A travel agent sued Michael Jackson on Wednesday, claiming the pop star failed to pay her $18,000 for the infamous charter jet flight that brought him from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara where he surrendered to authorities on child molestation charges.
The lawsuit adds to the litigation swirling around the flight. Jackson’s defense team is suing the jet’s owner, alleging that cameras were covertly installed on the aircraft, and that Jackson and his lead lawyer were secretly videotaped during the flight.
Cynthia Montgomery, who has handled Jackson’s travel arrangements for three years, said in her lawsuit that their practice was for her to pay for charter air travel in advance and be reimbursed by Jackson.
The lawsuit seeks $50,000 in damages stemming from the alleged failure to pay for use of the jet, which was chartered from XtraJet of suburban Santa Monica.
Montgomery’s lawyer, Robert T. Moore II, said he has been trying to negotiate payment with Jackson’s attorneys but has gotten nowhere.
“They told us in so many words that we’re not going to get paid,” Moore said.
He said Montgomery had to pay for the plane up front because “Michael Jackson is kind of a slow pay and XtraJet would not deliver the jet without payment up front.”
Jackson’s attorney, Mark Geragos, and his brother, lawyer Matthew Geragos — who has been negotiating with Moore — did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Wednesday.
The Nov. 20 flight from Nevada to Santa Barbara Municipal Airport created earlier controversy when it was discovered that someone had secretly videotaped Jackson and Mark Geragos during the flight.
In a lawsuit filed in November against XtraJet, Geragos claimed that the charter company covertly installed two cameras in the plane’s cabin. Jackson’s attorneys won a temporary restraining order against XtraJet, barring any release of the tapes.