Attorney: Schaffel fraudulent shuffled funds from Jackson accounts

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[b]Jury in Michael Jackson civil suit sees star’s video testimony[/b] LINDA DEUTSCH Associated Press … Jackson’s lawyer, Thomas C. Mundell, contended in his statement that the pop star is famously forgetful and he charged that Schaffel fraudulently shuffled funds from Jackson’s accounts to his own pocket and billed Jackson for expenses when he no longer worked for him. A detailed forensic accounting of Jackson’s books would show that Schaffel actually owes Jackson money, Mundell said. Vast amounts of money delivered to Jackson by Schaffel were actually wire transfers from other people and not money that Schaffel paid out of his own funds, the attorney said. Schaffel is a meticulous record keeper, saving receipts for every penny spent, but has no receipts to show money delivered or obtained from Jackson, Mundell said, showing the jury expensed receipts submitted by Schaffel that included $5.17 spent at a Taco Bell and $2.11 spent at a 7-Eleven for Advil. “The evidence will show Mr. Schaffel should have left well enough alone,” said Mundell. “He could have gotten away with a chunk of money from Michael Jackson … but he sued for several million dollars.” He acknowledged Schaffel at one time was owed about $500,000 in royalties for two TV shows he produced for Jackson and suggested that amount would have been paid had it not been for the current lawsuit. The first witness called by King was Allan Whitman, a longtime Jackson business manager who was fired this week. “I no longer work for Mr. Jackson,” Whitman said as he took the stand. “When did that happen?” asked the seemingly surprised King. “The other day,” said Whitman. “You were fired?” asked King. “Terminated,” Whitman said. He said it had nothing to do with the lawsuit but didn’t elaborate. Whitman gave a detailed account of the many advisers who came and went as Jackson hired and fired those who had the most control over his financial empire. Some, Whitman said, were paid $100,000 a month for services while others such as billionaire Ron Burkle and business magnate Alvin Malnik donated their services for free. Whitman said he met Jackson only once during the six years he worked for the pop star and communicated with him by phone “infrequently.” “He always had a primary adviser that supervised his business affairs,” the witness said. Citing the numerous change in advisers, King asked, “Did you find a lack of continuity?” Whitman answered dryly, “There was a learning curve in each change.” … Source:

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