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California and the West

Singer sued by TV shop, accountants

January 05, 2007|Alana Semuels | Times Staff Writer

Two lawsuits against Michael Jackson might shed light on the pop star's money woes. The suits allege that he owes nearly $1 million to his former accountants and $100,000 to a company that installed TVs in his Neverland ranch.

Both suits relate to Jackson's firing of Bernstein, Fox, Whitman, Goldman & Sloan as his accountants last summer. Jackson also has his own lawsuit pending against the Century City firm in which he alleges it withdrew $2.5 million from his accounts but failed to properly pay his bills.

Jackson owed Video & Audio Center $109,540.85 for the installation of TV equipment, according to Lawrence Segal, attorney for the company. Jackson paid $25,000 in June, and Bernstein Fox promised that the remainder would be paid by Aug. 31.

Before that payment was made, however, Jackson fired Bernstein Fox. After promises were made to pay the sum, Jackson's new representative stopped returning communications, Segal said.

"Payments have been promised for a while," he said. "We were forced to file."

Jackson's new representative cited "bad cash flow" as the reason for the late payments, Segal said. The representative identified by Segal did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The suit filed by Bernstein Fox alleges that Jackson owes it $958,956.56 for managing his accounts -- including administering payroll for Jackson's companies and processing medical reimbursement claims for Jackson.

alana.semuels@latimes.com

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