Between album sales, movie profits, licensing arrangements and lucrative deals for Cirque du Soleil shows, the estate of late King of Pop Michael Jackson has raked in more than $300 million since the singer's shocking death in June 2009.
According to TMZ, legal documents released on Thursday reveal that executors of MJ's estate have managed to make a major dent in the more than $400 million in debt that Jackson owed at the time of his death.
The first accounting from the executors shows that they have already spent around $159 million paying back various debts, income taxes and other expenses, which include providing support for the pop star's mother, Katherine Jackson, as well as his three young children.
"Although there remain unresolved creditor claims, pending litigation and additional challenging business, tax and legal issues, and the estate is not yet in a condition to be closed, the executors have made substantial progress in reducing the estate's debt," the documents state, according to a Reuters report. Two of Jackson's longtime confidants, attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain, were named as administrators in a will sign by the pop icon.
In addition to paying to make "substantial improvements" to the Jackson family's Havenhurst estate in Encino, California, the executors also spent an undetermined amount of money on "last illness and funeral and memorial service expenses." Those costs included a $900,000 payment to the Forest Lawn Memorial cemetery where Jackson is buried and $35,000 on expenses described as "costume for memorial."
TMZ reported that not only did the famously cash-strapped Jackson have more than $400 million in debt, but his estate also owed more than $40 million to concert promoter AEG tied to the scuttled This Is It Tour, for which MJ was rehearsing when he died unexpectedly. They've also paid $27.2 million in taxes and $4 million in mortgage payments on Jackson's properties.
Despite the solid sales of the Michael album and millions of units of the singer's back catalog being sold, as well as the box office of the "This Is It" movie and DVD sales, the estate is not nearly out of the woods. TMZ noted that the administrators have received more than 65 creditors' claims, some of which are subject to "extremely high" interest rates, and there are several outstanding lawsuits against the estate in several countries.