Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch foreclosed

Michael JacksonMichael Jackson's Neverland Ranch is about to be put on the auction block - because he owes more than $24.5 million in loans on the mansion.

Jacko finally paid the taxes on his Neverland ranch earlier this month - but is still in danger of losing the property to foreclosure.

The former King of Pop coughed up a staggering $600,000 in property taxes on Neverland, which is in Los Olivos, California.

But, now according to reports in the US, he still owes a staggering $24,525,906.60 on the property  - and now the Financial Title Company, the trustee of Neverland, have said unless he pays up, Neverland will be put up on the auction block.

According to Fox columnist Roger Friedman, Jacko has until March 19 to settle his monstrous debt before it will be put up for sale on the steps of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

The Santa Barbara County Recorder website reportedly confirms that a "Notice of Trustees Sale" was filed on Monday by Financial Title Company.

And it seems it will not just be the house that will be up for sale - it'll be everything on Neverland's property. That means all of Jacko's personal property that's still inside the house, appliances, fixtures, rides, games and all 'merry go round type devices' in the grounds which includes a carousel, pirate ship, train station, bumper cars and a ferris wheel.

The report says everything that isn't nailed down must go - and the trustee wants everything sold cheap

Jacko's reps have made no comment on the latest development in the future of Neverland. Just three weeks ago the singer finally paid the taxes on the all-but abandoned property.

According to records in Santa Barbara County, Jackson finally satisfied a state tax lien on the all-but-abandoned Neverland.

The total, according to the assessor's office, came to just over $600,000, including penalties and fees. However, the payment didn't cover the $23 million for which Jacko is still in default on loans he's taken against Neverland since last April.

That amount has now increased to just over $24.5 million in the past few weeks and Fortress Investments which holds the loan is now a month past its foreclosure deadline, which means it could start proceedings against Jacko at any time.

Jacko, 49, moved out of Neverland and vowed to never return after he was accused - and cleared - of child abuse allegations. He said the ranch brought back too many bad memories for him to continue living there.

In its heyday, Neverland was abuzz with life - and attractions such a zoo and a fairground on its extensive grounds. But now the majority of the estate has shut down, most of the animals are gone, and a lone guard monitors the gated driveway.

The foreclosure notice is not the only financial problems facing Michael Jackson. The star still faces a $7 million lawsuit from Prince Abdullah of Bahrain after he allegedly reneged on a recording contract, but kept the upfront money.

But it is hard to believe that Jacko is struggling for cash.

The singer owns a 50 percent stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, including the Beatles catalog, which has an estimated value of $600 million. If Jacko were to declare bankruptcy, however, that stake would be liquidated and auctioned to the highest bidder.

By Nicola Pittam, Feb 26 2008 © Copyright 2008 - Showbiz Spy

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