Is Michael Jackson bankrupt? So say court papers in a former financial adviser's lawsuit against the King of Pop

By Gary Susman
May 26, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Michael Jackson may be spending less time going on Las Vegas shopping sprees and more time at his favorite gourmet restaurant, Taco Bell. That’s if his former financial advisers are correct about his current net worth. In a lawsuit that comes to trial next month, the Union Finance and Investment Corporation, which is suing for fees it says the King of Pop has not paid, says Jackson is nearly bankrupt, and that his spendthrift ways have made his money woes into ”a ticking financial time bomb waiting to explode at any moment.”

The South Korean finance firm filed suit in April 2002 over work it had done for Jackson since 1988. The company seeks $12 million in fees plus interest and punitive damages. ”When they were retained, plaintiffs believed that Jackson was incredibly wealthy,” the lawsuit says, according to the Associated Press. ”There was no clue that Jackson’s extravagant lifestyle had all but bankrupted him.” The firm’s lawyer, Pierce O’Donnell, told AP, ”For whatever reason, Michael Jackosn is not paying his debts. He has little or no means of income. He lives off a line of credit.

Jackson attorney Brian Oxman disputed Union Finance’s claim, saying Jackson had paid them in full. ”I see no signs of this impending disaster,” he told AP. ”I cannot say it for 100 percent sure because nobody knows his financial statements. But I can say it for a reasonable certainty.” The suit has a trial date of June 18 in Los Angeles Superior Court.