”a new day”
July 7, 2006 12:10 AM PST
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) – Michael Jackson’s decision to fight his former associate F. Marc Schaffel in a civil suit now under way is symbolic of ”a new day” in Jackson’s financial life, the man who is restructuring his business affairs said.
L. Londell McMillan, a New York lawyer who has attended every day of the current trial, was responding to a comment by Schaffel’s attorney Howard King, who told reporters it would have been less expensive and more expeditious for Jackson to have settled the case before it went to trial.
”It would have been to all parties’ benefit to settle,” McMillan said Thursday. ”But Mr. Schaffel’s request was outrageous. AndMr. Jackson is taking a new approach to people trying to hijack him with dishonorable claims.”
”This is a very important case,” he added. ”It’s the beginning of a new day defending against bogus claims and accepting responsibility for his business.”
Schaffel has sued Jackson claiming that the star failed to repay loans, expenses and salary. At first, he sought $3.8 million. But after a ruling by the judge involving the statute of limitations and other problems, the claim was cut to $1.6 million.
King was asked if he would have pursued the suit if he knew that the claim would be reduced by more than half.
”We would have litigated it differently,” the attorney said.
Attorney Thomas Mundell, who is representing Jackson in the civil suit, said Jackson has decided”he’s no longer going to be a target.”
King said of Jackson, ”In the right case he should fight like hell. But this is not a frivolous case.”
McMillan, who took over Jackson’s finances last month, said that Jackson has been victimized by a series of advisers ”who seem to be part of a group with similar motives.”
With other lawsuits on the horizon, he said,”this is the beginning of Mr. Jackson’s attempt to defeat all of them.” He said the outcome of the current trial is up to the jury, but ”the victory is in taking the case to court. It sets the stage for Michael Jackson performing differently in his business life.”