By Jeff Gottlieb
4:53 PM EDT, May 20, 2013
The promoter and producer putting on Michael Jackson's ill-fated "This Is It" concert series was paying his manager $100,000 a month, the only time entertainment giant AEG made such an agreement, a company lawyer testified Monday.
Shawn Trell, senior vice president and general counsel for Anschutz Entertainment Group, testified in the Jackson family's wrongful-death lawsuit that the money was paid to Thome Thome.
The payments appear to be a potential conflict of interest, since a personal manager is supposed to represent the performer's interests.
In addition, Trell was shown a report AEG sent Jackson's estate that included a request it be repaid $300,000 it had given Conrad Murray, the doctor who administered the fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol to Jackson.
"To me, it's a mistake," Trell said.
Previous testimony showed AEG never paid Murray.
Brian Panish, an attorney for Jackson's mother and children, who filed the lawsuit against AEG, said in court that the company had been seeking $30 million in advances from Jackson's estate.
Earlier in the day, an AEG executive testified that Murray's salary was never listed on a budget as an artist advance.
The Jacksons say in their suit that AEG negligently hired and supervised Murray, while the company says that Jackson wanted him hired and that any salary it was supposed to pay him were advances to the singer.
Julie Hollander, AEG's vice president and controller also testified that she didn't know of any other instance in which the firm had hired a doctor to go on a concert tour.
“I know in my experience it is not typical for the promoter and tour producer to hire a doctor,” she said.
She also testified that when Jackson died in June 2009, shortly before his 50 concerts were set to begin in London, the production was about $2.5 million over budget.
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