These series will be the collection of my posts from MJJC about the MJ Estate - HTWF lawsuit.
September 30, 2009 MJ Estate sues HTWF. Media reports :
The estate of the late Michael Jackson has filed a lawsuit against the Heal The World Foundation for exploiting his death by unlawfully seeking trademarks using the name `Michael Jackson` and phrases such as `King Of Pop`, `Heal The World`, `MJ`, Neverland` and `Thriller`. They claim the charity is deceiving the public into thinking they operate the charities and are fooling fans into believing they are making donations in Michael’s name.
Info from TSCM:
I do have access to the official Heal The World Foundation tax filings through the year 2003.
The ones filed in 2003 (based on 2002 data) state, at the end:
HEAL THE WORLD FOUNDATION HAS CEASED ITS EXEMPT OPERATIONS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 10/31/2003. THERE WILL BE NO ACTIVITY FOR 2004 AND THE ORGANIZATION WILL FORMALLY DISSOLVED IN 2004.
On the form itself they also checked 'YES' to the question: "Was there a liquidation, dissolution, termination, or substantial contraction during the year?"
Thus, by all legal accounts, the foundation was dissolved in 2004.
My post about April 2010 Preliminary Injunction - http://www.radaronline.com/sites/default/files/healtheworld.pdf
That was interesting. It tells all the story between this foundation (the woman behind it) and Michael.
- At 2001 she starts to try to contact Michael through his representatives and directly as she believes that she can see the events that's going to happen in the future (after an incident) and Michael would be working with her /partnering with her for Heal the World foundation.
- She appears unannounced and uninvited at Neverland.
- MJ's people warn her about her harassing and threatening behavior towards MJ.
- In 2002-2003 she registers 900 domain names related to MJ and the charity as she thinks that the management was letting go of this critical names.
- In 2003 MJJ productions come to an agreement with her to transfer those domain names to them and they would pay for the associated costs.
- She files for several trademarks including Heal the world, MJ, King of pop, Michael Jackson heal the world foundation etc etc without consent from Michael or his representatives. Majority of them got rejected.
- In her defense against the estate's lawsuit she says they waited too long for this lawsuit and therefore the lawsuit is unreasonable and prejudiced about them. It also says that they were aware of her actions and encouraged and supported that actions.
- However the 2003 agreement between MJJ productions and her say that MJJ productions and Michael did not ask her to do anything - that was her initiative. Therefore it doesn't support the claims that Michael and his representatives were aware or supported her actions.
- Furthermore the charity website and trademarks are all done 2008 and after. Estate filed the lawsuit in 2009. California has a 4 year statue of limitations in regards to trademarks.
- They did not respond to the estate's claim that they are soliciting funds using Michael's name.
By the way it looks like she can still use the name "Heal the World" as the original trademarks for those has expired 2001-2002.
July 2001 Letter from Melissa Johnson to Evvy Tavasci mentioned in the court documents
I would not be bothering Michael, nor did I, for Eight years because I just couldn’t fully believe it all myself. But I have seen, in a 1993 near death-type experience, the future of many things and after eight years of watching them come about, the exact things I was told would occur, I have finally been convinced that these things will happen. That is why I am trying to reach Michael, and Today, I have zero doubt. Somehow, someday, Michael will find me, and we will go to work for the Children of our Father.
Michael will not go forward with Heal the World Foundation, without me. When he begins to get stirred up in his heart about it, and want [sic] to do things with it, he will be frustrated and confused. I hope you will remember that there was this crazy lady out there who claimed she was to behis partner in this work and held with her the other half of the HTWF equation.
Evvy, Heal the World Foundation is not a mere charity, it is a living thing, and it is apart [sic] of me.
March 2011 - My post about MJ Estate supplement to their complaint listing all the things that Melissa Johnson did in the last few months - including MJ's kids GMA appearance.
Below is a summary of the additional complaint I did after looking over the documents
Note: in the below notes "MJ 91 HTWF" represents the actual Heal the World Foundation MJ formed in 1991.
Let’s see what Melisa Johnson did after the injunction against her to stop using Michael’s name and likeliness until the court case is resolved.
June 2010, she give a interview to local ABC channel saying that HTWF is the same as MJ 91 HTWF and that they act with MJ’s authorization and the estate is vicious and hostile. They post this interview video in youtube and their website. They later remove the videos after a phone call from Estate lawyers.
June , July 2010 she posts 2 videos “Hijacking The Estate” documentary which has unsupported claims of a cover up and conspiracy by the estate executors.
Johnson get in contact with people who are openly against the estate and executors (with false attacks) and through this people they get Joe and Katherine to “board of directors” and “elect” MJ’s kids to “Youth board of advisors”. (Estate learns this in December 2010)
Katherine and Joe was never a board of director at MJ 91 HTWF. MJ 91 HTWF rules says that in the case of MJ’s death his representatives get in charge – which means Branca and McClain.
September 2010, Johnson holds a board of director meeting to “reorganize and elect board of directors for MJ 91 HTWF according to MJ’s wishes in 2005” (see below for MJ’s supposed 2005 wishes)
In SEPTEMBER 2010, Brian Oxman sends a letter to Melissa Johnson saying that “This letter will confirm that in February, 2005, Mr. Michael Jackson instructed me to inform you that he approved of your proposals regarding Heal the World Foundation and requested that you act on behalf of the Foundation to preserve and protect it and its trademarks. Mr. Jackson instructed me to inform you to keep the Foundation active, work on behalf of the Foundation to promote its purposes and goals, run the Foundation’s operations, and revive its corporate status”
Estate tries to call Oxman for a deposition but he doesn’t show or arrange a meeting time. Currently estate is seeking a court order for deposition of Oxman or removal of his testimony from the trial.
Estate also claims that Oxman wasn’t MJ’s lawyer (he is the lawyer of Joe that’s against the estate), argues that letter is self-serving, it’s best hearsay and they didn’t authorize Oxman to speak on their behalf. Plus they say that letter is legally insufficient to give any rights to Melissa Johnson.
In this September 2010 meeting Melissa claims she’s authorized by MJ, she’s working as interim director and decide to revive the MJ 91 HTWF and shorten the name from “heal the world foundation” to “HTWF”. (Note : Johnson was never a part of MJ 91 HTWF)
Next day they file “Certificate of Amendment of Articles of Incorporation” with California Secretary of State to change the name to HTWF.
Still in September 2010, Johnson contact IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and falsely representing that she’s a representative of MJ 91 HTWF asks for MJ 91 HTWF tax records.
In Fall 2010, Johnson again falsely representing her relationship files with Franchise Tax Board that they want to revive MJ 91 HTWF which is suspended.
On November 1, 2010 Mann enters into a license agreement with Melissa Johnson HTWF because he plans to use the MJ trademarks (heal the world, gone to soon, king of pop, Michael Jackson etc) she owns in the sale of some products.
Mann agrees to pay Melisa Johnson’s debt of $92,578 plus $38,000 of legal fees to a total of $130,642.
Melissa Johnson in her deposition says that Joe and Katherine’s manager Lowell Henry is the one got them hooked up with Howard Mann after July 2010.
November 2010, Johnson has another board of directors meeting in which they agree to merge MJ 91 HTWF with their 2008 HTWF.
December 2010, Mann holds “Unveiling of the Jackson Secret Vault Lithographic event” and Johnson who is a partner of Mann gets a part of the sales.
December 2010 Franchise Tax Board which is fooled by Melissa Johnson’s misrepresentation as MJ’s representative revives MJ 91 HTWF.
With this Johnson files plan of merger (merging 91 HTWF with 2008 HTWF) with Secretary of State.
As a result of this [B]all the current public information falsely shows that MJ 91 HTWF is revived and surviving (2008 HTWF is merged into it) and that Melissa Johnson is an officer and director of MJ 91 HTWF. [/B]
Estate claims that this is intentional fraudulent activity to fool general public and support their claims in the lawsuit (deception of government agencies as well) that their 2008 HTWF is a part of MJ 91 HTWF.
Estate learns about this fraudulent unlawful scheme in January 2011.
January 2011 Johnson speaks to X17online saying that her charity is supported by Jacksons.
February 2011 Johnson and Mann appears on GMA gives a check to charity from HTWF. Estate says with the help of Mann she enlisted the help of Katherine and MJ’s kids in her effort to deceive public.
All of the above still continues to confuse the public even more so recently that the charity is related to MJ.
MJ Estate is now also asking for the correction of the false public records (California Secreatry of State, California Franchise Tax Board, California Attorney General’s Office and International Revenue Service).
Note: Estate tried to come to a settlement with her but they couldn’t succeed.
Ps: Melissa Johnson says that her communication with MJ about the charity was done through Oxman at 2004-2005 and Van Alexander (part of Bain Associates) through 2006 -2009.
She says Oxman authorized her to
-Do whatever to preserve HTWF
-Use MJ’s name and picture on the HTWF websites
-Sell MJ related merchandise
-Acquire charitable intellectual property
She says Van Alexander said her that
-MJ never planned to be involved in day to day actions of the charity
-There’s a turmoil in Jackson camp and it wouldn’t be best for the charity to be in MJ’s name. She’s told to do whatever she can do on her own.
-MJ would endorse the charity even though it was in her name.
March 2011 Additions to the above info
Here's the additions
- They expect the trial to last 5 days or so.
- Of course HTWF lawyers is opposing to the supplemental complaint saying that the deadline passed, it's too soon before the trial, the new claims have nothing to do with the original complaint vs vs. They also say that the government registrations do not confuse people and HTWF isn't posted that info on their website.
However it seems like there are supporters of HTWF that has been posting State Secretary registration to say that the current HTWF is legit and the same one as 91 Mj HTWF.
Estate / plaintiff witness list has
- Melissa Johnson and Mel Wilson from HTWF - as to examine HTWF actions
- Evan Spiegel and Mark Harrison - former attorneys for MJ
- Evvy Tavasci - former assistant to MJ
- John Branca - for the estate
- Howard Mann - as to examine the business deal between him and HTWF
- Michael Kane - accountant for the estate
- Karen Langford - paralegal at Branca's law firm
- Felix Sebacious - representative of Bravado
- Kristen Fancher - trademark attorney.
When we look to the HTWF (defendants) witness list we see
- again Melissa Johnson and Mel Wilson - to testify about HTWF's actions
- again Howard Mann
- They say 5 people will provide testimonies about Johnson's relationship/communication with Michael and these 5 people look like Brian Oxman, Raymone Bain, Van Alexandar, Grace Rwaramba and Stu Backerman
- John Branca and John McClain about their policies and press releases they made about HTWF
- Frank Dileo due to his statement in support of the estate
- Evan Spiegel and Todd Rubenstein - as they were declarant in the Estate complaint
- Trent Jackson - as to explain the relationship between Jackson's and HTWF
- Katherine Jackson - as HTWF supporter and being on board of directors
- John Roberts - the claimant for Heal the World Inc.
- John Grant - payment of domain name collection
- Sergio Guimond - planned a tribute concert for MJ , estate interfered and HTWF suffered loss
- Tania Lundeen - Beanie Baby
- Richard Herbert
Evidence exhibits for the estate includes
- HTWF documents such as board of director meeting notes, tax documents, their accounting (borrowings etc)
- HTWF filings to government agencies
- Emails from Melissa Johnson to a lot of different people including Evan Spiegel, Tom Meserau, Alvin Malnik, Raymone Bain, Rabbi Boteach
- Letters to/from Evvy Tavasci
- letters / packages sent to MJ from Johnson and while posing as Evvy
- emails from several people to Melissa Johnson (after MJ's death) expressing their wish to donate to MJ's HTWF or do events to honor MJ and donate
- emails between Johnson and several parties for sale of items
- screenshots of HTWF website and posts on their forums including Melissa Johnson posts
- wikipedia edits, wikipedia sending an email to Johnson and her response to wikipedia
- A lot of trademark registrations done both by MJ's representatives and by Melissa Johnson
- Documents about the actual 1991 MJ HTWF
- Jackson's related exhibits such as Jackson's declaration about HTWF, youth board advisors forms signed by Prince, Paris and Blanket.
- member posts form official MJ.com forum, Kopboard, MJFC and [B]MJJC [/B]
Defendants evidence exhibits include
- Letter from Oxman and a lot o stuff to show his relationship to MJ.
- news/info about estate and their business relationship to Bravado and other companies
- negative stuff about Branca - that he was fired in 2003, Joe's opposition to him as an executor etc.
- documents about Brian Wolf , Legrand , Backerman, Raymone Bain
- news stories about MJ being mismanaged etc
- communications with Backerman, Bain, Boteach, Malnik, Tavasci, Spiegel, Van Alexander, etc.
- a lot of information about who registered what before/ after MJ's death
Estate is objecting to most of these on the grounds that they aren't relevant, they can bring prejudice, confusion and waste of time, lack of personal knowledge and hearsay.
Court accepts MJ Estate's additional complaint.