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Michael Jackson on the Brink of Losing Neverland

by Marquette Turner

in News & Views

Trying to raise USD23 million in mortgage finance for a home is not easy in today’s credit squeeze environment. This stark reality is facing Michael Jackson who now faces losing his fantasy land home Neverland.

The mortgage broker trying to find fresh financing for Jackson on his $23 million loan held by Fortress Investments is finding it near impossible to find a willing lender. If Neverland is not refinanced, Fortress can foreclose and sell the ranch at auction. Recently, Fortress laid off $300 million in loans to Jackson on HSBC.

The refinancing resulted in Jackson’s paying off around $20 million in debt, but it still left him cash-strapped and unable to deal with the Neverland crisis.

Neverland Valley Ranch is a developed property in Santa Barbara County, California, It operated as his private amusement park and home when the facility opened in 1988, but is no longer in operation. The property is over 2,800 acres (11 km²) in size contained among other things, a zoo and a theme park, with a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, zipper, spider, sea dragon, wave swinger, super slide, dragon wagon kiddie roller coaster and bumper cars. It is named after Neverland, the fantastical island in the story of Peter Pan, where children never grow up.

Jackson has not lived at Neverland since 2005. Two weeks after he was acquitted on charges of child molestation and conspiracy, Jackson decamped to Bahrain. Within a year, Neverland was shut down when the pop star fell behind on wages for the remaining employees and did not maintain insurance or workmen’s comp for them.

Simon Turner simon@marquetteturner.com.au

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