Administrators of Michael Jackson's estate have recovered $5.5 million in cash from "one of Michael Jackson's former financial advisers" and also recovered "substantial amounts of tangible personal property," not necessarily from the same person, according to court papers filed today.
The administrators, attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain, also claim Jackson's estate is worth more than $500 million and that they are making business deals that could bring in tens of millions more dollars that will benefit Jackson's heirs.
The recovered millions were announced as Branca and McClain requested a "family allowance" be given to Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, and Jackson's three children, for whom she is temporary guardian, "in order to ensure that the minor children's needs for maintenance and support are met."
Michael Jackson's June 25 death left a tangled financial picture and a will naming his 79-year-old mother as the kids' legal guardian -- though a custody battle over the kids, possibly involving Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe, is possible.
Katherine Jackson, noted court papers filed Thursday, "was also financially dependent upon Michael Jackson and ... other than extremely modest Social Security benefits, Mrs. Jackson has no independent means of support."
The amount of the allowance request is redacted from the court records, but the stipend would be in addition to expenses relating to Katherine Jackson's nearly $5 million home in Encino, Calif., that Jackson's estate already is paying for.
"The minor children are currently living with Mrs. Jackson in a residence that the special administrators believe belongs to the estate," court documents said. "Mrs. Jackson has occupied the residence for more than 30 years and ... during Michael Jackson's life, all of the expenses of the residence were paid by Michael Jackson without any charge to Mrs. Jackson."
Probate Judge Mitchell Beckloff is expected to rule at an Aug. 3 probate hearing on the allowance request. Beckloff previously gave Branca and McClain temporary control over Jackson's assets pending that hearing, and allowed the pair to enter into contracts and other business transactions as long as they obtain court approval and notify Katherine Jackson.
Nearly one month since Michael Jackson died, his family members and the executors of his will are engaged in a delicate legal dance as each party sizes up the other and awaits their day in court.
On July 17, Katherine Jackson asked a judge to give her the option of challenging the authority of Branca and McClain.
It may have been a risky move on Katherine's part. The late pop star's will includes a "no contest" clause that disinherits any beneficiary who challenges the will and loses. As a result, Katherine said she "has not yet decided whether to object."
In his will, written in 2002 and filed in court days after his June 25 death, Jackson listed Branca and McClain as executors.
The two men have been named special administrators of Jackson's estate until Aug. 3, when they will return to court with Katherine, who had previously requested to become the interim executor of her son's estate.
Jackson's will placed his estate into a trust, that gives 40 percent of his wealth to his mother, 40 percent to his three children and 20 percent to charities.