Sotheby's sues Michael Jackson over art purchase. The King of Pop reportedly bid on two paintings, then changed his mind and failed to pay $1.4 million

By Gary Susman
Updated February 03, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Ready for another Michael Jackson civil trial? We may get one if the latest lawsuit filed against him proceeds. In this one, filed Friday in Manhattan federal court, the plaintiff is Sotheby’s, the auction house, which alleges that Jackson made successful bids on two 19th-century paintings last fall, then changed his mind and decided he didn’t want them. But Sotheby’s wouldn’t take them back and is arguing that he owes the $1.4 million purchase price, plus legal fees.

According to Reuters, the suit says that Jackson’s company, MJJ Productions, placed the winning bids last October on two paintings by the French artist William Adolphe Bourgereau, one depicting Cupid removing a thorn from his foot, and the other depicting a woman, a child, and a sheep. You’d think that such paintings would look right at home at the Neverland Ranch, but the suit states, ”The reason stated for MJJ’s failure and refusal to pay for the property is that Michael Jackson now believes the property… no longer fits into Michael Jackson’s collection contrary to his previous review.”

Jackson’s lawyer, Brian Wolf, acknowledged that his client felt the paintings didn’t fit with his collection and said that the King of Pop tried to return them to Sotheby’s, but the auction house said no. Of the lawsuit, Wolf told Reuters, ”We remain confident that the matter will be resolved with Sotheby’s.”