If Michael Jackson or one of his representatives agreed to pay a huge finder's fee to a financial consultancy, he wasn't very prescient. But of course, Jackson has had a lot of trouble planning for the future.
I told you yesterday that a company called Prescient Acquisitions of New York is suing Jackson for $48 million. The firm claim that's what it's owed for introducing the singer to the investment firm that bought out his Bank of America loans.
I also saw quotes in the press from Prescient's attorney, Steven Altman, to the effect that Fortress had given Jackson all the money he needed now, and that Prescient wanted to be paid.
But who or what is Prescient Acquisitions? There are no phone numbers listed for it in New York or New Jersey.
Furthermore, records from the New York State Division of Corporations show that the company was only formed on March 11 of this year — some five months after its lawsuit claims it went to work for Jackson. There is no other information about the firm available.
Altman, to make matters more confusing, refuses to say who the principals in the company are.
But I am told that Prescient is in fact the holding company of one person, Darien Dash, first cousin of hip-hop entrepreneur Damon Dash and sister to actress Stacey Dash.
Five years ago, when he was 29, Darien was something of a PR monster. His company, Digital Mafia Entertainment, was one of those cutting-edge dot-coms. He claimed to have had deals with AOL and others. He made speeches and got awards.
But then the bottom dropped out. Piecing together news clips, it seems that DME — for which the phone numbers in New York and New Jersey no longer work — vanished no later than 2001.
According to public records, Dash was engaged in a number of lawsuits after that, including one brought by his former director of client affairs, Nicole Savitt.
He settled at least one case for $225,000 in 2003. Last year, the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles went after him, too. Two months ago, a state tax lien was levied against him for $7,843.00.
According to a Web site called Urban Expose, Dash had to downsize quickly in 2000 after making a big, short splash.
Even as his staff was being cut to shreds, Fortune magazine cited him as owning a Mercedes CL500 coupe and a Yamaha YZ125 off-road motorcycle.
His publicity tag line was that he'd hired his mother to "cut my paychecks and keep me in line."
What remains to be explained by anyone is how Randy Jackson, Michael's brother, hooked up with Darien Dash and how Dash, who came from the record business and preached about the "digital divide" to herds of unsuspecting conference attendees, convinced Jackson that he could rectify Michael's enormous financial problems.
Dash could not be reached for comment yesterday. Altman declined to comment or name his client. He did say he knew Darien, and knew of Damon Dash, during a short interview.
In fact, Prescient, though it claims to have done so in its lawsuit, and Altman is quoted as saying so, did not save Michael Jackson by getting Fortress Investments to buy his $270 million loan from Bank of America.
All that's happened is that Fortress owns the loans. Fortress's only largesse was in doing a little refinancing so that Jackson got a $3.3 million loan from them in May.
Come December, the "Beatles catalog," as part of the mandatory Sony/ATV Music Publishing divorce, will have to be dealt with.
David Dobkin's "Wedding Crashers," a comedy from New Line, looks like it's a big, freakin' comedy hit.
It's also rated R because it's a little raunchy and very politically incorrect.
Nevertheless, Dobkin gets the best performances to date out of Vince Vaughn — for whom this could be a breakout role — and Owen Wilson. Luckily, he had a good script by Steve Faber and Bob Fisherto work with.
Last night in New York City, a whole gang of Hollywood A-list types and celebs came to the Ziegfeld theater and later, to Cipriani 42nd St., to validate "Wedding Crashers" as a success.
Not only were Vaughn and Wilson on hand, but so were comedian Chris Tucker, actors Sam Rockwell and Paul Rudd, "Upside of Anger" writer/director Mike Binder, cast member Jane Seymour (who plays a sexy, drunk mom in "Crashers"), and ingenue-of-the-month Rachel McAdams.
Vince took it in stride when I mentioned that he stole the movie, which isn't an easy thing to do when Owen Wilson is around.
"He had the harder work to do," Vaughn said. "That's not as easy."
Dobkin, who's 36 and looks younger, had already directed Wilson in "Shanghai Knights" and Vaughn in "Clay Pigeons."
"I wanted to put them in a film together, but there was no script," he told me. "Then this one came along, and it was perfect."
Despite a finished screenplay, Dobkin did a little work on it himself, and it shows.
In between the riotously funny R-rated scenes, there are some nice character touches that give "Crashers" unexpected texture. It's a perfect summer date movie.
Now Dobkin must wait for his next script, but it's not such a bad thing. Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor ("Sideways," "Election," "About Schmidt") are writing it just for him.
Some other news from the party: Rockwell, who was Oscar-caliber in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," has "Jarheads" in the can and is taking a short break before picking a new script.
And Binder has just finished "Man About Town," the romantic comedy that's said to be likely to resuscitate Ben Affleck's career. Rough screenings this week attracted a number of top-line distributors who will now vie for the right to release it.