Flip-flopping Rowe Gets Hands in Jackson’s Pockets; Settlement Reached – MB#318

OCT 5 2006 – Recent news about the entanglements of Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe is that a settlement over money and visitation between the two parties has been reached.

According to attorney Marta Almli, “It is the settlement of all the issues” who spoke to the AP for an article titled “Lawyer says Michael Jackson, ex-wife settle child custody battle”.

Jackson’s attorney, Michael Abrams also told the AP, “My client is very satisfied with the results. Hopefully (Jackson and Rowe) can both get on with their lives now and be through with this litigation.”

This row was caused by Rowe, who apparently changed her mind after previously claiming she wanted to have no rights at all to children she gave birth to solely because Jackson wished to be a father. She blamed her flip-flop on the false child molestation allegation trial of 2005.

However, there has been no explanation as to why she continued to pursue Jackson for money and made a fuss about visitation issues AFTER he was acquitted on all charges and moved to another country.

Was the 2005 trial really the reason why she wanted money and access to Jackson’s children? Or was that an excuse?

She sued Jackson, asking a judge to make him give her hundreds of thousands of dollars. She leveled allegations about the children possibly being in danger because they were around Nation of Islam employees who were working for Jackson at one point. Now with the settlement, it appears that after all the posturing and faux concern she claimed to have about Jackson’s children, she really only cared about how much money she will continue to get from him.

Before this apparent settlement, and according to the Associated Press a few weeks ago, a judge ruled that Jackson had to pay Rowe’s legal fees up to the amount of $60,000.

Rowe claimed to not have any money to pay her lawyers, and had sued Jackson for almost $200,000 in a lawsuit that I can only characterize as ridiculous according to details reported by various news entities.

It was as if Rowe was asking a judge to force Jackson to help her make him give her access to children she didn’t want to parent in the first place. Did you get that?

At the time, many observers wondered how it was fair to make Jackson pay for the lawyers of his ex-wife as she tried to inject herself into his kids’ lives. Some outright speculated that if she couldn’t afford to pay for attorneys, how adequate would it have been to assume she could be able to take care of them or provide adequate security for them during any type of visitation?

Certain pathetic segments of the media feel like it’s their responsibility to use any occasion to bash Jackson and give platforms to people who apparently don’t know what the hell they’re talking about as they ineptly try to “defend” Jackson. But enough about previous episodes of Nancy Grace!

Anyway, according to the AP, the judge in the case, Robert A. Schnider also noted that Rowe had received some $8 million from Jackson already. Refusing to award Rowe her full asking price, Schnider said, “She has millions of dollars, so she should be able to contribute to her own fees” (Jackson Must Pay for Ex-Wife’s Attorney). No kidding.

 

__Slew of questions; infinite suspicion__
Was Rowe’s reversal because she changed her mind about wanting to be involved in Jackson’s children’s lives? For some reason, she wants access to those kids, and she wants Michael Jackson to support her after terminating her visitation, custody, and parental rights.

If Rowe has any type of visitation at the end of this “battle”, maybe his lawyers should make sure Rowe doesn’t try to pull an “evan-chandler” on him: getting access to the kids then running to court claiming they told her about an allegation, thus effectively not having to return them.

That’s reportedly the chain of events which led to Chandler having custody of the 1993 accuser and the beginning of the 1993 allegations. Or, as other have speculated, is she trying to get her foot in the door and establish visitation only later to make a claim for some form of custody?

Because many people have publicly betrayed and flat out lied about Jackson, I don’t think anyone is above pulling stunts like that. The larger issue here is whether or not someone who wanted nothing to do with parenting two children should be allowed into their lives at all.

Moreover, what are Rowe’s true intentions as questions continue to arise about the timing of her newfound “motherly instincts”? Should she be allowed to simply change her mind at or around the time her payments from Jackson stopped?

An even more suspicious view from some media pundits have been to question whether or not Rowe is trying to use Jackson’s children as a way to force herself back into Jackson’s life and to be taken care of financially for as long as possible.

What does Jackson and his attorneys know about Rowe, of which the public may be unaware, that caused him to be so protective of them in the first place?

More questions will probably come to mind as more people sympathetic to her side continue to leak details of the settlement to various news entities.

 

__Let me get this straight….__
One of the most important means of understanding Rowe’s true role in the lives of Prince and Paris Jackson is to read the transcript of the 2001 Parental Rights Termination Hearing where mommy-come-lately asked a judge to terminate her parental rights; rights she appeared eager to get rid of according to the transcript.

As discussed in MJEOL Bullet #260, the devastating statements made by Rowe appeared, to some, to not only be rather heartless but also a true depiction of the true role she wanted to play in their lives. She has gone on the record numerous times gushing about what a wonderful father Jackson is.

Not to mention how she had the children not so that she could become a mother, but rather so that Jackson could become a father. When some entities write about the situation between Rowe and Jackson, they conveniently leave out some of the details.

Rowe is the one who filed for divorce from Jackson. She is the one who gave up custody rights when they divorced. She is the one who gave up visitation rights. She is the one who filed to have her parental rights terminated. Rowe has consistently sought to separate herself from the lives of Jackson’s children.

All the more reason why many observers are baffled by what seemed to be her newly found desire to have access to them once again. One of those forms of separation came in the termination of her parental rights; later overturned by a technicality.

During that 2001 parental rights termination hearing initiated by Rowe, she revealed that the last time she had seen Jackson’s children was “August or October of last year” in 2000 when she terminated her visitation rights. So according to her testimony, she had already given up her visitation rights as far back as 2000 (p 6 of Parental Rights Termination Hearing (PRTH) document).

From the transcript:

IRIS FILSILVER (ROWE’S ATTORNEY): Have you communicated with either of the children –
 
ROWE: No
 
FILSILVER: –over the past year?
 
ROWE: Not at all.
 
FINSILVER: Do you wish to communicate with the children?
 
ROWE: No
 
FINSILVER: Do you ever have the desire to call the children over the telephone?
 
ROWE: No.
 
FINSILVER: Do you have a desire to send any cards or letters to the children?
 
ROWE: No.
 
FINSILER: Do you want the court to terminate your parental rights?
 
ROWE: Yes. (see PRTH document)

Apparently when she had access to the children, she wanted nothing to do with them. So what exactly changed?

Her supporters may have gotten away with making an excuse to the media of why she sought rights to them during Jackson’s trial. But Jackson has since been fully vindicated of the allegations in court.

So, again, why was there a continuation on her part to seek money and access to kids she wanted nothing to do with in the past? The question of why she sought to terminate parental rights was asked of her by her attorney during that 2001 parental rights termination hearing overseen by Judge Lachs.

She told the judge that even when she was seeing Jackson’s kids every 45 days, she felt like she was “an intrusion on their lives”. She also called Jackson a “brilliant father”.

More from the transcript:

ROWE: These are his children. I had the children for him. They wouldn’t be on this planet if it wasn’t for my love of him. I did it for him to become a father. Not for me to become a mother. You earn the title parent. I have done absolutely nothing to earn that title.

Someone who’s saying that two children wouldn’t exist outside of Michael Jackson’s desire to become a parent is now asserting rights she willingly gave up, while seeking thousands of dollars from him. Oh no! That’s not suspicious!

As if those words weren’t damning enough, she revealed in 2001 that she had been thinking of terminating her parental rights for a year before she actually filed to do so.

She told Judge Lachs, “I’ve thought about it for a year” and she also said the reason why she didn’t do it a year before was because she didn’t want people questioning her decision by asking her if she had thought about it first (pg 8 of PRTH doc).

Also during the hearing, she was specifically asked if she understood that once her rights were terminated, she wouldn’t be able to have them reinstated. To which Rowe replied, “I understand that” (pg 8 of PRTH doc).

The only reason why she has any rights now is because Judge Lachs failed to fully follow procedure when terminating her rights back in 2001. Her parental rights were restored on a technicality.

At the time of the restoration, she still had no custody or visitation rights. She jettisoned those rights long before. Rowe appeared to have been given every opportunity to change her mind, even as she was asked questions in 2001 by her attorney.

At one point, she was flat out asked what she thought would happen to Jackson’s children if the superstar should pass on.

To which, Rowe replied, “I’m sure he has a wonderful person in mind to take care of them” (pg 9 PRTH document). She didn’t say ‘Hey-I-want-to-take-care-of-them-in-that-event’. She went on to further explain that she didn’t want to care for them and that they were Jackson’s children, not hers. More from the transcript:

FINSILVER: You understand that you will not have the right to take care of the children?
 
ROWE: No. And I don’t want to. And – not that I don’t love them. I do. I think they’re adorable. They’re his kids. They’re his kids. They’re not my kids. They’re his kids. (pg 9 of PRTH doc)

As mentioned earlier, Rowe also seemed rather eager to give up her rights as well. Check out this exchange between her and her then lawyer:

FINSILVER: You completely understand that when the order terminating parental rights is entered –
 
ROWE: Today. Right?
 
FINSILVER: Well, it’s up to the judge.
 
ROWE: Today.
 
FINSILVER: –That it will cut off unequivocally –
 
ROWE: Absolutely. Done. Complete. I don’t have any rights.
 
FINSILVER: — all rights and responsibilities regarding the children?
 
ROWE: Yes. (pg 9 of PRTH doc)

Yikes! Not only does this appear to be cold, but it’s also an illustration of the attitude which has caused many observers to question Rowe’s intentions.

After her attorney finished questioning her in 2001, the attorney appearing on behalf of Jackson asked her questions as well. Mr. Spiegel made sure to get it on the record that Rowe was terminating her parental rights of her own free will.

This is when the reader of the transcript finds out in no uncertain terms that it was Rowe who initiated such an action. From the transcript:

SPIEGEL: Debbie, it’s important that we know that what you’re asking the court to do is something that is being done freely and voluntarily?
 
ROWE: Yes. I asked Iris to do this.

‘Iris’ is Iris Finsilver. Continued:

SPIEGEL: Have any promises been made to you directly from Michael Jackson or indirectly from Michael to induce you to make this request of the court?
 
ROWE: No, I haven’t even seen or spoken to Michael for quite a while.

By her own account, she is the last person to be intimated by anyone. So the public is only left to take her word that whatever she has said publicly concerning Jackson and his children aren’t words which somebody else put in her mouth.

I suppose the real question is what will happen if Rowe flip-flops again and decides she no longer wants to really pursue any type of visitation with Jackson’s children….as long as Jackson continues to send her a check? More importantly, how will they feel when they grow up to learn about Rowe’s past actions and words about her swaying intentions concerning whether or not she cares enough to be a part of their lives?

 

__Recent court docs__
Recently revealed court documents from the Public Information office have also been released. In one document, “Transcript of Proceedings Via Telephone May 26 2004” held before then-Judge Stephen Lachs, Lachs is on record saying concerning Rowe, “However, there are – there is one thing that I cannot do, and that is I cannot order visitation at this time or should not order visitation at this time”

He goes on to say later:

THE COURT: Even if today, if Michael said, I want Debbie to spend time with the kids, even if he said it, I couldn’t order it. He still has a lawyer. We’re still in a proceeding. And his lawyer might say well, that’s what he wants; but he wants it with certain conditions or he wants it this or that or the other thing. Pg 12 of doc; pg 3 of .pdf file

This is highlighted because there are certain know-nothing Rowe-apologists who think that a judge somewhere actually ordered Jackson to give Rowe visitation, and that he’s purposely keeping the kids away from her. No such thing occurred.

The attorney representing Jackson in 2004 on this issue made mention to an “emotional reaction” by Jackson to Rowe’s decision to undue the termination of her parental rights.

Spiegel told the Court: “I could, but I won’t, tell you about the emotional reaction to Debbie Rowe’s decision to undue her prior decision.” I don’t think it’s far-fetched to believe that Jackson was highly upset at the flip-flopping Rowe.

 

__Kidnapping allegation__
Another recent court document, “Objections to Portions of Reply Declaration of Marta B. Almli” dated Sep 18 2006 is from Jackson’s attorney Michael Abrams in response papers filed by Rowe’s attorneys.

In it, the public finds out that Rowe initially claimed to the State Department that Jackson had used illegal passports to take his children overseas. The allegation appears to be totally ridiculous.

According Jackson’s attorney, the State Department declined to investigate Rowe’s allegations. From the doc:

I am aware of the arguments made by Deborah’s former counsel regarding the children’s passports. It is my understanding that the State Department has declined to pursue the claims that were made on the grounds that, at the time, Michael had sole custody of the children. (pg 2 of doc, pg 2 of pdf file)

More info about this issue is found in another doc titled “Respondent’s Opposition To Motion To Lift Nonexistent Stay On Discovery” filed by Jackson’s attorneys.

Jackson’s lawyer writes that Rowe had contacted the State Dept. to accuse Jackson of child abduction and fraud. Directly from the doc:

When Petitioner’s attorney announced to the Court that she had contacted the U.S. State Department to accuse Michael of child abduction and criminal fraud in obtaining passports, Michael’s attorneys immediately sought to discover the accusations. Petitioner refused to produce copies of any of her accusation letters or the State Department responses. (Respondent’s Opposition to Motion to Lift Non-existent Stay on Discovery pg 1-2 of doc, pg 3-4 of pdf file)

Rowe was making apparently false allegations about Jackson allegedly kidnapping his own children and committing fraud; possibly one of the many reasons why Jackson has been so wary to trust her or to trust his children with her.

She also initially cooperated with prosecutors during the false molestation allegation trial of 2005, though she ultimately flip-flopped (told the truth?) on them as well. Jackson’s attorneys said that he was absolutely innocent of Rowe’s allegation.

Rowe made the allegation and Judge Stephen Lachs appeared to agree with her. This led Jackson’s attorneys to immediately ask for him to recuse himself because he “opined” about it on the record without having one ounce of evidence about it. Nor did he so much as ask Jackson or give him the opportunity to defend himself against that ridiculous allegation (pg 2 of doc, pg 4 of pdf file).

So Lachs took himself off the case. At one point, it appears Rowe’s attorneys were trying to make Jackson come back to Los Angeles to be deposed by her attorneys, though her attorneys didn’t provide any reasons why it would be necessary for Jackson to be deposed in Los Angeles. Not only did she want to depose Jackson, but also his governess, Grace Rwaramba.

 

__What’s she got to hide?__
Also pointed out by Jackson’s attorneys is that Rowe had refused to participate in a 730 Evaluation. A 730 Evaluation is a psychological evaluation where a psychological evaluator “submits each of the parents and perhaps the child or children to a battery of psychological tests as well as clinical observations” (see 730 Psychological Evaluations).

From the court doc:

The 730 Evaluation, if Petitioner had permitted it to proceed, would have provided significant evidence relevant to the custody and visitations issues which are the only issues before the Court. Petitioner has absolutely refused to participate in any way with the appointed Evaluator.
(Respondent’s Opposition to Motion to Lift Non-existent Stay on Discovery pg 3 of doc; pg 5 of pdf file)

She claimed at one point in time she couldn’t participate in the 730 evaluation because she was “subject to the Santa Barbara Court’s gag order”. Jackson’s attorney say the record shows that she wasn’t under a gag order at that time. In the doc, Rowe is referred to as the “Petitioner”. From the doc:

Petitioner’s announcement that she was subject to the Santa Barbara Court’s gag Order came after Petitioner rejected any participation with the Evaluator. Petitioner’s refusal to speak to the Evaluator pre-dated her being named as a Santa Barbara witness. The gag Order was nothing more that Petitioner’s most recent excuse for refusing to participate in the Evaluation process. (Respondent’s Opposition to Motion to Lift Non-existent Stay on Discovery pg 6 of doc; pg 8 of pdf)

Jackson himself participated in the 730 evaluation, according to court docs. In yet another court doc filed by Jackson’s attorneys, “Objections to Portions of Reply Declaration of Deborah Rowe…” Rowe refused to participate in the 730 object, but still sought to force the court to order visitation so she could get access to Jackson’s children.

Even with that, Jackson did allow Rowe to see his kids in July 2005. There was also an issue about whether Rowe was dodging giving a deposition to Jackson’s attorneys. At one point, Jackson’s attorneys respond to a document filed by Rowe’s attorneys:

“Deborah [Rowe] previously agreed, in writing to deposition commencing on September 25, 2006. Ms. Almli’s declaration appears to be a unilateral announcement that Deborah will refuse to attend on the most recent date to which she agreed, in writing.”
(Respondent’s Opposition to Motion to Lift Non-existent Stay on Discovery pg 4 of doc, pg 4 of pdf file)

Jackson, himself, has already been deposed by Rowe’s attorneys in June 2006. He paid some $80,000 to fly her attorneys to Paris and put them up in a posh hotel so that they could depose him for 2 and half days (Respondent’s Opposition to Motion to Lift Non-existent Stay on Discovery pg 7 of doc; pg 9 of pdf file).

Why didn’t she want to be evaluated by an Evaluator? Why didn’t she want to be deposed at certain times by Jackson’s attorneys? I guess the reason may not come to light at the moment.

All in all, this appears to have been another situation where somebody sought to gain access to Jackson or people around him despite their own actions. If the situation was reversed, and it was Jackson who walked out on Rowe and those kids – terminating his rights to raise them– he would be a despised “deadbeat dad”. And the talking heads would be ranting against his flip-flopping nature if he suddenly decided to force his way back into their lives.

I, too, would be lambasting him for abandoning his kids. The truth about this situation is that Jackson has never wavered in his love and support for his kids. He’s never questioned whether or not he wanted to be a parent to them. He’s never given up custody of his kids. He’s never sought to terminate his rights to raise them or be responsible for their mental, physical and emotional well-being. Not once has Jackson turned his back on them.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said of Rowe. But she may not care about such criticism…as long as she’s getting a check.

 

-MJEOL

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