Michael Jackson’s former Neverland Ranch up for sale at $100 million

29 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch Lists for $100 Million.

Michael Jackson’s opulent Santa Barbara County, California estate Neverland Ranch has been put on the market for $100 million. As it turns out, the strangest thing the show’s star Kevin Connolly saw while hanging out at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch with Leonardo DiCaprio was … Bubbles, Jackson’s much-publicized pet chimpanzee.The California property that once served as Michael Jackson’s home and personal fantasyland is being listed at $100 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Named after the fictional world in Peter Pan where children never grow up, the King of Pop resided on the estate, which contained its own amusement park and petting zoo to entertain visiting kids, for 15 years. While the theme park rides may be gone (along with Michael’s elephants and beloved monkey Bubbles) the history – both bad and good – remains, and it can now be yours if you have a spare $100million.

Connolly shared the memory with TV host Andy Cohen, who had the show’s Kevins (Dillon makes up the other half) on Watch What Happens Live. “I played with Bubbles,” Connolly confirms. (He didn’t talk about what the chimp was like.) The 2,700-acre ranch in Santa Ynez Valley features such amenities as a train station, six-bedroom house, 50-seat movie theater and a pair of lakes, It has been in limbo since Jackson’s death in 2009. The singer, who got his start with the Motown family group the Jackson Five and had such hit albums as “Thriller,” bought the property for $19.5 million in the late ‘80s from golf course entrepreneur William Bone. Listed by Sotheby’s and Hilton & Hyland, most of the telltale signs if its former famous owner have been erased turning the 2700-acre property from a fun park into a grand estate.

Jackson originally paid $19.5 million for the oak- and sycamore-studded property in 1988 and rechristened it Neverland after Peter Pan’s island dwelling. After Jackson failed to repay a $24 million loan on the ranch amid his mounting debt in 2008, Neverland Ranch almost went to auction before real estate investment firm Colony Capital entered into a joint title on the property with Jackson.

Questions immediately surfaced as to what would become of the fantastical property. “There is obviously a lot of affection for him and his talent,” said Randall Bell, a specialist in valuing stigmatized properties with Laguna Beach-based consulting firm Bell Anderson & Sanders. “But it’s hard to get by the fact that Neverland is closely associated with child molestation. Perkins promises however, if an MJ fan does buy the property there are still a few small signs that it was the Neverland Ranch – with its train and clock made from flowers that spells out ‘Neverland’ retained and restored. The agents have stressed however, this is not a chance for fans to see their idol’s home as they will require ‘extensive prequalification’ of potential buyers as ‘we’re not going to be giving tours’. The amusement park rides, exotic animals and the Jackson-owned Neverland Valley Fire Department – an on-property emergency service that would respond to injured children – that once graced the property are now gone (though a llama is still on the ranch). WSJ reports the home, which is located between the property’s two lakes, is an impressive 12,000-square-feet, with six bedrooms and an attached staff quarters.

The Neverland Valley Train Station, featuring a clock tower with large floral clock, also remains, but while the railroad tracks continue to circle the property, the train itself no longer runs. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again.

They said in a statement: ‘We are saddened at the prospect of the sale of Neverland which, under the agreement negotiated during Michael’s lifetime, Colony has the right to sell. ‘[We will] continue to build upon Michael’s legacy as an artistic genius and humanitarian through his music and new projects such as the Michael Jackson ONE show in Las Vegas.’ They added at the time: ‘We hope and trust that any new owners of Neverland will respect the historical importance and special nature of this wonderful property. Michael’s memory lives on in the hearts of his fans worldwide.’ It is where Elizabeth Taylor married Larry Fortensky in a lavish 1991 ceremony; where Oprah Winfrey famously interviewed Jackson live in front of 90 million viewers in 1993; and it was also where he was accused of molesting young boys.

After months of escalating protests and grassroots organizing in response to the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, police reformers have issued many demands. The moderates in this debate typically qualify their rhetoric with “We all know we need police, but…” It’s a familiar refrain to those of us who’ve spent years in the streets and the barrios organizing around police violence, only to be confronted by officers who snarl, “But who’ll help you if you get robbed?” We can put a man on the moon, but we’re still lacking creativity down here on Earth. While law enforcers have existed in one form or another for centuries, the modern police have their roots in the relatively recent rise of modern property relations 200 years ago, and the “disorderly conduct” of the urban poor.

Like every structure we’ve known all our lives, it seems that the policing paradigm is inescapable and everlasting, and the only thing keeping us from the precipice of a dystopic Wild West scenario. Rather than be scared of our impending Road Warrior future, check out just a few of the practicable, real-world alternatives to the modern system known as policing: Unarmed but trained people, often formerly violent offenders themselves, patrolling their neighborhoods to curb violence right where it starts. Stop believing that police are heroes because they are the only ones willing to get in the way of knives or guns – so are the members of groups like Cure Violence, who were the subject of the 2012 documentary The Interrupters. There are also feminist models that specifically organize patrols of local women, who reduce everything from cat-calling and partner violence to gang murders in places like Brooklyn.

While police forces have benefited from military-grade weapons and equipment, some of the most violent neighborhoods have found success through peace rather than war. Violent offenses count for a fraction of the 11 to 14 million arrests every year, and yet there is no real conversation about what constitutes a crime and what permits society to put a person in chains and a cage. Decriminalization doesn’t work on its own: The cannabis trade that used to employ poor Blacks, Latinos, indigenous and poor whites in its distribution is now starting to be monopolized by already-rich landowners. To quote investigative journalist Christian Parenti’s remarks on criminal justice reform in his book Lockdown America, what we really need most of all is “less.” Also known as reparative or transformative justice, these models represent an alternative to courts and jails. From hippie communes to the IRA and anti-Apartheid South African guerrillas to even some U.S. cities like Philadelphia’s experiment with community courts, spaces are created where accountability is understood as a community issue and the entire community, along with the so-called perpetrator and the victim of a given offense, try to restore and even transform everyone in the process.

Communities that have tools to engage with each other about problems and disputes don’t have to consider what to do after anti-social behaviors are exhibited in the first place. In Mexico, where one of the world’s most corrupt police forces only has credibility as a criminal syndicate, there have been armed groups of Policia Comunitaria and Autodefensas organized by local residents for self-defense from narcotraffickers, femicide and police.

Obviously these could become police themselves and then be subject to the same abuses, but as a temporary solution they have been making a real impact. In New York, Rikers Island jails as many people with mental illnesses “as all 24 psychiatric hospitals in New York State combined,” which is reportedly 40% of the people jailed at Rikers. We have created a tremendous amount of mental illness, and in the real debt and austerity dystopia we’re living in, we have refused to treat each other for our physical and mental wounds. Mental health has often been a trapdoor for other forms of institutionalized social control as bad as any prison, but shifting toward preventative, supportive and independent living care can help keep those most impacted from ending up in handcuffs or dead on the street.

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