SENTINEL 8-5-2010
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Managing Michael's Murder

A new book tells all

by Firpo Carr

August 5, 2010

Not long ago Leonard Rowe called me saying that he had written a bombshell tell-all on what he calls the murder of Michael Jackson. Who is Leonard Rowe? Our paths crossed while doing shows at CNN's Los Angeles Bureau shortly after Michael's death. "He was the only African American concert promoter to ever tour the Jacksons," says the Web site advertising his book, What Really Happened to Michael Jackson: The King of Pop? (2010), "having produced and promoted the highly successful tour that launched Michael's solo career, ‘Off The Wall' in 1979-80. He continued his relationship with the family for more than 30 years."

The site continues: "Today, Rowe is an entertainment veteran who started his career in 1975. Over the years he has promoted some of the largest most successful national tours in music history including big name artists, Kool and The Gang, Barry White, Parliament Funkadelics, OJays, Michael Jackson and the Jacksons, Prince, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Patti LaBelle, Earth, Wind and Fire, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and many, many more. Rowe has sold out arenas across America." But, of course, "Near and dear to his heart is the history he made with Michael Jackson and the Jacksons."

Michael Murdered: Rowe does not mince word when it comes to what he thinks happened to Michael: "The King of Pop, in my opinion was murdered," says Rowe, "and his words still haunt me today." What did Michael tell Rowe?: "They want my catalogue [music publishing rights] Rowe, and they will kill me for it." This rings true since Michael called me complaining that they were after his catalogue; and activist Dick Gregory called me saying Michael greatly feared for his life.

A Catalogue Worth Killing For?: "Few know this," Rowe declares, "but Michael owned fifty percent of Sony's entire catalogue. He never wanted to sell it; he wanted to keep it for his children. The powers that be knew that Michael and The Michael Jackson name was worth billions and billions of dollars, and he was worth more to them dead than alive. With him dead they would be able to move in and control the wealth that his name and his brand would bring for years and years to come.

"I truly believe that is exactly what they are doing today with the benefit of a phony and fraudulent will. The powers that be have been trying to keep me quiet by committing slander against me, and trying to prevent me from doing interviews on the talk show circuit. I must confess, I am not one to be intimidated easily or one who will back down quickly. Michael can't speak now, but I can...and I will."

The Usual Suspects?: "All of the suspicious activities that had transpired months and weeks prior to his death," says Rowe, "played out in my mind over and over again. People that Michael had vowed to never to do business with again, such as John Branca and Frank Delio, had suddenly been brought back into his life by Randy Phillips of AEG. We could never figure out why. Michael and I had discussed this on many occasions, and now that I can put it all together, I can see everything so clearly.

"At that time, we were never sure about John Branca, his former attorney, whom Michael had many problems with in the past that had cost him millions of dollars. But we had an idea about Frank Delio, his former manager. We strongly believed that Frank Delio was being brought back into the picture by Randy Phillips because of me. I was the only person around Michael that AEG and Randy Phillips did not control financially, and Randy Phillips, having known me for a few years, knew that I would possibly create a problem for him if he was not working in Michael Jackson's best interest. In my opinion I know now that he clearly wasn't. I can see now that I was going to interfere with their plans."

Rowe's Revelation: "Michael was a dear friend of mine," said Rowe. "This story is a story that must be told. The public as well as Michael's millions of fans deserve the right to know what really happened to him. In my opinion, AEG had a contract with Michael that was nothing less than a cocked financial gun pointed to his head. It is my belief that he was being totally exploited." Visit