If you believe British tabloid reports, there are any number of alleged reasons why Michael Jackson's 50-date run at London's O2 Arena may or may not happen — he's too sick, too weak, he doesn't want to do that many shows. But on Wednesday, a legitimate, legal reason emerged that may force Jackson to rethink his intricately planned comeback.
As threatened last month, promoter AllGood Entertainment Inc. filed a $40 million lawsuit against Jackson claiming breach of contract and fraud in an attempt to stop Jackson from performing in London. The New Jersey-based company filed the suit in federal court in New York stating that it signed a deal with Jackson's manager, Frank DiLeo, in November 2008 that commits the King of Pop to appear at a Jackson family reunion concert in the U.S. this summer.
AllGood CEO Patrick Allocco told MTV News on Thursday morning (June 11) that the contract was for a concert that was originally scheduled to take place this July. "The date we now have on hold is July 3 in Cowboy Stadium in 2010," Allocco said, adding that the contract stipulates that Jackson cannot perform individually before the AllGood show or for three months after the July event.
"The contract was signed by DiLeo on behalf of Jackson, the Jackson 5, [sisters] Latoya and Rebbie, the whole gang," he said. The show is slated to feature Jackson's reunion with siblings Marlon, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Randy, as well as an appearance by younger sister Janet Jackson.
Jackson is slated to kick off his O2 engagement next month, and Allocco said the suit makes clear that the agreement signed by DiLeo predates Jackson's deal with promoter AEG Live for the London shows. "The first I heard of the AEG deal was when an associate told me about it in December," Allocco said.
Jackson, who has been rehearsing for the London shows in Los Angeles, has claimed he never personally signed the papers for the family-reunion show, and AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips has called the AllGood claims "meritless." But Allocco said, "Frank DiLeo is clearly the manager of [Michael] Jackson now, and he signed the deal on his behalf."
TMZ reported earlier this month that Jackson said he would perform at both shows.
The suit seeks $20 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages. A spokesperson for AEG Live could not be reached for comment at press time.