LOS ANGELES Michael Jackson's former publicist filed a $44 million lawsuit on Wednesday against the self-styled "King of Pop" for failing to pay her for her services.
Raymone Bain, who represented Jackson during his 2005 trial and acquittal on child sex abuse charges and later managed his business company, filed a breach of contract civil lawsuit against the singer in Washington, D.C.
She said in a statement that she had decided "with deep regret" to sue Jackson, describing him as someone "whom I have greatly admired and respected."
But she added; "Unfortunately, Mr. Jackson has elected not to honor the financial obligations of our contractual relationship, despite my numerous attempts to amicably resolve this matter. I am sincerely disappointed in Mr. Jackson's failure to honor his obligations."
Bain, who trained as a lawyer, saw Jackson through some of the most difficult moments in his career. She became his public voice for much of the lengthy child molestation trial in California, Jackson's subsequent stays in Bahrain and Ireland and the financial difficulties that resulted in the sale of his Neverland Valley ranch in California last year.
In 2006 she was appointed general manager of the Michael Jackson Company, which handles his business affairs.
She said in the lawsuit that she was hired as a spokeswoman in 2003 and that from 2006, she ran every aspect of Jackson's life including arranging housing, emergency refinancing, travel and security and scheduling meetings with record producers as the singer struggled to reestablish his music career.
Bain joins a long line of former advisers, accountants and friends who have sued Jackson in recent years over broken contracts and unpaid bills. Most of the lawsuits have been settled out of court.
A son of the king of Bahrain reached an out-of-court settlement with Jackson in November over allegations that the "Thriller" singer had reneged on a recording contract and owed him $7 million.
Jackson's current spokesman, Dr Tohme K. Tohme, did not return calls for comment.
After years of living as a virtual recluse, Jackson recently announced a run of 50 comeback concerts in London, starting in July. All have sold out.
Bain's lawsuit cited media reports which suggested the London concert deal, which she said she had helped to negotiate, was worth $400 million in revenue to Jackson.
Bain said Jackson had agreed to pay her 10 percent of any deals he entered into as a result of her help but had not done so. She asked for $44 million in damages, plus lawyers' fees.
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Eric Walsh)