A judge gave temporary control of Michael Jackson’s estate Monday to the two executors named in the pop star’s 2002 will, overriding the request of Jackson’s mother Katherine, who was handed temporary control of his fortune last week.
The decision by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff left longtime Jackson attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain in charge of Jackson’s estimated $500-million fortune until a further hearing on Aug 3.
“Mr Branca and Mr McClain for the next month are at the helm of the ship,” the judge said.
Beckloff had placed Katherine Jackson in temporary charge last week, just a day before the 2002 will surfaced. Attorneys for the Jackson family matriarch argued unsuccessfully that a new will might emerge, and expressed concern about the financial acumen of the named executors.
The ruling came as preparations for Jackson’s memorial were in full swing as fans lined up to collect their tickets, and as reports said that the late King of Pop would be buried in a private ceremony prior to the tribute, according to celebrity website Radaronline.com.
Jackson’s funeral is expected to take place at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills. Known as the Cemetery of the Stars, it is also the resting place of Bette Davis, Lucille Ball and Liberace. Media trucks have been gathering outside the cemetery and despite the pleas of the family for privacy, thousands of fans are expected to flock there to pay their respects.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles was bracing for huge crowds around the site of the memorial service at the Staples Centre. About 1.6 million people entered the online lottery for the 17,500 tickets made available for the tribute.
Authorities were cordoning off a wide area around the venue and have pleaded for fans without tickets to stay away. However, as many as 700,000 fans are predicted to flood the area and attempt to reach the arena.
Among the stars expected to attend are Liz Taylor, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, and Jennifer Hudson, the New York Post reported. Also likely to attend are Whitney Houston, Beyonce, Lionel Richie, Liza Minnelli and Aretha Franklin.
“The police department appears to be more than ready,” said acting Los Angeles mayor Jan Perry. “Those who do not have tickets will not be able to pass the perimeter. They won’t be able to get close to the arena and there will be no outdoor screenings so the best thing to do is celebrate in the comfort of your home.”
The winners of the ticket lottery were announced Sunday evening and started lining up to collect their tickets early Monday morning. “I feel very lucky,” said Bob Lewis from Palm Springs. “I grew up on Michael Jackson and I learned to dance watching Michael Jackson. I feel like I won the lottery.”
Organizers said their distribution system was designed to thwart ticket touts. But in the hours after the results of the ticket lottery were announced, several went up for sale on eBay, with some sellers asking for over 5,000 dollars for a pair of tickets.