Chapter 19 - Unbreakable
2001 - Invincible release. 30th anniversary concert. CBS Executives insisted on a Jacksons reunion as a part of the deal. Randy and Jermaine having problems with David Gest for charging $2,500 for a top-tier ticket and no hint of Motown on the show. So they release statement about the prices and say they won't perform. Later back down because it was important to create a special night for Michael. Jermaine says they didn't see much of Michael - other than the performance and rehearsal.
9/11. Michael overslept because he went to bed late and didn't go to his appointment at Twin Towers. Marlon was in air but okay. Janet tried to send tour busses but they weren't allowed to Manhattan. Randy and Jermaine stop a bus on the street and put everyone in and drive to California. Michael makes his own getaway plan. "what more can I give?" song. Sony doesn't release it. Michael's relationship with Mottola is turning bad slowly.
Family meeting at Hayvenhurst. after the 30th anniversary in NY, family thinks Michael is again having problems with prescription drug dependency. Early 2002 Intervention at Neverland - Jermaine was out of town. Katherine, Jackie, Tito, Randy, Janet, Rebbie and La Toya with a doctor go to Neverland. Guards don't let them in, one brother jump the gate. Tito asks Michael if something was wrong.
"Michael was reassuring and relaxed. He said everyone had got it wrong. He was fine; there was nothing wrong with him, he insisted. Even the doctor had to agree. So there was actually no intervention and everyone departed happier if not 100 percent reassured."
Jermaine says later Michael admit in lawsuits that his judgement could have been impaired due to painkillers. So "no doubt concealment was going on". Reason for the second dependency - bridge fall in 1999.
Jermaine is also angry that the press portrayed this "non-intervention" as an "intervention".
Sony: Relationships are getting worse and Michael would seek "divorce from Mottola". Michael finds out his masters aren't reverting to him until 2009/2010 (he thought 2000) and the lawyer who advised him also advised Sony.Michael wants to get out of his contract early. Conditions : one more album (Invincible), one greatest hits (number ones) and a box set. So as Michael was leaving with his share in the catalog, they wanted Michael to fail so that they can control the catalog. Invincible. Sony doing the minimum required contractually.
"But Michael felt it went deeper than that with Sony, especially after he’d heard from fans who couldn’t find the album in certain stores. He based that on information received in a phone call from someone he trusted. He felt strongly that everything was designed to back him into a financial corner: the less successful his albums, the less royalty income. The less he earned, the more reliant he’d be on his share of the Sony-ATV catalogue which he’d already borrowed against to the tune of $200 million from Bank of America . . . guaranteed by Sony. And the more debt he had, the stronger the chance he’d be forced to sell his interest in the catalogue. At least, that was Michael’s thinking."
Sony protests. Jermaine says Invincible not maxing sales because Michael didn't tour isn't true. He says that a worldwide and US tour was planned to start early spring 2002 but Michael cancelled it after 9/11. This causes an argument between Mottola and Michael, Michael angry that they are not promoting his album, Mottola angry that Michael cancelled the tour. Jermaine explains Michael's reason not to tour that he could be a hit for terrorist attacks and Michael didn't want to risk his staff and fans. Jermaine says if 9/11 didn't happen Michael would be touring 2002 spring to 2004
"Since 2009, there has been a lot of debate and misunderstanding about my brother’s appetite for the road because he made no secret of the fact that he didn’t like touring. It induced anxiety, insomnia and dehydration, and left him feeling miserable. His insomnia was the curse of live shows that left him filled with adrenaline. Other artists may empathize with this, but Michael suffered chronically. That was why, on most tours, he took a qualified anaesthetist with him. This choice had nothing to do with a prescription-drug dependency, and everything to do with the desperate need to sleep when on the road; he needed to be knocked out in order to rest. But with a specialist alongside him—and his intake closely monitored. Michael also trusted that his physicians would monitor him at all times while he was under. While this may seem unorthodox, it was his coping mechanism when touring—a quick fix to a long-term problem that illustrated the downside to touring."
Michael said "no more touring" since 1981 but still toured because he loved the stage. He could also say I'm not touring to one person and turn and say I'm touring to another person.
Debbie and Michael's seperation. Jermaine knows nothing but doesn't think there was any heartbreak.
"But Michael wanted more children so “Blanket” came along as a result of artificial insemination with an anonymous surrogate mother. Nobody knows who she is, not even the family.".
Blanket and hotel incident.
"Michael was probably the most forgetful person I knew—because, as an artist, he was preoccupied with creativity. One Family Day at Hayvenhurst, Prince and Paris were there with “Blanket” who was still in diapers, tucked up in a carrier-cradle. At the end of a happy afternoon, Michael’s chauffeur loaded everything into the trunk and the children got in the car. We were all on the steps and Michael was all smiles, with his arm waving out the window as they drove away. We knew what he had forgotten even if he didn’t. How long would it be before he realized? We waited and waited. About five minutes later, we saw the nose of the car turn back into the driveway. The car door flew open and Michael jumped out, looking all sheepish and with his hand to his mouth, dashed out, rushed by us and hurried back inside. “Oh, I forgot Blanket!”"
Arvizos. Bashir interview. Jermaine watching the interview on TV (he had no idea of what's going on before the interview). Getting angry as he sees the edit to portray Michael in a bad light. The Michael Jackson Interview: The Footage You Were Not Meant To See. Bashir pay tribute to Michael after his death saying "“There was a small part . . . which contained a controversy, but the truth is that he was never convicted of any crime, I never saw any wrong-doing myself and while his lifestyle may have been a little unorthodox, I don’t believe it was criminal.” Too little too late.
Chapter 20 - 14 White Doves
Neverland raid. Michael trashing his hotel room in Las Vegas when hearing the news. Michael never stayed in the main house again, stayed in the "Elizabeth Taylor" guest house. Flying back to LA, surrendering, hand-cuffs.
"Michael returned to Vegas and started to talk. It was less an opening up and more of an unloading of concern about a group which I’ll call “The Men’s Club of Beverly Hills”—a group of well-connected power brokers from the music industry who, he said, were behind everything and “trying to bring me down” and he added: “They don’t want me around . . . They want me in jail . . . They want to finish me.”"
"it was the sincerity of his tone that got me thinking because—whether true or not—we as a family could see the financial rationale in where he was pointing us: that if he went to prison, what control would he have over the catalogue as a convicted criminal? And with countless lawsuits against him lining up like planes from certain business dealings, he’d likely lose them all from prison. This outcome would have ultimately led to big losses and him defaulting on his bank loan—and his share of the catalogue would revert to Sony."
DCFS finds nothing. Sneddon still continues. Feb 2003 Gavin saying nothing happened. June 2003 Gavin saying he was molested after Feb 2003 interview.
Michael tells Jermaine he doesn't feel secure. NOI as security. Randy working as Michael's right hand man. Hiring Tom Mesereau. T-Mez giving them assurance. Jordie refusing to testify and not talking to his parents for 11 years for making him lie. Trial. Family support. Testimony. Lies. T-Mez proving his points.
Trial affecting Michael's finances. Sony/ATV loan 272M, lost 100M due to not touring for Invincible. $23M loan on Neverland. $1M a month to run Neverland. Catalogue bringing $25M a year. Jermaine goes to Bahrain to do a deal to ease Michael's financial situation. Prince Abdullah, not only music but theme parks,hotels, movies etc as well. Two Seas contact Prince Abdullah, Jermaine and Michael 33.3 share each.
Back to trial. Michael going to restroom during testimony. Waiting for verdicts. Going to court to hear the verdicts. Rebbie reading the Bible all the way to the courthouse. Not enough seats. Jermaine and Janet in a room waiting. they can't see or hear the courtroom. They hear a cheer from outside. They find a window to look outside and see a woman releasing white doves. They go to meet rest of the family.
"Michael wasn’t smiling, like everyone else: he looked stunned, and we just kept walking. There was no time for hugs. We could do all that back at Neverland."
Chapter 21 - The Comeback King
Fall 2008. Michael is happy and healthy. Dancing and recording. Wheelchair photo - was an act. Michael trying to make everyone think he wasn't ready or capable for comeback.
"Because no comeback is truly a comeback until the odds seem impossible."
"Michael got stronger and stronger, week by week, and he shed weight when I didn’t think he had any more to lose. Again, some people point to this “thinness” as if it were a disturbing sign, but he had shrunk ever since the trial and his fitness regime made him skinnier. It was also normal—after each tour he ever did, he’d lose three inches off his waist. Michael was simply shedding weight because of those daily four hours of dance."
"In late 2008, he was so fit that, further down the line—eight weeks before he died—when he bumped into a friend in a doctor’s office, he lifted his shirt and said, “Have you seen my six-pack?”"
Michael's plans: New house in Vegas as a new neverland, his kids see him perform. make money from tour to pay his debts. Performing in China after TII. Do Superbowl. 2 tours of "back by popular demand" concerts till 2014. TII was the beginning not the end. 5 year plan.
Still worried if the tickets would not sell, tested the waters with 10 in Europe. Wasn't sure about USA reaction to him.
Flashback to after trial and time in Bahrain: Although Jermaine was instrumental in the deal with the Prince, he's cut off and it becomes a deal between only Michael and Prince Abdullah. Prince pays for Michael's lifestyle in Bahrain. Michael in good faith believed these to be gifts and he didn't realize it was part of his contract. Michael thought he was to do one album but the contract was for music,musicals,movies, books etc. So as he doesn't want to be owned by anyone he leaves. Prince sues Michael. Jermaine can't believe Michael signed a contract without reading.
A lot of lawsuit against Michael worth $100M. Sony loan now $300M. Sony has the option to buy his 25%. Good news Michael buys 5% share from Branca. Jermaine thinks "once great business relationship" between Branca and Michael floundered as Branca wasn't exclusively on Michael's side (conflict of interest idea). Struggling to pay Neverland's costs, salaries, animal costs. Ranch shut down in 2006.
Summer 2006 Michael received a set of documents that showed that some individuals were deliberately getting people to sue Michael to force him into involuntary bankruptcy. Jermaine never saw the documents. don't know what happened to them.
Michael trusted a less people. There was one person he thought as a friend and advised him unofficially since 2001. Michael was often a guest at his house. One sleepless night during his war with Mottola , Michael overhears this person on the telephone with Mottola saying not favorable things.
Michael wanted to play "Willy Wonka" but the role went to Johnny Deep. 2007 "Crystal City" - Neverland theme park and Jackson Academy of performing arts in Middle East. 4 meetings but they didn't have the money to fund it.
2007 when in Africa in a business meeting trying to find a backer for the project, a friend mentions Tohme Tohme as a guy "who knows a lot of people". March 2008 Jermaine and Halima goes to meet Tohme. Not charming but gracious. Jermaine discusses Crystal City to Tohme without mentioning Michael. 4 meetings with Tohme. Tohme says he'll try to come up with oil-rich investors to fund $6billion and report back.
Neverland foreclosure news. Jermaine worries that Michael would need to sell his catalog to save Neverland. He decided to call Tohme. Halima says "you hardly know the man". April 2008 Jermaine meets with Tohme , tells him the situation and asks if he knows anyone that can help. Tohme says Tom Barrack / Colony Capital would help and "he'll make sure of it". Jermaine goes to Las Vegas to talk to Michael. Security doesn't let Jermaine in. He goes to a hotel and comes back 3 times, still they don't let him in. He calls Katherine who calls Grace who lets Jermaine in. Jermaine complains about the security not letting him in. Michael tells him he'll make changes soon. Jermaine tells Michael about Tom Barrack.
"I know that my sister La Toya has said she wished she could have “protected” him from the likes of Tohme-Tohme, but had she known the history and the dire reality of the situation, I doubt she’d have held such an opinion."
Jermaine takes Tohme to meet Michael. Michael talks with Barrack on the phone. Meeting with all of them is set. Shortly before foreclosure Barrack pays $23M and gets 50% ownership at Neverland. Barrack and Tohme are heroes. Tohme becomes Michael's manager. Tohme looks over Michael's finances. Cash poor, asset rich. a lot of expenses.
2008 summer Michael shows Jermaine the photos of the house he wants to buy in Vegas that belonged to Prince Jefri of Brunei. He saw the house in 2007, decided to buy it in 2008 and was in negotiations in 2009 to make a $15M down payment for it funded by his TII contract.
Michael and Barrack get along very well. Barrack wants to open a thriller tower in his Hilton hotel. Michael asks him if he wants to partner with him on Sony/ATV catalog. Jermaine doesn't want to leave Michael vulnerable to Barrack and Tohme so he tries to recruit lawyer Joel Katz and Michael agrees. Tohme turns against Jermaine as he brings in a lawyer. Neverland auction. Michael approved it thinking only furniture in storage will be sold. He did not want Neverland would be dismantled and his personal possesions be sold. Michael soon fires Tohme.
Jermaine says before his firing even Tohme turned into a gatekeeper not allowing him to see Michael.
“I don’t understand why you keep coming around. Your brother does not want to see you. If someone does not want to see you, I wouldn’t keep humiliating myself and showing up . . .”
March/ April 2008 dinner with Barrack is when TII idea started. TII is one way to earn big money or he would have need to work at McDonald's as he told Karen Faye. Jermaine says Michael long dreamed a residency tour - in Paris. Tohme reaches out to AEG and Live Nation. Jermaine knows AEG because he talked to them in 2004 about a Broadway musical about Jacksons life story. 2008 Barrack seals the deal with Phil Anschutz of AEG for TII that came with a minimal payment of $36.5M with an upside potential of $300M. 3 movies were a part of it as well as the $15M Vegas home. Also an agreement to do spot concerts as well as 2 tours. One of the tours would be a Jackson 5 reunion tour because Katherine had told Michael that before she died she wanted to see her sons tour together one last time. One more solo tour as final curtain call. He said he would retire from music at when he was 55 years old and then only focus on Hollywood for movies.
TII announcement. Michael being late, not staying long etc. Jermaine says earlier that day Michael learned that guitar player David Williams died.
May 14, 2009 Family day. Katherine and Joe's 60th anniversary surprise. Michael is 4 weeks into TII rehearsals.
"When I spoke with my brother at the Indian restaurant, there was no question that he was fit, healthy and focused. He was skinny, but only in an athletic sense, and the photos that still stand on an end table in my living room confirm it. More importantly, he was genuinely excited about “doing something special for the fans” and there was talk of special guest appearances by the likes of Slash and Alicia Keys. At least, that was an idea he had been toying with."
"The only thing he complained about was that he’d signed up to do “10 shows only” as advertised but somewhere along the line, due to the demand tickets, AEG had added an extra 40 dates. Even they sold out within five hours on-line. Michael said no one had checked with him first, but at no point did he give me the impression that the schedule was too punishing or beyond him, because it wasn’t. Not for a man in his condition."
"He always had breakfast and dinner with his kids, and while they went to bed at around 8 pm, he soon followed around nine. He had been sleeping soundly (his insomnia was only ever tour induced) and he seemed the most centered and content I had seen him in years."
"When it was time for him to leave, everyone hugged and said their goodbyes. “You’re all coming to London, right?” Michael asked us. “Yeah! We’ll be there!” I said, as we all did. “Okay, everyone. See you in London!”"
to be continued.
one more chapter left. It's about Michael's death, what happened during TII rehearsals, funeral.
(note: I looked over Jermaine is saying that Michael was down to 136lbs from 150-155lbs)
Chapter 22 - Gone too soon
June 25 Halima receives a call from Larry King asking them if they know anything about Michael's condition. Jermaine calls Katherine as he hears she's leaving the house for hospital, Halima and Jermaine drives to the hospital as well. Joel Katz calls Jermaine on the way and says that it's bad. Janet calls Jermaine panicked. Katherine calls Jermaine and says that Michael is dead. Jermaine arrives to the hospital, finds Katherine alone in a room. sees Latoya and Randy. Randy is saying "someone did this". Jermaine goes to see Michael's body. Can't believe how skeletal he was, like half the size he was a month ago. He caresses Michael's hand, kisses his forehead. MJ's kids come with a nurse and Jermaine says what they said and did should remain private between them and their father.
Jermaine sees Randy Phillips, Dileo and Tohme. Someone walks up to Jermaine and wants him to read the statement. Attorneys and medical staff feels it's appropriate if the statement comes from family. Reads the statement. Goes back to where Katherine was. Murray comes in and offers his condolences.
Jermaine later learns that Murray has been in Michael's life long before TII.
"He was apparently first called out in Vegas to treat Paris for something, and Michael retained him soon afterward. At Michael’s request, he was hired by AEG for the tour. I don’t know what, if any, checks they did in regard to his suitability, but by having him on their payroll, they were, in my opinion, responsible for his duty of care to their artist. Not to mention the doctor’s own responsibilities under the Hippocratic Oath."
Carolwood Katherine, Janet and Latoya goes. "In fact, La Toya’s boyfriend Jeffre Phillips stayed at the house overnight by himself for two weeks, presumably as a presence to guard against vultures."
"The autopsy report ruled that Michael had had a healthy heart and had died from “acute Propofol intoxication” with no other factor related to the immediate cause of death. The media would go on to falsely portray him as a “junkie,” trying to make the link with prescription pill usage but that, and drugs like Demerol, was not the reason why his heart stopped. What was clear is that the anesthetic Propofol was everywhere in his system. I didn’t even know what “Propofol” was but I’ve since learned that it is not a recreational drug and it was no prescription medicine. Propofol is what people are given intravenously as an anesthetic before major surgery, or doctors use it for sedation. This, I would find out, is what Michael relied on to be knocked out when desperate for sleep, but it should be given only by a trained anesthesiologist and its intake should be carefully monitored with the appropriate medical equipment in place. Michael was usually beset by sleeping problems only on tour so it was, to the best of my knowledge, a departure for him to be using this kind of sleep-inducer during rehearsals. It’s also worth noting that the last time Michael would have needed something like Propofol would have been his last tour, “HIStory,” in 1996. It didn’t surprise me that his insomnia was returning in the run-up to his London dates because of the unimaginable pressure, most of it self-imposed. He was his own biggest competition in the relentless drive to be perfect within the great comeback he’d envisioned."
The below is what Jermaine discovered:
-Michael went from 150-155 to 136 lbs.
- TII is a clever edit.
- start of june michael focused and business like. He wasn't "on fire" but he always held back so this was normal.
- tour opening pushing had nothing to do with health. Michael wanted to rehearse at O2 and not at wembley.
- insomnia starting
- michael told people that he would have a word and change / arrange the workload.
- some people working on TII were chosen over the people Michael worked with / wanted to work with and Michael wasn't happy with it but he said he will make changes when we went to UK.
- Michael's strategy was to do 10 concerts and renegotiate the 40 concerts using the media and public interest. Jermaine says this is the reason why Michael seemed laid back , little input to discussing the concerts. He was waiting for the right time to take over the control.
- Michael not happy with AEG bringing in Dileo and Branca. Jermaine assumes AEG needed handling of Michael and they brought it people that knew Michael.
- Dileo after he comes , keeps people informed on a need to know basis. Protective on Frank's mind but other people around are unease as they think Michael is under control of someone.
- Mid June Michael's health detoriating. He's missing rehearsals or coming in late. His security increased from 2 people to 10 people.
- June 17 he's like a ghost.
- He's making mistakes in dance routines. repeating sentences or words like he has OCD. struggles to finish songs, need teleprompter for lyrics. need help up and down the ramps/stairs.
- inner circle gets worried. "In fairness to AEG, maybe its people didn’t observe the same signs as those with a closer proximity? But, even if that was the case, people would still sound the alarm bells to those in authority to actually do something to help."
- Paris : Daddy was always cold. Karen Faye realized this as well. Michael made a phonecall to a nurse about one half of his body being cold and other half being hot.
- patience running out with michael's absense and being late. Jermaine thinks AEG thought it was due to drug dependency.
- Michael being treated badly, belittling.
- thinner he becomes he colder he gets. 3 layers of clothing while others are baking. june 19 michael was like block of ice to the touch.
- someone calls one of Michael's old doctors and tells the symptoms "“toxic poisoning of the brain” and take him to hospital. AEG doesn't know this call, still Michael chose not to go to hospital.
- murray isn't giving any sense of emergency. after michael sent home on june 19, murray sends a fax to AEG saying that Michael needs 2 days of rest.
- michael acting brave and do not want anyone to think something is wrong.
- closest to Michael : Karen , Bush and Thompson frantic with worry asking for a person with authority to intervene.
- final week. Michael is being taken out of rehearsal space with his arms around bodyguards shoulders - like he collapsed or weak to stand.
- no one called Jacksons. and Jermaine says the responsibility for it was at AEG.
- Jermaine says although the investigation focused on the events on June 25, something was wrong long before.
- Ortega seemed to be the only one that cared. sending him to rest, feeding him, rubbing his feet.
- June 18 , 20 meetings. Riot act. AEG should have cancelled the concerts but they didn't. Michael if didn't do the concerts would lose his catalog.
- Follower fans emailing Karen.
- Michael Bearden asking the staff to pray for Michael
- Last 2 days everthing changes. Michael is upbeat and sharp. other than weight loss, there was no sign of anything being wrong in those 2 days.
- Michael was scheduled to work on his vocals the following days.
- Leaves around 12:30, was supposed to make a diversion and visit Tohme to sign the papers for the new Las Vegas home. Jermaine doesn't know if Michael made a stop at Tohme's or went straight home.
- Murray , trying to sleep. Murray on the phone. Murray's girlfriend hearing a commotion. Security footage is only limited to 4 minutes, rest is erased. why?
- Hope the justice doesn't fail Michael.
Epilogue - Smile
Memorial. Ambitious plans such as Washington Monument. Katherine wanting something private. they find the middle ground. private JW viewing before the public memorial. AEG offer Staples Center. They accept without knowing what went on at rehearsals. Family plan it at Theather at Hayvenhurst. One moment they hug each other, Joe says stop you're going to make me cry. Jermaine wants Michael to be burried at Neverland in a area close to train station. Katherine rejects it as Michael said he never wanted to go back there. Jermaine still thinks Neverland is where Michael should be. Kingdom Hall private service ended with Paris's request of listening to Michael sing "Gone to soon". Staples center. How the brothers were pallbearers. Before TII concerts Michael had planned to take his children to Switzerland to visit Chaplin house. Jacksons decided that none of them would perform but Jermaine wants to sing "Smile", Katherine says do it. Jermaine is good at rehearsal, had a hard time during performance. Private burial. Katherine needed to feel close to Michael her own way so she went back to Gary to the old house and stayed there for a month. As people started to stop by Gary house they got it fixed and painted. January 2011 Jermaine and Halima goes to Senegal. Non English speaking village. they know Michael. Jermaine starts writing the book 2 weeks after that so that the world can understand who Michael is, his legacy and his life.