Several years after he was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005, Michael Jackson was holed up with his kids in a 16,000-square-foot rented mansion in Las Vegas. (That mansion came up for sale earlier this year at $9.5 million.)
It was during this time that Jackson’s brother Jermaine introduced him to L.A.-based private equity advisor Tohme Tohme, who traveled to Las Vegas, and took an instant shine to the King of Pop. The feeling was reciprocated, it seems, and Tohme became the exotic, reclusive and long-troubled superstar entertainer’s last manager and financial advisor.
Tohme — pronounced toe-MAY — claimed in a 2009 interview that he was paid nothing as he cleaned up Jackson’s shambled finances and negotiated lucrative business deals. According to his own website, those deals included saving Neverland Ranch from foreclosure — he hooked Jackson up with Colony Capital’s Tom Barrack, who in 2008 paid $22.5 million to buy the loan on the infamous Santa Ynez Valley property, which was acquired in 2020 for $22 million by billionaire Ron Burkle — and he was involved in touring and film production deals with AEG Live, which were to include a 50-concert residency at London’s O2 Arena, and resulted in the 2009 documentary “Michael Jackson’s This Is It” that hauled in more than a quarter billion dollars in worldwide box office receipts.
While in preparation for the London shows, Jackson moved back to Los Angeles, to an opulent mansion at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and N. Carolwood Drive, where he died on June 25, 2009, of “acute propofol intoxication” administered by his personal physician, cardiologist Dr. Conrad Murray. (Murry was found convicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter and served two of the original four-year sentence.)
Several years later, in 2012, Tohme filed a lawsuit against Jackson’s estate, claiming he was owed a 15% commission on Jackson’s earnings during the last year of his life. Much finger pointing and legal messiness ensued and finally, in 2019, the warring parties reached an oral agreement on a settlement. Alas, Jackson’s estate claimed the oral agreement was never finalized in writing and Tohme had to file another lawsuit before a California judge ruled, in July 2020, that the oral agreement was indeed binding and that Tohme was owed the agreed upon sum of $3 million.
With all that legal ugliness in the rearview mirror, Tohme is now looking to lighten his real estate load, putting a sleek three-story contemporary aerie high above the L.A.’s Sunset Strip, in West Hollywood’s celeb-favored Bird Streets neighborhood, on the market at a sliver under $4 million.
Set on steep slope at the head of a hairpin curve of a serpentine cul-de-sac, listings held by David Pinkham of Pinkham Estates Realty describe the just shy of 2,900-square-foot home as a “Sophisticated hideaway” with three bedrooms and three and half marble, glass and wood bathrooms. Though listing photos depict the house as largely empty, promo materials state it is being sold fully furnished.
Dispensing with the formality of a foyer, the home’s loft-like top-floor showcases wheat-colored wood floors, huge floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the room with natural light, and a high-end cook’s kitchen with polished marble counters that waterfall over the ends of the massive island snack bar.
Each of the home’s three levels open to a long slender balcony with canyon-framed city views but the extreme pitch of the land doesn’t allow for much of a backyard, just a wee faux-grassed patio and another narrow strip of artificial turf wedged into the hillside above a near-vertical slope that falls away below the house.
The house first popped up for sale almost a year ago, at the exact same $3.995 million price, and was also available last year a rental at a variety of prices that ranged from $16,500 to $22,000 per month.
It seems unlikely that Tohme, who has been married for more than three decades, ever lived in the house, at least not for any length of time, as he and his wife own a much grander French Normandy mansion set behind imposing gates on almost an acre of prime Bel Air property that was acquired in a $5.8 million deal that closed and recorded just a couple of weeks after Jackson’s death.