A former business associate of Michael Jackson filed a breach-of-contract suit against the pop star yesterday (Nov. 16), seeking $3 million he says the performer owes him for unpaid loans, cash advanc

A former business associate of Michael Jackson filed a breach-of-contract suit against the pop star yesterday (Nov. 16), seeking $3 million he says the performer owes him for unpaid loans, cash advances and producing fees.

The lawsuit was brought in Los Angeles County Superior Court by J. Marc Schaffel, who claims he was instrumental in making a pair of Fox television specials produced on Jackson's behalf to rebut a controversial TV documentary that took a critical look at the singer's eccentric lifestyle.

It was that documentary, hosted by journalist Martin Bashir and aired on ABC and British television in February 2003, that renewed questions about Jackson's relationship with children and sparked public calls for an investigation before California prosecutors filed child molestation charges against him.

In the documentary, Jackson appeared on camera holding hands with a 12-year-old boy with whom the singer admitted sharing his bedroom. Jackson also told Bashir in the documentary that he had spent the night with numerous children but denied there was anything sexual about such sleepovers.

The charges against Jackson stem from allegations against the entertainer by the boy shown in the documentary.

The rebuttal video that later aired on Fox also is at the center of the criminal case because prosecutors say Jackson's young accuser and his family were coerced into participating in the film. The Fox special also featured interviews with Jackson's former wife, Debbie Rowe, the mother of two of his children, defending the singer.

Schaffel made headlines in 2002 in connection with a charity single, "What More Can I Give," recorded by Jackson to raise money for victims and survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The project fell into limbo after the pop star learned that Schaffel, the song's executive producer, had been involved in the pornography industry. At the time, Schaffel acknowledged in a newspaper interview that he had produced and directed dozens of gay pornography videos.

In his lawsuit, Schaffel is seeking $3 million in damages against Jackson, including $2.2 million he said the singer owed him for loans and cash advances for "shopping sprees" and other expenses, including money to "pay Marlon Brando to appear at Jackson's concert" and to "buy jewelry for Elizabeth Taylor."


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