LOS ANGELES CA – A former attorney for Michael Jackson testified Monday that his onetime manager is lying when she says she owns part of a company formed in 2006 to promote the late singer’s business interests.
Gregory Cross told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maria Stratton that Raymone Bain knew the singer was the sole owner of the Michael Jackson Co.
Cross said he flew cross-country from his East Coast home and worked countless hours with Bain to transfer the company from its status as a corporation to a limited-liability company in 2007, an action he says Bain likely wanted done for tax purposes.
Asked by Suann MacIsaac, an attorney representing the Jackson estate, if Bain was “fabricating” her current claim to own part of the company, Cross replied, “Yes.”
Jackson died on June 25, 2009, at age 50 while preparing for a series of comeback concerts in London.
Bain, Broderick Morris, Qadree El-Amin and Adean King say they collectively possess about 15 percent of the company under a 3 a.m. deal to which Jackson agreed in a Tokyo hotel room on June 1, 2006.
King was the only one of the four not present when the alleged accord was reached. Bain maintains her share is 10 percent.
Stratton is hearing a non-jury trial resulting from a petition filed by the Jackson estate seeking to have the estate declared the sole owners of the entity, which still exists today.
King previously worked for Bain, an attorney who served for a time as Jackson’s manager and spokeswoman; El-Amin is a talent manager whose former clients include Boyz II Men; and Morris promoted entertainment events in Japan.
According to Cross, he served at the time as Jackson’s outside general counsel. He testified that neither Bain nor King ever mentioned that they or anyone else other than the singer wanted a piece of the Michael Jackson Co.
“That absolutely was not the understanding,” Cross said.
Bain also never said she wanted to be a member of the board of directors of the company, Cross said. Morris testified last week that he believes he, the other three claimants and Jackson’s mother, Katherine, are currently the members of the company’s board of directors.
But Cross’ testimony was challenged by both attorney Maxwell Blecher, on behalf of Bain and the other claimants, and the judge.
Cross, questioned by Blecher, said he never saw a document that Jackson allegedly signed that outlined the ownership shares the claimants say they have.
“Yet you sit here and say she (Bain) lied?,” Blecher asked.
“Yes,” Cross replied.
The judge asked Cross why he did not inquire of Bain at the time if she was claiming an ownership stake. Cross answered that Jackson never said anything to imply the singer was not the sole owner.
“Do you believe everything a client tells you?,” Stratton asked.
In other testimony, Washington, D.C.-based attorney Frederick Cooke said he worked with Bain in the initial stages of forming the Michael Jackson Co. in 2006. Cooke said Bain was clear in saying that she, Jackson, and “maybe some others” would have ownership shares in the company.
“She was going to be president and CEO,” Cooke said.
Sources: Baldwin Park Patch – Bill Hetherman | All Things Michael