Jackson concert promoter may lose millions

June 27, 2009 at 7:14 PM
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LOS ANGELES, June 27 (UPI) -- It's unclear what kind of financial hit U.S. concert promoter AEG Live will take with the death of Michael Jackson, sources say.

Quoting unnamed people familiar with the situation, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that AEG had paid Jackson $20 million in cash advances for a planned 50-night engagement at London's O2 arena, and had spent another $10 million to stage rehearsals for the show in Los Angeles.

AEG could seek repayment of the $20 million from Jackson's estate, but the newspaper said it was less clear if it could regain the rehearsal expenses.

AEG Live is a unit of Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz's Anschutz Corp., which also owns the Staples Center in Los Angeles where Jackson rehearsed.

Sources told the newspaper AEG has insurance but may not collect because such claims are usually denied if it can be shown concerts are canceled due to drug-related deaths or injuries. Several people close to the Jackson family have voiced repeated suspicions his collapse and death may have been caused by prescription drugs.

Kenny Ortega, the director of Jackson's "This Is It" comeback concert series, told the Los Angeles Times he would like the planned series to be transformed into a tribute to Jackson. Ortega -- who directed and choreographed "High School Musical," "Dirty Dancing" and the "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour" -- told the Times he would like to use some of the choreography and staging from "This Is It" for a Jackson tribute.

"He's so beloved in the world, somehow, perhaps we can find a way to pay tribute to his mind, talent, vision and heart," Ortega said.

"There must be a hundred ways we can celebrate this man's legacy," he said. "Broadway. Movies. Vegas."

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