05/10/2004 at 08:00 AM EDT
On the same day Michael Jackson was being charged with child molestation last December, the star surprisingly – and quietly – settled a breach-of-contract lawsuit brought against him by a concert promoter, it has just been revealed.
In March of 2003, a California jury ordered Jackson to pay $5.3 million to German promoter Marcel Avram, who had sued the singer for $21.2 million claiming Jackson had pulled out of two millennium concerts. (During the trial, Avram said Jackson cancelled his appearances after he had already been paid $11.2 million but reneged on their original deal because two of the Gloved One's earlier concerts, in Germany and Korea, suffered from "dismal" ticket sales.)
Jackson's civil attorneys quickly appealed the verdict, but the New York Post reports that on Dec. 18 -- the same day Santa Barbara County District Attorney Thomas Sneddon charged Jackson with allegedly molesting a child – lawyers settled the matter by dropping all appeals, according to court papers.
"We've resolved everything and Marcel's happy," Avram's lawyer, Louis "Skip" Miller, tells the Post. "He's been paid in full, but the actual amount is confidential." The paper puts the figure at $7 million.
"Michael Jackson's a very wealthy guy," Miller added. "This wasn't so much money that it would have forced him into bankruptcy or anything like that."
Jackson was not in the courtroom to hear the March 2003 verdict, but at the time of the decision, his attorney, Zia Modabber, told Reuters that the outcome was a partial victory for his client, because Avram had been suing for more than $21 million.
"He's fine with it," said Modabber. "He stood up for himself and went to trial, and Mr. Avram didn't get nearly what he wanted."