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In the moments following Michael Jackson's death,

LaToya Jackson rushed to Neverland, not to hide Michael Jackson’s many and varied medications or to see to the welfare of his children, but, according to Rolling Stone Magazine, to search the house for bags of cash she and the family knew Michael kept on hand. This may have been done for all the right reasons, but what, if anything, she found and how much of it she actually turned in (and to whom) helps maintain the atmosphere of the Jackson clan as stunningly hateful and selfish people who have exploited their multi-talented brother all of his life and now have been riding his coffin for four years.

It’s been widely reported that Michael and Janet Jackson have been the sole mega-bread winners for the Jackson clan for many years. It is unknown how much financial support Janet has provided the family (i.e. everyone but Michael), but a common clam among many Jackson biographers underscores tabloid rumors of Michael footing the bill for Havenhurst, the family estate in Encino, California, ostensibly to take care of his mother, our Great Lady Katherine Jackson. The brothers leeching off of Katherine was the ransom Michael would pay in order to see to her needs and honor her. Michael would allegedly dole out the money to Katherine, and the brothers would harangue Mother for their varied expenses, including delinquent child support and tax liens. Reading between the lines, I’m led to believe big sister Rebe is likely the only Jackson sibling content to live something resembling a “normal” life; although Michael may have been supporting her, my sense of it is anything in the realm of sanity—say, under $300,000 per year—would likely take care of Rebe and her children. The brothers, however, are widely reported to live extravagant lifestyles requiring millions every year to maintain. These are rich people who are no longer rich but continue to live in denial. They have no problem at all with exploding their brother—dead or alive—or pressuring their octogenarian mother for cash.

With Michael Jackson’s estate thankfully in the hands of his attorneys and career managers, allocations to Katherine Jackson and Michael’s children have been strictly defined and monitored, likely forcing the Jackson clan to abandon Havenhurst and move into a much more modest (for them) home (despite Katherine’s fiction about “too many memories”). The brothers’ ongoing leeching likely has belts extremely tight, as the support is tailored only for Katherine and the kids, but it is likely being stretched to cover the lavish lifestyles of LaToya and the Brothers as well. Mind you, these are grown folk, Jackie nearly 62 years old.

The largest problem has been the fabrication, for well over forty years now, that these people are talented. Jermaine has a wonderful voice, but an ego the size of Texas and a tin ear for choosing quality material. Jermaine Jackson’s career was in full swing so long as Berry Gordy was running it (“Daddy’s Home,” “Let’s Get Serious”). Had Jermaine Jackson turned back to Arista Records’ Clive Davis at the launch of Davis’ J-Record label (Jermaine was signed by Davis to Arista when his career flamed out), and given Davis complete creative control (as did Rod Stewart and Luther Vandross, among others), he’d likely be somewhere in Janet Jackson’ orbit now. Instead, Jermaine choose pride over intellect and labored on with ridiculous music that proves how out of touch he and his brothers are with mainstream music, if not reality itself.

The embarrassing horror of their coffin-riding A&E Network “reality” TV show, The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty, was that it was released around the time of Michael Jackson’s posthumous documentary, This Is It. Both documentaries showed the behind-the-scenes preparation for major comeback tours—Michael’s and that of his brothers. While This Is It was a phenomenal (if not largely fictitious) account of Michael’s focused and nuanced prep, A Family Dynasty revealed a shockingly disorganized, bickering group of brothers laboring over incredibly lame and uninspired music, and turning down (turning down!) Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the machine behind sister Janet’s success. We see the Jackson brothers tooling around in convertible Bentleys and living in lavish homes, all of which I suspect were leased for the filming (or these were, possibly, several of Michael’s reported 75 luxury cars, which included a small fleet of Bentleys). I remember my neighborhood band, back in junior high, being better organized and, frankly, writing better songs.

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