After coming close to bankruptcy and the idea of losing a few of his houses, a car or 10, or (God forbid!) living without his yearly $200,000-plus worth of fresh flowers, Elton John did what any self-respecting superstar would do.
He sued the people managing his money.
But in London's High Court Wednesday, the pop pianist lost his multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the accounting firm Pricewaterhousecoopers and Andrew Haydon, his former manager.
"Obviously, I am disappointed and I am considering with my lawyers the question of appeal, which seems likely," the singer, who has sold over 100 million albums in his long career, said afterward in a statement.
"As everyone in business knows, it is notoriously difficult to succeed in a claim for negligence against professional advisers. I am looking forward to fulfilling my continuing recording and touring commitments."
John, 54, sued Haydon for negligence, claiming the manager allowed the accounting firm to unfairly charge Elton for overseas tour expenses, including booking agents, accountants and producers. (John earlier reached a $5 million out-of-court settlement with another defendant, his former manager and lover, John Reid.)
"Sir Elton is clearly a man of an uncommonly generous disposition. He likes spending money on himself and on gifts or other benefits to friends," Justice Andrew Ferris said of John. "But he has little or no interest in business matters and does not bother to understand matters which do not interest him."
Over the course of the 45-day trial (estimated to have cost John about $5 million), certain facts of John's extravagant lifestyle came to light, emphasizing his less than bullish approach towards money management. The singer spent almost $55 million in 20 months, resides in four luxury homes and has garages stocked with dozens of cars and vaults chock full of jewelry.
The singer even admitted his record collection was so large he would never have time to listen to it all.
Then there's his annual flower allowance, which exceeds the GNP of some Third World countries.
The judge described John, who was knighted in 1996, as a man of "uncommon generosity," but found the losses John wanted to get back from the accounting firm could not be recovered. "Sir Elton's indifference to the details of financial and business matters was for a long time compounded by the fact that he had serious problems with alcohol and drug abuse," the judge concluded.
Haydon's lawyer said afterward: "This is both a just and wonderful result."
Neither John nor Haydon was present to hear Wednesday's verdict, but John's lawyer and manager, Frank Presland, said John will empty his "overflowing" garage in June for an auction in London of 19 cars (need a Bentley, Aston Martin or Ferrari on the cheap?).
But, Presland hastily added, "I don't think he will cut back on his flowers."