MICHAEL Jacksonâ€™s famed Neverland Valley Ranch in California will be foreclosed and sold on March 19 unless the pop star pays a balance of nearly US$25 million, property records showed on Tuesday.
FoxNews.com celebrity columnist Roger Friedman reported on the website (www.foxnews.com) that Jackson has been formally apprised of the foreclosure and that legal documents have also been filed with the Santa Barbara County Recorderâ€™s office.â€œYou are in default of a deed of trust …,â€ Jackson was told in the five-page filing, according to a copy of the document published by FoxNews.com. â€œUnless you take action to protect your property it may be sold at a public sale.â€
According to the documents, if Jackson fails to pay the outstanding balance, estimated at US$24,5 million, Neverland would be sold to the highest bidder at a public auction on the courthouse steps.
The county recorderâ€™s website shows that a Notice of Trustees Sale was filed against Neverland Valley Ranch on Monday but no further details were available and a spokeswoman for the office declined to comment.
Jacksonâ€™s publicist, Raymone Bain, did not return calls seeking comment on the foreclosure notice.
The onetime â€œKing of Popâ€ has owned the 2 800-acre ranch in the rolling foothills above the California coast since 1988, naming it after the whimsical island where children never grow up in JM Barrieâ€™s Peter Pan stories.
Jackson (49) famously outfitted the property with a private zoo and amusement park and festooned it with statues of Peter Pan characters.
But the reclusive, Grammy-winning singer has spent little time at Neverland since his June, 2005 acquittal on charges that he sexually molested a young boy there after plying him with alcohol. â€”Â Reuters.