Jacko strikes back in suit

All but one of singer's claims will be heard in trial

A judge has ruled that Michael Jackson’s response to a lawsuit brought by his former business manager will be included in an upcoming trial.

Myung Ho Lee, head of Union Finance and Investment Corp., claims in a lawsuit that Jackson owes him $13 million in back pay. In response, Jackson alleges Lee breached contracts and did not act in good faith while giving him business advice.

Superior Court Judge Andria K. Richey denied Lee’s request Tuesday to dismiss all the entertainer’s claims. One claim, however, will be thrown out. Richey rejected the argument that Lee exerted “undue influence” on Jackson.

If the matter isn’t settled in mediation scheduled for April 17, it will go to trial on June 18, plaintiff’s attorney Nina Froeschle said.

Lee sued Jackson last April, alleging the singer reneged on a deal he signed on Sept. 14, 2001.

Jackson alleges someone forged his name on an agreement to pay Lee for business advice.

Lee handled the singer’s business affairs starting in 1997. He argues in his lawsuit that Jackson was aware of Lee’s fees and commissions when he authorized him to make deals.

Lee said he arranged for $140 million in 1998 for Jackson to buy the complete catalog of Beatles songs.

The lawsuit also claims Jackson took $200 million in loans from 1998-2000 from Bank of America-Nations Bank.

Among other allegations, Lee points out Jackson’s more mundane expenses, including the pop star’s subscriptions to People magazine and the trade paper Variety and his annual $25,000 dermatologist bill.

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