The first phase of trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought against Michael Jackson’s estate by a former manager for the singer who alleges he is owed commissions for his work on behalf of the late King of Pop.
Tohme R. Tohme says he is due a 15% commission on compensation that Jackson received in 2009, the year the entertainer died, as well as a share of “This Is It,” the documentary of Jackson’s rehearsals for concerts planned for London that were canceled because of his death.
“After Tohme’s success in helping Michael Jackson save his Neverland Ranch estate from foreclosure, Michael Jackson asked Tohme to serve as his manager,” according to Tohme’s court papers.
Tohme was among a parade of confidants who entered Jackson’s life in the years before he died.
Tohme devoted his resources, time and energy into bringing Jackson back into the public eye as the King of Pop, the suit says. He was responsible for Jackson entering contracts that benefited him and later his estate, it says.
Tohme is seeking about $18.7 million, records show. Lawyers for the Jackson estate maintain that Tohme’s explanation of the contract is incorrect and that the judge should “reject Tohme’s proffered interpretation and hold that he has no right to commission income received after the ... agreement terminated, including income received by the estate from the exploitation of the motion picture ‘This Is It.’”
Tohme sued the Jackson estate in February 2012. Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Mark Young will make the final contract interpretation.
The witness list includes Jackson’s mother, Katherine, and brother Jermaine.
Jackson died June 25, 2009, at 50 of acute propofol intoxication.