Michael Jackson is being sued by Prince Abdullah Al-Khalifah of Bahrain today in London’s High Court.
The two have a hearing set for them today at 2:30 p.m. in the Queens Bench division. The session could include opening arguments.
This trial explains why last week Jackson transferred part ownership of his Neverland Ranch to his note holder, Colony Capital LLC, and changed the name to Sycamore Valley Ranch. Neverland is Michael’s last bit of real property not encumbered by liens with provisions.
Prince Abdullah is suing Jackson for $7 million, the amount he turned over to the pop star in exchange for a written contract detailing Michael’s indebtedness to him. The Prince, if you recall, had started a record company with Jackson. For the $7 million, he expected two albums, a Broadway musical, and possibly an autobiography.
But Jackson did what he always does: he took the money and ran. After receiving the $7 million, Jackson split to Ireland and then to Las Vegas. In all, he’d been the prince’s guest, on his dime, for about a year after being acquitted of child molestation charges in June 2005.
Prince Abdullah’s lawsuit sheds a lot of light on what went on when Jackson left the U.S. after his trial. For one thing, as this column first deduced, Michael’s brother Jermaine started paving the way for his refuge there in 2004 while Michael was awaiting trial.
Michael, the lawsuit contends, arrived in June 2005 with his children and personal staff. Prince Abdullah notes that prior to Michael’s arrival, he “helped the Defendant (that’s Jackson) with substantial financial and other assistance in these difficult circumstances including the funding of a substantial portion of his criminal defense costs.”
That’s not all: “Until June 2006, when decided not to return to Bahrain after a trip to Tokyo, the Defendant lived in Bahrain first as a guest of the Claimant (that’s the Prince) at the Claimant’s expense in the residence of the Claimant’s brother, later in property in Dubai owned by the Claimant’s father, and later in a rented property in Bahrain.”
We also learn what happened to Jacko’s famous charity record for Hurricane Katrina survivors:
“In or about September and October 2005, the Claimant paid the costs of venture to record, in London, a song called 'I Have This Dream.' The proceeds of the song were intended to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The Claimant’s payments included airfares and accommodation for the Defendant and other participants in this venture, and studio and recording costs. However, the Defendant failed to attend at the studio to record is vocal and the song was never released.”
Prince Abdullah says he built Michael a recording studio, paid all his and his kids’ living expenses, and even paid some of his legal bills back home so Jackson could hold on to the so –called Beatles Catalog—his 50 percent shared of Sony/ATV Music—and Neverland. In all, he advanced Jackson $7 million.
Jackson, of course, agreed to all this in writing. As we’ve seen before, he signs almost anything put before him, then pleads ignorance or amnesia.
But with the Prince, things are worse than usual. Abdullah says he funded Jackson’s May 2006 promotional tour to Japan which resulted in the singer’s not returning to Bahrain. Within a month of Jackson ditching him, the Prince claims that Jackson’s manager, Raymone Bain, wrote him a letter saying Michael would no longer work with him. Jackson refused to return Abdullah’s numerous phone calls. He never heard from him again.
One last thing: Prince Abdullah notes that after Jackson left him, he recorded a track with will.i.am and Pras of the Fugees called “No One Friend of Mine (Gangsta).” I remember at the time there was some thought that this was an old track, but the Prince implies the title was directed at him. That’s ironic considering Jackson turned out to be no friend of Abdullah’s.
The new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, took $70 million plus for its first weekend despite mixed reviews. People lined up around the block on Saturday night at the Ziegfeld Theater to see it, too. I saw the beginning of "Quantum" myself on Saturday night. But not in a theater -- on an 18 year old's laptop. A friend's son showed it to me on a free Web site. The quality wasn’t great. It was sort of like the videos Kramer made in a famous "Seinfeld" episode. But it was completely view-able, and it was free.
So instead of standing in line, fans could have gotten “Quantum of Solace” on line.
The Web site is also featuring the current hit, "Role Model," (a highly entertaining comedy) as well as "Madagascar 2" and a bunch of other current and past hits including Toby Young's "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People" and the regrettable "Soul Men." There are links that work, to varying degrees, to "The Dark Knight," as well.
As for "Quantum," I'm told, by the way, that director Marc Forster's absence from the New York premiere last week was because he was already off celebrating his movie's $200 million international box office in a warm climate. Very much a la James Bond.
Members of the cast of “Saturday Night Live” took over The Cutting Room at 4 a.m. Sunday morning—following their TV show and dinner—for Karaoke night. “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm, who hosted a couple of weeks ago, sang Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” with Jason Sudeikis and an “SNL” writer. This week’s host, Paul Rudd, sang “The Rainbow Song” from “The Muppets Movie” and horsed around with Seth Meyers, according to observers. …
… At Thursday’s premiere party for the hit hit hit Broadway show, “Billy Elliot,” Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters got a treat. The little girls who play the little ballerinas serenaded him with a verse from “Another Brick in the Wall” after Waters worried they didn’t know who he was. Waters is working on the Broadway version of “The Wall,” which includes that song, and may show up in 2010. …
… Friday night: Corky Hale, who’s been married to legendary songwriter Mike Stoller (of Leiber & Stoller) for 38 years, brought her cabaret show to the Metropolitan Room on West 22nd St. Hale is an accomplished pianist, harpist, and flautist, as well as singer. Her career spans gigs on various instruments with Billie Holliday, Liberace, early Tony Bennett, Bjork, and George Michael on his “Songs of the Century” album. The show was such a hit that fans are encouraging her to take it to Feinstein’s at the Regency.
Instead, on Sunday night, Corky and Mike celebrated their rare trip to New York with their first visit to Elaine’s in 10 years, and were greeted by Tony Danza and Broadway producer Judy Gordon among others … And Elaine made sure to have Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” a Leiber and Stoller classic, on the CD player … Mike told me that he didn’t even know that Sean Kingston had sampled that recording for his “Beautiful Girls” hit last year until someone played it for him …The whole record is based on Stoller’s bass line and melody …
…Today from noon to 2 p.m., famed British photographer Nobby Clark signs books of his pictures at the Tribeca Arches Gallery, 172 Duane Street. Clark’s show there right now include his amazing, exclusive snaps of the Rolling Stones in concert, 1976, as well his “London Blues.” Don’t miss it …