The Chandlers’ Monetary Demands

The fact that Michael Jackson settled out of court with his first accuser in 1994 is often brought up against him as a sign of guilt. The settlement and the events leading to it will be discussed in detail in a later chapter (The Settlement). Those who characterize the settlement as “hush money” do not realize had Jackson really wanted to “hush” his accuser he could have done so before the allegations went public and before the authorities were involved. In fact, the accusing side’s goal was to get a pay-off from the very beginning. It is clear that the reason they turned to the public and the authorities with their allegations (indirectly, by capitalizing on the rule that all psychiatrists must report allegations of abuse) was because they did not get the pay-off they desired.

Before disclosing their allegation to a person mandated to report the alleged abuse, a psychiatrist, and going public with the allegations, Jordan Chandler’s father, Evan Chandler demanded money from Michael Jackson. In his book, All That Glitters, Jordan’s uncle, Ray Chandler vehemently denies that the demand was an act of extortion and prefers to call it “negotiations”. Whatever you want to call it, this is how it went:

According to Ray Chandler’s book, All That Glitters, with Dr. Mathis Abrams’ letter in his hand, Evan attempted to “negotiate” with Michael Jackson and wanted to do so alone. In the chapter entitled “August 1” the book states:

“Although Evan was certain Michael’s actions toward Jordie were harmful, he still did not believe them to be intentional. As twisted as Michael was, Evan believed Michael genuinely cared about Jordie, and that if he could talk to Michael alone and explain his concerns, Michael would understand and together they could work out a solution, “without the damn lawyers.” [1; page 99]

Jackson, however, refused to negotiate with Evan “without the damn lawyers”. According to All That Glitters, Jordan’s step father, David Schwartz had already delivered the news of the Abrams’ letter to Jackson’s private investigator, Anthony Pellicano, so Jackson already could suspect that Evan was up to something. Additionally, Jackson had already listened to the Taped phone conversations between Evan Chandler and David Schwartz on July 8, 1993. Nevertheless, Jackson agreed to meet with Evan but only in the presence of his lawyer, Bert Fields or Pellicano. The telephone conversation between Evan and Jackson is described as follows in All That Glitters:

“I just want to find out what’s going on between you two,” Evan explained. “You don’t need a lawyer. We can work this out ourselves.”

Michael wouldn’t budge: Pellicano or Fields had to attend.

“We may talk about some embarrassing things for both of you,” Evan cautioned.

“Anything you say to me, you can say to Bert,” Michael insisted.

“But I don’t think anyone else should hear these things. I don’t want you to get in trouble. I just…” Click.

This phone call was a turning point for Evan. “I understood that a man in Michael’s position needed lawyers for everything, but this was not business, not to me. I really thought we could work it out if we could get all the lawyers out of the picture, and I thought Michael would want that too. If I wasn’t bringing a lawyer, why did he need one?” [1; page 100]

The meeting took place on August 4 at the Westwood Marquis Hotel. Present were Michael Jackson, Anthony Pellicano and Evan and Jordan Chandler. According to Mary A. Fischer’s 1994 GQ magazine article:

“On seeing Jackson, says Pellicano, Chandler gave the singer an affectionate hug (a gesture, some say, that would seem to belie the dentist’s suspicions that Jackson had molested his son), then reached into his pocket, pulled out Abrams’s letter and began reading passages from it.

When Chandler got to the parts about child molestation, the boy, says Pellicano, put his head down and then looked up at Jackson with a surprised expression, as if to say “I didn’t say that.”

As the meeting broke up, Chandler pointed his finger at Jackson, says Pellicano, and warned “I’m going to ruin you.” [2]

The hug is mentioned in Ray Chandler’s book as well: “Evan then walked over to Michael and embraced the star with a big, happy-to-see-you hug, patting him on the back like an old friend.”[1; page 102]

And then it is explained in a peculiar way:

“In an interview for Vanity Fair six months after the Westwood Marquis meeting, Pellicano drew attention to the fact that Evan hugged Michael at the start of the meeting.”If I believed somebody molested my kid and I got that close to him, I’d be on death row right now.” Supposedly this means that because Evan didn’t kill Michael right then and there, he really didn’t believe the molestation occurred.

Pellicano, of course, would have us believe Evan had already accused Michael of molesting Jordie as part of an extortion attempt, so when Evan hugged him it showed he knew Michael had done no such thing.

But if Evan went there to extort Michael, why would he start off by giving him a big hug? Why would he act friendly? Wouldn’t he at least pretend that he believed Michael had molested Jordie and that he was angry? Especially with Michael’s audio expert/private investigator present as a witness!

That Evan walked into the meeting and gave Michael a big hug only corroborates that Evan went there with the belief that Michael genuinely cared for Jordie and hadn’t done anything intentional to hurt him. After all, the idea that Michael was being accused of intentionally harming the boy — that a “molestation” had occurred — did not originate in Evan’s mind. It was Anthony Pellicano and Bert Fields who first used the term.” [1; page 107]

How many parents would give the person whom they suspect to have molested their child a “happy-to-see-you hug” and would “pat him on the back like an old friend”? And how many parents would have to “pretend” to be angry with the alleged molester, instead of genuinely be angry?

Another remarkable aspect of the above quoted text is Evan’s apparent attempt to refrain from the use of the term “molestation”. Remember, this meeting took place after Jordan allegedly already “confessed” to Evan about having been molested by Jackson (How Did The Allegations of the Chandlers Emerge?).

Jackson and his people understood that Jackson was being accused of child molestation, even if Evan was careful not to make that accusation himself. At the Westwood Marquis Hotel Evan had only read Dr. Abrams’ letter, he did not make any accusation in his own words. Apparently, Evan and his attorney Barry Rothman were trying to make sure that Evan could not be sued later if the allegations were proven to be false. Actually, according to Ray Chandler’s book, Rothman warned Pellicano on August 1, that Evan could not be sued even if the allegations were found to be untrue:

“But Barry was not intimidated. He informed Pellicano that Evan had made no public statements of defamatory remarks about Michael in any way. And further, that Evan, as a dentist, was a mandatory reporter governed by the same requirements as any licensed health professional. Not only was he required to report his suspicions to the proper authorities, but he could not be sued for doing so even if they turned out to be incorrect.” [1; page 100]

According to All That Glitters, a day after Rothaman warned Pellicano that Evan could not be sued even if the allegations were found to be false, allegedly Pellicano called Rothman and “announced he had a way of working everything out. Michael would help Jordie and Evan “reestablish their relationship” by assisting them in setting up a screenwriting career. That way they could spend lots of time together doing what they loved best.” [1; page 101]

According to the book, this offer was the first thing that Evan brought up at the Westwood Marquis Hotel on August 4, but Pellicano denied making the offer and it became clear that he was not willing to offer him anything. According to All That Glitters, this made Evan “frustrated by Pellicano’s attitude, and Michael’s apparent condoning of it” [1; page 102-103] and Evan allegedly told the entertainer that he knew what he had done to Jordan and that the boy had confirmed it. The book claims “Evan then asked his son to confirm that he had, and the boy nodded affirmatively” [1; page 103], to which Jackson looked straight into Jordan’s eyes and said: “I didn’t do anything.”[1; page 103]

Allegedly, for Evan this was “the defining moment”:

“For Evan, it was the defining moment. “I knew Michael was screwed up, but until that point I wasn’t sure where he was coming from. Part of me still believed he was genuinely in love with Jordie and was acting innocently out of a warped mind, without any forethought or cunning.

“But his smile was chilling, like the smile you see on a serial killer or rapist who continually declares his innocence despite mountains of evidence against him. I knew it immediately; Michael Jackson was a child molester! It was suddenly so obvious, June had been fooled, Jordie had been fooled, and I had been fooled. The entire world had been fooled by this pitiful creature with a brilliant but criminal mind.” [1; page 103]

According to All That Glitters Jordan “confessed” to Evan on July 16, yet Ray Chandler describes this moment on August 4 as the defining moment; a moment in which Jackson looked into Jordan’s eyes and said he didn’t do anything. We are to believe that this is what convinced Evan that Jackson was a child molester? Not that his son had earlier “confessed” to him? Ray Chandler closes the account of the meeting by stating:

 “Evan felt victorious. Not because he had won anything, but because he had finally solved the puzzle. Not only had there been sex between his son and Michael, but he now understood Michael’s true feelings. He had glimpse into the man’s heart, and it was not a pretty sight.” [1; page 104]

Jordan allegedly “confessed” to his father on July 16, but according to this storyline Evan “solved the puzzle” only on August 4, and does that by interpreting Jackson’s denial in a rather peculiar way.

Evan’s new conviction, however, didn’t prevent him from continuing his “negotiations” with Jackson. After the Westwood Marquis Hotel meeting, Pellicano was invited to meet with Barry Rothman and Evan at Rothman’s office and that is when Evan and Rothman made their $20 million demand.

Ray Chandler’s reasoning for that is:

“Evan had two goals. First and foremost was the welfare of his son. On the surface Jordie seemed fine, but this wasn’t surface stuff. Dr. Abrams had expressed deep concern for the boy and left Evan with the impression that serious damage might already have occurred. [Note: Dr. Abrams had not met Jordan yet at this point. Evan refers to Dr. Abrams’ letter here, which was in answer of the version of events that he and his lawyer presented to Abrams.] Evan hoped for the best but needed to prepare for the worst.

If Jordie needed long-term counseling it could be expensive, and they would have to find a state that did not require psychotherapists to report child abuse to the authorities. That could mean relocating and closing his dental practice. How would he support his family? A worst case scenario to be sure, but possible.

Soured by his experience with Pellicano and Michael — in particular, “Michael looking into Jordie’s eyes and denying their intimacy” — Evan’s second goal was to punish Michael. “I didn’t want him to get off scot-free. But a few million is chump change to him. I figured twenty million was definitely punishing amount. At the very least it would give him something to think about. If it turned out Jordie was okay and didn’t need a lot of counseling, so much the better. He’d be set for life. He deserved it after what Michael did to him.

“And it wasn’t just the sex part. Everyone made a big deal about the sex – the press, the cops, the DA. That was important, sure, but it wasn’t the main thing for me. It was what Michael did to him to get to that point. He took over his mind and isolated him from his family and friends and everyone he cared for. He made him his own little slave. On the outside it looked like he was showing Jordie the time of his life, but on the inside he was robbing him of his individuality, his soul. That was the real crime, and that’s what I wanted Michael to pay for.” [1; page 108-109]

Others have differing account about where the $20 million sum demanded by Evan (who was an aspiring screenwriter) came from. On August 28, 1993 the Los Angeles Times wrote: “Film industry sources have said that the boy’s father sought a $20-million movie production and financing deal with Jackson.” [4]

A friend of Jackson, painter David Nordahl elaborated that in an interview he gave to the Reflections on the Dance website in 2010:

“I was working on sketches for his [Jackson’s] film production company, called Lost Boys Productions. Sony had given him (Michael) $40 million to start this production company and that little boy’s dad (Evan Chandler), who considered himself to be show business material, because he had written part of a script. After that he considered himself a Hollywood screenwriter, and being friends with Michael and his son being friends with Michael, this guy had assumed that Michael was going to make him a partner in this film production company and that’s where the $20 million figure came from. He wanted half of that Sony money. It was proven. It was an extortion. Michael listened to his business advisors and they all told him to keep his mouth shut and to go on to Korea, go on with your tour, you’re in the middle of a tour. We’ll take care of it.” [5]

Back to Evan Chandler’s opinion that $20 million was “punishing amount”: why not leave punishment up to the proper authorities? The answer in All That Glitters is that Evan thought they would not believe them and he was concerned about the publicity that the allegations would bring. Ray Chandler writes about that concern:

“It wasn’t just after the fact that Evan made these claims. He expressed his fears about a public airing on Dave’s secret tape, six weeks before the affair became public. “It’s gonna be bigger than all of us put together, and the whole thing’s just gonna crash down on everybody and destroy everybody in its sight.” His son and himself included.” [1; page 109]

However, there’s a problem with this claim. In the taped phone conversation between Evan and David Schwartz, and in the context, that statement wasn’t an expression of concern. On the contrary.

“MR. CHANDLER: It’s unfortunately gonna be too late, then, and nothing’s gonna matter at that point.

SCHWARTZ: Why?

CHANDLER: Because the fact is so fucking overwhelming –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah?

CHANDLER: — that everybody’s going to be destroyed in the process. The facts themselves are gonna – once this thing starts rolling –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: — the facts themselves are gonna overwhelm. It’s gonna be bigger than all of us put together, and the whole thing’s just gonna crash down on everybody and destroy everybody in its sight. That’s [tape irregularity] humiliating, believe me.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah. And is that good?

CHANDLER: Yeah. It’s great.

SCHWARTZ: Why?

CHANDLER: Great, because –

SCHWARTZ: I mean, is that how you’re –

CHANDLER: Because June and Jordy and Michael –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: — have forced me to take it to the extreme –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: — to get their attention. How pitiful, pitifuckingful they are to have done that.”[3]

(Towards the end of our chapter about The Settlement you can read some more facts those go against the claim that the Chandlers settled for money and tried to avoid a criminal trial because they were wary of publicity.)

According to All That Glitters, Rothman was convinced that Jackson would not pay $20 million, so he tried to talk Evan down to $5 million, but Evan was intractable because he believed “five million was a pay-off, not a punishment.” He wanted Michael punished for what he now believed was a blatant molestation.” [1; page 109]

According to the book, on August 9 Pellicano came back with a counteroffer of $1 million to fund three screenplays written by Evan and Jordan. Evan turned it down. Then on August 13 Pellicano’s next offer, which made it clear that Pellicano was rather just keeping them in check, probably to be able to record them on tape while negotiating about money (indeed there were tapes that Pellicano later produced of these phone conversations), not seriously bargaining, shocked Rothman and Evan: $350,000.

“Barry couldn’t believe his ears. Pellicano was completely ignoring the rules of the game. Barry started at twenty million, Pellicano had countered with one million, surely the next number should be somewhere in between. And strange as it was that Pellicano had lowered his million dollar offer, it was even crazier that he refused to reinstate it when Barry told him that he had “busted [his] hump for three days…getting Evan to hopefully agree.” [1; page 117-118]

According to the book, on August 17 Pellicano called Rothman to find out if Evan accepted the offer.

“Barry told him no, but suggested again that Evan might be willing to take the original million dollar offer if Pellicano was willing to renew it. “It’s never going to happen,” the investigator insisted.” [1; page 121]

The day before, on August 16, June Chandler’s attorney, Michael Freeman informed Rothman that they had filed a motion for a Court Order to have Jordan returned to his mother, June Chandler. In response to that and frustrated by Jackson’s refusal to pay him off, on August 17 Evan took Jordan to Dr. Mathis Abrams where the boy made his allegations against Michael Jackson, which inevitably involved the authorities and afforded Evan the ability to get custody of Jordan.

According to All That Glitters:

“In a phone conversation the night before Freeman’s request was to be heard in court, Barry counseled Evan that unless he was willing to walk into the courtroom and accuse Michael of molesting Jordie, he didn’t have a prayer of winning; June had legal custody and that was all she needed to get Jordie back.” [1; page 119]

If one were to follow the above events, it is clear that Jackson had plenty of opportunities to pay off the Chandlers, had he really wanted to, before the case went public or to the authorities. He chose not to do so, which baffled Evan. Ray Chandler writes in his book:

“Fields and Pellicano already knew Evan was willing to negotiate. Why not pay him off and nip the nightmare in the bud while you’ve got the opportunity? Especially when you know your man is guilty of sleeping with little boys, at least. Not only do you avoid a civil suit, but also, more important, you buy your way around authorities by removing their star witness. Ten, twenty, thirty million? Money’s no object. The deal could be a fait accompli within hours. And if it doesn’t work, you can always come out swingin’ anyway.” [1; page 126]

and

“On the morning of August 17, 1993, as he negotiated with Barry Rothman, Anthony Pellicano had in his possession a copy of the psychiatrists report with the names omitted. He held in his hand the future of the most famous entertainer in human history. Yet the tape is replete with examples of Pellicano refusing to compromise on what would amount to chump change to Jackson. Why take the chance of Michael’s name ending up on that report and triggering an investigation?” [1; page 138]

Whether you use the term extortion to describe the above events or not, Ray Chandler closes the chapter about the “negotiations” with a standalone paragraph, as if to summarize the chapter and emphasize:

“Had Michael paid the twenty million dollars demanded of him in August, rather than the following January, he might have spent the next ten years as the world’s most famous entertainer, instead of the world’s most infamous child molester.”[1; page 128]

Yes, this is coming right from the accuser’s family. Meanwhile, please remember how Jordan’s allegations emerged: his father threatened and pressured him into saying what he wanted to hear (How Did The Allegations of the Chandlers Emerge?). The same father who then used these allegations to try to “negotiate” with Jackson for money.

Sources:

[1] Raymond Chandler – All That Glitters: The Crime and the Cover-Up (Windsong Press Ltd, September 2004)

[2] Mary A. Fischer: Was Michael Jackson Framed? (GQ, October 1994)
http://www.buttonmonkey.com/misc/maryfischer.html

[3] Taped phone conversation between Evan Chandler and David Schwartz (July 8, 1993)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/plugin-schwartz_chandler.pdf

[4] Charles P. Wallace and Jim Newton – Jackson Back on Stage; Inquiry Continues (Los Angeles Times, August 28, 1993)
http://articles.latimes.com/1993-08-28/news/mn-28760_1_michael-jackson

[5] Friendship & A Paintbrush – Interview with David Nordahl (2010)
Original source: http://www.reflectionsonthedance.com/interviewwithdavidnordahl.html – the audio clips those contained the conversation are no longer available on the website.

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