Reporting Scott T. Sterling
At the time of his unexpected death in June of 2009, Michael Jackson’s personal debt had ballooned to an estimated figure somewhere between $400 and $500 million. By the time of his death, he was reportedly paying $30 million per year alone in debt payments.
According to CBS L.A. and the L.A. Times, the revelation was made during testimony Monday (Aug. 12) from forensic accountant William R. Ackerman, a witness for AEG Live in the wrongful death case filed against the concert promotions giant by Jackson’s mother, Katherine.
Ackerman testified that Jackson routinely spent more money than he made on a lavish lifestyle, charity donations and his infamous “mini-theme park” Neverland Ranch, stating that the singer was three to four months behind on payments for the sprawling estate.
“He spent a lot of money on jewelry,” Ackerman said. “Consistently, his largest expenditure was interest expense,” he added regarding Jackson’s enormous financial debts, which included a series of large bank loans. “He spent a ton of money on interest.”
The Jackson family quickly countered these allegations of irresponsible debt as smear tactics on AEG’s part. The family is suing AEG Live for negligence in hiring and supervising Dr. Conrad Murray, who administered what would amount to a lethal dosage of the anesthetic Propofol to the pop superstar.
Also among Ackerman’s revelations was that Jackson’s elaborate concert tours of the 1990s were not the money-machines they seemed. According to the accountant, the singer broke even on the Dangerous Tour, but lost $11.2 on the HIStory Tour.
Scheduled to take the stand this week in the case is Michael Jackson’s ex-wife and mother of his two eldest kids, Prince and Paris. She’s expected to testify that Jackson had been abusing anesthetic drugs on the road as far back as those tours in the 90s.