in-law John Eastman to see if they were interested. They were not. It took a year of bidding against others — including British industrialist Richard Branson — before he closed the deal. In 1995, he merged it with Sony to create one of the largest such collections in the world. In earlier years, Branca also helped Jackson obtain the rights to his recording masters and brokered the purchase of Neverland Ranch, originally offered for $60 million, for a final price of $17.5 million, including all furnishings"
- "Those deals helped transform Jackson from a rich pop star into a man of extraordinary wealth, and turned Branca’s career in the direction of buying and selling music assets. (He recently negotiated the sale of the Rodgers and Hammerstein catalog for $200 million.)"
- "But life with Michael was not all about money, Branca says. At first they were friends, traveling to Disney World together, socializing at Branca’s home. Jackson was the best man at Branca’s first wedding, bringing with him his pet chimp Bubbles, who was clad in a tiny tuxedo. Little Richard was the minister." “His personality,” Branca says when recalling the young pop superstar, “was just infectious.”
- In 1990, Jackson tearfully told Branca he wanted to try different representation; though Branca wouldn’t confirm it, it’s been widely reported that Hollywood mogul and record company executive David Geffen advised Jackson that Branca’s influence in his affairs had grown too large. They remained apart for three years, while Branca moved on to other artists. Branca returned in 1993, at a time when Jackson was being sued in a child molestation case he ultimately settled. But the relationship was different.
- “Later on in his career he really had a line between his business and personal life,” said Branca. “As people get older, that’s not uncommon.”
How can you send someone correspondence terminating their tenure and not date it? If you are serious about the termination and the relief of the fiduciary duties of your former attorney I am quite sure that you wouldn't leave yourself open. Therefore, that letter would need to be dated to specify when the effective termination date was.
I would also like to aim your attentiveness to another odd occurrence in this correspondence below. If you closely examine you will see that the letter was drafted in Aventura, Florida! To my recollection only once can I establish that Michael was in Florida during that era. That's when Michael was conducting business with Floridian businessman Al Malnik! Moreover, even if John was terminated as everyone states in 2003 he was back on the job representing Michael shortly thereafter! Michael had to have approved this if John supplied his resignation in 2006 correct?
Now we're getting to the nitty-gritty--the establishment of comprehension! We need to carefully review Joe Jackson's petition filing at the probate court. Why on earth would a judge render a decision in favor of the estate administrators and not Joseph Jackson--the father of Michael Jackson? Joe's objection to the estate administrators was tossed out of court because Joe had no legal standing to object to the executors--he is not a beneficiary of Michael's will--as the judge stipulated he had no standing! Do you believe for one second the judge did not evaluate what Joe had to say? If there was "one shred of conclusive evidence" in Joe's filing which proved substantial, and thus the executors could be challenged would the judge have made that same decision?
Was this just a diplomatic way of sending a message that he considered it to be wasted labor to deal with that extensive filing which really resembled a fishing expedition? Did Brian Oxman presume or hope that the judge would find something of value in there? If all that was so convincing why didn't Mrs. Jackson take this on for the elimination of the outsiders running the family business? The judge granted Mrs. Jackson protection under the Safe Harbor Rule! There was no legal foundation or merit in any of these claims!
The majority of Joe Jackson's complaint (drafted by attorney Rickey Brian Oxman) consisted of information contained in the Interfor Report and the correspondence you see above! The picture above is in fact the actual correspondence which is contained in Joe Jackson's objection! It's factual that Joe Jackson's legal brief has made its rounds through the entire community. Furthermore, there's an abundance of misinformation hovering around and contained therein that filing.
- "IT'S NO secret that Michael Jackson is cleaning house. First he fired longtime mouthpiece Bob Jones. Now we hear the next to go may be manager John McClain and lawyer John Branca as brother Randy Jackson is taking over more and more of Jackson's business affairs. But the singer's spokeswoman-of-the-day Raymone Bain claims that McClain and Branca are still very much on the team..."
- "The deal to bail Jackson out is pretty much written and waiting for Michael to execute it. Charles Koppelman (now CEO of Martha Stewart's company) and longtime Jackson adviser John Branca are its architects. I always refer to them as Jackson's "permanent government" because they're the ones who've kept him from the fate Auchincloss describes. It's just up to Michael to sign. "The deal is just about ready to go," says a source."
- "John Branca, an attorney who structured the purchase for Mr. Jackson and represented him from 1980 to 1990 and periodically after 1993, said he saw no signs of wayward financial behavior in the years straddling the release of "Thriller." "I think Michael was brilliant for a good part of his career — savvy, involved, on top of everything," Mr. Branca said. "I also think he was a marketing genius."
- "In 1990, Jackson told Branca he wanted to try different representation; though Branca wouldn't confirm it, it was widely reported that Hollywood mogul and record company executive David Geffen advised Jackson that Branca's influence in his affairs had grown too large. They remained apart for three years. Branca returned in 1993, at a time when Jackson was being sued in a child molestation case he ultimately settled. But the relationship was different. "Later on in his career he really had a line between his business and his personal life."said Branca. In 1997 a will was drafted for Jackson--but not, Branca says, by him. Instead, he said he assigned it to a member of his firm who specialized in wills and trusts. It was redone in 2002, after the birth of Jackson's third child. Branca said he played no role in advising Jackson on the will, but knew the singer did not want a family member in control of his estate. Jackson also felt that he did not have to take care of his brothers and sisters, Branca said. By 2006, Branca says, his relationship with Jackson was troubled once again. The star was listening to and increasingly odd set of advisers who Branca feared did not have the singer's best interests as heart. He was surrounded and I had to resign." he said. "He did not ask me to stay, I resigned amicably."
"Sony is one huge conglomerate comprised of many little different companies called subsidiaries. There's Sony Music, Sony/ATV, Sony Pictures, Columbia Records, Epic Records, Columbia Pictures, and much more. Please realize these are different companies under the umbrella of a huge conglomerate. Each separate company is its own entity entirely onto itself as a separate division of Sony! It would take too long to explain why this is done so I will skip the explanation for this. That will require some of your own individual research time."-X1
Conclusion Interfor = Tabloid Trash
Interfor Investigative Report Final
- "Interfor has investigated the background of John Gregory Branca (“Branca”). Some sources in the entertainment industry think highly of Branca. However, other sources suggest that he has built his career on the strength of his clients to a point where are rumors of irregularities involved in the accounting of legal fees."
What people are missing is the HEARSAY in this statement: "OTHER SOURCES SUGGEST"!!! They are also missing something else here, "RUMORS" is the key word "RUMORS"!!! Would anyone be able to logically suggest based upon rumors that a person built a career evolving around irregularities? Especially irregularities involving legal accountability??? Rumors will just NOT cut it here anymore this is an investigation!!! An investigation (any good and thorough one) is comprised of facts, witnesses, and supportive evidence! Any good investigation is not done with hidden faces and unnamed sources!!! This is NOT A TABLOID!!! A man has the right to face his accuser in an open court of law this didn't occur. John Branca is NOT Al Malnik do you feel there's a need for witness protection?
Interfor Report Final:
Additionally, Interfor’s investigation found a tight business relationship between Branca and Tommy Mottola, primarily in regard to the affairs of Jackson. Interfor has begun investigating the flow of funds from Jackson through Mottola and Branca into offshore accounts in the Caribbean. Interfor believes that, at this stage of the investigation, if we had additional time and a proper budget we could develop intelligence which would uncover a scheme to defraud Jackson and his empire by Mottola and Branca by diverting funds offshore.
Interfor interviewed former employees of Ziffren Brittenham Branca and Fischer for intelligence on John Branca.
Indeed you would be able to establish a tight "BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP" between Tommy Mottola and John Branca at the time! John was representing Michael as an artist with Sony/Epic. Sony/Epic & Sony/ATV are two different subsidiaries of a conglomerate--as we just pointed out. Michael was not just an artist for Sony/Epic HE ALSO HAD A STAKE IN THE SONY/ATV COMPANY!!! John Branca was on the Sony/ATV Board to represent Michael because Michael put him there!!! THEREFORE, IF I AM YOUR LAWYER WHY WOULD I NOT REPRESENT YOU IN BOTH INSTANCES??? I CAN BECAUSE YOU ARE MY CLIENT THIS IS NOT A CONFLICT OF INTEREST, SORRY. IF I HAVE THE MICHAEL JACKSON ACCOUNT AND I'M AN ENTERTAINMENT LAWYER THAT MEANS EVERYTHING WHICH FALLS UNDER THE AUSPICES OF MICHAEL JACKSON'S BUSINESS AFFAIRS WHICH DOESN'T CAUSE A CONFLICT WOULD BE MY PRIORITY AND JURISDICTION!!!!
If they had time and funds they "COULD DEVELOP INTELLIGENCE"??? Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda, however they didn't why??? This is because Branca put Uncle Sam in the mix as you are about to read below. Interfor is purely speculative. It's a mix of diluted conjecture and highly prejudicial speculation which states things without proper documentation/witnesses to support and corroborate its claims. Where are the account numbers and bank statements--the wiring of funds how did the FCC miss this? I mean after all John Branca is NO Bernie MadeOff! Where are the travel plans/itineraries to support the destinations to where the offshore accounts were located AND ESTABLISHED--please? Can you also state why your probe into the business of John Branca & Michael Jackson required more money? Please express this clearly for the record. Why did Interfor assert that they required more financial backing to complete this investigation? What you just read was a full fledged attempt to siphon more money out of Michael under false pretenses.
Interfor Report Final:
A former paralegal said Branca is very quiet, intelligent, shy but lovely with a funny sense of humor. Another former employee described Branca as brilliant and said he acts less like a legal mind than as a comrade trying to get musicians’ careers in order. He noted that Branca’s brother is a musician.
Interfor went rummaging in John's past history seeking skeletons and dirty laundry with the intent of playing dirty politics. Interfor's hopes and pipe dreams surrounded the location of a disgruntled employee who had former ties with John's firm. They came up empty handed with their battery-pack (Energizer Bunny) on E because nothing salacious materialized. Any former employees/co-workers had nothing but great news to relay regarding Mr. John G. Branca. Upon closer observation the claims made by Interfor are meritless and baseless! This was apparent from the start of this fishing expedition conjured up by Interfor. This was established to garnish Michael they were set to sell by giving false hope--an impression of promise which would be misconstrued to mean something substantial. They were aware that this was not possible! Interfor had already finalized the investigation! They requested additional funds the time was of no consequence the investigation furnished no sound or conclusive results from the beginning! Here's fractional value of the Googol (ten duotrigintillion) junk that's running rampant around here:
- "There's plenty of info out there. The trick is to determine which news source and/or story is credible and then connect the dots. There are numerous people that could have great interest in seeing Michael gone. I don't doubt a conspiracy, I'm just still trying to wrap my head around the complexities of it. I probably won't be able to figure it out because I don't have access to the financials of everyone. And, I don't have the ability to follow the money or know the connections between the people. But, if you have an interest in figuring it, some of these links might help."
*Does it state any of that in the final version of the Interfor Report??? *Let's do a side by side comparison:
- "The investigators, the firm of Interfor in New York, reported in February, March, and with a final report on April 15, 2003, there was an improper relationship between Tommy Mattola and John Branca whereby Branca and Matolla were illegally funneling Michael Jackson’s money to off-shore accounts in the Caribbean."
Interfor Report Final:
- "Additionally, Interfor’s investigation found a tight business relationship between Branca and Tommy Mottola, primarily in regard to the affairs of Jackson. Interfor has begun investigating the flow of funds from Jackson through Mottola and Branca into offshore accounts in the Caribbean. Interfor believes that, at this stage of the investigation, if we had additional time and a proper budget we could develop intelligence which would uncover a scheme to defraud Jackson and his empire by Mottola and Branca by diverting funds offshore."
How does it go from "tight business relationship" to "improper relationship"? How'd it go from "investigating the flow of funds" to "illegally funneling Michael Jackson's money to off shore accounts"??? After digesting the interpretation above please direct your attention to the next excerpt from the Interfor Report below.
- Through very sensitive and confidential sources, we have learned that Branca sent a letter to the Justice Department describing his relationship with Jackson and the services he provided to Jackson throughout the years and indicating that his services were recently terminated. Furthermore, Branca stated that Jackson has now retained the services of Alvin Malnik (“Malnik”) and suggested that the authorities will want to review Malnik’s background. Furthermore, Branca suggested that Malnik’s goal in this relationship is to utilize Jackson’s financial resources and cash business to facilitate Malnik’s comprehensive money laundering scheme activities.
I assure you that I would contact the Justice Department as well if there were people stalking me! Interfor was attempting to rummage through John's personal history and financials with the cause being unwarranted and unjustified! I indeed hope John did contact the Justice Department as he was dealing with Al Malnik! Also, please explain why would a person with offshore accounts contact the Justice Department--to be jailed perhaps???? Define the logic of that!
You may mess with Uncle Sam's money if you choose and find out what the business is about! Does anyone comprehend fundamentally just what the role of the Justice Department is??? This is what the Attorney General of the U.S. Justice Department does:
(See Al Capone)
- "In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general, or attorney-general, is the main legal advisor to the government, and in some jurisdictions he or she may also have executive responsibility for law enforcement or responsibility for public prosecutions. The term is used to refer to any person who holds a general power of attorney to represent a principal in all matters. In the common law tradition, anyone who represents the state, especially in criminal prosecutions, is such an attorney. Although a government may designate some official as the permanent attorney general, anyone who comes to represent the state in the same way is referred to as such, even if only for a particular case."
- "In the federal government of the United States, the Attorney General is a member of the Cabinet and as head of the Department of Justice is the top law enforcement officer and lawyer for the government. The attorney general may need to be distinguished from the Solicitor General, a high Justice Department official with the responsibility of representing the government before the Supreme Court. In cases of exceptional importance, however, the Attorney General may choose to represent the government himself or herself to the Supreme Court. The individual U.S. states and territories, as well as the Federal capital of Washington, D.C. also have attorneys general with similar responsibilities. The majority of state Attorneys General are chosen by popular election, as opposed to the U.S. Attorney General who is a presidential appointee."
UNITED STATES JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
- "The Judiciary Act of 1789 created the Office of the Attorney General which evolved over the years into the head of the Department of Justice and chief law enforcement officer of the Federal Government. The Attorney General represents the United States in legal matters generally and gives advice and opinions to the President and to the heads of the executive departments of the Government when so requested. In matters of exceptional gravity or importance the Attorney General appears in person before the Supreme Court. Since the 1870 Act that established the Department of Justice as an executive department of the government of the United States, the Attorney General has guided the world's largest law office and the central agency for enforcement of federal laws."
- "If you’re a U.S. citizen, it’s not illegal per se to open an offshore account. If the underlying reason, however, for setting up the account is an illegal act, you might be keeping your money safe, but you could still be in hot water. For example, if you’re accused of tax evasion and you’ve sent the funds abroad, you could still face criminal charges here. The offshore bank account, however, may remain free from the long arm of the law."
Offshore Account Risk
- "When you bank in the U.S., you can be secure in the knowledge that your money is insured by the government. No such guarantees exist with offshore banks. In other words, a country could have a coup or a natural disaster or an accounting scandal one day and all the money could be gone the next. Furthermore, you could find yourself scammed; it does happen. Remember, this is a business built on skirting the law, so you won’t always deal with the most honest people (but that varies by country)."
- "Few other entertainment law firms in the nation even come close to matching the high-wattage clout of this century city dynamo. With a client list that boasts such Hollywood A-listers as actors Tom Hanks, Harrision Ford, Bruce Wills, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sacha Baron Cohen, Steve Carell, Hugh Laurie, Jay Leno William Petersen, Tony Shalhoub, and Matt Damon; music clients including YoYo Ma, singers Shakira, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Eminem, Britney Spears, and Alicia Keys; and rock acts like Korn, Aerosmith and Maroon5--not to mention a Blackberry's worth of instantly recognizable directors, producers, writers, studio heads, independent music labels and corporate clients like Liberty Media Group, DreamWorks, SKG, Veho, Strategic Data Corpl and Seagate Technologies--Ziffren Brittenham is widely regarded as the most powerful entertainment shop in the country, if not the world."-UCLA LAW
- "Steve Fargnoli, who was represented by the Ziffren firm when he managed Prince, alleges that the lawyers later persuaded the performer to withhold management fees to Fargnoli's company. The Ziffren firm is also accused of using confidential information, gained while representing Fargnoli, to benefit Prince in the dispute.The firm started representing Prince after the musician fired Fargnoli in 1988.Fargnoli's attorney, Larry A. Sackey of the Herbert Hafif law office, alleges that the three conflict cases reveal a pattern whereby the Ziffren firm, which wields unparalleled influence in television through its representation of top talent, is sacrificing the interests of lesser clients to those of superstar clients."The Ziffren firm wields considerable influence in the (entertainment) industry," Sackey said. "There are a lot of people who have been harmed who are afraidto bring this issue up."The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks more than $5 million in damages. It names the Ziffren office and three individual partners--Skip Brittenham, John Branca and Gary Stiffelman. Dennis Perluss, the Ziffren firm's outside counsel, called the claims unfounded. Perluss said that any lingering disputes between Fargnoli and the Ziffren office should have been resolved as part of the settlement of a lawsuit the manager brought against Prince.The Ziffren firm has also denied any wrongdoing in two previous conflict cases--one brought by another former client, TV producer Philip DeGuere Jr. ("Simon& Simon"), and the other by a former Ziffren law partner, Gregg Homer. Perluss said the other suits started a "feeding frenzy."
- "A conflict-of-interest suit filed by pop star Prince's former manager against a top entertainment law firm has been dismissed by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.Judge Ronald E. Cappai ruled Friday that Steve Fargnoli has no legal grounds for suing the law firm of Ziffren, Brittenham & Branca, because the firm is exempted under a previous settlement of a lawsuit between the rock manager and Prince."
- "Fargnoli had accused the law firm, led by Hollywood power broker Kenneth Ziffren, of telling Prince that he overpaid his management team under a contract the Ziffren firm negotiated for Fargnoli."
- "The suits, two of which are still active, have helped spark debate in Hollywood over the potential conflicts lawyers and agents have when representing clients who sometimes have competing interests.Larry A. Sackey, one of Fargnoli's lawyers, said the judge's decision will be appealed, arguing that the Ziffren firm should not be exempt from Fargnoli's claims".
- "In Hollywood, there's one entertainment lawyer who's so powerful that some colleagues fearfully refer to him as "the pope."Kenneth Ziffren of Ziffren, Brittenham & Branca arguably wields as much clout as any studio chief or network honcho, thanks to a thoroughbred stable of clients that includes Eddie Murphy, Harrison Ford and Ted Danson. He's credited with personally resolving the writers' strike that paralyzed the industry in1988, and his small Century City office is said to take in more than $10 million a year."
- "But now Ziffren's vast influence is the focus of attention for another reason. Conflict of interest charges have been leveled against his firm in two high-profile lawsuits--one filed by a former client and the other by a former partner. The suits allege that the firm has put its own interests ahead of those it represents. In the broader scope, they portray Hollywood as a place where deal-makers wield more control over movies and TV shows than the people who make them. Ziffren denies any wrongdoing and said he expects to easily triumph in court. But in Hollywood, the cases are seen as a strike against the insular system in which a handful of top law firms represent both talen tand their employers, occasionally at the same time. "It's a real dangerous issue," said one top Hollywood executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "By the very nature of their business, these people represent producers, stars, sometimes even studios.The same people are in play all the time, so you're bound to come across conflicts."The two cases against the Ziffren firm, which were filed separately, involve Philip L. DeGuere Jr., who produced the television series "Simon and Simon," and Gregg Homer, a former partner in Ziffren, Brittenham & Branca. DeGuere maintains that the law office conspired with CBS and Columbia Pictures Television to defraud him of more than $900,000 in connection with a television series deal. Homer said he was fired for refusing to "take positions adverse to his clients' interests when involved in deals with other clients of the firm."News of Homer's suit was bannered across the Hollywood trade paper, Variety, late last month. The attorney, who joined the Ziffren firm in 1985, said he came under growing pressure to subjugate his clients' interests to those of the firm and its top clients. Homer said the firm also cut his pay when he insisted on disclosing conflicts of interest. He did not cite specific examples in the Los Angeles Superior Court case.Homer left the Ziffren office last year. His attorney, Thomas G. Stolpman, said Homer was ousted for challenging the status quo. "Everybody always says, 'This is the way it's done,' " Stolpman said. "But that's just not an acceptable excuse, even in Hollywood."Ziffren maintains that the conflict-of-interest allegation is a red herring designed to divert attention from the real events surrounding Homer's dismissal. In its formal court response, the firm calls the Homer suit"an act of desperation by a former partner" who "was unable to accept the fact that he did not measure upto the professional standards" of the firm."
- "The Ziffren firm contends that Homer's career started to collapse when he alienated clients, outside lawyers, studios and network personnel, none of whom are named. Despite the firm's rehabilitative efforts, Homer eventually developed a persecution complex and was dismissed in May of 1991, the response states. The Ziffren firm says Homer was allowed to stay on for several months while looking for another job, and that he was generously compensated for his work, even as the partners were in the process of cutting him loose."
- "For example, former partner Gregg Homer sued after the firm fired him, alleging Ziffren lawyers made deals that benefited "more important" clients to the detriment of those seen as less important. The firm denied wrongdoing and settled that case for an undisclosed amount. A more recent suit, filed in December by Showbiz Entertainment, makes similar allegations, saying lawyers as Ziffren "intentionally chose profits and money over their loyalty and duties to their own clients."
-LA Daily Journal
- "Philip L. DeGuere Jr. is receiving an undisclosed amount in settling his lawsuit against the powerful entertainment firm Ziffren, Brittenham & Branca and Columbia Pictures Television. The suit alleged that his television pilot "Triangle" was canceled in 1989 as part of a scheme to conceal payments related to CBS' hiring of Jeff Sagansky as its entertainment chief. The suit, one of several that have raised the issue of conflict of interest among Hollywood law firms, alleged that the Ziffren firm did not properly represent DeGuere's interests when working for him because it was also having business dealings with CBS and Columbia. CBS is not included in the settlement."
Wall Street Shenanigans Corporate HIGH JINX
- Bank of America: 200 Mio USD, secured by Michael’s share in the Sony/ATV catalog, maturing December 20, 2005
- Bank of America: 35 Mio USD, secured by MIJAC, Neverland Ranch, personal guarantees by Michael and by other assets, maturing January 31, 2005
- Cash flow need of 12 Mio USD (“accounts payable”)
- Sony: 7 Mio USD, secured by MIJAC
If there was no refinancing and if Bank of America proceeded to retrieve the money they had given to Michael, this would have meant foreclosure and seizure of Michael’s 50% share in Sony/ATV and all of his MIJAC catalog. Michael would have been left without these revenue generating assets, but with costs associated to them and other assets he had (e.g. operating costs for Neverland, taxes etc.).
1. Michael would have to transfer his 50% share as well as MIJAC to a new company called “Music LLC” where Goldman Sachs would be his partner, his share in this company would be 50%.
2. In return, he would receive 135 Mio USD from Goldman Sachs as a once off payment to eliminate loans or partially eliminate them (he would still be left with a refinancing need of 132 Mio USD for the large Bank of America loan) and to receive fresh cash.
3. In addition to revenues generates from MIJAC and his 50% share in the Sony/ATV catalog (combined about 25.5 Mio USD/year), he would receive an additional 3.5 Mio USD/year for the duration of 10 years, so Goldman Sachs offers Michael 135 Mio cash upfront and 35 Mio cash spread out across 10 years, i.e. 170 Mio USD.
4. They estimate the value of his share in Sony/ATV at 394 Mio USD and deduct his share in the debt (125 Mio USD) which means his share in Sony/ATV is valued at 269 Mio USD. Taking this value and adding the 170 Mio USD and taking into account some financial mechanisms, and assuming a sales of Music LLC after five years, they offer Michael 519 Mio USD for both catalogs, 20.4 times the current annual revenues before income tax which about two times more than other catalogs were valued at the time (they compare EMI and Warner-Chappell).
5. Also, they state that if Michael would have to sell his share in the Sony/ATV catalog to escape foreclosure and associated costs, he would have had to sell his share for about 17 times the annual revenues to be able to pay back the loan and cover all associated costs.
- “Ahead of the proposal, he and Florida businessman Al Malnik also arranged to double -- to $70 million -- one of Jackson’s two loans with Bank of America, where a Koppelman friend, Jane Heller, happened to handle his and Jackson’s personal accounts.“
1. Michael's publishing trust “MJ-ATV Publishing” and Goldman Sachs would form a joint venture (“Music LLC”). MJ-ATV Publishing would contribute Michael’s 50% share in the Sony/ATV catalog complete with all attached non tangible assets (e.g. voting rights within the Sony/ATV entity) as well as Michael's own catalog, MIJAC.
2. Music LLC would be governed by a board of between 7 and 10 directors, and MJ-ATV Publishing Trust would be entitled to elect 2 directors.
3. Provided that Charles Koppelman is not already one of those 2 directors, MJ-ATV Publishing can elect him as a third director on behalf of MJ-ATV. All board decisions would be based on a majority vote. Michael would be the Chief Creative Officer of Music LLC.
4. This joint venture, Music LLC, would acquire another major catalog in partnership with Sony and Goldman Sachs. Following this, a new company would be formed (“Newco”) that holds both the Sony/ATV catalog and the newly acquired catalog. In this company, Music LLC (the joint venture between Michael and Goldman Sachs), Goldman Sachs and Sony would be partners.
- In 1976 Charles Koppelman and Martin Bandier formed the Entertainment Company which was responsible for many hits including those by Barbara Streisand, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie and Diana Ross. By 1985, Koppelman and his partners had formed S.B.K. Entertainment World, which became the world's largest independent publisher and, in 1989, S.B.K. Entertainment World merged with EMI Music. The transaction was the largest music publishing sale at the time. Koppelman took over as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EMI Music Publishing from 1990 to 1994. From 1994 to 1997, he served as Chief Executive Officer of EMI Records Group, North America.
- “At one point, Branca says, he had a handshake agreement to acquire the catalog from Australian businessman Robert Holmes à Court, only to discover that the seller had turned around and struck a deal with a rival bidder. "He fucked me," is how Branca puts it. Then the attorney learned that one of the financiers of the rival deal was a colleague he'd done business with over the years. "I went to him and asked him to pull the financing," Branca recalls. The colleague agreed, effectively killing the deal with Jackson's competitor, Martin Bandier, then co-owner of The Entertainment Company.”
|"Chairman and CEO Of Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC Martin Bandier, musician Jerry Leiber, musician Mike Stoller attend the cocktail reception and book signing for Leiber & Stoller's "HOUND DOG" at the Sony Club on June 9, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Sony ATV Music Publishing)" ***|
- “Sony Corporation of America announced today that Martin Bandier has been named Chairman and CEO, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC. As part of the agreement, Mr. Bandier will also make an investment in Sony/ATV, which is co-owned by Sony and trusts formed by Michael Jackson. "I am thrilled that Mr. Bandier has agreed to become Chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing,” said Michael Jackson. "Marty has over 30 years experience in the music publishing industry, and not only brings with him a wealth of knowledge about the industry, but the vision and ability to take the company to new heights. I look forward to working with him"
- “Mr. Bandier serves as a Founding Partner of SBK Entertainment World Inc., (SBK). Mr. Bandier served as Co-Chief Executive Officer of EMI Music Publishing a subsidiary of Emi Group PLC., from 1991 to March 6, 2007. He entered the music publishing business in 1975 as a founding partner of the Entertainment Music Company and the Entertainment Television Company and, together with his partners, created SBK in 1986.”
It is interesting that neither Charles Koppelman nor Martin Bandier mention each other, having founded a company together and having been co-CEOs of EMI Music Publishing. Charles Koppelman may have considered the 2003/2004 Goldman Sachs proposal as his chance to get back to the top in music publishing, utilizing the publishing catalog he had lost back in 1985 to Michael. At the same time, Michael would have lost control of the ATV catalog altogether.
Al Malnik Like Good Ole' Gangster Movie:
I did promise we would get to Al Malnik didn't I? Just read this and tell me if you would contact the Justice Department if you were any kind of a friend to Michael and if you feared for your life!
|*Al Malnik, Michael Jackson, Chris Tucker, Friends |
You tell me at the end of the day what type of character this guy was. I am not here to stand in judgment of anyone. However, here you have someone with an agglomeration of vivid and wild accusations being hurled their way. There has not ever been one shred or fragment of wrongdoing proven. To further express this the said individual which has been exonerated in a court record and is very much unlike the aforementioned individual. The aforementioned individual has been called out in numerous settings as being a reputed mob boss. This has also been done on the court record and for the record! What type of society do we live in where this can transpire? Not only has this individual been called a reputed mob boss he has also been denied certain types of licensing based upon his associations with alleged crime bosses and syndicates!
- "Ahead of the proposal, he and Florida businessman Al Malnik also arranged to double -- to $70 million -- one of Jackson’s two loans with Bank of America, where a Koppelman friend, Jane Heller, happened to handle his and Jackson’s personal accounts."
Holy Explicative Ca$h Crisis (€) No Kidding:
If you think you have seen something you have seen nothing yet! By now after all of this with the $70 Million Dollar loan (featured in The Wrap) Al had other things on his mind. Being that he had unparalleled access to accounts which were belonging to Michael things started to occur which indeed appeared to be very suspect. I believe right about now Michael started to catch on regarding what was occurring with John Branca and how they had set him up!
With everything that's transpired just what did Al Malnik do which demonstrated business genius regarding Michael's financial affairs? Where was the spectacular business savvy for his friend Michael Jackson? According to the information below Al Malnik has business savvy for Al Malnik. What's friends got to do with it? Mr. Malnik's business reputation precedes him! In my opinion Mr. Malnik is a self preservationist and a predatory lender. As you will see Michael indeed began to develop his own suspicions regarding Mr. Malnik. Then we also have another situation to evaluate and contend with. We need to revisit this situation again! How does this play into the grand scheme of things:
This entire situation appears to be a huge scheme to get a hold of Michael's assets. You know the situation that everyone's been speaking about? You had multiple players involved! Everyone seems to equate this to John Branca; however, there was an investigation which found noting fruitful or substantial. We have just shown that John Branca had nothing whatsoever to do with the Goldman Sachs proposal and most certainly was not one of its architectures--for this, you have to look elsewhere. In fact, he acted in the best interest of Michael Jackson. Yet the people which need to be questioned are going under the radar and rendered undetectable! This is due in part to all of these false allegations flowing around the community. Somebody turn off the faucet! To date I've seen more time wasted on John Branca's dealings than I've ever bore witness to regarding Al Malnik!
- "[UPDATED: Holy EXPLICATIVE. Jose Lambiet got Malnik on the phone, and he said Michael Jackson named him the executor of his will and godfather and guardian of Jackson's youngest son, Prince Michael "Blanket" Jackson. Read Lambiet's "Page 2" post here. Malnik also spoke with CBS4's Lisa Petrillo and said he was executor of the will in 2004, but he's not sure if he's still in the will. Considering the fact that Jackson reportedly believed he was the victim of a "conspiracy" by Malnik and Tommy Mottola to grab his assets, I doubt Malnik is still either executor or guardian of Blanket. But wow, Malnik really got his hooks into the King of Pop. The crazy thing is that neither Lambiet nor Petrillo mentioned Malnik's Mafia past, which is arguably the best part of the story. Guess that's why Malnik talked to them. This Malnik thing is going to get madly interesting, I'm afraid. Facing a criminal trial and millions in bail costs and legal bills, Michael Jackson found a "friend" in a local man: reputed mobster Al Malnik."
- "Malnik, owner of the Forge restaurant in Miami and a former close associate of Mafia kingpin Meyer Lansky, befriended the pop king and let him stay in his 15-bedroom, 35,000-square-foot Palm Beach County mansion in Ocean Ridge. Jackson even sat with Malnik at the head table during Malnik's 70th birthday bash at the Forge in 2003."
|From Left To Right:|
Al Malnik, Michael Jackson, & Nancy Malnik
- But Malnik, in his business dealings, has never been known for helping anyone without expecting more in return. He learned from Lansky, after all, and was dubbed the mobster's "heir apparent" by Reader's Digest when Lansky died in 1983. He was banned from Atlantic City casinos by the New Jersey Gaming Commission after it was determined he was associated with criminals, including Lansky and mobster Sam Cohen. (The feds charged Malnik with tax evasion in 1969 after gathering heavily incriminating audiotapes, but the case was tossed when it was determined the tapes were illegally obtained by agents.) But Malnik and Jackson at some point had a falling out. Fox News' Roger Friedman, who dug into the relationship, reported that it might have been because Jackson had surrounded himself with the Nation of Islam. Still another report claimed it was because Jackson noticed that Malnik had a statue on his property that looked like the devil."
- Vanity Fair's Maureen Orth reported in 2005 that a cloak-and-dagger source named Gordon Novel told her that Jackson came to believe that Malnik was part of a conspiracy by Sony, which owned half of the Beatles catalog, to take over the entire asset of songs. Involved in the alleged conspiracy was former Sony head Tommy Mottola and Hollywood director Brett Ratner, who grew up in Miami under Malnik's wing. Here's a passage from Orth's story:"
- "Jackson explained to Novel that the conspirators had introduced him to Al Malnik, a wealthy Miami attorney who had once represented Meyer Lansky. Malnik later helped Jackson refinance his loans. That was not what Jackson told Novel, however. According to Novel, Jackson said he was lured to Malnik's house in Miami Beach by film director Brett Ratner to see a house so beautiful it would make him catatonic. He said that once he was there, however, Malnik, who Jackson claimed had Mafia ties, wanted to put his fingers in the singer's business. Jackson also said he received a call from Tommy Mottola while he was there, which aroused his suspicion, but he did not tell Novel that he later put Malnik on the board of the Sony/ATV Music partnership. (Reached by telephone, Malnik scoffed at the idea of a conspiracy or of his having any Mafia ties. He said, "It does not make any sense." Ratner confirmed that he took Jackson to Malnik's house and that he considers Malnik a father figure.)"
- This is laughable. The two men were indeed friends at one time, but there's a reason the photographs date all the way back to 2003. The two men had a falling out after Jackson began to believe that Malnik, who has known Mafia ties and was once a close associate of Meyer Lansky, was trying to wrangle Jackson's rights to half the Beatles catalog of songs from him, rights that are worth an estimated half billion dollars. The source of this information is Gordon Novel, a character of intrigue himself from the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, and Waco. Novel worked in the Lyndon Johnson administration and spent years working as an investigator for former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. Vanity Fair's Maureen Orth first reported that Novel had met with Jackson in 2005 in an attempt to get the investigator to find proof that Malnik was part of a conspiracy involving Sony's Tommy Mottola and film director Brett Ratner, a Malnik protoge, to take over his assets. "According to Novel, Jackson said he was lured to Malnik's house in Miami Beach by film director Brett Ratner to see a house so beautiful it would make him catatonic,"
- "Orth wrote. "He said that once he was there, however, Malnik, who Jackson claimed had Mafia ties, wanted to put his fingers in the singer's business. Jackson also said he received a call from Tommy Mottola while he was there, which aroused his suspicion..." I contacted Novel over the weekend, and he confirmed meeting with Jackson at Neverland Valley during the time of the 2005 trial. He told me that he was originally contacted by Jackson's brother Jermaine and that Michael and the family wanted Novel to gather proof of the Malnik/Mottola conspiracy and further find evidence that Mottola was behind the criminal child molestation charges. The ultimate goal was to blow the trial out of the water so Jackson wouldn't have to face prison time. Novel said he flew in March 2005, about a month into Jackson's trial, from his home in New Orleans to the Los Angeles home owned by Jackson's parents, where he stayed several days before Jackson finally had him over to Neverland Valley. He said the two of them met in a bungalow on the property before Jackson drove him around the ranch in an old pickup truck.
- "The whole thing centered on Tommy Mottola setting him up," Novel told me. "Mottola and him were at odds, and Jackson's information was that Mottola and Malnik got together to fuck him. He said he believed Malnik was representing the Mob." He said Jackson had special loathing for Malnik because he felt betrayed by him. When I told him that Malnik was saying that Jackson had made him executor of his estate, he was dubious. "He had split up with Malnik," said Novel. "He never said anything about Malnik being executor of his will. And based on how pissed off Jackson was at him at the time, I wouldn't believe it on a bet." When asked what Jackson was like at the meeting, Novel didn't hesitate: "He was afraid, very very afraid. He didn't want to go to jail and didn't think he would be treated very well there." Was he fearful that he would be killed in prison? "Yeah, you can say that," Novel said. But he also said that Jackson's mental state was "excellent" and that the pop star was lucid and extremely intelligent. He didn't believe Jackson was on any drugs during the meeting. I asked Novel if he believed Jackson's theory about the conspiracy against him. He said that he thought Jackson was not guilty of the criminal charges and that he was probably set up, but he had no idea if Mottola was involved. "He thought that Mottola was Mob-connected and that Malnik was representing the Mob, but I can't vouch for any of that [EXPLICATIVE]," Novel said. "I don't have anything against Tommy Mottola and don't know if what he thought was true or not. I don't want to get on Mottola's bad side. My sources in New York say he's a dangerous guy." Novel never conducted an investigation and said that, in the end, Jackson "deadbeated" him. He said that when he got to the airport to fly home, there was no ticket as promised by Jackson. He said that he contacted Jermaine and that the family paid for his flight. He said Jackson still owes him $25,000 for his consultation at Neverland. (Orth reported in Vanity Fair that Jackson apparently took a lot of Novel's advice, but at that time, Novel claimed Jackson owed him just $5,000.)
You Rock My World Economy!
- "The ultra-wealthy Malnik, who made a fortune in the shady and predatory title loan business and also has ties to notorious con man Joel Steinger, not only helped Jackson pay the costs of the criminal case but also reportedly helped him try to pay off massive loans Jackson took against the value of the Beatles' catalog he co-owned with Sony. The Beatles' song rights are reportedly worth about a billion dollars."
- "Mr. Jackson faces an immediate cash crisis with a $70 million loan from the Bank of America that is due on Tuesday and has no money to repay it, the advisers said. But Al Malnik, a Miami entrepreneur who is helping repair Mr. Jackson's finances, said that he was trying to have the loan extended. Mr. Malnik said he met with Mr. Jackson's business managers this week to discuss the loan. Together, he said, they were ''working toward a positive resolution of Michael's financial affairs and business affairs that will result in a reorganization of his valuable assets."
- "Mr. Malnik is a multimillionaire who in 1993 was alleged to have had ties to the mob, an accusation he denied. He is the owner of a national chain of loan stores, Title Loans of America, which consumer advocates have criticized as lending at exorbitant rates. At least two groups of investors who were prepared to make business deals with Mr. Jackson last year have backed away from them because of the criminal charges, people involved in the deals say. At the same time new sources of income for Mr. Jackson in the form of records or concert tours seem to be out of the question until the molestation charges are resolved. Mr. Jackson is accused of nine felony counts related to acts involving a 13-year-old boy. His lawyers are to appear in court on Friday to set a date for a preliminary hearing. Meanwhile creditors and vendors, like law firms, Internet providers and marketing companies, are being asked to discount their invoices even as Mr. Jackson has rented a $70,000-a-month home in Beverly Hills, Calif., while his 2,700-acre ranch, Neverland, stands empty, two vendors said.
- "One adviser said that Mr. Jackson had about a half-dozen sources of income, including royalties from BMI and other music companies. But his most valuable asset by far is the Beatles catalog of about 250 songs, which Mr. Jackson and Sony Music Entertainment jointly own as part of the ATV Music Publishing catalog, with an estimated value of $800 million to $900 million. The catalog of Mr. Jackson's own music, including hits like ''Billie Jean'' and ''Beat It,'' has an estimated value of $75 million to $90 million. Mr. Malnik said that he was helping Mr. Jackson out of friendship. The loan is guaranteed by the Jackson music catalog, which would revert to the Bank of America if Mr. Jackson defaulted, said several of his advisers. They explained his financial affairs in detail on condition of anonymity, some saying that they were unhappy about the Nation of Islam's involvement, others saying that they wanted to counter inaccurate reports about Mr. Jackson's finances. A spokeswoman for the Bank of America declined to comment."
- "Mr. Malnik and Charles Koppelman, a business manager for Mr. Jackson, hope to extend the loan's due date to December 2005, now with the backing of a New York-based hedge fund, the advisers said. If Mr. Jackson were to default in 2005, the hedge fund would take over the Jackson-music catalog. State financial filings in California show that Mr. Jackson owes millions of dollars to the Bank of America. In addition to the $70 million loan, there is also a $200 million loan, guaranteed by the ATV music catalog that he owns with Sony. But the Jackson advisers said that asset was also leveraged for an additional $250 million to buy other music libraries by other stars. If the catalog were sold to pay the Bank of America debt, there would be nothing left for Mr. Jackson once the proceeds were divided with Sony and the taxes paid, the advisers said.
- "Even now, half the money earned by Mr. Jackson goes to the bank under the loan agreement. ''All of the funds coming into the bank as income from projects and music royalties, the bank retains 50 percent of that to retain a credit line,'' one adviser said. ''He can use the other 50 percent.'' As part of the terms of the two loans, Mr. Malnik must act as a trustee over Mr. Jackson's spending. Mr. Malnik became involved with Mr. Jackson a year ago when he faced bankruptcy from creditors, including hotel chains and security companies. Mr. Malnik said that the bank was about to place a lien on Neverland and other assets last year when he stepped in. Mr. Malnik was linked to organized-crime figures in 1993 by a New Jersey gaming commission. ''The evidence establishes that Mr. Malnik associated with persons engaged in organized criminal activities,'' the commission said in a report, ''and that he himself participated in transactions that were clearly illegitimate and illegal.'' Some close to Mr. Jackson say that Mr. Malnik wants to legitimize his image by helping Mr. Jackson."
- "It is to Malnik, a multimillionaire whose suspected mob connections have been fodder for federal files since the 1960s, that Jackson is believed to have turned for help in erasing debt said to approach $200 million. A lawyer, real estate developer and proprietor of the supertrendy Miami Beach hot spot The Forge, Malnik is also owner of Title Loans of America, a national chain that lends money legally at annual percentage rates reaching 264% - higher than most loansharks' vig".
- "As Jackson's fiscal woes mounted, the singer began to be seen more and more with the Miami Beach mogul, often dining with him at The Forge. By April, their names began cropping up together in Miami gossip columns. The self-styled King of Pop was living in royal splendor at the loan king's lavish home in Ocean Ridge, Fla., while he tried unsuccessfully to sell his Neverland estate in California for $50 million. The relationship hit its showbiz zenith on May 17 this year, when Jackson - decked out in a vintage '70s glitter shirt and outsized Afro wig - was host of a 70th birthday disco party for Malnik at The Forge. In attendance were B.B. King, Smokey Robinson, F. Lee Bailey and a gaggle of South Florida glitterati."
- "Mob stoolie Vincent Teresa once swore in an affidavit: "It was a known fact among the criminal world that dealing with Al Malnik was the same as dealing with Meyer Lansky." Malnik, who declined to be interviewed for this story, has long maintained he set eyes on the famous gangster only once - in a chance encounter in an elevator."
Boardwalk Regency Corporation Office Of Administration Alvin Malnik
- "The feds opened their first dossier on Malnik in 1963. It was two years after he graduated, first in his class, from Miami Law School. He had helped set up the Bank of World Commerce in Nassau, the Bahamas, an alleged loot laundry that investigators said involved "some of the nation's top gangsters." Acquitted on tax fraud charges in 1964, Malnik was heard discussing Lansky two years later on bugs placed by cops probing whether casino profits were invested overseas on the mobster's behalf. Government agents have linked Malnik's name to Lansky ever since. When the mobster died in 1983, Reader's Digest labeled him the "heir apparent." The moniker stuck. But by then, Malnik - who purchased his first Rolls-Royce at age 29 - had long been a fixture in Miami's fast lane.
- "The indelible Lansky stain deepened after the crime czar's stepson, Richard Schwartz, shot and killed the son of mobster Vincent Teriaca in a dispute that began at the bar of The Forge. Two years later, Malnik's Rolls-Royce was blown up in the parking lot of the Cricket Club, a Miami high-rise he developed with Cal Covens, who served three years in prison after being convicted with Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa of conspiracy and fraud. No one was injured in the blast, and no suspects were arrested. Through it all, Malnik continued to thrive, living on a palatial 34-acre estate in Boca Raton, complete with bowling alley and an arena for Arabian horses. When he married for a second time in 1995 to a woman 36 years his junior, 288 guests attend his wedding. He presented the bride with a 50-carat emerald and diamond necklace. Malnik would be wildly rich even if his only business was Title Loans of America, which provides quick-cash loans at interest rates of up to 22% a month by capitalizing on lending law loopholes. For years, critics have tried to change the law. They say it allows legalized loansharking. That's something even Meyer Lansky couldn't pull off."
Beyond Bailout Period Fortress:
|Fortress Investment Group Assets Under Management|
In May 2005, Michael was informed that Bank of America had sold his debts (a principal of 270 Mio USD as outlined in the section on Goldman Sachs) to Fortress Investment Group LLC. At this time, he had been in arrears with interest payments.
- “While on trial in April, Jackson was late with part of a $3 million quarterly interest payment, risking default. Supporters, including grocery magnate Ron Burkle and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, successfully petitioned Bank of America for a grace period and arranged a bridge loan. "Michael came up with $2.6 million that week, on April 1," the Rev. Jackson says. "He was $400,000 short. He came up with that the next day. The bank was inclined to not accept it because it was a day late. If I had not intervened to stop them from foreclosing on the second or third, it would have triggered a complete collapse. It was like using a technicality to put him out of business."
A few weeks prior to this, the Goldman Sachs proposal was on the table, and Michael had declined to sign it.
- “On the other hand: A deal awaits him that clears up his $275 million debt to Bank of America, leaves him with a substantial percentage interest in Sony/ATV Music Publishing and frees up collateral of $100 million in cash. The mortgage on Neverland would be removed, and Jackson would have a $7 to $8 million annual income. If Mr. Auchincloss thinks that's not enough money to live on, he should double-check his own household budgets. The deal to bail Jackson out is pretty much written and waiting for Michael to execute it. Charles Koppelman (now CEO of Martha Stewart's company) and longtime Jackson adviser John Branca are its architects.”
- “(A lawyer for Branca responds: “While the Goldman proposal might have divested Michael Jackson of his interest in the Beatles and MIJAC catalogues in the long run, it would have created a larger entity that increased the value of his interests. If sold, Branca's fee would have gone to his firm, not directly into his pocket. Branca advised Jackson that he would be giving up too much control based on the proposal and Jackson vetoed the deal.”)”
In view of Jesse Jackson’s account of the events it makes you wonder why Bank of America did not grant their client an extension of a day or two on a minor part of the interest payments, and quickly proceeded to sell the debt.
- “But did they make the right call by backing away from collateral like part of the Beatles catalog? Fortress obviously liked what it saw in that collateral, and Goldman Sachs was reportedly interested in it too.”
- “Fortress’s Credit business was launched in 2002 by Pete Briger. Today, the Fortress Credit team consists of over 300 professionals and is focused on investing globally, primarily in undervalued assets and distressed and illiquid credit investments. The investment team led by Co-CIOs Pete Briger and Dean Dakolias has a long and established track record investing throughout a number of credit and distressed cycles around the world, including the RTC Workout and the Asian Financial Crisis.”
- “Despite Jackson's shaky finances, the long-term value of his $475 million worth of song libraries drew Fortress Investment's interest, speculated James Dunn, a vice president at InvestorForce, a Wayne, Penn.-based investment adviser to institutional investors. “That's clearly the trade they're making" in placing a bet on Jackson's debts. Hedge funds are increasingly popular, largely unregulated investment vehicles that are designed for wealthy investors looking for big returns on riskier bets. According to InvestorForce, there are more than 4,000 such funds with more than $800 billion in assets. HedgeWeek, an industry trade publication, reported last month that U.S. hedge fund assets recently $1 trillion in the first quarter of 2005. A small fraction of hedge funds invest in what are known as distressed securities, such as debts like Jackson's.”
- “He [Jesse Jackson, BX] says the singer, whose assets are two-thirds greater than his debts, is not sinking into poverty, explaining that the crisis erupted only because of a gap between the arrival of royalty payments and the loan deadline. He sees validity in Jackson's theory that parties eager to obtain Sony/ATV pressed the bank to lean on the singer. "Who was forcing the bank's hand and what did they stand to gain?" he wonders. "That must come under scrutiny. I think the bank sold the loan rather than face the heat."
Here is what Brett Pulley, Senior Editor of Forbes at the time all this happened, had to say back then:
- "While Michael has this tremendous amount of debt secured by his assets, he still has a fair amount of equity in those assets," Pulley says. "He does not want to sell his publishing, so his alternative is to restructure those debts. If he's able to restructure under favorable terms, where the revenues of those assets can service the interest payments, he can handle it. If he can't restructure, he might have to sell a percentage of his publishing. "He has to curb expenses. One obvious place to do that is Neverland. While it may be something he treasures, it's not as valuable as his publishing holdings." The talk that Jackson is nearly destitute is ludicrous, Pulley says. However, the alarm surrounding his late loan payment was real. "The guy's had a difficult time making those interest payments," he says. "It doesn't mean instant calamity. However, he is on the precipice of having to sell assets he doesn't want to sell. "When you hear the (Sony/ATV catalog) valued at $1 billion, that's relatively conservative. Those businesses are extremely valuable, and they grow in value over time."
The most important statement in here is certainly this one: “The talk that Jackson is nearly destitute is ludicrous”--this tunes in with what Jesse Jackson said and what Michael himself was saying. As long as your assets exceed the value of your debts--which they did in Michael’s case--you are not insolvent or bankrupt or broke, whichever term you prefer. The secret was to curb expenses to be able to serve the interest payments, and possibly a constant refinancing of the debts--and generating new and additional revenues to pay down those debts over time. That was not a destitute situation. However, in view of the trial and the expenses related to this as well as the loss of value his brand had suffered, this task was harder than what it should have been. This is probably why Brett Pulley suggested to cut down on costs for Neverland (I do not think he suggested to sell it, he suggested to scale down operations). Generating new revenues would have been much harder in view of the trial and its repercussions in the court of public (media) opinion.
- "Michael's no longer the King of Pop," says Forbes senior editor Brett Pulley. "He can no longer put out an album that will sell 25 million units and have the whole music industry at his feet. He has this terrible image problem now that to some extent will never go away. "What does Michael still have that makes the music world beholden to him? His valuable music publishing business. He'll fight to the bitter end to hold on to it."
Thus, in a nutshell, Brett Pulley probably got it right--cut down expenses drastically as a first step to be able to serve interest rates, work on constant refinancing for a while as a second step (with a reliable credit history and a good business plan not such a big deal considering the assets resp. potential collaterals) and in a third step, start generating new revenues to pay down the principals of the debts over time. In fact, if you look at it, this was what Michael did during the following years--not without hurdles and some wrong turns, but he cut down on costs for Neverland and worked on refinancing the debt burden. You can look for the media for a lot of the negative press surrounding this. In reality, his moves corresponded to what a good business plan for him would have looked like. As for creating additional and new revenue streams, we all know what this involved: the This Is It concerts. I will leave it at that as this is a different blog for a different time.
Returning to the Bank of America/Fortress transaction, the least to observe here is a close chronological link between the unwillingness of Bank of America to grant an extension to the interest payment (beginning of April 2005), Michael's final rejection of the Goldman Sachs/Koppelman proposal (ready to be signed in March 2005 but rejected by Michael some time in April according to Roger Friedman--quote below), immediately followed by the Fortress transaction (beginning of May 2005). After all, Michael was going through a trial which may explain a payment delay by a few days so this unwillingness is a bit peculiar. Let us revisit some articles:
- “The confidential files from those days were provided by a member of the Goldman Sachs group, which grew out of a chain of relationships started by “Rush Hour” director Brett Ratner in late 2002.”
- “But last month Jackson refused a deal they offered that would have bailed him out of debt. He didn't like it because he thought they would get something out of it. ... Malnik, properly insulted, quit. The bank, which considered Malnik their only link to reality, obviously had had enough.”
In the section about Al Malnik, you will find out that Brett Ratner and Chris Tucker are close friends of Al Malnik. Roger Friedman suggests that Al Malnik was involved in the Goldman Sachs/Koppelman proposal or deal, and we know Al Malnik had access to Michael for some time. Now, if this is true, if Al Malnik was involved in some way, would this suggest some links and more than meets the eye, i.e. that Al Malnik was the "hidden" architect behind the Goldman Sachs/Koppelman plan? And was this architect pulling a few strings behind the scenes to exert pressure on Michael to panic and sign the proposal? And when this architect did not get what he was looking for, did this architect pull a few more strings to hit Michael badly? I do not know. The close chronological link between those two events remains striking:
- Bank of America exerting pressure with regard to a minor default (minor if seen in context): beginning of April 2005
- Michael not signing the Goldman Sachs/Koppelman deal which was on the table for him, ready to sign: April 2005
- Bank of America selling the debt to Fortress Investment Group LLC: end of April/beginning of May 2005
- “It was Jesse Jackson who two years ago caused an avalanche in Michael’s finances. Jesse Jackson, sources say, interfered in Michael’s business by attempting to call Bank of America president Ken Lewis to complain that Michael was being “ripped off” in some way over his $270 million. Lewis refused to speak with Jesse Jackson. He was so annoyed by Jackson’s interference that he ordered the banker in charge of the account to sell the loans to Fortress Investments. The result was a sale and subsequent refinancing that put Jackson another $50 million in the red. Jesse Jackson at the time had convinced Michael that business partners Alvin Malnik and Charles Koppelman’s plan to bail out the singer was no good.”
I do not know who Roger Friedman’s sources were. However, this story here seems to provide a good explanation for the speed with which Bank of America proceeded. But what president of a major bank would get so annoyed that, in the heat of the moment, he orders a transaction like that which appears to have taken place within a few days? A debt that is secured by assets worth far more than the principal? You can place this story safely on the heap of crap you tend to encounter when reading about Michael.
I am afraid that once Michael started to limit John from his affairs things really started going downhill. Long gone was the sound business advice that Michael had to lean on. To Michael's defense he made good business decisions in the past. The people that were around him now--which had infiltrated deep within his inner circle--did not have his best interests involved. Now by no means was Michael dead broke! However, he was cash poor as I expressed here.
Now providing Michael was surrounded by the right people in his camp and on his team there was no reason why he could not generate revenue. This is Michael Jackson we are having a discussion about here. This is not just an everyday Joe like you or me. There where a number of things Michael could have considered other than continuously taking out loans with interest he could not afford to pay. Mind you all of these dysfunctional and shady advisers were attached to these loans!
Michael Jackson Bailout Said to Be Close Fortress - New York Times
Here's a brief synopsis for those which don't recall this moment in Michael History. Fortress acquired the loan from BOA (Bank Of America). This is partly the same loan with all of the radical interest rates that Al Malnik negotiated for on behalf of Michael. Can you gather what all of his outstanding business expertise did for Michael? I ask this simply because I can't! I don't see how these loans were going to help Michael out of debt! This just held the bill collectors at bay for Michael. Michael needed to generate more income then he was taking home.
- "As part of the new agreement, Fortress has agreed to provide a new $300 million loan and reduce the interest payments Mr. Jackson must make. Under the deal he has been negotiating, Mr. Jackson would agre to provide Sony/ATV Music catalog with him--with an option to buy half his stake , or about 25 percent of the catalog, at a set price, according to thet people briefed on the deal.Should Sony execute its option on the music catalog, it would ensure that Mr. Jackson was able to pay his debts, these people said. Executives involved in the deal cautioned last night that some of the details had yet to be completed and that the agreement could still collapse. Representatives for Sony and Fortress declined to comment last night. A representative for Mr. Jackson did not return a call."
- Edens is an eclectic investor. In 2005, for example, he refinanced $272.5 million of debt that pop singer Michael Jackson owed to Bank of America Corp., according to documents from a legal dispute over the deal. Jackson was a sketchy bet at the time.
Fortress Places Sketchy Bet
- "Jackson, who according to 2005 court testimony was spending $30 million more a year than he earned, will still collect profits from his remaining 25% share in Sony/ATV, and will receive royalties from his own compositions, which remain separate from Sony/ATV. However, the publishing rights of those songs will be used as collateral for the refinanced loan, putting them at risk if Jackson defaults.""There's no more people in the shadows to help him out," said Debra Opri, and attorney who represents Jackson's parents. "He's selling everything because no one else will finance him.
- "When the Fortress-owned loans came due in December, the singer lacked sufficient funds to repay them. Sony officials including Chief Financial Officer Rob Wiesenthal, worried that Fortress might seize Jackson's interest in Sony/ATV, helped the singer negotiate an extension. But the loan's interest rate increased to about 20% a year and the total amount owed ballooned to more than $300 million."
- "The Bank of America agreed to loan him £92 million, secured against his half-ownership of the Sony/ATV music catalogue, a massive earner which includes The Beatles' songs Yesterday and Hey Jude. The loan ought to have sorted him out for years to come but, according to his former business manager Myung Ho Lee, it wasn't enough and had to be increased to £166million. Further disasters followed - flurries of actions against him from former lawyers, managers and advisers over deals gone sour and unpaid invoices. By last year, he owed at least £178million, and had defaulted on his Bank of America loan to the tune of £198,000. Michael Jackson Michael Jackson holds his son from a third floor balcony back in 2002. The Bank of America sold his debt on to a New York company, the Fortress Investment Group, which specializes in 'distressed' debt. Again, that loan was defaulted and a date was set to auction Neverland. Then a group called Colony Capital bought the loan, and earlier this month Jackson filed a grant deed on the ranch that makes the new owner an entity called the Sycamore Valley Ranch Co."
- In fact, Fortress presciently hedged its outlay to Macklowe in a way the developer's lead lender, Deutsche Bank AG, did not. After the market tanked and Macklowe lost control of the buildings to Deutsche, the bank offloaded them for less than he had paid, recording a loss. But not Fortress. The junior lender insisted that its loan be collateralized not by the seven buildings purchased in 2007 but by another, the longtime crown jewel of Macklowe's domain, the General Motors Building in Manhattan. And when the beleaguered Macklowe was forced to sell even that prize, Fortress, say sources familiar with the matter, not only recouped its entire loan but rang up a tidy profit besides.
*John Branca & Sony Made Michael...
The Pilfering Of His Catalog:
By reading the quotes above you suddenly realize that business is shrewd. Most people attempt to analyze and measure what occurred with Michael in terms of feelings. Business does not have feelings! This is harsh however it is very true. Above is a TRL interview with Michael when he came to New York City. The interviewer states that Michael has the #1 album in the world. Many say that Sony used Invincible as a means to bankrupt Michael--I disagree. I do agree that Tommy Mottola definitively did everything in his power to impede Michael's INVINCIBLE sales. At that time Tommy Mottola had the head position at Sony Music!
Although Invincible sales in the United States were not as hefty as Michael's releases of the past--do not be misled Michael made money off of Invincible. Michael had a strong European following--he always did. We in the United States also supported Invincible (I know I did I loved it!). Invincible went double platinum here in the United States. That's actually a very decent sales figure for any artist when you take into consideration illegal downloads and widespread piracy of the new millennium. Granted, Invincible did not have the sales success of Michael's prior albums such as Thriller; however, it did sell and quite well.
Michael Jackson Ticket Price Highest Ever 1999
In 1999 one of Michael's concerts had ticket prices recorded as the highest ever in Seoul! All 63,000 tickes sold out and it was stated that the profits reached 7 billion Won! That didn't include broadcasting rights and music sales. We aren't going to do a currency comparison; however, we know this equated to several million dollars without the inclusion of the other rights. While we're discussing shows let's not forget the ticket sales from Michael's 30th Anniversary Special. It was stated the tickets to that event were very pricey as well. That event was made into a video and was aired on syndicated television. I am quite sure that the proceeds for this event tallied to the tune of several million also.
Sony Music Entertainment & Michael Jackson Sign Historic Publishing Deal
In 1995 Michael sold his share of the ATV catalog to Sony Music to the tune of $95 Million Dollars for a stake in a new company which would be called Sony/ATV. How is it that on top of what Michael had made throughout his lifetime that he still had such money issues. Even only with this amount Michael should have still been able to get by decently. $95 Million dollars is a lot of money.
However, Michael did not ever give up the publishing rights to these compositions he knew that he needed to survive somehow. His income from endorsement deals such as Pepsi (which Michael selflessly donated) wasn't a snapshot of his earnings portfolio overall. Some people assume that because Michael didn't want to perform anymore that this meant he was entirely done with Sony. Too much of Michael was invested into Sony for him not to have an affiliation with Sony. As far as recording deals and Michael, that's for another blog. If Michael truly wanted to rid himself of Sony why broker any further deals concerning ATV? Michael could have easily gone to Warner Chappel or any other publisher and scored a deal with what he had. Michael decided himself to give Sony/ATV (a company he had a stake in) an option to buy half of his 50% stake. These were Michael's wishes.
- "Under the agreement, Jackson gave Sony Corp. an option to buy half of his 50 percent stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, allowing him to refinance about $300 million of loans, according to people familiar with the transaction. The catalog, which includes songs from Bob Dylan and John Mayer, is worth more than $1 billion. The sale may help Jackson pay debts that mounted as he fought child-molestation charges.``He wasn't going to give it up willingly,'' said media analyst Hal Vogel, chief executive of New York-based Vogel Capital, who values the catalog at $1 billion. ``He didn't want to give it up unless he had to.''Jackson, 47, bought the catalog 21 years ago, outbidding Beatle Paul McCartney and John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono. Grahame Nelson, a lawyer representing Jackson at Qays H. Zubi, didn't return calls seeking comment. Sony spokeswoman Lisa Gephardt declined to comment beyond saying Sony is committed to its partnership with Jackson."
- "To avoid foreclosure on several loans, Jackson signed a $325-million refinancing agreement that would require him to sell half of his 50% stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing to partner Sony Corp. within the next few years. Proceeds will pay off a large portion of the performer's debt, owed primarilly to Fortress New York hedge fund Fortress Investment Group. The deal is a coup for Sony, which has long hoped to acquire a larger interest in the thousands of copyrights owned by Sony/ATV, which include 251 Beatles songs and Bob Dylan's "Blowin In The Wind". People familiar with the deal, who asked not to be named said that Sony was likely to pay Jackson about $250 million. The Sony/ATV catalog is valued at about $1 billion, but is expected to be worth more by the time Sony buys half of Jackson's stake because revenue has grown by more than 10% in the last two years. Representatives for Jackson and Sony/ATV declined to comment on the deal."
$20 Mil In Michael Money:
- "In 1995, Jackson merged ATV with Sony Music Publishing. Sony, betting that the singer and the songs he owned would be popular for years, paid him $115 million and agreed to contribute future compositions by other artists. As a result, today Jackson profits from the tunes of Destiny's Child and Will Smith, among others. The Sony/ATV catalog generates an estimated $80 million in yearly revenue, about half from Beatles songs."
- "Well, we won't feel too bad for the lawyers. Jackson's primary attorney, John Branca, knows his efforts will pay off one day. His firm, Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca & Fischer, has a 5 percent stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, in which Jackson himself is a 50 percent owner. "That's how they bill most of their clients, on a 5 percent basis," says one observer. You'd think that Ziffren et al. would want the publishing company to be sold for hundreds of millions, but my source says: "It's not going to be sold. And Sony will not foreclose on it. They don't have the right to take it from Michael. They simply guaranteed a loan." Jackson also employs at least two other law firms. The second one, which handles litigation (lawsuits) is Lavely & Singer, run by the notorious celebrity-defending bulldog Martin Singer. When Schaffel was "rubbing people the wrong way" last fall, Branca called Brian Wolf at that firm, and Wolf sicced a private eye on Schaffel to get the goods. When the P.I. turned up the news that Schaffel made adult videos, another firm stepped in. That was the one run by Zia Modabber, another celebrity defender. Everyone in the chain has a purpose. The only one not always in lockstep, unfortunately, is Michael Jackson."
- "Ahead of the proposal, he and Florida businessman Al Malnik also arranged to double -- to $70 million -- one of Jackson’s two loans with Bank of America, where a Koppelman friend, Jane Heller, happened to handle his and Jackson’s personal accounts."
- "Yet, Branca hardly could be shut out, given a 5 percent interest in Jackson’s Sony/ATV stake. Branca would have pocketed $17 million from the dealings, Malnik said in a recent interview. In a letter to Koppelman on July 28, 2003, Branca underscored his financial interest in writing, to be passed on to Goldman. (See: Branca's Secret Letter) With his interest linked to Jackson’s, Branca seemed to have little choice but to be a zealous advocate for the entertainer. In case Michael wanted out of the venture, “an exit strategy needs to devised for [him] to receive fair market value.” Skeptical of Goldman’s power grab, he insisted that “Michael should have some control over the management and operation of the venture.”
- "There is also a $25 million lien against it held by Fortress Investments, created so Jackson could buy out his former attorney, John Branca, from a five percent interest in Sony/ATV Music Publishing."
- "In 2006, Jackson’s and Branca’s on-again, off-again relationship hit a new low. Branca quit Michael this time in what, according to two top music industry executives familiar with the situation, was a broader dispute. "They suggest that Branca, Michael and Sony clashed over the lawyer’s 5 percent when it became a complication in Michael’s bail-out. The settlement: Branca sold it back for millions of dollars".
- "Today,those assets are worth more than 10 times that, and sources say Branca, who owned 2.5% of the Sony/ATV venture, has already pocketed as much as $20 million when Jackson bought out his share as a part of Thursday's refinancing agreement."
- "And with Branca now owning the 5 percent stake, Jackson became paranoid that his lawyer would want him to sell his song rights. On the other hand, Branca did see an ATV transaction with Sony as an answer to Jackson’s cash crisis. But instead of an outright sale, he proposed a merger of Sony’s music publishing operations and ATV. Mickey Schulhof, the CEO of Sony Corp. of America at the time, was privately elated, one person close to the former executive recalls. He saw a merger as the first step toward Sony’s eventual full ownership of ATV. A brief visit once to Jackson’s Century City apartment -- a fantasyland of overstuffed animals -- had convince Schulhof that Sony’s troubled star someday would spiral toward the poor house and be forced to sell everything."
My thing is not to go into a laundry list of Juval Aviv's past associations or business connections. My intention is to get as many as people as possible to realize what type of element was around Michael. When you look to someone to provide you with facts you look to reputable and trustworthy individuals. You seek for companies with ample resources, integrity, manpower, and qualifications. The people around Michael referred him questionable people.
I would not trust anyone involved in my $70 million dollar loan or other business ventures to provide me with anyone which would supply me with objective information. Mind you these are just my feelings on a personal level. In my opinion if there is an issue with your credentials and there is a serious matter--then, I need to be able to count on your professionalism. I don't need the added aggravation as I attempt to put the spotlight on other things in my life which cause me great worriment! Snakes prey on the fears, vulnerability, and discontentment of others. For the rest of this section you're smart enough to figure out for yourselves. Therefore, I will allow this section to take us out just as it brought us in...
- "Founded in 1979, Interfor, Inc. is an international investigation and security consulting firm offering comprehensive domestic and foreign intelligence services to the legal, corporate and financial communities. Interfor is staffed by highly skilled investigators and fraud examiners, many of whom have been associated with government, defense, and intelligence agencies worldwide, including the British Secret Service, Israeli intelligence, various European agencies, and the United States CID, CIA, DEA and FBI agencies. Our investigators are also supported by a sophisticated research division using state-of-the-art technology. Interfor is fully licensed and operates in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, Africa and Asia. While the nature of Interfor services precludes disclosing the identity of specific clients, they include Fortune 500 companies, major law firms, an international airline and a number of Western governments."
- "In response to Aviv's report, and investigative news stories based on them, government officials launched an attack on Aviv that went well beyond simple denials. In letters to newspaper editors and on network TV, diplomatic and intelligence officials called Aviv a "fabricator" who had lied about his entire background. Asked recently to back up that characterization, Hurley, formerly of the DEA, faxed us a letter dated May, 1990. The letter, signed by Yigal Carmon, "Israeli Prime Minister's Advisor for Countering Terrorism," says Juval Aviv never worked for Israeli intelligence and was fired from a low-level job with El-Al airlines for "dishonesty." The letter is on plain white paper, not Israeli government letterhead. We faxed it to the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC. A spokeswoman said the letter did not have the look of a letter sent from the Office of the Prime Minister. When reached at an office in Tel Aviv, Yigal Carmon said he "did not know of anyone called Juval Aviv" and refused to discuss the contents of any letter with us. A spokesperson for El-Al Airlines in Tel Aviv said he was unaware of any such incident of "dishonesty" by Juval Aviv, or of any firing of Aviv. Aviv, for his part, produces several documents that he's entered into court refuting the accusation that he lied about his background. The documents include an FBI memo about Aviv from 1982, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and a contract between Aviv and the US Justice Department, dated 1984. Both refer to Aviv's past association with Israeli intelligence. As late as 1993, an FBI agent wrote to Aviv asking for assistance in a tax-recovery investigation, even as other government officials were publicly calling Aviv a fabricator."
- "However, our investigations show that Aviv never served in Mossad, or any Israeli intelligence organisation. He had failed basic training as an Israeli Defence Force commando, and his nearest approximation to spy work was as a lowly gate guard for the airline El Al in New York in the early 70s. The tale he had woven was apparently nothing more than a Walter Mitty fabrication. How, then, did Steven Spielberg and his producer, Kathleen Kennedy, choose Aviv's tale as the source for their film Munich? Last July, when we approached the film's producers, the Spielberg PR machine denied any connection to Aviv. But the film's opening scene states that it was inspired by real events, and at the end it gives a credit to Jonas's book."
- "The second thing you need to know is that while Juval Aviv is a bona fide corporate security consultant operating out of New York, his credentials as an intelligence expert have been questioned by both journalists and government sources. A 2006 article in The Guardian reported that "Aviv never served in Mossad, or any Israeli intelligence organization," and "his nearest approximatin to spy work was as a lowly gate guard for the airline El Al in New York in the early '70s." A letter written to the U.S. President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism in 1990 by Israeli counterterrorism adviser Yigal Carmon makes the same allegations, further claiming that Aviv is known to have been involved in "various acts of fraud and impersonation." Notwithstanding specific claims made in the email above, I've found no legitimate sources confirming that Juval Aviv issued a warning to the Bush administration a month before the 9/11 attacks, nor that he predicted the London subway bombing one week in advance during an appearance on the Bill O'Reilly Show. Regardless of the controversies surrounding Mr. Aviv himself, it goes without saying that one shouldn't rely on forwarded emails for critical advice on terrorist attacks and emergency preparedness. I recommend the Department of Homeland Security's Ready.gov instead."
To Cut The Neverending 6 Story Short:
As disparate as this blog may seem at the surface--all its parts have a common denominator. This blog highlights the years from about 2003 until 2006, more precisely, the year of the alleged "firing" of John Branca (February 2003) until about the middle of 2006 when John Branca and Michael finally parted ways. The common denominator here is that John Branca has been branded as the villain in this drama by many, most notably Joe Jackson with his now notorious motion to have John Branca and John McClain removed as administrators of Michael's estate. Many based their evaluation of the situation on the mere existence of this filing and on statements that were made--whithout questioning their validity or spending a thought on the motivation behind all this.
However, if you look at what was presented to you in this blog it can all be read and understood in quite a different way if you approach the matter independently and in an unbiased way. In fact, it can be argued that John Branca was one of the few honest people around Michael during these years. Other players emerge wanting a piece of Michael Jackson--a piece for which there was no basis whatsoever, though. John Branca simply did what he was asked to do--when Michael gave him business proposals to read he made suggestions for their amendments. The very fact that Michael asked John Branca for his opinion on the the Goldman Sachs proposal should tell you in whom Michael placed his trust.
We feel we have only scratched the surface of this for now. Michael was surrounded by vultures in these days while the child molestation allegations were being hurled at him. John Branca, however, was not one of them.
*All quotations have been properly sourced and given attribution.-X1 Blogger