Pop superstar Michael Jackson was in debt for as much as half a billion dollars when he died in 2009, court testimony reveals.
Jackson earned millions of dollars a year from his song catalog, but consistently spent more than he brought in, according to certified public accountant William Ackerman, who testified Monday on behalf of concert promoter AEG Live, The Los Angeles Times reported
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The Jackson family is suing AEG Live, claiming it negligently hired and supervised Conrad Murray, the doctor who administered a lethal dose of anesthetic to the singer. Jackson's financial condition "could be a key factor in how much damages the firm could owe Jackson's mother and three children," the Times observed.
Jackson spent lavishly on travel, art, furniture, gifts, and charity, and his Neverland Valley Ranch in Santa Barbara County, Calif., was a huge drain on his resources. But his biggest expense was $30 million a year in annual payments on his debt, Ackerman said.
Jackson owed $30 million as early as 1993, and that figure rose to $140 million by 1998. At the time of his death, Jackson owed $400 million to $500 million, Ackerman testified, and interest on his loans rose to 16.8 percent annually before he died.
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