Family members of the late King of Pop Michael Jackson may be screaming “Smooth Criminal” over an ex-fiancé of Michael’s older sister, La Toya Jackson, who allegedly stole $1 million worth of items from Michael Jackson’s estate.
Jeffré Phillips, a 55-year-old music producer, is accused of stealing from the estate; La Toya Jackson claims Phillips has been keeping the items for safekeeping. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Michael Jackson, who had a net worth of about $500 million, died from an overdose in 2009.
He Said, They Said
The battle between Phillips and the estate has been going on for more than a year.
In 2021, Phillips was slapped with a lawsuit for trying to auction items without the Jackson estate’s permission. The estate was first made aware of the sale when Phillips contacted it to verify the items. Phillips, a longtime friend and business partner of La Toya, proposed to La Toya on the Oprah Winfrey Network-produced reality show “Life with La Toya.”
“We were engaged to be married during the last one-and-a-half years of our relationship. Throughout our relationship, we lived together, worked together, toured together, starred in our own reality show together and operated as a single-family unit,” the music producer, who dated La Toya from 1995 to 2015, said in his court declaration.
“[Michael’s mother Katherine Jackson] treated me like a son, the Jackson siblings’ treated me like a brother and their kids treated me like their uncle. They still speak to me as family when they see me,” he continued in the court papers. “I was a big part of the Jackson family. I chipped in and assisted with many family affairs, in addition to business and personal matters whenever I could. This included assisting Janet Jackson with business affairs as well as attending holiday family dinners and other types of family gatherings.”
As Finurah previously reported, the estate accused Phillips of stealing items in June when he stayed over at the L.A. residence for nine days. The missing items have an evaluation of $1 million.
In June, the estate went to court to prevent the sale of the items.
Some items the Michael Jackson estate is accusing Phillips of taking include “hard drives, laptops, and iPods, as well as CDs and DVDs, believed to contain non-public performances and unreleased concert footage,” the court filing claims.
There’s more. Some specifics like “handwritten notes with bits of song lyrics, personal computers, cassette tapes, a photo album with Jackson on the cover, a black bag with a skull on it, framed awards and a Michael Jackson doll” were alleged to be stolen by Phillips.
Radar reports that Phillips even apparently took Michael Jackson’s last worn pajamas, a resuscitator tube used on the singer, his driver’s license and prescription pill bottles.