Michael Jackson might as well be singing "Lean on Me" these days but calling it "Lien on Me."
Jackson has just had another lien placed on his two primary residences, Neverland Valley Ranch in Los Olivos, Calif., and his parents’ home on Hayvenhurst Avenue in Encino, Calif.
F. Marc Schaffel, Jackson’s former business partner and a sometime gay porno producer, won a judgment against Jackson two weeks ago in Santa Monica for $559,305.25. This was one of the outcomes of a lawsuit Schaffel brought against Jackson in November 2004 for $4 million.
This time, though, Schaffel’s lawyer, Howard King, convinced a judge to issue a lien on both properties until Jackson comes up with the money, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees.
Jackson was served about two weeks ago at Neverland, at an address in Century City for his MJJ Productions, and at 3155 East Patrick Lane in Las Vegas, his last known address.
The pop star still may be at leisure in northern Virginia, however, under the thumb of his publicist manager, Raymone Bain.
This certainly is not the first time Jackson has been sued in the last couple of years, but the lien puts Schaffel second in line behind Fortress Investments on the Neverland property. As far as anyone knows, he would now be first in line to take the Hayvenhurst house if Jackson doesn't pay up.
Schaffel’s liens could prove more difficult for Jackson than his prior lawsuits. For one thing, Jackson owes Schaffel more than what the liens are for. And until the liens are satisfied and lifted, Jackson may not be able to borrow any more money from anyone.
Considering that Jackson simply chooses not to work but to float around the world racking up bills, this scenario might turn out to be his undoing.
"Rush Hour 3," which was sent into a tailspin of bad PR when it opened 10 days ago, hangs in there nicely at No. 3 this week with $109 million at the box office.
It made just as much as "The Bourne Ultimatum," so skeptics will have to cool it. Brett Ratner will break even and make money for New Line and make more films for years to come. So much for trying to wish a film into a dud.
What a shame about actor Owen Wilson. The amiable party animal apparently has been hospitalized. According to myriad reports, drugs were involved. One report suggested that his wrists were bandaged upon admittance.
I’ve met Owen, his brothers and his terrific parents many times. These are no Lohans, but down-to-earth, sensible, lovely people. Owen is portrayed in the tabloid press as a wild man, and he is, to some extent. But he’s also a talented actor and writer. Hopefully he’ll get the help he needs and straighten out his life. He’s basically a nice guy in a mean town. ...