LOS ANGELES, Calif. – An accounting executive for AEG Live LLC testified on Monday that the company spent $24 million producing Michael Jackson’s ill-fated “This Is It” concerts.
Julie Hollander, a vice-president and controller of event operations for AEG Live, testified during the trial of a lawsuit filed by Jackson’s mother against AEG claiming the company was negligent in hiring the doctor later convicted in the death of the pop star.
The tally involved expenses compiled through October 2009, roughly three months after the singer’s death, Hollander said.
Budget documents shown in court indicated the company made no payments to the doctor, Conrad Murray.
AEG budgeted $150,000 a month for Murray’s treatment of Jackson, but the singer died of an anesthetic overdose before he signed Murray’s agreement.
Hollander said Murray’s contract was the only one she had ever seen in which an artist had to approve a contract for services on a tour. She believed Jackson’s signature was required because of the personal nature of the doctor’s services.
In total, Murray was projected to receive $1.5 million in payments over the first few months of the “This Is It” tour, which was slated for 50 shows at London’s 02 Arena.
Attorneys for Jackson’s mother are trying to prove that AEG hired Murray and missed numerous red flags about the pop singer’s health before his death.
AEG denies it hired Murray and says it bears no liability for Jackson’s death.
Hollander also testified that Jackson was responsible for 95 per cent of production expenses if his comeback shows were cancelled. Budget documents indicated the production was more than $2 million over budget.
Hollander was the first AEG executive to testify in the lawsuit. The company’s general counsel Shawn Trell began testifying on Monday.
Plaintiff’s attorney Brian Panish questioned Trell about a July letter sent to Jackson’s estate asking for more than $30 million in reimbursement, including $300,000 for Murray’s services.
Trell said it was a mistake to include Murray’s payments as production costs.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP