Michael Jackson's three children have been caught up in a bitter battle between estate executors and the singer's mother Katherine Jackson over the kids' involvement in a charity. The "Thriller" hitmaker established the Heal the World Foundation in 1992, helping to raise funds for a variety of causes, including drug and alcohol abuse education and disadvantaged children. The organization shut down in 2002, but a separate charity, also named Heal the World Foundation, was set up in 2008.
The new company had no link to Jackson and his estate executors have since launched legal proceedings against founder Melissa Johnson, accusing her of infringement and unfair competition. They claim Johnson's firm is causing the singer's fans to mistakenly believe it is the same Heal the World Foundation the superstar was involved in and are demanding she change the name of her charity. But Katherine Jackson has only added to the confusion by working with Johnson's firm and allowing her three grand kids, Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket, to get involved.
The children paid a visit to the L.A. Family Housing Sydney M. Irmas Transitional Living Center in north Hollywood on Wednesday, February 23 on behalf of the Foundation, and presented a cheque for $10,000 to the center, which helps families' and individuals' transition from homelessness.
Prince Michael, 14, even serves on the Foundation's board and Katherine is determined to continue collaborating with Johnson's charity. She tells U.S. breakfast program "Good Morning America", "It makes me feel very good, one reason why is because it's what Michael wanted." But Katherine's actions have infuriated Michael's estate executors and they have hit out at her decision to get the singer's children involved.
In a statement issued to GMA on Friday, February 25, they say: "The current Heal the World Foundation has no relation to Michael Jackson's charity that touched so many lives before becoming inactive several years before Michael's death... The estate does not believe Michael's children should be used to exploit a foundation that a federal judge found was not associated with Michael Jackson."