A judge removed Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson as administrator of his estate as Los Angeles went into lockdown for a star-studded memorial service to which more than 1.5 million people were denied seats.
The acting mayor of Los Angeles said the pop legend would be buried at the city’s well-known Forest Lawn Cemetery today just ahead of the public ceremony, which will be broadcast live around the world.
On the eve of the service, lawyers for Jackson’s 79-year-old mother Katherine clashed with two of the King of Pop’s business associates for control of his estate that includes the Neverland Ranch and rights to Beatles songs.
A judge had named Katherine, who was close to her son throughout his life, as temporary executor of his estate shortly after the pop icon suddenly collapsed and died on June 25.
But in line with Jackson’s will, which emerged last week, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff handed the estate over to attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain.
Lawyers for Katherine Jackson had opposed the motion to appoint the two men, citing a “conflict of interests” and questioning whether Branca had a current relationship with Jackson at the time of his death.
“Mrs Jackson has concerns about handing over the keys of the kingdom just yet. She feels it is too soon,” attorney John Schreiber said.
However, a lawyer for Branca, a prominent entertainment industry attorney, said his client had recently been rehired by Jackson and was well known to the family. The business partners will control Jackson’s estate until a new hearing on August 3.
The Los Angeles Times reported that although the free-spending Jackson died owing more than $400 million, his assets outstripped his debts by at least $200 million.
Those figures also do not include the huge sums likely to be generated by posthumous sales of his music and memorabilia, which have surged and are expected to remain strong for months.
Police are preparing a large-scale operation for today’s service at 10am (1pm Eastern Time), warning to fans DO NOT show up at the downtown Staples Center arena unless you are among the lucky few with tickets.
“R.I.P. Michael Jackson”