Michael Jackson waves in this 2006 file photo.
Michael Jackson waves in this 2006 file photo. AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayash

Who's bad? Jacko was with money

MICHAEL Jackson's estate could now face a whopping $1.3 billion tax bill - after it emerged his finances had spiralled out of control before he died.

The King Of Pop was $390 million in debt and had an uncontrollable spending habit before he died in 2009, banker David Dunn has testified in a megabucks tax trial.

Mr Dunn, brought in to control Jacko's finances, told a court in Los Angeles: "He was on the edge.

"He was desperately trying to figure out what he could do to address his financial crisis."

Experts said the long-awaited trial could lead to a $1.3 billion tax bill for Jackson's estate if the judge finds it undervalued assets.

Mr Dunn testified that he was hired in 2007 to help pull Jackson back from the brink of bankruptcy following his 2005 child molestation trial.

He described efforts to restructure Jackson's towering debt and how the Thriller singer often undermined him at the last minute by signing unfavourable side deals with upfront cash.

Jacko remained in a "very precarious situation" in early 2008 with huge debts, out-of-control spending habits and his lavish Neverland Ranch near foreclosure.

Mr Dunn, who spoke to Jackson at least once a month by phone, told the court: "We talked about his sadness in knowing he was never going to live in Neverland again.

"It was the culmination of the molestation allegations, the culmination of recognising the financial situation he was in.

"He talked about his young career and being at his peak.

"He was struggling with how to make a living and still be with his children, who were of paramount importance."

The Baltimore banker said prominent civil rights activist The Rev Jesse Jackson even sat the popstar down for a "lecture" in Las Vegas to try and sort out his finances.

And he claimed that Jacko did not want to tour, in the months before he died.

Mr Dunn added: "He just said: 'Michael, this is you, you've got a bucket, and this tap here is your cash flow.

"We've got to put a bottom on your bucket, you have to stop spending'.

"(Jackson) borrowed a lot of money, he knew he had financial issues ... but the last thing he wanted to do was tour.

"He was looking for other things to generate income to avoid doing what he wound up agreeing to do."

Dunn said he resigned in May 2009 because it was hard to tell "which way was up, which way was down" and Jackson hadn't paid him in two years, despite owing him some $376,000.

Jackson had agreed to his This Is It comeback tour and was surrounding himself with some new people who made Dunn "uncomfortable."

The Sun

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