The Jacksons put their Washington, D.C., home on the market last month at a price of $2.5 million. The listing was public and included the property’s address as well as multiple photos of the inside of the home. A campaign spokesman said at the time that home was put on the market to pay for mounting medical bills... A day after the D.C. listing was made public, the couple subsequently took it back off the market, citing a security issue.
According to two independent sources, Jackson was spotted drinking at Bier Baron Tavern ... on Tuesday and Wednesday nights last week. Each night, he was accompanied by a different woman. According to both sources, Jackson was drinking. "They were laughing and very focused on each other," one source said of Jackson's demeanor on Wednesday night. "Not sure when they left but I saw them there around 10:30 p.m. They didn't appear intoxicated or loud, but were definitely enjoying themselves."
And now a judge has ruled Michael Jackson's nephew TJ should permanently share guardianship responsibilities for the Prince of Pop's three children.
The decision came despite a last-minute effort by some relatives to delay it.
Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff named the 34-year-old, who is the son of the pop icon's elder brother Tito, as the children's co-guardian and he will now share responsibilities for raising the siblings.
Guardian: TJ Jackson was given co-guardianship duties for his uncle Michael's children today
It means he will now have a large role in the lives of the star's children Prince, 15, Paris 14 and 10-year-old Blanket.
It came despite some last minute court drama, that saw cousin Debra Jackson and her son Anthony pleading with the adjudicator to delay his ruling, saying they were concerned family matriarch Katherine was being coerced.
The pair said they had been ostracised from the family and that the children may not be as excited about TJ Jackson's appointment as has been presented to the judge.
New arrangement: Blanket, Paris and Prince have all given consent to the setup
The judge made the ruling after considering a letter submitted by singer Diana Ross, who was named in Michael Jackson's will as a potential guardian, and a letter presented by cousins of the singer who sought a delay in the appointment.
But Beckloff noted that all three children have said they consent to the co-guardianship, and that an independent investigation he ordered showed they 'have a very strong, loving relationship with TJ Jackson.'
He urged TJ Jackson to consider allowing the cousins to visit the family, but said there was no reason to delay.
The appointment means that Katherine and TJ Jackson will share responsibilities for raising the children.
Sharing the load: The Prince of Pop's mother Katherine had been sole guardian but now she will another pair of hands
If one of them is no longer able to serve, the other would become the children's sole guardian.
Debra and Anthony Jackson declined to speak with reporters after the hearing, merely confirming their names and relationship to the family.
Letter: Diana Ross also gave testimony as she had been named in the singer's will as another potential guardian
Their letter and one submitted by Diana Ross were not filed with the court and will not be made public, court officials said.
Katherine Jackson's attorney, Sandra Ribera, disputed their claims that her client is being improperly influenced.
She said: 'Mrs. Jackson is well informed. Mrs. Jackson is a strong woman who cannot be influenced by anyone when it comes to decisions about these children.'
TJ was appointed a temporary guardian last month when Katherine Jackson was incommunicado during a stay at an Arizona spa with relatives.
Beckloff has said Katherine Jackson is doing a great job raising Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson, but noted that having a co-guardian will allow for continuity in their lives if she is no longer able to serve.
TJ Jackson was a relative unknown to the public before the recent rift in the family.
He performs in a band called 3T along with his brothers and was close to his uncle, Michael, before the pop star died in June 2009 at age 50.
TJ Jackson is a cousin of the children and has remained close to them in the years since the singer's death.
Wednesday's hearing had been expected to be a legal formality and although Beckloff made time to hear the cousins' grievances, the judge didn't waver in his view that the co-guardianship arrangement was appropriate.
He noted that it is frequently employed in other cases.
The Jackson siblings released a statement late Friday through an attorney amid a fight over their brother's will with the executors of his estate.
On Thursday a judge named TJ Jackson, a cousin to Michael Jackson's three children, as co-guardian with Katherine Jackson, who was named their sole caretaker in the disputed will.
FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2011 file photo, from left, Prince Jackson, Prince Michael II "Blanket" Jackson and Paris Jackson arrive on stage at the Michael Forever the Tribute Concert, at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. TJ Jackson, one of Michael's favorite nephews, has been designated to work beside Michael's mother, Katherine, to look after the welfare of his three cousins Prince, 15, Paris, 14 and Blanket,10, who will inherit the King of Pop's fortune. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File) *Editorial Use Only*
Janet, Randy and Rebbie Jackson accuse the executors of a "relentless" negative media campaign and say they have been barred from visiting their 82-year-old mother or Jackson's children.
"The effect of that notice not only is to damage fundamental family relationships, it is also to isolate Katherine Jackson from anyone questioning the validity of Michael's will," reads the statement by Janet Jackson's attorney, Blair G. Brown, released on behalf of Janet, Randy and Rebbie Jackson.
They say they will continue to contest Michael Jackson's will because "the executors have never explained how Michael could have signed his will in California on a date that irrefutable evidence establishes that he was in New York."
Representatives for the executors of the will did not immediately respond to calls and emails requesting comment. However, representatives for executors John Branca and John McClain released a statement some weeks ago saying, "Any doubts about the validity of Michael's will and his selection of Executors were thoroughly and completely debunked two years ago when a challenge was rejected by the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the California Court of Appeals and, finally, the California Supreme Court."
Janet, Randy and Rebbie Jackson say they will continue to contest Michael Jackson's will, adding, "they stand nothing to gain financially by a finding that the will is invalid."
"The individuals who have the most to lose by a finding that the will is invalid are, of course, the executors and those on the executors' payroll."
The siblings say they will "press forward in their search for the truth in order to carry out the wishes of their brother Michael." ( Associated Press )
Katherine Jackson declared in the documents that she learned she was the subject of a search when she accidentally heard a TV report.
FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2011 photo, Michael Jackson's mother Katherine Jackson and brother Jermaine Jackson leave after the sentencing of Conrad Murray at the Los Angeles Criminal Justice Center. Attorneys for Michael Jackson’s estate on Monday, July 30, 2012 acknowledged they limited access to the home shared by the late singer’s mother and children in response to a driveway disturbance last week. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)
Before that, she said, she was kept virtually incommunicado without access to a phone or her iPad. She said her stay at the Tucson resort was unplanned, and she went there after she was told her doctor had ordered her to rest.
Before that, she had intended to take a cross-country RV trip to see her sons perform in concerts.
"While there was a telephone in my room, the telephone was not functioning and I could not dial out," she said in the documents. "In addition, there was no picture on the television in my room."
She told of asking repeatedly to have the TV fixed.
"One morning I woke up to the sound of the television," she said. "While there was no picture, I heard a broadcast that stated I was missing."
Her declaration was attached to papers filed in a request to be reinstated as guardian of Michael's children, Prince, 15, Paris, 14 and Blanket, 10. Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff granted the request Thursday and temporarily named her nephew, TJ Jackson, as co-guardian.
Beckloff said last week that he didn't believe Katherine Jackson had done anything wrong but suspended her guardianship duties because she had been out of contact with her grandchildren for 10 days.
While at the resort, Jackson said, she was unaware that her grandchildren were worried about her and that her lawyer had flown to Tucson to contact her.
"While I was away, I had no reason to question whether the people with whom I placed trust would inform me that Prince, Paris and Blanket were trying to reach me," she said.
She said she had asked about the children and was told they were fine.
"The day before I was brought home from Tucson, I was finally permitted to use the phone to speak with Prince, Paris, Blanket and TJ," she said.
Some of Katherine Jackson's comments appeared in conflict with a statement she made to ABC News before she left Tucson.
Seated with her children Randy, Janet and Rebbie next to her, she read from a prepared statement saying she had not been held against her will
"My children would never do a thing to me like that, holding me against my will," she said. "It's very stupid for people to think that."
She said then that she was devastated at learning she had lost guardianship of her grandchildren and said the action "was based on a bunch of lies."
In the aftermath of what her attorney Perry Sanders Jr. called "the chaos," Katherine Jackson asked for a meeting with TJ Jackson and the lawyer to find out what was going on.
As a result, she said, she decided that TJ Jackson, who had been an unofficial co-guardian of the children, needed legal authority in case something happened in her absence.
Beckloff said during a hearing after Jackson resurfaced that an investigator who looked into the children's care found the late pop star's 82-year-old mother was an excellent guardian and the children love her.
"I think the kids are in terrific hands," the judge said. "It appears from the report that Katherine Jackson has done a wonderful job and cares about the children very much."
Beckloff noted that the children also have a close relationship with their 34-year-old cousin TJ Jackson, who was named temporary guardian last week after working closely with Katherine Jackson since Michael Jackson died.
TJ is "incredibly respectful" of the family matriarch and she is respectful of him, the judge said.
Beckloff said he will finalize the arrangement later this month but for now will issue letters of co-guardianship allowing both Jacksons to make decisions about the welfare of the children.
TJ Jackson's new co-guardianship status is temporary, but the judge could make it permanent when he convenes the next court hearing on Aug. 22.
The shared guardianship plan is apparently designed to remove pressure from Katherine Jackson who was previously named in her son's will as the children's sole guardian.
Sanders has said the arrangement will allow her to focus on the children's upbringing and not on home or logistics issues.
The changes in guardianship come on the heels of family dissension over Michael Jackson's will, which left nothing to his siblings when he died three years ago. Several of them signed a letter that was leaked to the media alleging the will was a fake and calling on executors of the estate to resign.
On Wednesday, Jermaine Jackson issued a plea for peace in the family and withdrew his support of the letter.
He wrote that the family is still raw from Michael Jackson's death, and his mother has endured incredible stress and pressures since then. ( Associated Press )
His initials stand for Tito Joseph, since this Jackson was named for both his father Tito and grandfather Joe. But they might as well stand for "Tough Job," given the seemingly insurmountable odds that TJ faces in helping restore any peace or sanity to the suddenly deeply riven Jackson clan.
TJ had already emerged as 14-year-old Paris Jackson's most visible family ally. Some have said he was more directly involved in her care than her previous guardian, Katharine, 82, who has suddenly become the human football of the Jackson family. TJ tweeted Paris with his support on July 23, publicly telling her, "I know it's completely unfair for them to do this to you and your brothers (Prince and Blanket). We will keep trying. I love you."
Kim Kardashian and TJ Jackson, as teens
TJ's name may have come out of nowhere for casual Jackson family observers, but he's got an illustrious past of his own. Along with his two brothers, he was part of the trio 3T, who uncle Michael co-produced and signed to his vanity label in the mid-'90s. The trio had modest success in the U.S. but racked up a series of much bigger hits overseas.
He's also renowned as the childhood sweetheart of Kim Kardashian. "We became extra close when my mom passed away," TJ told People magazine in 1995, when he was 17 and Kardashian was 15. "She dropped everything to be with me." Kardashian recently told Oprah in an interview that she lost her virginity to a boy when she was 14, leading many to assume that that boy was TJ Jackson.
Growing up, TJ and his brothers longed to follow in the nimble footsteps of father Tito and their uncles. "My dad has footage of us as little kids singing to the music of the Jackson 5," said brother Taj. "TJ was still in diapers, holding a microphone, trying to dance and sing, and he couldn't even talk yet."
Tragedy struck in 1994, in the midst of recording sessions for 3T's debut album, when the boys' mother, Dee Dee, who'd gotten divorced from Tito two years earlier, drowned in a mysterious swimming pool mishap. "I'd look over at TJ, and his eyes would just tear up. Everything changed for him," said Anthony Schiller, TJ's classmate at Buckley High. Though the death was ruled accidental, the Jackson family filed a wrongful death suit against Dee Dee's debt-riddled boyfriend, Donald Bohana, whom she'd only been dating for a month at the time, and who claimed he'd discovered her lifeless in his pool. The case was eventually reopened by police, leading to Bohana's second-degree murder conviction in 1998.
3T immediately became a buzz act upon the release of their first album, Brotherhood, in 1995. Their first and most successful single, "Anything," reached No. 15 on the Billboard chart in America but fared better overseas, rising to No. 2 in England—a peak also reached by a followup single, "Why," a collaboration with Uncle Michael.
But their momentum slowed, and when a sophomore album recorded without Michael's assistance finally came out nine years later, it didn't even merit a U.S. release. TJ has recently tweeted that he's been back in the studio with brothers Taj and Taryll, working on a third 3T album… perhaps keeping to their every-nine-years schedule. They did reunite at the "Forever Michael Tribute Concert" in Cardiff, Wales last October, singing "Why," of course.
TJ's dad and his brothers have been out on the road with their (irony alert) "Unity Tour." When they played L.A.'s Greek Theatre last week, TJ supportively tweeted, "So happy to see my father and his bros on stage. They are killing it!!!" But family observers have been curious where TJ stood in the brewing battle over Michael's will, with his young protege Paris on one side and his dad seemingly standing with the rest of Michael's brothers on the other… and Katharine being shuttled around in the middle.
This week, it became clear: He's Paris' foremost advocate. And now it looks like his father is standing with him, as Tito has now announced he now "completely retracts (his) signature)" on the will-contesting letter sent by his brothers and sister Janet to the executors of Michael's estate.
As a toddler, TJ wanted to be like Michael; now, he's stepping into his shoes in a role far different than he ever could have imagined.
He has a reputation as a family man, which surely helped with the court. TJ married his wife, Frances, in 2007; they have three children together. Though you hate to judge a man by his tweets, he comes off as stable and down-to-earth in the missives he shares with the public. One recent tweet, before things really got heated up at the San Fernando Valley compound: "It's official! Grandma has me hooked on Scramble With Friends. We've been going back and forth on our iPads for over 2 hours. #familylove" Another hopeful, if not necessarily prophetic, Twitter message from TJ quoted a Chinese proverb: "A family in harmony will prosper in everything."
Regardless of his musical talent or whether a 3T reunion ever amounts to anything, TJ still has a chance to stand out in the extended Jackson family, as… the sensible one. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. ( Stop The Presses! )
On Twitter and cable TV, Randy Jackson has called the five-page document signed in 2002 a fake. The one place he hasn't made the claims is a courtroom, where legal experts say he faces almost insurmountable hurdles to invalidate the will and stiff odds against ousting the men who run the lucrative estate.
In a recent letter, Randy Jackson and three of his siblings called on Jackson's estate executors to resign and renewed charges that their brother's will is a fake.
The letter states Jackson's family — who other than his mother and three children receive no stake in his estate — was too overwhelmed after the singer's death to meaningfully challenge the document. "At that time we couldn't possibly fathom what is so obvious to us now: that the Will, without question, it's Fake, Flawed and Fraudulent," the letter signed by Randy, Jermaine, Janet and Rebbie Jackson states.
The delay, however, likely dooms any effort to invalidate the document, and if it was thrown out, would not alter the stake the King of Pop's three children receive, experts say and an appeals court has noted.
Randy Jackson has since posted on Twitter that he believes the estate is trying to isolate his mother to the detriment of her health. "It is my fear and belief, that they are trying to take my mother's life," Randy Jackson wrote last week.
Jackson's estate has denied the accusations. "We are saddened that false and defamatory accusations grounded in stale Internet conspiracy theories are now being made by certain members of Michael's family whom he chose to leave out of his will," the estate wrote in a statement.
Almost from the moment it was filed, the will has been a topic of controversy for some of Jackson's relatives. The pop superstar's father Joe Jackson attempted to get a stipend from the estate, but like the rest of his children, he was excluded from any share. His mother, Katherine, explored the possibility of challenging the executors and was given permission by a judge, but settled before a full hearing was held.
The estate benefits Katherine Jackson and the singer's three children — Prince, 15; Paris, 14; and Blanket, 10.
The five-page document is straightforward and simple, and many key provisions of how Jackson's estate is constructed are set out in a trust. That document has never been publicly released.
Many of the misgivings stem from the will's final page, which bears the signatures of three witnesses who claim Jackson signed the document on July 7, 2002, in Los Angeles. Jackson's family points out that the singer was in New York on that day, a point the Rev. Al Sharpton recently bolstered by showing video of the "Thriller" singer appearing with him at an event in Harlem that day.
"I don't think that kind of extrinsic fraud would be enough to overturn the order admitting the will to probate," said Marshall Oldman, a Los Angeles probate attorney who represented Peter Falk's wife in a conservatorship proceeding.
He said Jackson's siblings' only valid argument is that they did not receive proper notice that their brother's will had been accepted into probate. Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff accepted the will in November 2009. Any challenge would have had to been filed within four months, Oldman said.
The California 2nd District Court of Appeal noted in an October 2010 ruling against the singer's father that the period to challenge the will had already expired. Even if the will were thrown out, the court noted, California law would require the estate to benefit Michael Jackson's children.
"I don't see how you come in three years later, and say, 'oh, by the way, the will's a fraud, a forgery, because he wasn't in LA when he was purported to be,'" said Howard Klein, a probate attorney for nearly 50 years and partner in the Los Angeles firm Feinberg Mindel Brandt Klein & Kline. "It's something that should have been brought up a long time ago."
Randy Jackson — in comments on Twitter and to Sharpton on his MSNBC show last week — has repeatedly accused the estate's executors of criminal conduct. Both Klein and Oldman said even if the executors were charged with wrongdoing, it wouldn't open the door for more of Jackson's relatives to gain access to the estate. Jackson's children are deemed his heirs without the will, and a 1997 version lodged with the court but never publicly released also doesn't name the singer's siblings as beneficiaries of his estate.
Klein said even if Jackson or other siblings try to challenge the document, their bid will likely be rejected because it is too late. The judge could also rule, as he did against family patriarch Joe Jackson, that because he isn't a beneficiary of the will, he isn't entitled to contest it.
"It would be a tough sell," Klein said of any effort by another Jackson relative to challenge the will now.
The executors recently informed a judge that there have been $475 million in gross earnings for the estate since Michael Jackson died in June 2009 from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol. Jackson died with more than $500 million in debts, but the earnings have been used to repay many of the singer's creditors and provide a spacious hilltop home for Katherine Jackson and the children, private schooling, staff, security, vacations and other perks.
Katherine Jackson has requested and the estate is recommending approval of a nearly $35,000 per month increase in Katherine Jackson's stipend so she retain her own attorney, accountant and homes in Indiana and Las Vegas, court filings show. ( Associated Press )