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Since Michael Jackson died in 2009, the estate has been raking in money, earning estimated profits of more than $300 million through music sales and licensing projects.
Now, the personal management firm of DeMann Entertainment, which represented Jackson from the lucrative period between 1978 to 1983, is seeking its cut from the newfound success.
On Tuesday, Demann Entertainment (formerly Weisner-Demann) filed a motion in LA Superior Court to compel arbitration with John Branca, the executor of the Michael Jackson estate.
Demann asserts that its 1978 personal management agreement with Jackson entitles it to certain monetary commissions as well as an “unrestricted and unlimited right” to audit financial records to make sure that proper commissions are being paid. The firm says it has read press accounts of the success that the MJ estate has enjoyed recently, and has reason to believe it has not been paid in full.
In January, Demann sent notice about its intention to audit, but allegedly the estate returned word that the firm would have to go through Sony Music, and that it would “support” such action.
This hasn’t been sufficient for Demann, who has followed up with further letters to the estate, demanding to see its books, with belief that the estate is in control over full relevant financial documentation.
Having not gotten what it wanted, Demann next tried to trigger the arbitration provisions of its personal management agreement with Jackson, but according to the lawsuit, the estate has refused to submit the dispute to arbitration. Now, DeMann is seeking to compel it.
Branca wasn’t immediately available for comment.
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