By: Renee Grant
It’s been eight years since the passing of Michael Jackson, yet his estate may be far behind on their debts. Quincy Jones is claiming the estate owes him$30M in unpaid royalties, as his attorney stated in court on Tuesday (July 11).
Jones’ lawyer, Mike McKool gave his opening statement in the trial, taking place in Los Angeles Superior Court. McKool stated that prior to Jackson’s death in 2009, Jones had received his royalty payments for producing three of Jackson’s most popular albums, Thriller, Off the Wall, and Bad. McKool says those payments stopped when his estate took control of his finances.
Jackson’s death created a surge in interest in his catalog, and the estate reaped the benefits of the renewed popularity. Jones claims he didn’t get to enjoy any of the increased profits, and only learned of it when he filed suit in 2013.
“He hasn’t been adjusted as Michael was adjusted,” McKool told the jury.
McKool also contends that Jones didn’t receive his share of the profits from the behind-the-scenes concert documentary This Is It. While the film used Jackson’s original recordings, Jones says he didn’t receive his full share of the licensing fee. While the film grossed $500M, McKool says Jackson’s estate received $90M but Jones only saw $455,000.
The estate’s attorney, Zia Modabber, says that Jones has received more that $18M “and he will make millions more.”
The trial is expected to last about three weeks, with Jones possibly taking the stand next week.