#MichaelJackson #Estate V #IRS #LIVE Video: Updates.

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Estate of Michael J. Jackson et al. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

Case Number 17152-13

                          

 

LIVE Video:

Each time John Branca saw me outside, he stopped in his steps. Whipped out his cell phone to track his driver! He was intimidated by the truth! Tried hard to avoid me.

 

Last day of trial. Weitzman for Estate just couldn't get IRS expert to trip up. So Branca called out 'Moron,' to Weston Anson – Corsar. NOT NICE!

Branca was questioned on 'Michael Jackson," handwriting, he panicked!!

https://www.periscope.tv/w/a4H-qTFZTEVKTkdwV0p5RU58MU

 

 

Branca, so Michael Jackson fires you for theft & you file injunction against him for $20mill Almost bankrupting him. FORCING MJ to mortgage his home, Neverland https://www.periscope.tv/w/a38L1jFZTEVKTkdwV0p5R

 

Howard Weitzman runs to Federal Marshall in failed attempt to have me banned from entering building. Then he ran to court clerk to have me banned from court room! FAILED AGAIN! You see him laughing. So i stroke his shoulder to THANK him for finally being nice, its near entrance to court whete he begins YELLING. "DONT TOUCH ME, DON'TOUCH ME." Marshall run over as if i was assaulting him! forward to 13.50 https://www.periscope.tv/w/a38NdTFZTEVKTkdwV0p5

 

CORRECTION:- One billion dollars.

"John Branca, Who's going to pay this one million dollars tax bill when you loose, Michaels children ?"

"What tax bill?" John Branca

*Howard Weitzman charges in between Branca and reporter*

"Is it going to be Prince, Paris and Blanket?" https://www.periscope.tv/w/a4IKFTFZTEVKTkdwV0p5RU58MXZ

 

Zia Modabber THREATENING ME!

https://www.periscope.tv/w/a4ILITFZTEVKTkdwV0p5RU58

 

WHAT ABOUT THAT FAKE WILL BRANCA!

https://www.periscope.tv/w/a4IMGzFZTEVKTkdwV0p5RU

 

Howard WHY ARE you peddling "Child abuse," in court. Are you covering up for real pedophiles!!

https://www.periscope.tv/w/a4ILwjFZTEVKTkdwV0p5RU58MW

 

 

Branca V IRS

LIVE VIDEO

"Howard, how did you all witness a Will in Los Angeles on the day https://youtu.be/zssDlVYx4y4

https://www.periscope.tv/w/a4IMkjFZTEVKTkdwV0p5RU58MX

 

https://www.periscope.tv/w/a4IIgDFZTEVKTkdwV0p5RU58

 

LIVE REAL TIME TWEETS DURING TRIAL!

https://twitter.com/TeamMichael777

 

 

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Abuse Claims ‘Overblown’ In Jackson Tax Trial: IRS’ Expert Los Angeles (February 23, 2017)

An intellectual property expert testified for the IRS on Thursday that the damage child molestation allegations did to Michael Jackson’s name and likeness rights has been “overblown” in the Los Angeles trial to determine if Jackson’s estate owes the IRS hundreds of millions of dollars for undervaluing its assets. During the third and final week of the trial before visiting U.S. Tax Judge Mark Holmes, the IRS called to the stand intellectual property expert Weston Anson, chairman of Consor Intellectual Asset Management, to explain some of the details behind his report concluding Jackson’s publicity rights were worth $161 million at the time of his death. The value of those publicity rights, also known as name and likeness rights, has been hotly contested in the estate’s dispute with the IRS, with the estate’s own expert Jay Fishman saying the rights were worth only $3 million at the time of Jackson’s death in 2009. Under examination by IRS attorney Sebastian Voth, Anson discussed a wide range of potential licensing opportunities he had considered available to Jackson’s estate when assembling his expert opinion, including video games, slot machines, a potential themed hotel or casino, and posthumous appearances — similar to the use of a “hologram” of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur at the music festival Coachella in 2012. Anson then addressed what has been a key topic for the various name and likeness experts opining in the case: the allegations, first in 1993, and then in 2003, that Jackson had molested young boys, and the ultimate impact those allegations would have had on the value of Jackson’s name and likeness at the time of his death. The estate’s expert, Fishman, testified last week that the allegations put Jackson’s image in “nuclear winter,” saying that allegations involving harming children are anathema for the brands that might otherwise pay to use a celebrity’s image. Anson, however, testified that while he wouldn’t have taken his son to a Michael Jackson-themed hotel in 1995, by 2009 the situation had changed, after Jackson was acquitted on all counts in a 2005 trial on the latter allegations, and said that testimony in the tax trial had shown that apparel and entertainment licensing opportunities were available for Jackson before his death. Anson added that the value of the rights would only have grown for the estate, noting that he was once told that “the greatest client in the world is a dead celebrity.” “I think the child molestation issue is just frankly overblown,” he said. “In a way, Michael Jackson will forever be a young man with a great talent whose talent never degraded, and for that reason will always have a marketable name and likeness.” Jackson’s estate had petitioned the tax court in July 2013, challenging a lengthy notice of deficiency the IRS mailed to the estate that month. The notice contested the estate’s reported valuation of a litany of items, including a 2001 Bentley Arnage and rights to the master recordings of the Jackson 5. According to the notice, the IRS adjusted the value of the estate from $7 million to $1.32 billion. As a result, the agency demanded $702 million, including $505.1 million in deficiencies and $196.9 million in accuracy-related penalties. The most notable discrepancy between the valuations of the parties as highlighted in the notice included the right to Jackson’s image and likeness. The IRS originally pegged that asset at $434.3 million, whereas the estate had claimed the right was worth only $2,105. In the run-up to the trial, the IRS continued adjusting its proposed value of the estate, increasing the assessed value of Jackson’s Mijac music catalog — which held the singer’s own songwriting copyrights — by tens of millions of dollars, but revising its proposed value of Jackson’s name and likeness upon his death to $161 million. During opening statements on Feb. 6, Avram Salkin of Hochman Salkin Rettig Toscher & Perez PC, representing the estate, said that at the time of Jackson’s death, his estate was burdened with over $400 million in debt and that the name and likeness rights were only worth $3 million. Salkin also said that the IRS had overvalued the Mijac catalog by roughly $90 million and Jackson’s half-share of music publishing company Sony/ATV by $200 million. Jackson’s estate sold that share to Sony for $750 million last year.

 

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King Of Pop's Ex-Manager Says Brands Lined Up Before Death

(February 16, 2017) — Michael Jackson’s former manager Tohme Tohme took the stand at the IRS’ behest Thursday in the Los Angeles trial over the value of the late entertainer’s estate at the time of his death, testifying that Nike, Sony and others had licensing deals in the works when Jackson died. During the second week of the trial before visiting Judge Mark Holmes of the U.S. Tax Court, the Internal Revenue Service began its case in chief, arguing that the estate underreported its value, including Jackson’s name and likeness rights, by hundreds of millions of dollars at the time of the King of Pop's death in June 2009. So far in the trial, the estate has put on percipient and expert witnesses to testify that child abuse allegations against Jackson rendered his image poisonous for brands and that he had no name and likeness licensing deals in place when he died. On Thursday, the IRS called to the stand onetime Jackson manager Tohme, who has previously been sued by the estate for allegedly tricking the entertainer into entering extortionate management agreements. Tohme testified about his time managing the entertainer from mid-2008 until Jackson’s death in June 2009. Under examination by IRS attorney Sebastian Voth, Tohme testified that there were numerous deals in the works before Jackson’s death, including a plan with Nike to create “Moonwalk” sneakers named for Jackson’s famous dance move, a plan with James Nederlander of The Nederlander Organization to create a Broadway show based on the music video for Jackson’s song “Thriller,” a plan with animation producer Andy Heyward to create a “Thriller” TV show, a plan with Sony to create a Jackson-themed video game, and the beginnings of plans with Cirque du Soleil to create a Jackson-themed show. While no deals were actually signed for the Nike shoes or the Sony video game, Tohme testified that the companies had given the go-ahead for the projects, and that they only fell by the wayside because of Jackson’s death. The present case has its origins in a petition Jackson’s estate sent to the Tax Court in July 2013, challenging a lengthy notice of deficiency the IRS mailed to the estate that month. The notice contested the estate’s reported valuation of a litany of items, including a 2001 Bentley Arnage and rights to the master recordings of the Jackson 5. According to the notice, the IRS adjusted the value of the estate from $7 million to $1.32 billion. As a result, the agency demanded $702 million, including $505.1 million in deficiencies and $196.9 million in accuracy-related penalties. The most notable discrepancy between the competing valuations as highlighted in the notice included the right to Jackson’s image and likeness. The IRS originally pegged that asset at $434.3 million, whereas the estate had claimed the right was worth only $2,105. In the runup to the trial, the IRS continued adjusting its proposed value of the estate, increasing the assessed value of Jackson's Mijac music catalog — which held the singer's own songwriting copyrights — by tens of millions of dollars, but revising its proposed value of Jackson's name and likeness upon his death to $161 million. During last week’s opening statements, Avram Salkin of Hochman Salkin Rettig Toscher & Perez PC, representing the estate, said that at the time of Jackson's death, his estate was burdened with over $400 million in debt and that the name and likeness rights were worth only $3 million. Salkin also said that the IRS had overvalued the Mijac catalog by roughly $90 million and Jackson's half-share of music publishing company Sony/ATV by $200 million. Jackson's estate sold that share to Sony for $750 million last year. On Thursday afternoon, the estate’s attorney Howard Weitzman of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP cross-examined Tohme, asking him to name any actual licensing deals he knew Jackson had at the time of his death, with Tohme admitting only Jackson’s musical licensing deals with Sony and Warner/Chappell were in place. On the claimed Cirque du Soleil plans, Weitzman also got Tohme to admit that he spoke only to a man named Jack Wishna, who claimed to know Cirque's interests, before Jackson’s death, but never actually spoke to a confirmed Cirque du Soleil representative nor signed any deal for the performing troupe to use Jackson’s name, likeness or music. After Jackson’s death, the estate did end up working with Cirque du Soleil to create two Jackson-themed shows that grossed hundreds of millions of dollars for the estate, according to testimony earlier in the trial by Jackson’s former attorney John Branca, who is the estate’s co-executor.

 

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Michael Jackson’s Image Was In ‘Nuclear Winter’: Expert

(February 15, 2017)

Michael Jackson’s estate on Wednesday called a business appraisal expert to testify at the Los Angeles tax trial over the estate’s value at Jackson’s death, with the expert testifying that child molestation allegations had plunged the singer’s publicity rights into “nuclear winter,” reducing their value to just $3 million. During the second week of the trial before visiting U.S. Tax Judge Mark Holmes, the estate called to the stand business appraisal expert Jay Fishman, the managing director of Financial Research Associates, to explain how he had settled on the $3.078 million number for Jackson’s publicity rights. The value of those publicity rights, also known as name and likeness rights, has been hotly contested in the estate’s dispute with the Internal Revenue Service, with the estate saying the IRS has claimed they were worth $161 million at the time of Jackson’s death in 2009. Under examination by Steven Toscher of Hochman Salkin Rettig Toscher & Perez PC, representing the estate, Fishman first went through his background, and how he went from being a small business value appraiser to something of a specialist in celebrity name and likeness appraisals. Fishman has been called on to value the publicity rights of Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Rudy Giulani and Bryant Gumbel as part of those celebrities’ respective divorce proceedings’, he said, and was retained by businesses to value both Muhammad Ali’s and Marilyn Monroe’s publicity rights. Fishman said that while Ali was able to sell 80 percent of his publicity rights for $52 million in 2008, he hadn’t used that as a comparison when valuing Jackson’s rights — noting that the business that purchased Ali’s rights eventually wrote down the purchase and sold the asset for only $12 million, and adding that this occurred even with Ali, who has a clean personal reputation and is viewed as a “hero.” Jackson, while an entertainment icon, was unfortunately not viewed the same way by the public at the time of his death, as child molestation accusations in 1993 and 2003 — culminating in a 2005 criminal trial in which Jackson was acquitted on all counts — had irreparably damaged his reputation, Fishman said. Fishman added that even compared to other scandal-tainted celebrities, Jackson’s alleged crimes were so heinous as to render him untouchable for name and likeness deals at the time of his death. “I’ll only say it once, there are taints and then there are taints, there are Kobe Bryant type of taints, or I had Kate Moss, and then there are things with children … those things are nearly impossible to overcome,” he said. “I call it like being in a nuclear winter.” Jackson’s estate had petitioned the tax court in July 2013, challenging a lengthy notice of deficiency the IRS mailed to the estate that month. The notice contested the estate’s reported valuation of a litany of items, including a 2001 Bentley Arnage and rights to the master recordings of the Jackson 5. According to the notice, the IRS adjusted the value of the estate from $7 million to $1.32 billion. As a result, the agency demanded $702 million, including $505.1 million in deficiencies and $196.9 million in accuracy-related penalties. The most notable discrepancy between the valuations of the parties as highlighted in the notice included the right to Jackson’s image and likeness. The IRS originally pegged that asset at $434.3 million, whereas the estate had claimed the right was worth only $2,105. In the run-up to the trial, the IRS continued adjusting its proposed value of the estate, increasing the assessed value of Jackson’s Mijac music catalog — which held the singer’s own songwriting copyrights — by tens of millions of dollars, but revising its proposed value of Jackson’s name and likeness upon his death to $161 million. During last week’s opening statements, Avram Salkin of Hochman Salkin Rettig Toscher & Perez PC, representing the estate, said that at the time of Jackson’s death, his estate was burdened with over $400 million in debt and that the name and likeness rights were only worth $3 million. Salkin also said that the IRS had overvalued the Mijac catalog by roughly $90 million and Jackson’s half-share of music publishing company Sony/ATV by $200 million. Jackson’s estate sold that share to Sony for $750 million last year.

 

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Los Angeles (February 8, 2017)

Michael Jackson’s estate Wednesday called Greenberg Traurig LLP’s entertainment practice co-chair to testify about the estate’s efforts to protect and expand Jackson’s intellectual property rights after his death, in the trial to determine if the estate owes the IRS hundreds of millions of dollars for undervaluing its assets.

During the third day of the three-week trial before U.S. Tax Judge Mark Holmes in Los Angeles, the estate called to the stand Vincent Chieffo, the co-chair of Greenberg’s national media and entertainment practice, to testify about the work he had done helping the estate protect its trademarks, copyrights and publicity rights. The value of those publicity rights, also known as name and likeness rights, have been hotly contested in the estate’s dispute with the Internal Revenue Service, with the two sides being nearly $160 million apart in their respective valuations of the rights at the time of Jackson’s death in 2009.

Under direct examination by Robert Horwitz of Hochman Salkin Rettig Toscher & Perez PC, representing the estate, Chieffo testified about how he was brought in as part of the legal team assembled in the days after Jackson’s death, and that after attorney John Branca and Jackson’s childhood friend John McClain were named co-executors, Chieffo and his colleagues began a multipronged effort to protect and expand the estate’s intellectual property rights.

Chieffo said that when Jackson died, he had only two active registered trademarks in the U.S., having let other marks lapse or abandoning them, and so the estate not only had to begin sending cease-and-desist letters and filing lawsuits against entities that were now selling rip-off merchandise or claiming a right to use Jackson’s name and likeness, but also had to file dozens of new trademarks to actually be able to capitalize on the King of Pop’s image.

“[The estate’s legal team was] growing and expanding the business of the estate from what it was when Michael died, so as to create what’s called secondary meaning… and create more value in the estate than was there when Michael died,” he said.

Things got heated shortly before the conclusion of Chieffo’s direct testimony, however, when Chieffo was testifying about a cease-and-desist letter he had sent to an attorney, Laurence Nimmer, who had made and was selling an unauthorized Michael Jackson documentary comprised of footage he obtained while working for criminal defense attorneys that represented Jackson in a 2005 trial on child molestation charges.

IRS attorney Donna Herbert objected to the estate introducing into evidence an email sent by Nimmer, purportedly in response to Chieffo’s cease-and-desist letter, to attorney Paul Gordon Hoffman — who is representing the estate in the tax trial — and to Nimmer’s brother, noted copyright expert David Nimmer.

“Mr. Nimmer isn’t in the courtroom,” she said. “‘We could call Mr. Hoffman but then he’d have to recuse himself.”

The estate’s attorney Steven Toscher of Hochman Salkin Rettig Toscher & Perez asked Herbert if she meant from the instant proceeding, and when she responded in the affirmative, he leaped to his feet in protest.

“And we could call Ms. Herbert and she could be excluded; let’s get on with it,” he said. “This is ridiculous.”

Judge Holmes ruled that the email would not be admitted into evidence, and the direct examination was concluded.

Jackson’s estate had petitioned the tax court in July 2013, challenging a lengthy notice of deficiency the IRS mailed to the estate that month. The notice contested the estate’s reported valuation of a litany of items, including a 2001 Bentley Arnage and rights to the master recordings of the Jackson 5.

According to the notice, the IRS adjusted the value of the estate from $7 million to $1.32 billion. As a result, the agency demanded $702 million, including $505.1 million in deficiencies and $196.9 million in accuracy-related penalties.

The most notable discrepancy between the valuations of the parties as highlighted in the notice included the right to Jackson’s image and likeness. The IRS originally pegged that asset at $434.3 million, whereas the estate had claimed the right was worth only $2,105.

In the run-up to the trial, the IRS continued adjusting its proposed value of the estate, increasing the assessed value of Jackson’s Mijac music catalog — which held the singer’s own songwriting copyrights — by tens of millions of dollars, but revising its proposed value of Jackson’s name and likeness upon his death to $161 million.

During Monday’s opening statements, Avram Salkin of Hochman Salkin Rettig Toscher & Perez PC, representing the estate, said that at the time of Jackson’s death, his estate was burdened with over $400 million in debt and that the name and likeness rights were only worth $3 million. Salkin also said that the IRS had overvalued the Mijac catalog by roughly $90 million and Jackson’s half-share of music publishing company Sony/ATV by $200 million. Jackson’s estate sold that share to Sony for $750 million last year.

On Wednesday, before calling Chieffo, the estate called to the stand Matt Forger, a sound engineer who worked with Jackson during his life, and then had helped the estate go through unreleased material after the singer’s death to determine what songs might be viable for later commercial release.

The IRS has contended in the trial that the estate undervalued significantly the value of the unreleased material, while the estate has countered that these songs were unreleased for a reason, and could not have been expected to be smash hits.

Forger testified that IRS expert Wes Anson’s assessement that the estate had eight to 10 albums worth of unreleased material at its disposal at the time of Jackson’s death was predicated on assuming all of the unreleased masters were in shape to be released, when many were “recordings of fragments of songs.”

IRS attorney Jordan Musen cross-examined Forger, asking him to confirm that the estate was in possession of songs that Jackson had completed before his death, and that simply hadn’t been included on the albums they were originally recorded for.

“They were not included because Michael did not feel they were of the quality of the ones that were included,” Forger responded.

.Source :  360 Law 

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Los Angeles (February 7, 2017)

Michael Jackson’s former merchandising rights expert testified that the child molestation accusations against the music icon sent sponsors running for the hills as she took the stand Tuesday in a Los Angeles trial to determine what the King of Pop’s estate — including his name and likeness — were worth when he died.

Paralegal Karen Langford was called by the estate, which is petitioning the Internal Revenue Service over a notice that it might owe up to $700 million for underreporting the value of Jackson’s assets and rights, during the second day of the trial before U.S. Tax Judge Mark Holmes.

A sometimes teary Langford testified that over decades working for Jackson’s one-time attorney John Branca, who is now the estate’s co-executor, she came to be the point person for helping Jackson determine which merchandising and sponsorship deals were allowed to use his name and likeness. The value of those rights at Jackson’s death in 2009 has been hotly contested by the Internal Revenue Service, which contends they were worth $161 million and not the $3 million claimed by the estate.

Under direct examination by the estate’s attorney, Howard Weitzman of Kinsella Weitz Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP, Langford described the childlike enjoyment that Jackson would show when he came to the offices of her employer, entertainment law firm Ziffren & Brittenham, and looked at all the prototype toys, posters and other merchandise she had been sent by aspiring licensees of his name and likeness.

“It was playful. It was an opportunity to sit and play like a kid with all this stuff laid out in front of you … He loved coming and doing that,” she said.

Langford also testified about deals she had been a part of in her work for Branca, such as Pepsi’s sponsorship of Jackson’s tours supporting the “Bad” and “Thriller” albums, Jackson’s short film for the “Thriller” single, and tour merchandise deals — a plethora of corporate favor that began to vanish in 1993, when Jackson was accused of child molestation in a civil suit. Langford said that when Jackson went on the road behind his 1995 album “HIStory,” no national sponsor backed the tour, and the singer even had to pay back several million dollars to a company that had agreed to handle tour merchandise because of lackluster sales.

“Unfortunately Michael, who had had this image, had built an image, of effectively innocence and childlikeness, best behavior … He wasn’t like Keith Richards or Mick Jagger who had the bad boy image,” she said. “Those allegations happened, as unfair as it was, the idea of his name attached to their brands was something companies weren’t interested in.”

Langford added that when she got involved with the management of the estate, she saw that there were no name and likeness deals in place at the time of Jackson’s death “to her knowledge.”

Jackson’s estate had petitioned the Tax Court in July 2013, challenging a lengthy notice of deficiency the IRS mailed to the estate that month. The notice contested the estate’s reported valuation of a litany of items, including a 2001 Bentley Arnage and rights to the master recordings of the Jackson 5.

According to the notice, the IRS adjusted the value of the estate from $7 million to $1.32 billion. As a result, the agency demanded $702 million, including $505.1 million in deficiencies and $196.9 in accuracy-related penalties.

The most notable discrepancy between the valuations of the parties as highlighted in the notice included the right to Jackson’s image and likeness. The IRS originally pegged that asset at $434.3 million, whereas the estate had claimed the right was worth only $2,105.

In the run-up to the trial, the IRS continued adjusting its proposed value of the estate, increasing the assessed value of Jackson’s Mijac music catalog — which held the singer’s own songwriting copyrights — by tens of millions of dollars, but revising its proposed value of Jackson’s name and likeness upon his death to $161 million.

During Monday’s opening statements, Avram Salkin of Hochman Salkin Rettig Toscher & Perez PC, representing the estate, said that at the time of Jackson’s death, his estate was burdened with over $400 million in debt and that the name and likeness rights were only worth $3 million. Salkin also said that the IRS had overvalued Mijac by roughly $90 million and Jackson’s half-share of music publishing company Sony/ATV by $200 million. Jackson’s estate sold that share to Sony for $750 million last year.

The trial continues on Wednesday morning with the IRS’ cross-examination of Langford.

 

.Source :  360 Law 

 

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Los Angeles (February 6, 2017)

Michael Jackson’s estate delivered opening statements Monday in its battle with the Internal Revenue Service over a tax bill that could reach $700 million, rejecting claims that Jackson’s image and music rights were worth over $800 million when he died and arguing they were instead rendered worthless by debts and scandal.

During the first day of a trial in Los Angeles that’s expected to run for several weeks, attorneys for the estate and the IRS laid out their respective cases to U.S. Tax Judge Mark Holmes, who is visiting from the tax court’s home base in Washington, D.C., to decide whether the estate underreported its value by hundreds of millions of dollars at the time of the King of Pop’s death in June 2009.

Avram Salkin of Hochman Salkin Rettig Toscher & Perez PC, representing the estate, said that at the time of Jackson’s death, his estate was burdened with over $400 million in debt, and that the key assets at issue in the trial were all worth vastly less than what the IRS has proposed. Those assets include Jackson’s music catalog — called Mijac — as well as his half-share of the music publishing company Sony/ATV, and Jackson’s name and likeness rights.

Mijac was actually worth $71 million, not $183 million, Salkin said. He added that although the IRS correctly predicted Jackson’s record sales would spike after his death, it shouldn’t have expected sales to stay at that level.

The estate’s debts included a $300 million loan with 9 percent interest, secured by Jackson’s interest in Sony/ATV, which the estate sold to Sony for $750 million last year — a sale that couldn’t have been assumed or foreseen at the time of the estate’s tax evaluation, Salkin said. The attorney said that because of that debt, any prospective buyer of the estate’s share of Sony/ATV would have to clear that $300 million balance before even being able to make an offer, and that onerous conditions imposed by Sony after it guaranteed the loan limited the upside for potential buyers.

Salkin argued that this meant the value of Jackson’s share in Sony/ATV was actually nothing at the time of the singer’s death.

As for Jackson’s publicity rights, Salkin said that they were only worth $3 million when Jackson died, not the $161 million asserted by the IRS, noting that Jackson’s image was tainted by the tabloid scandals that followed accusations of child molestation and accompanying civil and criminal suits, and wasn’t worth much without the singer’s music rights, which are held separately.

“Who would pay over $100 million just to be able to license Michael Jackson’s picture on T-shirts and guitars or to appear on a television endorsement … especially given some of the problems with his image at the time of his death,” he said.

Jackson’s estate had petitioned the Tax Court in July 2013, challenging a lengthy notice of deficiency the IRS mailed to the estate that month. The notice contested the estate’s reported valuation of a litany of items, including a 2001 Bentley Arnage and rights to the master recordings of the Jackson 5.

According to the notice, the IRS adjusted the value of the estate from $7 million to $1.32 billion. As a result, the agency demanded $702 million, including $505.1 million in deficiencies and $196.9 in accuracy-related penalties.

The most notable discrepancy between the valuations of the parties as highlighted in the notice included the right to Jackson’s image and likeness. The IRS pegged that asset at $434.3 million, whereas the estate had claimed the right was worth only $2,105.

In the run-up to the trial, the IRS continued adjusting its proposed value of the estate, increasing the assessed value of the Mijac music catalog by tens of millions of dollars, but revising its proposed value of Jackson’s name and likeness upon his death to $161 million.

On Monday, IRS attorney Donna Herbert told Judge Holmes during her opening statement that the estate was asking the court to believe that Michael Jackson was a “pariah” or a “freak” who was so damaged in the public eye that his name and likeness were worth nearly nothing at the time of his death. That position is clearly contrary to the reality, pushed by the estate itself in its other ventures, that Jackson was “an international icon,” she said.

Herbert noted that the estate had made hundreds of millions of dollars off of Cirque du Soleil shows that featured Jackson’s likeness and music, and said that this value couldn’t be attributed entirely to the songs.

“They want the court to believe this is all about T-shirts and mugs; they are wrong,” she said.

After opening statements, the estate called its first witness — prominent music industry attorney John Branca, who has served as the estate’s co-executor, along with Jackson’s childhood friend and music industry veteran John McClain.

Under questioning by his attorney Howard Weitzman of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP, Branca testified for hours in a casual back-and-forth about the nearly three decades he spent representing or working with Jackson. When not getting laughs from the assembled audience and Judge Holmes from his anecdotes of his time with Jackson and entertainment industry figures, Branca testified about the struggles that faced the estate when he took charge of it in 2009, saying that it wasn’t generating enough income to pay its bills, thanks to the interest payments on the debts it carried.

Branca also testified at length about the care and creativity the estate took in exploiting its rights, noting that the estate had partnered with Cirque du Soleil without putting up any capital of its own, and had hired director Spike Lee and other carefully chosen individuals to create the documentaries, films and live shows that had pulled the estate back into profitability — in pointed contrast, he said, to the government’s assertion that it was Jackson’s name and likeness rights alone that drove that value.

“If you took Michael’s name and likeness and put it on a movie screen with nothing else, how many people would go see that movie?” he said. “If you took Michael’s name and likeness and put it up in the Staples Center, how many people would go to that show? None.”

The IRS declined to cross-examine Branca, with IRS attorney Sebastian Voth telling Judge Holmes that the agency intended to recall the witness to testify during its case-in-chief.

Judge Holmes said this was fine, but granted Weitzman’s request that Branca not be recalled until next week, so that he can handle the business of “Grammy’s week,” which Branca said includes the filming of a tribute to his clients The Bee Gees and his receiving an award for the record sales of Jackson’s albums’ “Thriller” and “Bad.”

Trial continues Tuesday morning with testimony from Karen Langford, a paralegal that handles marketing and related issues for the estate.

 

Prominent music attorney John Branca took the stand Monday on the first day of trial in a potentially billion-dollar tax fight between Michael Jackson’s estate and the IRS. Branca, who represented the King of Pop off and on for nearly three decades, took the stand after lunch and spent nearly four hours being examined by Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman. The trial is expected to last three weeks, as attorneys for the estate and the government each work to convince a judge that their value of Jackson’s likeness at the time of his death is the correct one. Jackson is widely considered one of the greatest musical talents who ever lived — but the court will have to decide whether accusations of child molestation, rumors of drug use and a lack of tours and album releases in the last few years of his life were enough to lower the value of his brand. The mood in the courtroom was starkly different than that of others in the same downtown L.A. federal courthouse. U.S. Tax Court Judge Mark Holmes, the attorneys and the witness, Branca, routinely cracked jokes amid a very serious conversation about Jackson’s financial woes. Branca told the court Jackson was about $400 million in debt when he died, leaving estate attorneys scrambling to avoid foreclosures on his properties and music assets. (The parties also disagree about how much Jackson’s beneficial interest in the Sony-ATV and MIJAC music catalogs were worth.) The more relaxed atmosphere gave Branca license to be more expositional with his answers to Weitzman’s questions, which would have likely been cut off by a judge in a standard civil law courtroom. “I’m going to tear up,” Branca said. “Michael was a genius. He was a great guy. When I tell these stories, I actually tell them with affection.” Among countless deals for the singer, Branca helped renegotiate Jackson’s recording deal to reflect his status as a solo artist and inked a sponsorship deal with Pepsi for his family’s 1984 Victory tour. “Michael made me write into the contract that he would never be seen holding a Pepsi can and he would never be onscreen for more than three seconds,” said Branca. A decade later, the work wasn’t so easy. By the time Jackson was preparing for his international HIStory tour in the late ’90s, the first sexual molestation allegations against him had surfaced and no sponsors were interested. “Were there any offers for the use of Michael’s name and likeness during that period?” asked Weitzman. “Nothing credible that I recall,” said Branca. Proving Jackson’s reputation had been tarnished by allegations against him and tabloid fodder is key in the estate’s efforts to support their valuation of his likeness rights at the time he died. After several years of not working together, Branca met with Jackson a little more than a week before the singer’s death and brought with him a list of potential ideas. That list included a “Thriller” film, play and haunted house attraction, as well as album and DVD re-releases — but none of his ideas involved licensing Jackson’s name or likeness. Weitzman asked if musicians make a lot of money in general merchandising, which he described as licensing an artist’s name and image for mugs, T-shirts and other tchotchkes. “No,” said Branca. “That income for most musicians is dwarfed compared to the money they make from recordings, their songs and especially the tours. Putting out a record is not a name and likeness right.” That’s also important — because since Jackson’s death, the estate used unreleased rehearsal footage to make This Is It, which is one of the biggest-grossing concert films ever, and launched a lucrative Las Vegas show in partnership with Cirque du Soleil. Branca said neither of those qualify as likeness deals. After two failed clothing line licensing attempts during the course of his living career, the one likeness deal that shows potential after Jackson’s death is with a teen clothing company called Supreme. Branca explained to Holmes that kids are “crazy” for the company’s shirts, and the deal is an effort to re-brand Jackson’s image with a younger audience. “We make no money from it, but maybe someday we’ll get new fans,” he said. The IRS attorneys declined to cross-examine Branca in favor of calling him back to testify when they present their case. Before letting Branca leave the stand, the judge took the opportunity to ask him to explain one of Jackson’s lyrics. “You’re familiar with ‘Thriller,’ ” said Holmes. “What exactly does ‘the funk of 40,000 years’ mean?” “Karma,” answered Branca.

SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter

 

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LIVE Videos: Howard Weitzman disrespecting Michael Jackson fan!

"Howard, whats for lunch………."

https://twitter.com/TeamMichael777/status/830109593950752768?s=09

 

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