Jackson Estate Meets Thorny Rival

Katherine Jackson, who claims she is not receiving enough of an allowance from her son’s estate to make ends meet, may have found a solution. It just took a legal loophole and a 38-year-old entrepreneur with a background in online nude gambling.

Jackson, the matriarch of the Jackson family and mother to the late King of Pop, recently debuted a book she co-authored, a glossy tome of memorabilia and one of many projects she is working on with Howard Mann, who built his business on the Naked Women’s Wrestling League and a poker game website where porn stars deal cards topless.

“I’m very pleased working with Howard,” Jackson told the Los Angeles Times. “He’s been very good to me.”

Jackson is a financial benefactor of Michael’s estate, run by two longtime businessmen, John Branca and John McClain, put in charge by Michael’s will and testament. Katherine receives a monthly cash allowance of $7,000 to $8,000 and says she is dependent on Mann to cover the rest of her expenses. Mann said he has paid her hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“I wish they would leave Howard alone and I wish they would leave me alone for working with Howard,” Jackson told the Times. “I’m not greedy like people say. It’s need not greed.”

Despite recent multimillion-dollar deals, the estate says it is still ironing out the massive debt left behind by Michael.

“The estate has spent millions of dollars for Mrs. Jackson’s benefit and on the direct living expenses of both Mrs. Jackson and the children,” estate attorney Howard Weitzman said. He added that the allowance was approved by a probate judge and there is financial support beyond the monthly stipend – including footing the bill for household staff, security, vehicles, food, tuition and vacations, the paper said.

That being said, the estate has protected MJ’s likeness and body of work with vigor and, according to the Times, Mann is small potatoes and Weitzman said Mann’s “loophole” is flawed.

“His day is coming,” the attorney said. “The estate will be taking appropriate legal action.”

Mann’s loophole is Vintage Pop Media, a company he bought a few years back. In 2001, Joe and Katherine Jackson, in need of money, sold a collection of memorabilia originally planned for a museum to Henry Vaccaro Sr., the owner of a New Jersey construction company. Vacarro set up a pay-per-view website for the memorabilia and, in 2004, Michael Jackson sued Vacarro’s Vintage Pop company for cyber-squatting, copyright infringement and other charges.

In 2005, Jackson left the country after his acquittal on child molestation charges and refused to be deposed on the Vacarro matter. That led to a federal judge in 2006 dismissing the lawsuit “with prejudice,” meaning MJ could never re-file the same charges against the company.

Enter Mann, who considers Vintage Pop to be “immunized” from intellectual property lawsuits.

“This is effectively a satellite estate,” Mann told the Times. “Its value is unfathomable.”

He has at least one person who agrees with him – Loyola Law School professor Georgene Vairo, who told the paper that from a civil procedure standpoint, Mann appears to be standing on solid legal ground.

“It’s kind of like the civil equivalent of double jeopardy,” Vairo said. “You get one bite at the apple and that is it.”

She added that estate attorneys may argue this is a departure from the norm, but the law is “rather unforgiving.”

Weitzman said he disagreed with Mann’s analysis but declined to elaborate.