Michael Jackson Estate Sues Former MJ Manager

Lawsuit alleges that manager of deceased singer Michael Jackson unfairly enriched himself and made off with MJ’s possessions

Last Updated: February 19, 2012 @ 5:04 PM

Michael Jackson has been dead and buried for nearly three years now — but his legacy lives on in the court system.

The estate of the deceased pop singer filed a lawsuit against Jackson's former personal manager, Tohme R. Tohme, for breach of fiduciary duty.

In the suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, the Jackson estate accuses Tohme — who managed Jackson from the beginning of 2008 until shortly before his June 2009 death — of exercising bad business judgment while rewarding himself handsomely in the process.

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"After being hired by Michael Jackson … [r]espondent Tohme took control of virtually all of Jackson's personal and professional affairs, then did as he pleased," the suit reads. "With no oversight or supervision, Tohme quickly set about to and did install a far-reaching and very lucrative financial package for himself obtained as a result of a manifest breach of his fiduciary duties."

Read the full lawsuit here.

According to the suit, Tohme wrangled a monthly retainer of $35,000 for himself, on top of a 15 percent cut of Jackson's gross earnings.

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The suit also says Tohme failed to adequately disclose his business ties to Colony Capital, which took over Jackson's Neverland Ranch during the singer's financial woes in 2008. The Jackson estate alleges that, after Tohme hooked the "Beat It" singer up with Colony, he received a 10 percent finder's fee on the refinanced loan — worth $24 million — along with the promise of a 10 percent take on any future sale of the home for himself.

The suit says that Jackson finally canned Tohme "no later than April 14, 2009" — significantly, the day on which an auction of Jackson's personal Neverland possessions went on view. The auction, arranged by Tohme, never took place; in the suit, the Jackson estate alleges that Tohme has wrongfully obtained some of Jackson's belongings.

"Tohme used his powers as Jackson's fiduciary and agent to take possession of both money and valuable personal property belongings that he never returned to Jackson or the Executors, or properly accounted for," the suit reads.

Jackson's estate is asking that Tohme "immediately and fully account for a return to the estate all money and personal property entrusted to him at any time by Jackson," plus damages, interest, attorney's fees and legal costs.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.