On a hot, lazy Las Vegas day, Michael Jackson’s eyes were glued to a catalog as he shopped from his hotel room for mundane but expensive trinkets such as Rolex watches, Barbie dolls and artwork.
The 2002 shopping spree continued until Jacko exhausted his line of credit with the hotel. Frustrated, he reached in a duffel bag and handed his 4- and 3-year-old kids a stack of bills totaling $20,000 and ordered their nanny to “take them out and buy them whatever they wanted.”
“He said, ‘Go out and entertain yourselves’,” recalled former pal Marc Schaffel, who’s poised to marry the late singer’s ex-wife Debbie Rowe later this year.
Today, five years after Jacko’s death, the spending spree continues, with his three kids — now 17, 16 and 12 — enjoying a whopping $8 million allowance a year.
And that money — up from the $5 million stipend they used to split, thanks to the estate’s growing earnings — is separate from the $1 million-plus (up from $700,000) grandmother Katherine receives to watch over Prince, Paris and Blanket.
Among the expenses: Prince’s $30,000 yearly tuition at a private school and the six-figure yearly payout to house, educate and treat Paris at a therapeutic boarding school in Utah following her 2013 suicide attempt.
Prince, who’s already shown himself a ladies man, has showered more than $50,000 in custom-made jewelry and other gifts on at least three different girlfriends, a family insider said. That’s $10,000 more than he plunked down for a new Ford pickup truck.
Three vacations a year to destinations including Hawaii and Vegas annually set the kids back about $350,000 — after payments for bodyguards, relatives tagging along, chauffeurs, first-class airfare and plenty of luxuries.
In Hawaii, the family usually surfs the secluded beach and roams the Kahala Hotel & Resort in Honolulu. They relax in the $5,500-per-night Signature Suite.
At school, Paris buys gifts such as footwear and athletic gear for her friends. In Vegas, the kids have often enjoyed the 2,000-square-foot Penthouse Suite at the Bellagio, which runs from $4,000 to $5,000 nightly, not including the cost of the concierge they regularly use and access to the fitness center and the room-service tabs that have run as high as the cost of the room itself.
Blanket regularly dips into his inheritance, paying $200 an hour for karate lessons and more for a personal trainer.
While he enjoys the personal chef at the Jackson family’s $26,500-a-month rented mansion in Calabasas, Calif., he regularly dials his cousins and treats them to dinner at trendy restaurants before taking in a movie. The tab: usually about $500 plus tips.
“These things that they’re doing they are mostly paying for themselves, with their own money. Look, they also get $15,000 to $20,000 every month just in walking-around money. No one else has that kind of dough around here,” one source said.
“This is why you have had so much of the fighting going on in the family. But the battles have calmed since their uncles have finally found consistent work and everyone has pretty much left [Katherine] alone about money.”
Still, family members believe the children are a lot more frugal than their father was with his.
“They’re not [as bad] as their father… They also seem to have more of a sense as to when they may be going overboard,” the source said.
Jacko famously paid his pals Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando $1 million each to appear at his 30th anniversary concert in New York. He also regularly lavished Taylor with diamonds and other jewelry and perfume that easily cost him millions.
“There were times he and Liz would be sitting at her house or at Neverland, and she’d be looking through a catalog of jewels and she’d just point out the ones she liked,” another insider said.
“Once, when she pointed out the jewels, instead of ordering them, Michael hired a private jet and sent two security guys to Switzerland to buy the jewelry and he made sure that they came back right away so that he could give it to Liz before she would leave the ranch,” he said.
Jacko once dropped $4 million on a life-size bronze statue of a child and bought two $75,000 bottles of perfume because the flask was made of gold and diamonds.
He also spent $90,000 “wooing” child star Macaulay Culkin at a Hawaiian resort in 1991.
A spokeswoman for Culkin declined comment.“It was the damnedest thing, he paid for a radio advertisement to announce a false ceremony that he was supposed to attend and he thought that it would impress Mac, so that the child would find it cool to hang with him. Then, he takes him on this expensive gondola-like ride along the ocean and buys Mac’s caretaker an expensive necklace and sends her shopping just so he could spend time with him,” the insider recalled.
Two other close family sources said that despite his spending, Prince has a goal: to buy back Jacko’s Neverland Ranch, which has been in the control of creditors for more than a decade.
“The asking price right now is somewhere around $35 million, but the kid is already thinking about bargains,” one of the sources said, noting the price was more than $50 million before all of the exotic animals and amusement rides were removed. “Prince wants it back, and he wants it restored.”
Prince plans to put away as much cash as he can now but he stands to gain a windfall at age 33, when Jacko’s will grants the kids equal shares of half of the estate, whose value has already ballooned to $2 billion.
When each child turns 40, they inherit the rest.
The teen even has the backing of at least one of his uncles, Jermaine, who still wants Jacko’s remains buried at the fabled estate.
“Jermaine definitely is in favor of this and he thinks it’s a great idea for Michael’s kids to have the place and do whatever it is that they wish,” the source continued. “He hopes that if the family does win control of Neverland, they can eventually put his brother’s remains there.”
(via New York Post)