For a closed-door meeting, it wasn't much of a secret. Several of Michael Jackson's advisors met Monday in a suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel for a few hours to discuss the embattled singer's finances. Despite news reports over the last year that Jackson's lavish lifestyle and legal battles have plunged him deep into debt, Jackson music manager Charles Koppelman emerged from the meeting to say that the pop star's finances were ''just fine,'' Reuters reports. He acknowledged that Jackson's advisors ''discussed his assets'' but shot down reports that Jackson was having difficulty meeting a bank payment on his purchase of the Beatles' song-publishing catalog or that he would lease Neverland, which he and his family vacated for a rented Beverly Hills mansion after November's police raid in search of evidence to back the child-molestation charges Jackson faces.
Also present at the meeting were Jackson's accountant Alan Whitman, civil attorney Zia Modabber, criminal attorney Mark Geragos, and his new Nation of Islam advisers, Leonard Muhammad and Tony Muhammad. Jackson himself did not appear to be present, the Associated Press reports, though when an AP reporter asked Geragos why Jackson wasn't there, the lawyer replied: ''Who says he isn't?'' One business-savvy Jackson pal who happened to be at the hotel by coincidence was Donald Trump, who told AP: ''I think they're trying to make money off Michael and it's a shame.''
Also gathering in support of Jackson were his family and fans. At a Monday press conference, brother Jermaine Jackson said the family was planning a ''caravan of love,'' a bus convoy that would carry hundreds of fans from around the world from Los Angeles to the Santa Maria, Calif., courthouse on Friday, the day of the singer's scheduled arraignment on the child-molestation charges. Jermaine echoed his brother's claim in the case, saying: ''My brother is innocent, he is 1,000 percent innocent. My mother, father, sisters, and brothers are overwhelmed at the outpouring of the fans in the USA and all around the world.''