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Published: Wednesday, 7/1/2009

Judge: Mother has temporary control of Jackson s property


LOS ANGELES A judge ruled Wednesday that Katherine Jackson will retain limited control of 2,000 items from Neverland until another hearing is held Monday.

Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff called for a speedy compromise between attorneys for Katherine Jackson and the two co-executors of Michael Jackson s will lawyer John Branca and John McClain, a music executive and a family friend.

I would like the family to sit down and try to make this work so that we don t have a difficult time in court, the judge said.

On Monday, Beckloff granted Katherine Jackson slim authority to take control of the items that had been slated for auction earlier this year. The sale was stopped after Jackson sued.

Katherine Jackson, 79, does not have the court s authority to manage her son s financial interests.

Her attorneys wrote in a court filing on Monday that the Neverland memorabilia is being held by a former Jackson representative. Beckloff said Wednesday he thought it was a valid concern that some of those items might go missing.

Still, Branca and McClain moved quickly to try to overturn Katherine Jackson s authority, saying it was granted on the mistaken assumption that Jackson died without a valid will.

Earlier, the men presented a five-page, typed will that named Katherine Jackson as the guardian of her son s three children and their estates.

But control of a trust that will control Michael Jackson s estate estimated at more than $500 million goes to Branca and McClain in the will.

Jackson s children, ranging in ages from 7 to 12, are named as beneficiaries of a trust.

Paul Gordon Hoffman, an attorney for Branca and McClain, told Beckloff his clients are the proper people to take over Jackson s financial affairs.

He said Katherine Jackson s attorneys had already overstepped their authority.

Another attorney for the executors, Jeryll S. Cohen, told Beckloff that Branca and McClain could negotiate a deal this week to minimize a hit to Jackson s estate from the refund of an estimated $85 million in tickets sold for a series of London concerts.

Michael Jackson had been in the late stages of preparing for those concerts when he abruptly died in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Beckloff urged attorneys for Branca and McClain to meet with Katherine Jackson s attorneys over the weekend. A hearing on Monday will deal with the estate.

The judge said he saw no urgency to give the executors authority over the Neverland items this week.

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