AEG Live, the concert promoters for Michael Jackson's planned 2009 comback tour, have dropped a $17.5 million insurance claim stemming from Jackson's death after leaked e-mails showed that AEG executives were concerned about Jackson's health and worried about his stability shortly before his death that June, Reuters reports.
When Jackson died before he could begin a run of concerts in London, AEG filed an insurance claim with Lloyd's of London, citing losses in up-front costs for Jackson's "This Is It" tour. Lloyd's later filed suit against AEG Live, contending that it didn't owe the money.
AEG executives had long been skeptical about whether Jackson was capable of performing, according to e-mails obtained by the Los Angeles Times that openly discussed the matter. CEO Randy Phillips sent one particularly revealing message in March 2009 while he was in London with Jackson to announce the shows. "MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent," wrote Phillips. "I [am] trying to sober him up." Despite the suggestion that AEG Live was aware of Jackson's troubles while negotiating its insurance policy with Lloyd's, AEG attorneys maintain the company's withdrawal has "nothing to do with the recent leak" of the emails.
"We are standing by AEG's lawyers comments that the withdrawal of the claim was not related to the leaked emails, said Paul Schriffer, an attorney for Lloyd's. An attorney for AEG, Marvin Putnam, said the company informed Lloyd's in June that it was dropping the claim, citing reimbursement from the Jackson estate that covered the company's losses.