05/30/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT
The can of worms that is Michael Jackson's finances will be opened again on June 18, as a bitter legal battle between the reclusive entertainer and a former top adviser is due to erupt in a Los Angeles courtroom, reports Reuters.
The lawsuit is between Jackson, 44, and adviser Myung-Ho Lee, who is seeking $12 million for alleged breach of contract and fraud -- and the action comes at a times when reports are circulating that Jackson is broke.
Among the claims made by Lee is that the musician squandered his fortune in "bizarre" ways due to a retinue of "charlatans," "hangers-on," "hucksters," "imposters," "con artists," "sycophants" and "swindlers."
Jackson has countersued, claiming that his once-trusted adviser (whom he called "Lawyer Lee") and Lee's company, Union Finance, swindled millions from him and then destroyed financial records.
The trial comes as one more bump in what has been a very rocky year for Jackson. Last week he ducked being deposed in an Indiana court case after being hospitalized for what a family lawyer described as a "reaction to lawsuits."
Then there have been a series of TV specials that presented him in a less than flattering light, including his own revelations that he still enjoys sharing his bedroom with young boys -- chastely, he insisted.
Still, the remarks prompted calls for an investigation by California child welfare authorities, who had already been outraged by Jackson's having dangled his infant son over a Berlin hotel balcony in order to show the boy off to fans.
Then in March, a German concert promoter won a $5.3 million judgment from Jackson over canceled millennium concerts