Former Michael Jackson manager describes secret plan to 'kidnap' singer

Ron Weisner says that he plotted a scheme with Jackson's older sister, La Toya, in a bid to take the pop star to rehab

Michael Jackson's former manager has claimed that he once planned to "kidnap" the singer to try to bring him to rehab. Ron Weisner says he and Jackson's older sister, La Toya, plotted the scheme, which they abandoned when La Toya pulled out.

Weisner was Jackson's co-manager from the late 1970s until 1983, during the making of both Off the Wall and Thriller. According to Weisner's new memoir, he tried to intervene in Jackson's life two decades later when he learned that his former client was in debt and allegedly addicted to painkillers.

"Michael on drugs was a shadow of his sober self, and even after the way he dumped me, I still cared about the guy," Weisner wrote in Listen Out Loud. In 2006, after Jackson had moved to Bahrain, Weisner allegedly phoned La Toya to suggest they stage an intervention. "[I] told her, 'Let's do this. Let's get him fixed. I'll put together a team, I'll arrange for an airplane, I'll find the right [rehab] facility. I'll put everything in place, and pay for it myself.'"

This was essentially "a kidnapping … [on] the other side of the world", Weisner stated. Two days before the intervention was to proceed, however, La Toya apparently changed her mind. "[She] was, to put it mildly, freaking out," he recalled. "'You gotta stop it, you gotta stop it, you gotta stop it!'" Weisner cancelled the airplane, the treatment program, "the team" who would have "snatched" the singer.

Looking back, Weisner suggests it was probably good the plans didn't go through – if only for legal reasons. "One of my attorneys [pointed] out … there was little question that [the court] would view this as a kidnapping rather than an attempt to help a colleague," he wrote.

Weisner also has some regrets. When he met Jackson again, not long before the singer's death, he thought the 50-year-old looked "like a goddamn prisoner of war".

"I don't know if [the intervention] would've lengthened Michael's life," Weisner said, "but at the very least, it would've given him a chance."

Listen Out Loud: A Life in Music – Managing McCartney, Madonna and Michael Jackson will be published on 3 June.

Powered by article was written by Sean Michaels, for on Tuesday 27th May 2014 08.16 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010