Man Set Afire At Age 6 Claims Fraud By Neverland Ranch Employee

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POSTED: 3:31 pm PDT May 22, 2006 LOS ANGELES — A man who drew headlines when he was set afire by his father at age 6 claims in a lawsuit that he was defrauded out of ownership of an Inglewood condominium by a man he met at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Dave Dave was known as David Rothenberg when, in 1983, he was doused with kerosene by Charles Rothenberg and burned over 90 percent of his body in a Buena Park motel room. The boy’s disfiguring injuries brought him international news attention and, in 1985, he was befriended by the pop star, according to attorney Brian Oxman, a longtime Jackson family lawyer who is now representing the plaintiff. Dave, now 28, was named as a potential character witness during Jackson’s trial in 2005 for the alleged molestation of another young boy who visited Neverland Ranch. The entertainer was acquitted of all counts, and Dave never had to testify. His lawsuit, filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges a man named Darnello Jackson and his fiance, Shanielle Gardner, tricked him into transferring ownership of a condominium in the 400 block of Tamarack Avenue in April. The plaintiff is asking that the transfer to Darnello Jackson be declared void, and that he also be awarded unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. Darnello Jackson claimed to be Michael Jackson’s cousin, but the two are not related, Oxman said. “He’s just a fake and a fraud,” Oxman alleged. According to the suit, Dave met Darnello Jackson at Neverland Ranch in December 2003. Over the next 18 months, Darnello Jackson used his claimed relationship with Michael Jackson to win Dave’s confidence, according to his court papers. “Defendant Jackson stated and represented that he had numerous television program spots, soundtrack record deals and recording contracts where he wanted Mr. Dave to participate, and that these projects involved Michael Jackson and his family,” the lawsuit stated. Darnello Jackson also said he was involved in making a soundtrack for a movie about the late singer Marvin Gaye, the lawsuit states. Darnello Jackson told Dave in late 2005 that he needed a place to live and that Michael Jackson would appreciate it if he helped him, according to the lawsuit. Darnello Jackson introduced Dave to Gardner, who worked for Golden Loans and arranged a $335,000 loan for the plaintiff to buy the condominium and allow the defendant and his girlfriend to lease the property, the lawsuit states. Darnello Jackson also allegedly convinced Dave to give Gardner power-of-attorney. Gardner and Darnello Jackson moved into the property in December and made two payments totaling $5,000, according to the lawsuit, which alleges the money was obtained from Dave’s loan proceeds. Darnello Jackson later defaulted on his lease payments and the lender later foreclosed on the property, the lawsuit states. However, Darnello Jackson and Gardner are still living in the condominium, according to the lawsuit. On April 20, Gardner used her power-of-attorney to convey Dave’s ownership of the condominium to Darnello Jackson, the suit alleges. Dave did not find out about the transfer until May 18, when he went to Inglewood Superior Court to try and evict the couple, according to his court papers. Gardner told Oxman she had transferred the condominium to her fiance as a gift, and admitted to the attorney that Dave had told her the power of attorney had been revoked, the suit says. She defended her alleged actions by saying Dave had not yet recorded the revocation with the county Recorder’s Office, according to the lawsuit. Dave’s father was convicted of attempted murder and arson and served prison time for disfiguring his son. He changed his name to Charley Charles to try to escape the notoriety of the attack, which occurred when he ostensibly took the boy on a weekend trip. Source:

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