Not Bad: Lots of Recent Michael Jackson Estate Good News

May 14, 2021 Paul Emile Trudelle General Interest, In the News Tags: , 0 Comments

Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50. Although almost twelve years have passed since his death, his name remains in the news. The past few weeks and months have been eventful for his estate. Here is my round-up of good news stories (at least from the estate’s point of view):

  1. Favourable tax ruling

On May 3, 2021, the US Tax Court determined that the IRS overestimated the value of Michael Jackson’s image and likeness at the date of his death. The IRS valued Jackson’s image and likeness at $161m (all amounts are $US). The estate argued that the singer’s image was worth much less, having a value of only $2,105: an unusually humble, but understandable argument. The judge accepted that the “value” of Jackson’s image was reduced at the time of death due to the singer being past the peak of his popularity, being heavily indebted and having a damaged reputation due to allegations of child molestation. The judge determined that the value of his image at the time of death was $4.15m, resulting in significant tax savings, and the reversal of a $200m penalty.

  1. Dismissal of sexual abuse claims

On April 26, 2021, the LA County Superior Court granted summary judgment in favour of two companies formerly owned by Jackson and now owned by Jackson’s estate, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures and dismissed claims made by Wade Robson relating to sexual molestation as against the entities. See Leaving Neverland on HBO. The judge held that the companies had no relationship with Robson that would give rise to a duty of care. The judge held that the entities had no ability to control Jackson, as Jackson had complete and total ownership of the entities. Robson’s lawyer indicated that his client would be appealing the decision.

  1. Sale of Neverland

In December 2020, Michael Jackson’s 2,700-acre Neverland Ranch was finally sold for $22m after being on the market for about 5 years. The property was originally listed for $100m. The property was purchased by Ron Burkle, net worth – $1.5b and owner of many things, including part of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Details of Jackson’s interest in the property are unclear. It appears that Jackson was having difficulty in keeping up payments on the property, and in 2008, a co-ownership agreement was entered into between Jackson and Colony Capital.

  1. MJ: The Musical

The Michael Jackson website says they are “startin’ somethin’” beginning in December 2021 at the Neil Simon Theatre, New York City. The show is a collaboration between the Estate and Columbia Live Stage. The website describes the show as “the electrifying new Broadway musical that takes audiences inside the creative process of one of the greatest entertainers in history.”  It doesn’t mention that his estate valued his image at $2,105 at the time of his death.

Thanks for reading.

Paul Trudelle

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