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Jackson Hit With $20-Million Lawsuit : Pop music: The pop star faces a fraud and breach-of-contract claim by the promoter of his canceled ‘Dangerous’ tour. The singer performed only 24 of the 43 shows.

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Embattled pop star Michael Jackson was sued Tuesday for more than $20 million in a fraud and breach-of-contract claim by the promoter of his abruptly canceled “Dangerous World Tour.”

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Jackson refuses to reimburse Marcel Avram, the owner of Munich-based Mama Concerts, the money for debts resulting from cancellations on the tour.

It also charges that the singer concealed that he was addicted to drugs and embarked on the tour, in part, to avoid a looming investigation into child molestation allegations.

The tour ended Nov. 12 when the singer announced he was seeking help for an addiction to drugs--a condition, he said, that stemmed from coping with the molestation allegations by a 13-year-old boy, who has also filed a lawsuit against the star. Jackson performed 24 of the 43 scheduled dates.

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“Michael Jackson has yet to pay one nickel to the people he left stranded after canceling his world tour,” said Los Angeles attorney Don Engel, who represents Avram, owner of Mama Concerts.

“He stiffed hundreds of thousands of his fans and hung my client out to dry. We had no alternative but to bring suit against him.”

Representatives for Jackson did not return repeated phone calls.

Engel said Avram filed the suit because Jackson’s representatives have refused for six weeks to pay outstanding bills and reimburse millions of dollars in cash advanced to the singer for shows he canceled without notice. Among others reportedly due money: tour employees, vendors and associate promoters.

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Despite the international uproar created when the allegations of child molestation became public in August, Jackson had publicly pressed on with his world tour, performing across Asia and Europe despite setbacks and distractions.

At the tour’s outset, as the allegations surfaced, Jackson canceled two Bangkok shows, citing dehydration. He shelved a date in Singapore after collapsing backstage. Other shows were canceled in South Africa, Australia, Chile and Peru.

But in Tuesday’s lawsuit, Avram alleges that Jackson’s conduct and performance problems resulted from the entertainer’s addiction to morphine and Demerol.

The suit claims that agents or advisers for Jackson provided the singer with a supply of drugs and deceived Avram by misrepresenting the singer’s health problems. False information about the status of Jackson’s health was unknowingly used by the promoter on Aug. 17 to obtain an insurance policy from Lloyds of London to guarantee against financial losses resulting from Jackson’s failure or inability to perform scheduled concerts on the tour, the suit says. The settlement of the insurance policy is now in question.

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Avram himself has been sued twice by vendors and promoters who lost money due to the cancellations.

He alleges that Jackson barely rehearsed for the tour and indeed requested to cancel or postpone it on Aug. 19--less than one week before the first concert was scheduled to take place in Bangkok.

According to Avram, Jackson decided to go out on tour the day before police searched his Neverland Ranch in August to escape the controversy.


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