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Jacko Sued by Ex-Manager for $59 M

LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson’s former manager Dieter Wiesner has sued the King of Pop for $59 million in Superior Court, claiming that Jackson, who “once was an internationally famous pop star,” took $9 million from Wiesner for “exclusive rights to merchandise his name and likeness,” but already had sold those rights to someone else. Wiesner claims he paid Jackson $7.4 million “based on Jackson’s false assurances that he owned the rights,” but when “inevitably, the first buyer staked its claim,” Jackson persuaded Wiesner to throw in another $1.6 million to buy the rights back, then frustrated the business by “refusing to cooperate and actually interfering” with it. The rights in question are not elucidated beyond the complaint’s rather confusing opening statement: “Burdened by a dwindling cash supply and an extravagant lifestyle, former pop star Michael Jackson copied some of Max Bialystock’s footwork from ‘The Producers’ and sold the same extremely valuable, exclusive rights to merchandise his name and likeness, twice.” Wiesner claims that after his second payment to Jackson, “as he does periodically, Jackson fired several of his primary advisors. Jackson implored Wiesner to step in and replace them, promising to compensate Wiesner generously as soon as his severe cash flow problems abated. Wiesner accepted.” He claims he spent a year wholly devoted to “managing Jackson’s business affairs and personal life,” and that “through Wiesner’s tireless efforts, Jackson’s financial condition, including his cash flow, improved dramatically.” Then Jackson was indicted on child-molestation charges. He fired Wiesner without paying him, the now ex-manager claims, closing the introduction to his 15-page complaint: “The show is over. Jackson now must repay the millions of dollars he accepted for rights he did not own, compensate Wiesner for the substantial lost profits that resulted from his failure to deliver the rights and cooperate in exploiting them, and fairly compensate Wiesner for Wiesner’s valuable and successful management services.” Wiesner is represented by Howard King with King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner.

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