Tito Jackson and other family members were looking at homes in Devon
Tito Jackson, the brother of superstar Michael, is being taken to court by a family friend over an alleged debt.
The action is being taken by martial arts school owner Matt Fiddes, from Barnstaple, Devon.
The £12,051 claim, filed in Carlisle county court, is said to be the balance of a loan of £20,551 made to Mr Jackson, 55, earlier this year.
Mr Fiddes claims the loan was to pay for flights and expenses for a visit and television programme in the UK.
Mr Jackson, with other family members, also visited north Devon to look at the possibility of buying a home there.
Mr Fiddes' solicitor, Nicholas Richards, from Carlisle, said the claim had been issued in the town's county court.
"The presumption is it will lead to a trial unless there is a court settlement along the way," he said.
Mr Fiddes helped bring superstar Michael Jackson to Exeter in 2002
Mr Fiddes said he had built a close and personal relationship with the Jackson family over the past 10 years after working as Michael's bodyguard.
"I have not filed the lawsuit proceedings for the money, it is more about the respect and principle of the matter," Mr Fiddes said.
In 2002, Mr Fiddes was believed to be instrumental in bringing Michael Jackson to Devon to take part in an event at Exeter City's home ground St James' Park attended by thousands.