TWO DEGREES OF SEPARATION: South Florida kingpin and St. Louis native, Alvin I. Malnik, 76, has been getting a lot of face time since Michael Jackson’s death. Malnik — a product of Clark Elementary School, Soldan High and Wash U. — was a friend of Jackson’s for a long time and says the King of Pop asked him to become godfather and parent to Prince Michael II, “Blanket” if anything happened to Jackson.
Malnik has been interviewed about his connections to Jackson by NBC’s Today Show, CBS and the Palm Beach Post, among others.
Malnik has said he signed a document in 2003 saying that he could take custody of Blanket if anything happened to Jackson and that he also agreed in writing to be the executor of Jackson’s estate. Malnik says that Jackson at the time became the godfather of Malnik’s then 11-year-old daughter, Spencer. Jackson and Malnik reportedly had a falling out in the past couple of years. The cause of the estrangement is unclear.
Jackson used to seek refuge in Malnik’s 15-bedroom, 35,000-square-foot Palm Beach County mansion in Ocean Ridge. He reportedly would stay there for months at a time with his children and an entourage. Malnik was Jackson’s attorney and said he helped him refinance his debt with Sony and the Bank of America. Malnik also was the owner of the exclusive Forge restaurant in Miami, which he sold to his son Shareef.
Jackson sat with Malnik at the head table during Malnik’s 70th birthday bash at the Forge in 2003, which was attended by my predecessor at the Post-Dispatch, Jerry Berger. Berger was a longtime friend of Malnik’s. He
wrote about the party that “the invitation to Florida itself was unique: a taped message from the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson. But the event lived up to its billing. Jackson, accompanied by a full phalanx of bodyguards, was on hand to welcome Malnik’s guests, including B.B. King, Smokey Robinson, F. Lee Bailey and celeb lawyer Roy Black.”
Berger included the names of some of Malnik’s St. Louis pals who were at the shindig: Attorney Martin Green, merger and acquisitions mogul Gilbert Kopolow and L.A.-based sales exec Barry Gelber. He said the Harbour Group’s Sam Fox and his wife, Marilyn, friends of Malnik’s since high school days, were no-shows but were represented by a magnificent floral masterpiece from the Fox den.
Malnik also turned up with a connection to St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. His name was on a list of campaign contributors as having donated $2000 to Dooley’s unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2000; Dooley was
a St. Louis County councilman at the time.