Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Jacko: Investing With Brunei Prince In Vegas?

All I can say, is first there was Elvis, then Celine with her musical venue, coming soon possibly Britney, and now The King Of Pop! Gosh I love Living in Las Vegas! -Steve Harless

Jacko: Investing With Brunei Prince In Vegas?
By Roger Friedman
Jacko: Investing With Brunei Prince In Vegas?
He’s baaaack.
Michael Jackson is back in Las Vegas. It’s the first time he’s been there since November 2003, when he was arrested for child molestation and conspiracy, charges he was subsequently acquitted of. But coming back to Vegas must be strange for him, especially on his shopping sprees. One such adventure was caught on tape in Martin Bashir’s “Living with Michael Jackson” special.
This is great news for the press, since it means Jackson has learned absolutely nothing in three years.
Las Vegas is also a well-known Jackson locale in the Jordy Chandler saga. It’s the place where June Chandler, Jordy’s mom, has said Jackson separated her and her then 13-year-old son so the pop singer could sleep with the boy in the same room while the mother shopped at Jackson’s expense.

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The fact that Jackson is back in Vegas brings up a lot of issues. For one: His stay at the Irish castle and compound of Michael Flatley is evidently over. Jackson’s been there with his entourage since June 2006. The adage “house guests and fish stink after three days” didn’t seem to matter to him. But since Jackson is traveling on Christmas, it could mean that Flatley finally had enough of his guest’s long mooching.
Sources do tell me that Jackson’s return to Las Vegas has something to do with his old pal, Prince Jefri of Brunei. This is not Prince Abdullah of Bahrain or Prince Alaweed of Saudi Arabia. No, Prince Jefri is much loathed in Vegas, and the frequent object of multi-billion dollar international lawsuits. He’s often referred to as the Sultan of Brunei, but he’s really the Sultan’s brother, accused in his own country of huge financial looting.
Prince Jefri has long been one of Jackson’s benefactors. Jackson has lived for free in many of the hotels Jefri used his country’s money to purchase, including the Dorchester in London and the Palace in New York.

Now comes word from sources that Jefri may have plans for Jackson regarding his interest in Spanish Trails, a private golf community just ten minutes from the Las Vegas strip. Home to celebs and the very wealthy, Spanish Trails is gated and guarded. Jefri built a 100,000-square-foot mansion there some years ago which turned into a famous white elephant of an estate. It’s unclear whether this property or another is what Jefri has in mind for Jackson.

A bigger question might be where Jackson would get the cash to invest in anything. His financial situation remains controlled as ever, and he is mostly illiquid despite his 50 percent ownership of Sony/ATV Music Publishing. His home, Neverland Valley Ranch, carries a $25 million lien from Fortress Investments, a firm that also has possession of Jackson’s $325 million in loans.
With Jackson back in the U.S., there should be some interesting maneuvering to control what’s left of him. His public relations adviser, Raymone Bain, and children’s nanny, Grace Rwaramba, each very unpopular with Jackson’s fans, claim to be his managers. But now that he’s in Vegas, Jackson’s father, Joseph — who lives there with his daughter, Michael’s half-sister — will begin angling for influence. But Bain is said to have brought in an old crony, Rev. Jesse Jackson, who also may try to advise Michael.
Meanwhile, as I wrote yesterday, watch for process servers to start tracking Michael Jackson down now that he’s returned to the United States. Let the games begin!

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