After a chance meeting as a young fan, Stacy Brown became friends with Jermaine Jackson — and later the rest of the Jackson family, including Michael.
But they certainly weren’t as smart with their finances as the Kennedys. Finally, for the sake of my stomach, I offered to take Katherine to Trader Joe’s.
Even before this month, when the family lost a $40 billion lawsuit against AEG over the death of Michael Jackson, they’ve struggled with debts. She loaded the cart with groceries, and I ended up with the bill — $700.
Especially when the family’s richest members, Michael and Janet, decided to cut off their seven other siblings and parents out of whim or spite. No money was coming in, few of them had actual jobs and Janet gave but one gift to her siblings: free meal cards to Baja Fresh, a fast-food chain with which she had an endorsement deal. There was no “thank you.” The money was never repaid.
I visited Rebbie, the oldest of the Jackson kids, in Vegas, to work on a book. From there I drove to Hayvenhurst, the family’s estate in Encino, Calif., to meet Katherine, the matriarch, and Jermaine. Whatever courtesies are shown to them are met with the air of “You did what you ought to. ” As a friend, ghostwriter and confidant of the Jackson family for nearly 25 years, people ask how I could put up with such behavior.
It wasn’t easy — but there’s something seductive about the craziness.
I first met patriarch Joseph and his sons Jermaine, Jackie and Tito in 1984.The brothers had just played the Victory Tour at Giants Stadium.I was 16 and went to the show with my girlfriend, Ameena, who was in love with Michael.After the show, we traveled to the Helmsley Palace Hotel, and amazingly we got to speak to the Jacksons in the lobby.Ameena gushed and handed them a letter for her idol. To my shock, he remembered that night in New York in detail. Two weeks later, he called me and invited me to Hayvenhurst, the seven-bedroom mansion Michael paid for.A couple of years later, I was visiting a friend in a hospital in Canoga Park, Calif. It’s full of family memorabilia, and a guesthouse is filled with dolls and stuffed animals.