Michael Jackson is on deadline. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Wednesday issued a court order giving the reclusive entertainer 25 days to turn over financial information to a law firm that previously won a $256,000 judgment against him in July.
Should Jackson balk at turning over the records requested by the firm of Ayscough & Marar, he instead has the option of making good on his unpaid legal fees.
Jackson engaged the firm during his 2005 child-molestation trial to perform such tasks as obtaining court orders to block information from being publicly released and delaying discovery in several civil cases.
The firm also represented him in a lawsuit brought by former business associate Marc Schaffel, who ultimately won a $900,000 judgment against Jackson.
In October, Ayscough & Marar won a second judgment against the singer, ordering him to cover the $175,000 in attorneys’ fees the firm spent in hiring outside lawyers in the original case.
Jackson is currently appealing the $175,000 ruling, meaning the firm can only pursue the $256,000 award for now.
Judge James C. Chalfant said Wednesday Jackson had agreed to turn over the records requested by Ayscough & Marar in October but had yet to comply.
“While the court has no reason to doubt the sincerity of the representations of his attorneys, the fact of the matter is that under law, Jackson must provide further responses to the [law firm’s] request, particularly since he agreed to do so through the meet-and-confer process,” Chalfant stated in his order.
Jackson’s legal team has said the funds he plans to use to settle his debt with the law firm have been tied up, in part because he has not yet completed a planned refinancing of his Neverland Ranch.
The singer’s spokesperson, Raymone K. Bain, denied reports last month that Jackson had defaulted on a $23 million loan and was in danger of losing the property.
“Contrary to published reports, Mr. Jackson was never in default of the loan,” Bain said, adding that the 49-year-old Moonwalker was “in the final stages of [a] refinance.”
On Wednesday, Jackson’s attorney, Marshall L. Brubacher, told the judge his client, who is reportedly mulling a Jackson 5 reunion tour, could come up with the funds within nine days.
Sorting through Jackson’s financial records for the information requested by Ayscough & Marar, on the other hand, could take longer than the 25 days allotted by the court, Brubacher said.
“I went to Neverland last week, and it’s a mammoth amount of work, because there are 30,000 boxes of financial documents,” Brubacher said. “It’s going to take a tremendous amount of time.”
However, if Jackson wants to avoid making good on the payment to Ayscough & Marar, turning over the records is his only option.
Michael McCarthy, a lawyer for Ayscough & Marar, dismissed Brubacher’s description of Jackson’s so-calling filing system.
“Thirty-thousand boxes, that’s not even credible,” McCarthy said.
Apparently, he has yet to learn that when it comes to Jackson, pretty much anything is possible.