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Official: Jackson doctor could face foreclosure

A title company official says Michael Jackson's personal physician could face foreclosure on the luxury Las Vegas home that authorities searched in a manslaughter investigation into the singer's death.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Michael Jackson’s personal physician is more than $100,000 behind on his mortgage payments and could face foreclosure on the country club home authorities searched in their manslaughter investigation into the singer’s death, records show.

Dr. Conrad Murray, 56, who has been dogged by money trouble, was racking up the debt when he went to work for Jackson in May.

Authorities are investigating whether the cardiologist administered a powerful anesthetic not normally used outside hospitals to help Jackson sleep.

Documents filed July 23 with the Clark County Recorder show Murray accumulated a debt of more than $100,000 plus penalties since January on a nearly $1.7 million loan on the mansion at the exclusive Red Rock Country Club.

Assessment records show his 5,268-square-foot home near the 18th hole of a golf course has four bedrooms, three fireplaces, a pool and spa. Its original sale price in 2004 was $1.1 million.

Murray’s lawyer in Houston, Edward Chernoff, issued a statement acknowledging the cardiologist’s home was in “pre-foreclosure” and blaming Murray’s financial woes on his inability to make a living “as a result of this investigation.”

“His hope is he can forestall foreclosure until he can once again begin working as a doctor,” Chernoff said, adding that Murray was not paid for the two months he worked for Michael Jackson and concert promoter AEG.

AEG Live, the promoter of a now-canceled series of London comeback concerts for Jackson, has said the singer insisted the company hire Murray to accompany him to England.

Company president and chief executive Randy Phillips has said AEG advanced Jackson money to pay the doctor and had been negotiating to provide Murray a $150,000 monthly salary.

Mary Hunt, a foreclosure officer handling Murray’s case for Stewart Title, said Murray stopped paying his $15,000 a month mortgage in January and could face foreclosure by November.

In addition, Murray’s Nevada medical practice has been slapped with more than $400,000 in court judgments since 2008, and he faces at least two other pending cases.

Court records also show Murray was hit last December with a nearly $3,700 judgment for failure to pay child support in San Diego and had his wages garnished for almost $1,500 by a credit card company.

Murray was at Jackson’s rented Los Angeles mansion on June 25, the day the singer died. Chernoff has said Murray “happened to find” Jackson unconscious in his bedroom but “didn’t prescribe or administer anything that should have killed Michael Jackson.”

Toxicology reports by the Los Angeles County coroner are pending, but a law enforcement official has told The Associated Press that investigators are working under the theory that the anesthetic propofol caused Jackson’s heart to stop.

Jackson is believed to have been using the powerful drug for about two years, and investigators are trying to determine how many doctors administered it, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Warrants served at Murray’s offices in Houston and Las Vegas show that Los Angeles police are investigating Jackson’s death as a possible manslaughter case.

Murray has not been called a suspect, and authorities say he is cooperating.

Officers also spent nine hours Tuesday searching Murray’s medical office, Global Cardiovascular Associates but did not specify what was taken.

Chernoff, through spokeswoman Miranda Sevcik, confirmed a Los Angeles Times report that authorities sought prescriptions “administered, prescribed, obtained, transferred, sold, distributed, and/or concealed” to Jackson or various pseudonyms.

Names in the warrant included Omar Arnold, Paul Farance, Bryan Singleton, Jack London, Jimmy Nicholas, Blanca Nicholas, Roselyn Muhammad, Faheem Muhammad, Frank Tyson, Fernand Diaz, Peter Madonie, Josephine Baker and Kai Chase. It also listed Prince Jackson, the singer’s 12-year-old son, as a possible alias.

Sevcik declined additional comment.

A Las Vegas attorney who has represented Murray on business and financial matters said she had no information on the matter.

“I have nothing whatsoever to add or subtract to the ongoing media frenzy,” lawyer Puoy Premsrirut said in an e-mail.