A strange turn of events among the peripheral people in Michael Jackson’s odd world has taken place.
According to court papers obtained by this column, the young man who, in 1994, settled with Michael Jackson for $20 million was allegedly physically assaulted last year by his own father.
Jordan Chandler, now 26, filed a request for a restraining order against his father on August 5, 2005. The reason for the order was that Evan Chandler, formerly a dentist and an aspiring screenwriter, had allegedly hit Jordan over the head from behind with a twelve and a half pound weight. He’d also allegedly sprayed him in the face with mace and tried to choke him.
The two men, according to court papers, were living together in a luxury apartment in New Jersey.
The bizarre case was remanded to trial by a pair of appellate judges on June 8th of this year. This followed a reversal of the restraining order by another judge who felt that Evan Chandler’s actions did not represent a pattern of abuse and didn’t qualify as domestic abuse. The appellate judges disagreed, reinstated the restraining order, and sent the case to trial.
These last judges sounded a little surprised in their ruling that the restraining order had been lifted in the first place. “The judge also found that the weight could cause serious bodily injury or death,” they wrote, indicating that they felt Evan Chandler meant to harm his son.
This means that soon enough Evan and Jordan Chandler will be in a public dispute in a New Jersey courtroom. For Jackson watchers, this is nothing short of shocking: the Chandlers have done everything possible to remain out of the public eye since settling with Jackson in 1994 for a little over $20 million.
In what has now been a much-reported story, Jordy Chandler, then 12 years old, alleged that Jackson molested him on numerous occasions between 1991 and 1994. His uncle, Ray Chandler, published a book about the case in 2005, as did Jackson’s longtime PR man, Bob Jones. Both books detailed Jackson’s inappropriate relationship with the boy; Ray Chandler’s book also recounted the negotiations with Jackson’s attorney, Bert Fields, and his investigator, Anthony Pellicano, by which his brother and nephew got the $20 million.
At the time of this episode, Evan Chandler was divorced from Jordy’s mother, June, who had custody of their son and conceded that she’d let Jackson sleep in the boy’s room in her house for months without supervision. Jackson was then about 35 years old. Subsequently, June Chandler was cut off from her son and as of last year had not seen or spoken to him in a dozen years. She testified to all of this in Jackson’s 2005 child molestation trial.
A falling out between Jordy and Evan Chandler of this serious a nature immediately reveals a couple of things: that at the age of 25 Jordy was still living with his father, and that they had settled into a luxury apartment in New Jersey with panoramic views of Manhattan.
Prior to this they had owned a beach house in Westhampton, New York, and had had an apartment in New York. Public records show, however, that Jordy sold the beach house for $2.9 million in 2003. He bought a condo for $775,000 in West Harlem in June 2005 one week after Jackson was acquitted of child molestation and about six weeks before he accused his father of attacking him. At the time he purchased the coop, Jordy gave a PO Box in Jersey City as his address. It’s only conjecture, but it’s likely that Evan Chandler—whom his brother Raymond had said in interviews was seriously ill in 2005—didn’t want his son to leave him.
News of the Chandlers’ domestic dispute comes as Jackson remains on the down-low somewhere in Europe, either in London or Dublin, as his lawyers try to work out what will become of his languishing career. Having beaten the child molestation charge, Jackson turned himself into a self-exiled celebrity. His Neverland Ranch was shuttered after California officials fined him for not paying his employees for four months and letting their insurance lapse. A $25 million lien was placed against Neverland in June in order to pay off one of Jackson’s attorneys. And a group of investors in Rancho Palos Verdes, California is currently holding a $2.2 mortgage on Jackson’s parent’s home in Encino, California.
More to come…
The late Billy Preston, aka the Fifth Beatle, would have turned 60 on September 2nd.
Now this reporter, along with many of Billy’s pals, are asking deejays across the country to play his last recording on that day at noon if they can.
Before Billy died he recorded his great composition, You Are So Beautiful, with Soul Man Sam Moore. After his death, producer Randy Jackson added a new guitar solo by Eric Clapton. The track is included on Sam’s new album that I had a hand in putting together (gratis!) called Overnight Sensational, coming from Rhino on August 29th.
There’s a nice touch, too: the original version of You Are So Beautiful, made into a hit by Joe Cocker, did not include a second verse Billy had written. In the new version, Moore sings that verse; Billy, appropriately, opens and closes the song. One of the lines in that missing verse is: “Such joy and happiness/You bring/You’re just like a dream.” It’s a nice way to remember Billy Preston.