Miami Beach Reflections

Alvin Malnik Is The God Father of Blanket

As the discourse about the unexpected death of Michael Jackson shifts from his pop cultural legacy to the more complicated affairs of finances and his children’s paternity, South Florida entrepreneur Al Malnik, a one-time close Jackson friend, has denied he is the biological father of his godson and Jackson’s third child, Prince Michael II, nicknamed Blanket.

In an interview Wednesday on NBC’s Today show from his home in Palm Beach County, Malnik offered a series of family photos and home movies of Jackson and his three children. Paparazzi-free, none of the children are wearing masks or costumes or shying away from the cameras.

Instead, the images are of well-adjusted children: smiling, hugging, blowing bubbles, watching movies, attending Blanket’s birthday party and playing with Malnik’s triplets, who are close in age to Jackson’s children.

”Of course I’m not the biological father,” he told co-anchor Meredith Vieira, adding that he did not actually meet Blanket until he was 2 years old.

But the day after Jackson’s death, Malnik told WFOR-CBS 4 in Miami that he and Jackson had signed a document granting him custody of Blanket — the infant that Jackson infamously dangled from a Berlin hotel-room balcony in 2002.

”I guess in 2003 or 2004, he asked me if anything ever happened to him, if I would become godfather and parent to Prince Michael,” he told reporter Lisa Petrillo. “So I signed a document at that time agreeing to bring up Blanket in the event anything happened to him.”

At that time, Malnik — who opened Miami Beach’s venerable restaurant The Forge in 1968 — says Jackson asked him to be the executor of his wil.

Their friendship reportedly unraveled in 2005 when Jackson was tried on child molestation charges. Malnik has offered little details of their parting but is rumored to have loaned Jackson millions.

Malnik, 76, was first introduced to Jackson in 2001 or 2002. They quickly became friends and Jackson even chartered a plane to travel to South Florida to surprise him at his 1970s-themed 70th birthday party, at which he donned a giant afro wig. Jackson would stay for months at a time at Malnik’s mansion.

During one stay, the Malniks even arranged a late-night shopping trip to a supermarket — a routine task made impossible by Jackson’s celebrity.

”He was an extraordinarily nice guy and just a wonderful father,” Malnik told Petrillo. “He and the kids stayed here for several months with us, and we all just thought the world of him. He just could not have been a nicer, sweeter soul.”

Jackson’s 7-year-old will was filed Wednesday in a Los Angeles court, giving his entire estate to a family trust while making his mother the guardian of his children and cutting out his former wife Debbie Rowe. Court documents estimated the current value of his estate at more than $500 million.

A judge ruled Wednesday that Katherine Jackson, 79, will retain limited control of 2,000 items from Neverland until another hearing is held Monday.

Also Wednesday, a Jackson family spokesman said a public memorial for Michael Jackson is in the works, but it won’t be held at the late pop star’s Neverland Ranch.

Doing My Part In My Town – Thank You From The University of Miami

Message From The President of The University of Miami

Dear Alvin Malnik (Grand Founder)

Please join with me in celebrating our generous benefactors— those alumni, friends, parents, corporations, and foundations who believe in the potential of the University of Miami. It is a pleasure to offer my deepest thanks for your collaboration, dedication, and support of our many initiatives. Our donors have contributed immeasurably in making the University of Miami a world-class institution. From the Coral Gatbles campus to the School of Medicine to the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science on Virginia Key, in partnership with all of you, the University has emerged in just 76 years as a major research institution. We serve many communities—local, regional, national, and international— by confronting critical concerns in the areas of health care, the environment, engineering, business, and law, among others. In this increasingly complicated world, it is our challenge to respond with innovation, interpretation, and solutions to the next generation of issues. Recently, we have broken ground on the Marta and L. Austin Weeks Music Library and Technology Center; established the Batchelor Children’s Research Institute—devoted exclusively to improving the quality of life for children; com- pleted the Frances L. Wolfson School of Communication Building; and opened Casa Bacardi, a first-of-its-kind Cuban cultural center dedicated to fostering an understanding of Cuba’s past, present, and future. At the beginning of the new year, we introduced our new Convocation Center. In just the past three years, more than 100 new endowments have been created, providing a substantial investment in not only our current students, but those of future generations as well. Your generous support has had a significant impact on the advances we have made. Your involvement is essential to our success. We are most grateful for your participation in our progress. On behalf of the University of Miami, our students, faculty, physicians, researchers, and staff—thank you!

Warm regards.


Donna E. Shalala - President

Behind The Mask – Malnik’s Relationship with the Late Jackson

Behind The Mask

The Private Life Of Michael Jackson

As told to Stephanie Wilson (Haute Living) by Alvin Malnik

Photo By Tatijana Shoan

As soon as the untimely and sudden death of superstar Michael Jackson hit the airwaves, the rumors began flying. From the highly suspicious to the utterly ludicrous, falsehoods spread through the media like wildfire. Michael Jackson—a superstar with unmatched talent and charisma, a national treasure under a glaring global spotlight from the time he was 10 years old—was an incredibly private person. And though millions revered the man behind the pop-king mask, few really knew him. Al Malnik, the famous and legendary lawyer, businessman, and restaurateur whom Haute Living referred to as a “Living Legend” during our cover profile in the January/February 2007 Miami edition, was one of the few people whom Michael trusted wholeheartedly. In fact, Malnik is the godfather of Michael’s youngest son, Blanket, a piece of reality that got twisted and misconstrued in the weeks following his death. The rumor mill warped the truth so much that it was claimed that Malnik was actually the biological father of Blanket—a completely fabricated falsehood. Malnik appeared on The Today Show to answer the claims, which he called a “Ripley event,” considering he didn’t meet Blanket until he was one year old. Speaking out for only the second time since Michael’s passing, Al Malnik shares his personal history with Michael Jackson with Haute Living in hopes of setting the record straight about the private life of this public figure.

I first met Michael about nine years ago. I was told that he had heard about me and was interested in meeting, and in particular wanted to request a tour of my house in Palm Beach. Michael was an architecture buff, and he had admired the property from afar. He was in L.A. at the time, and expressed interest in discussing several different business ideas and plans. He finally asked [director] Brett Ratner, whom I refer to as my 11th son, to call me and ask to meet with him. I initially said no because I was not a fan, so I really didn’t see the point in inviting him to come over and entertain him. When I told my wife Nancy about it, she raised holy hell! She said, “Are you kidding? Michael Jackson! I grew up with him! His posters were on my wall! You have to let him come over, I want to meet him.” So to please her, I invited him to the house, and from that first meeting we all developed a beautiful friendship. Throughout the past decade or so, Michael would come and stay at the house quite a bit, sometimes with the children, and sometimes alone. It was an extraordinary time. Michael was an amazing houseguest because he really didn’t require any attention. He liked to clean his own room and make his own bed, and he taught his kids to do that, too, much to our amazement. Michael soon became close friends with my son Shareef, along with Brett Ratner and Chris Tucker. The four of them spent a great deal of time together at our house, always having a ball, filled with a lot of laughs. I also have triplets that are around the same age as Michael’s two older children, Prince and Paris, who are 12 and 11 now. We would travel often with Michael and the family, going down to Acapulco or other family vacation spots. We also have fond memories of our times out at Neverland Ranch. The most important bungalow there is called the Elizabeth Taylor suite, which is where we stayed. The first night, he had Elizabeth Taylor herself call me, welcoming me to her suite at Neverland Ranch! The kids, of course, loved Neverland; they went around with Michael’s children and saw the zoo and rode the train. It was such a magical time. One year, at a birthday party that Nancy was having for the triplets, Michael came to the theater and surprised not only us, but the birthday guests as well. Everyone thought it was a Michael Jackson impersonator. They couldn’t believe it was really him! Come to think of it, some of the people may still think it was a lookalike. All of our children spent a lot of time together, and Michael’s children especially enjoyed it. When they were with us, they were able to go out with Nancy and I and our family and not be haggled. They didn’t have to wear their veils because no one knew who they were. When they spent time with us they got to experience normal situations that were lacking in their daily lives, like visiting St. Andrew’s school or going to the movies. When they were with my family, they literally were able to take off the masks and no one bothered them. Michael was able to do the same. We worked to create everyday experiences for him, like going shopping. One time we rented out a Publix supermarket so that he could do what ordinary people do on a regular basis.

Michael was able to relax when he was with us and let his guard down. We live on the beach, and he and I would go down to the water together after the sun went down where he was just an ordinary guy, kicking his feet in the surf. When it comes to my history with Blanket, Michael asked me to be Blanket’s godfather when the boy was a year old. My relationship with Blanket is limited, because he was just a baby at the time, and I did not really participate in his upbringing. But I think that in the event something happened, Michael really wanted me to be a sort of safety net. He wanted to know that I would be willing to raise Blanket as though he were one of my own children, and that’s what the legal document says. I haven’t spoken with the family since Michael’s passing. I am not used to being in the media spotlight so when the stories came out, I was shocked. I know if I go to the funeral, the press will besiege me again. So instead, our family will just pray for Michael, and wish him bon voyage from this Earth. Our family loved Michael very much, and we will always be respectful, and always extend our hand of friendship to any of his children, should they ever need our help. Michael had such an amazing energy and such talent. He was always composing new songs and singing them a cappella. One day, he was walking around the house in his pajamas, singing some new pieces that he was working on. He was walking up one set of stairs, and then down another. I asked him, “What are you doing?” He said, “I’m doing two songs at once! I am walking up this set doing one song, and when I walk down the other, I do the other song.” He could write a song in five minutes, it was unbelievable. I know he did end up recording some of these new songs. He planned on making his comeback by doing an outrageous concert tour, starting in Europe and ending in the United States. At the same time, he wanted to simultaneously publish some of the new albums that he had been working on while he was staying at our house—all new, never-been-heard stuff. He was so excited to do this tour, so prepared for it. One of our friends who had seen his rehearsal one or two nights before his death, called me and said, “You ought to come out and see Michael before he does his concert. He is unbelievable. It’s like you have never seen him before.” I did have the opportunity to see him perform before, at our house. While visiting, he asked if we could get him a portable dance floor, so of course we did. When I saw him move around on that floor, I was wowed. I had never seen anything like it. I knew he was unbelievable, and it’s nice to know that five years later, he was equally impressive. It was great fun in those days, but we also shared some hard times. I helped Michael out financially in a lot of different areas when he needed it. At that time, we managed to resolve all of his financial problems. After that period, which was after I had paid for his bail when he was arrested, I felt it was not in our best family interest to spend all of the time that was required to get Michael on the right track again, because at that point he had capable people around him. And, of course, geography was a big problem because Michael’s business interests are essentially in California or out of New York or Europe. I really just didn’t have the time to continue to devote myself to trying to resolve the many considerations that were in his life. The last time I saw Michael was right before his trial, although we spoke many times after that. He was a bit meaner at that time; he was so furious and so disappointed at the charges being hurled at him. He swore to me that he was absolutely innocent of each and every charge that was made against him. And that’s the way it turned out. I think the legacy of Michael Jackson will endure for many years to come. Ultimately, the negativity surrounding him in the press will dissipate. He will be more acknowledged and respected for the musical genius that he demonstrated, and that legacy will survive our decade and the ones to come. Our children will rediscover Michael Jackson again many years from now, and be amazed that he created the music that he did, the style of dancing that he did, and more importantly, the wonderful charisma that he generated.

Alvin Malnik – Shareef Malnik – Brett Ratner – Haute Living Magazine

When Brett Ratner offered to take the cover photos of “Living Legend” Al Malnik and his son Shareef, we couldn’t have been more honored. A long-time family friend, Al often refers to Ratner as his 11th son, and he even helped get the billion-dollar director his start in his film career. Ratner, an accomplished photographer, headed to the Malnik estate in Palm Beach for a photo shoot that captured the compelling father-son dynamic of Al and Shareef. A legendary lawyer, entrepreneur, and restaurateur, Al is the mastermind behind culinary institution The Forge, which dominated the haute dining scene for decades as the place on Miami Beach. Shareef took over the restaurant in 1991, and the establishment continued its reign. Now, Shareef is taking this proven formula and expanding on a global scale. While the Miami location is closed in July for multimillion-dollar renovations, hungry patrons looking for The Forge’s inimitable steaks can satisfy their cravings at The Forge Dubai, located in the Ottoman Palace Hotel, and there are also talks about a Forge Las Vegas. The Malniks are also actively involved in the betterment of the community, working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Al recently made headlines when false rumors about the paternity of Michael Jackson’s youngest son Blanket started flying. Al is the boy’s godfather, and some were questioning if he was the actual father. Al went to two media sources to refute these claims: The Today Show and Haute Living. He opened up to our publication for the cover story of the Los Angeles edition (the article also appears in this issue), sharing personal family photos and details about intimate moments with the star, and we were happy to be able to provide a worthy outlet for his memories.

Friends of the “King Of Pop” – Alvin Malnik & Michael Jackson

No other performer in history has won more awards than Michael Jackson. His artistry and talent are unequaled and his numerous awards prove that. Most people only know Michael Jackson as the legend. Al Malnik and his family knew Michael Jackson as the friend, Michael Jackson as the father, and Michael Jackson as the man behind the legend.

Al and wife, Nancy Malnik, were first introduced to Michael Jackson in 2001 when Michael was seeking financial and legal advice from Al regarding his refinancing of a debt with Sony and a loan from Bank of America. Michael and Alvin Malnik quickly became fast friends and Jackson would regularly seek refuge in Al’s family home in Ocean Ridge, FL. Michael would stay for months at a time with his children Paris, Prince and Prince Michael II (Blanket). ”He was an extraordinarily nice guy and just a wonderful father,” Al Malnik said of Michael. “He and the kids stayed here for several months with us, and we all just thought the world of him. He just could not have been a nicer, sweeter soul.”

Al and Nancy’s triplets played happily with Prince and Paris at the family’s Oceanside home, a far cry from the rumored isolation the Jackson children were falsely reported to live in. “The relationship our family had with Michael, and the one that I had with him, was really extraordinary,” said Al Malnik. “We were very close, always talking with each other, and having a lot of fun with our mutual families.” While at the Malnik’s home, Michael Jackson and his three children were able to feel free and secure enough to do the things any father and his children would normally do without the pressures of public life. They celebrated birthdays, put on plays, and just simply got to be kids, free from herds of paparazzi or crowds of Michael’s fans. “The Jackson’s were ideal houseguests,” Al recalls of Michael and his children. “When they came, I asked my staff if they would need to work harder with three more kids in the house. They said there isn’t any extra effort. Michael’s kids clean their own rooms, make up their beds, polish the mirrors and take care of everything. Each and every morning, their first chore after breakfast was to clean their room. When I mentioned it to Michael, he simply replied, ‘that’s the way I bring up my kids.’” Al Malnik and his family will forever treasure the times when Michael Jackson and his children would come to visit them at their “home away from home”. “Every day, our backyard was their playground,” says Al of Jackson and his children. “Michael just enjoyed himself so much with our children. It was the kind of imaginary fun people used to dream about going to Neverland and experiencing.”

Al and Nancy once arranged for a late-night shopping expedition at a local supermarket, a routine task made impossible for Michael and his children due to his popularity. To make the experience as realistic as possible, the Malnik’s asked some of their friends to act as fellow shoppers, completely ignoring Michael as he happily shopped. During their friendship, Jackson even chartered a private plane to travel to South Florida to surprise Al at his 70th birthday party, where Michael sat with Al at the head table and welcomed Al’s guests, including B.B. King, Smokey Robinson, F. Lee Bailey and celebrity lawyer Roy Black.

Michael gave special thanks to Al in the liner notes on his Greatest Hits CD, and the two signed a document in 2003 in which Al swears to raise Blanket (Prince Michael II) as his own. ”I guess in 2003 or 2004, he (Michael) asked me if anything ever happened to him, if I would become godfather and parent to Prince Michael,” he told reporter Lisa Petrillo. “So I signed a document at that time agreeing to bring up Blanket in the event anything happened to him.” Michael, in turn, became the godfather of Al and Nancy’s daughter, Spencer. The Malnik family will always remember the wonderful times they shared with Michael, Paris, Prince and Blanket at their home. “It was a magical time for all of us. Thank God we have it on video. We’ll never forget him. We’ll love Michael always.”