October 20, 2009
Of all the characters surrounding Michael Jackson’s final months and death, Dr. Tohme R. Tohme, Jackson’s self-proclaimed “unpaid adviser”, “business manager”, and “spokesperson” still remains a “mysterious” figure with a “murky” past. While it’s been established that Tohme has ties to Jermaine Jackson and Colony Capital and its founder, Tom Barrack, we’ve discovered another tie: a business tie that extends to Las Vegas and a man considered a “political guru” and “one of the most powerful figures in Nevada, and national, politics”. The same man, who, ironically, has his own tie to Las Vegas’ “Doctor to the Stars”, Dr. Elias Ghanem, a doctor who once had both Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley as patients. The same doctor who prescribed and administered to Presley the “Sleep Diet”: A diet which consisted of Presley, a serious insomniac, being “heavily sedated” for a period of up of three weeks in order to get some sleep while losing weight.
In a previous article, “Michael Jacksonâ€™s Death: Neverland, The Mysterious Dr. Tohme, President of Michael Jackson Productions?”: we wrote about Tohme and his ties to Michael Jackson. We touched on James Weller, the individual who, allegedly on Tohme’s behalf, threatened Darren Julein of Julien’s Auction and his partner with “bodily harm” from the Nation of Islam back in February on LA’s Wilshire Blvd. if Julien’s went ahead with the auction of Jackson’s Neverland memorabilia.
Tohme and TRW Advertising
TRW website. (Logo lists Tohme, Weller, and Sig Rogich as the “three Principals”
Above is a screenshot of another page from TRW where the agency posted its ad agency “street cred”. According to the site WaybackMachine.com, TRW’s website first appeared on the internet in October of 2004. TRW claims it’s “won” over “2500″ awards which we were unable to verify. We were also unable to find TRW Advertising on “top” ad agency lists-something you’d think would occur with so many “awards” TRW claims to have under its ad agency belt. In fact, we were unable to find TRW listed on any ad agency list.
The site does list “new work“:
-A 3 minute 30 second Michael Jackson “King of Pop” commercial on Jackson’s “This Is It” concert series slated to run at AEG Live’s O2 Center in London last July.
-A 90 second “tv spot” for Disney Magic Kingdom Stores, and,
-A corporate video on Colony Capital, LLC., founded by Tom Barrack.
Colony Capital, aka Tom Barrack, bought the “note” to Neverland, arranging a deal with Michael Jackson receiving profits if Neverland were developed. The person who arranged the meeting between Barrack and Jackson: Dr. Tohme R. Tohme, close friend of Jermaine Jackson. Colony Capital partnered with AEG Live to promote Jackson’s “This Is It” concert series in London.
Other than Tohme being listed on TRW as one of the “three principals” we were unable to find any other reference linking Tohme to TRW Advertising. We were able to verify that James (Jim) R. Weller is the same person listed in the court document that Tohme and Weller, along with a “Joseph Marcus” filed at Los Angeles Superior Court back in March on behalf of MJJ Productions, Michael Jackson’s company. The same document that listed Tohme as “President of MJJ Productions”.
Here’s the link to the Court Document. The document, filed on March 4, 2009, sought a motion for a preliminary injunction against Julien’s Auction House. In the document Tohme stated he was President of MJJ Productions. Tohme stated that he had signed the auction agreement with Julien’s, and that Tohme “wasn’t authorized” by Michael Jackson to sell “any of Michael Jackson’s personal property”.
James Weller is one of the “three principals” listed on Tohme’s TRW Advertising website. A Joseph (Joe) Marcus was Jackson’s Neverland Ranch property manager for 18 years. Marcus testified at Jackson’s child molestation trial in May 2005. From the BBC:
“Mr Marcus testified that he never instructed anyone to hold Mr Jackson’s teenage accuser and his family against their will, despite claims of enforced captivity by the Arvizo family.
He said an order in the ranch log instructing guards not to let Gavin Arvizo or his brother off the property was there for safety reasons, as the boys often drove vehicles in the grounds. He said he did not want them taking vehicles on the open road.
However, under cross examination Mr Marcus admitted that he had lied to police in 2003 about never seeing children sleep in Mr Jackson’s bedroom.
Mr Marcus also conceded that Mr Jackson had formed a “special bond” with eight young boys over the years, including actor Macaulay Culkin and Gavin Arvizo.
However, he insisted that it was not only boys with whom Mr Jackson’s formed a bond, citing the actresses Liza Minnelli and Elizabeth Taylor as among the singer’s close female friends.”
On July 7, 2009, HotIndieNews reported that an investigation in 2004 found “five doctors” who “continually prescribed drugs for Jackson. A former Jackson bodyguard, Christopher Carter, named the doctors, â€œDr. Klein, Dr. Metzger (unknown spelling), Dr. Barney from Solvang, Dr. Saunders and Dr. Farshchian,â€. Carter also gave authorities some of the “names” under which Jackson procured Xanax at pharmacies. One of the names was “Joe Marcus”.
Tohme and Weller were mentioned in a March 24, 2009, FOX News article by Roger Friedman. In the article, Friedman reported that on February 9, 2009, Weller asked Julien and his partner Martin Nolan to meet Weller at a fast food joint on Wilshire Blvd. Both Julien and Nolan claimed Weller threatened them on behalf of Jackson and Tohme:
“During the meeting, Weller told Martin and me that our lives would be in danger if we did not postpone the auction. Weller said if we refused to postpone it, we would be in danger from “Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam; those people are very protective of Michael.”
Julienâ€™s statement continues: “He told us that Dr. Tohme and Michael Jackson wanted to give the message to us that “our lives are at stake and there will be bloodshed.”
The next day, Tohme insisted on meeting Julien and Nolan at a Starbucks, Julien says in the declaration. “At that meeting, Tohme denied any knowledge of Wellerâ€™s threats, and said that he accepted the auction would need to proceed as agreed.”
Friedman reported that Julien, upon arriving at Neverland Ranch back in July of 2008, found Neverland “in shambles”. Tohme and Marcus were mentioned in Friedman’s article:
“When I (Darren Julien) arrived at Neverland,” he writes, “I was surprised to see that it was in shambles. Buildings, amusement rides, industrial equipment, personal automobiles, and Jacksonâ€™s personal zoo and Tipi village were falling apart. Gardens and lawns were overgrown. Joe Marcus [Jacksonâ€™s chief of security] and Tohme informed us that Jackson had abandoned the property and has not been there since the trial in 2005.”
Friedman wrote about Tohme and the TRW website:
“On the website for TRW Advertising, Tohme â€” who is Lebanese â€” asserts that heâ€™s Ambassador at Large to the country of Senegal. Yesterday I spoke with a representative for that country at their Washington embassy who said heâ€™d never heard of Tohme R. Tohme. “There are two ambassadors at large,” said Mr. Mansour Gueye. “He isnâ€™t one of them.”
Friedman looked into Weller’s “credentials”:
“Weller, accused of making the threat, did not return messages. In contrast to Tohme, Weller is considered legit. On the TRW site he lists over twenty years of experience in the advertising world, much of it in Republican politics and verifiable. An associate says heâ€™s known Weller for most of that time, and heâ€™s on the up and up. Tohme is a different story.”
We were intrigued. How did an “award winning” adman, Jim Weller, who’s listed as “President” of TRW, winner of “thousands” of ad awards-the claim on TRW’s website-and a partner with Tohme, whom journalist Roger Friedman states is on the “up and up”, end up at a fast food joint last February on LA’s Wilshire Blvd, allegedly threatening bodily harm to Darren Julien and his associate from the Nation of Islam on behalf of Michael Jackson and Dr. Tohme?
While Dr. Tohme continues to be a “mysterious” figure in Jackson’s life, James Weller, in regards to the Michael Jackson story has been firmly planted even further in the shadows. Here’s what we discovered at the website, Zoominfo.com, which allows people to post their “business profiles”:
Weller’s “Biography” on Zoominfo.com:
“Winner Cannes Film Festival, Senior Advisor to the President of the United States, Creative Director 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, Creative Director of the 1988 George HW Bush National Presidential Campaign, Creative Director of the Tuesday Team, The 1984 Ronald Reagan National Presidential Campaign.Winner of The Cannes Film Festival, The New York Film Festival, The One Show, The New York Art Directors Show, The Addys, Andys, Emmys, Effies, Clios, Creative Director/Writer on 2 of “10 Greatest Ad Campaigns of All Time” (Ad Age, Ad Week)Creative Director/Partner, TRW Advertising/AdvisingCreative Director/Ptr, Weller O’sullivan Zuckerman, LightcapCreative Director/Partner, Weller & O’SullivanCreative Consultant, DMB&B AdvertisingCreative Director/Partner, Hal Riney AdvertisingCreative Director/Partner, Della Femina AdvertisingCreative Director/Partner Della Femina & Travisano”
“Winner Cannes Film Festival”.
Could be, but then again we were unable to cooberate this claim.
“Senior Advisor to the President of the United States.”
Weller’s claim is rather vague as he failed to state which President he was a “Senior Advisor” to. Research into past Presidents and Senior Advisers failed to turn up any mention of Weller.
Even so, Weller’s claim of ad work on political campaigns is verifiable as well as the fact that Weller and the “third principal” of TRW”, Sig Rogich, ties extend back to 1984 and the Reagan campaign. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
A few weeks earlier, in June 1984, Riney had received a telephone call from a New York copywriter, Jim Weller, who asked him to join a team of advertising people being assembled to create work for the campaign.
The team included Phil Dusenberry, now retired as chairman of the BBDO agency in New York, and Sig Rogich, a Las Vegas public relations man. Riney agreed, and there followed two days of briefings by Republican pollster Richard Wirthlin and other Reagan aides in Washington.
In 1986, The New York Times reported Weller was executive vice president, director of creative services worldwide for Della Femina, Travisano & Partners.
The sponsored life: ads, TV, and American culture, by Leslie Savan, cited Weller’s work in the late 1980′s. According to Savan, Weller used a “swatch” of Ennio Morricone’s “The Mission” musical score for a Maxwell House Coffee commercial as well as Weller creating the musical theme for a Citizen Watch commercial. Both Maxwell House and Citizen Watch ads were listed at the TRW Advertising website.
Weller stated in his Zoominfo bio that he was currently “President and Creative Director” at TRW. He also stated that he had been a partner at Weller O’Sullivan. According to an article published by AllBusiness.com in 1999, Weller and O’ Sullivan had been three years prior, a “high flying boutique” with a “small” and “impressive list” of clients “including Transamerica, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Walt Disney Co.’s Buena Vista Home Video, and the In-N-Out burger chain”. These same clients, minus In-N-Out Burger, were listed at TRW’s website.
All Business noted that Weller and O’ Sullivan merged with Zuckerman and Lightcap, New York, the same “Weller O’ Sullivan, Zuckerman, Lightcap” listed by Weller on Zoominfo. The “combined entity” landed the Pan American World Airways account. Even so, in 1997, the ad company lost In-N-Out, who moved to another agency while Pan American went bankrupt. The ad agency split up its east and west coast divisions in 1998 with the east coast office taking the Disney account. (Weller was the “west” coast division.)
In 1999, Foxwood moved its estimated $10 million account to another agency. Weller and O’ Sullivan, stuck with “3-4 million in billings”, relocated to a smaller office in Bel Air, California, while on the lookout for a buyer or merger with another ad company. In 1999, Weller and O’ Sullivan still carried TransAmerica, Fisher Telephone, and other “healthcare accounts”, while Jim Weller was quoted as being “optimistic” about the ad agency’s future. Weller’s optimism was short-lived, as Weller and O’ Sullivan closed its doors in 2000 with O’ Sullivan’s retirement.
While we were unable access to find any info linking Weller to DMB&B-which doesn’t mean Weller never worked with the ad company- DMB&B, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, established in 1985, was acquired by Publicis, then closed shop in 2002. According to the site Wayback Machine, TRW Advertising was first listed on the web in 2004.
The third “principal” listed at TRW is Sig Rogich. Other than Rogich being listed on TRW, we were unable to find any other reference tying Rogich to Tohme. What we discovered about Rogich was quite interesting: Rogich has been dubbed a “longtime Las Vegas player, GOP operative, former ambassador to Iceland and all-around powerful guy”. It was through research on Rogich, that we discovered Rogich’s ties to Las Vegas’ “Doctor to the Stars”, Dr. Elias Ghanem, and Ghanem’s “ties” to Elvis Presley, and, Michael Jackson.
Sig Rogich, TRW Advertising’s “Third” Principal
While Weller’s adman “star” landed at TRW Advertising in 2004, and, at an alleged Wilshire Blvd. fast food joint shakedown back in February of Darren Julien and his partner, Rogich’s adman star rose to stellar heights, as Rogich, a Nevada native, is now considered a top media consultant for Republican candidates, including John McCann’s presidential run in 2008. Rogich is founder of Las Vegas based R&R Advertising and President of The Rogich Communications Group, a national and international business facilitator, public relations, and crisis management firm. In 1992, Rogich was named United States Ambassador to his native country of Iceland by President Bush and currently serves as National Finance Co-Chairman for The Republican Governors’ Association. According to TPMMucker, Rogich is a “longtime Las Vegas player, GOP operative, former ambassador to Iceland and all-around powerful guy”.
In 2006, TPMuckraker published an article on Rogich:
“Evidence is piling up that Rep. Jim Gibbons’ (R-NV) campaign staff and supporters tried to hide from public view the specifics of his late-night misbehavior with cocktail waitress Chrissy Mazzeo, as I detailed earlier. One name is consistently attached to the cover-up: Sig Rogich, a longtime Las Vegas player, GOP operative, former ambassador to Iceland and all-around powerful guy.
I’m not the only one who’s noticing this, either. “If Chrissy Mazzeo is to be believed,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported yesterday, “her claims appear to point to a wide-ranging attempted cover-up centering around Republican political guru Sig Rogich, one of the most powerful figures in Nevada, and national, politics.”
Justin Rood “counted the ways it’s been suggested Rogich was involved”. Ways such Rogich “squelching” the Gibbons’ story, “calling on powerful allies”, “hiring a private investigator” to look into Mazzeo’s background, and “cajoling the cops”. Rood’s piece is a highly informative read on Rogich.
It was through further research on Rogich that we discovered the ties between Rogich and Las Vegas’ “Doctor to the Stars” Elias Ghanem, Michael Jackson, and Elvis Presley and the bizarre similarities between Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson’s lives in regards to quests for cures for insomnia. Of unorthodox treatments such as Jackson’s alleged penchant for the surgical anesthesia propofol, while in Presley’s case it was Dr. Ghanem’s “Sleep Diet”, a diet administered to Presley in order to help Presley, an insomniac, get some sleep and lose weight while in a drug-induced state that lasted for “two weeks”.