LOS ANGELES — Turmoil in Michael Jackson’s family continued Tuesday as a feud that has engulfed the singer’s mother and children continued to play out in online posts, on national television and in a videotaped driveway confrontation that authorities continue to investigate.
It should perhaps be no surprise that a family that has spent decades in the spotlight is airing its troubles in public, but the dispute has left many, including estate executors, worried.
“We are concerned that we do what we can to protect them from undue influences, bullying, greed, and other unfortunate circumstances,” executors John Branca and John McClain wrote in a letter posted on fan sites hours after deputies responded to a family disturbance at the hilltop home where Katherine Jackson and her three grandchildren live.
“They know that they’ve been caught, they know that they’ve falsified a document and they know that there are questions that we want answered,” Randy Jackson told the Rev. Al Sharpton on Sharpton’s MSNBC show. “This family is united to right a wrong.”
He accused the estate of trying to keep the family’s disagreements at the forefront to deflect attention away from questions about the will.
Jackson’s estate has denied all claims of wrongdoing, calling questions about the will and allegations against the executors “false and defamatory accusations.”
The executors hinted that further action may be taken to protect the singer’s children.
Michael Jackson’s only daughter, Paris, has posted updates in recent days on Twitter, including her displeasure with not being allowed to speak with her grandmother for more than a week. On Tuesday, she wrote, “9 days and counting… so help me god I will make whoever did this pay.”
Katherine Jackson was reported missing over the weekend but later found to be with her daughter Rebbie and other relatives in Arizona. She has not spoken to her grandchildren — Prince, Paris and Blanket — since leaving the Los Angeles area July 15.
And while all this is going on, Jackie, Marlon and Tito, along with brother Jermaine, are on an international comeback concert tour. Their “Unity” tour began June 20 in Ontario, Canada, and winds up July 29 in Snoqualmie, Wash.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said deputies continue to investigate the altercation that took place Monday afternoon in Calabasas, but he said there were no indications it involved the singer’s children. He said the incident involved two adult males but declined to identify them further. A battery case may be presented to prosecutors, but Whitmore added that decision has not yet been made.
Randy Jackson said he and brother Jermaine and sister Janet went to the home in Calabasas on Monday to invite his brother’s older children, Prince and Paris, to join their grandmother in Arizona. Security footage of the incident was obtained by “Good Morning America” and celebrity website TMZ.
Jackson died in June 2009 at age 50 and left his estate to care for his mother and three children. He left nothing to his father or siblings, who have repeatedly tried to intervene in the estate. Several have expressed doubts about the validity of his will, but they have never mounted a formal court challenge.
He said deputies interviewed Katherine Jackson after a family business associate warned authorities that she was possibly being emotionally abused by a family member. Whitmore said the elder Jackson emphatically denied the accusations.
He said an abundance of caution has investigators still looking into claims that Katherine Jackson is the subject of financial abuse.
The estate and Katherine Jackson’s guardianship of the children are supervised by a probate judge. The judge recently received a financial summary showing that Michael Jackson’s estate has earned $475 million in gross profits since his death, and many of his major debts have either been resolved or are no longer delinquent.
The singer died with more than $500 million in debt.
Janet, Jermaine and Randy Jackson were joined by siblings Tito and Rebbie in a letter leaked last week, calling on Branca and McClain to resign and accusing them of manipulating their mother. The letter also claims that Jackson’s will is invalid.
The estate has denied the accusations, and no challenge to the executors has been filed in court.
It appeared Tuesday that the battles would continue for the near future.
“This is not going to go away,” Randy Jackson predicted.
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