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Michael Jackson’s $15 Million Settlement Uncovered

Jun. 29 2009, Published 8:56 a.m. ET

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Since Michael Jackson’s sudden death there has been a lot of speculation about how much the King of Pop is really worth. Despite reported assets of $1 billion it is estimated his debts were $500 million and rising.

During his career Jackson attracted scores of lawsuits (most of which were settled out of court) and has unearthed the papers of his largest known settlement.

Click here to read the papers

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In 1994 Jackson paid to set up a trust for Jordy Chandler (now 29) in the amount of $15,332,250. Chandler, son of Beverly Hills dentist and screenwriter Evan Chandler, alleged he had been molested by the singer.

The carefully worded twenty-page agreement was for compensatory damages for alleged personal injuries arising from the claim of sexual molestation. Both sides agreed to keep the proceedings strictly confidential and to make no public statements, especially to the media, or accuse each other of wrongful conduct. Shortly after the massive pay-out the LA County District attorney announced that no sexual molestation charges would be filed against Jackson since the only witness was not prepared to testify.

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Two years later Evan Chandler filed a lawsuit in Santa Barbara against Jackson, Lisa Marie Presley and other defendants including ABC TV, Diane Sawyer and Sony Music. Among other things he claimed fraud conspiracy, breach of contract slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

An arbitration panel found that Evan’s case lacked substance and ordered the family to pay Jackson’s legal fees and costs. Evan appealed the decision with the California Court Of Appeals in 2000.  A number of sealed documents were unsealed so that the appeals court judge could fully understand the complaint.The court upheld the panel’s original decision that Jackson had not breached the original agreement by going on a Diane Sawyer ABC special with Lisa Marie Presley and by making public statements about the case.



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