Neverland not to be auctioned

LOS OLIVOS: Michael Jackson reached an 11th-hour deal to refinance his troubled Neverland Ranch, his lawyer said, avoiding a public auction of the property that had been scheduled next week.

Jackson attorney L Londell McMillan told The Associated Press the pop star has worked out a “confidential” agreement with Fortress Investment Group LLC allowing him to retain ownership of the famed property in Los Olivos, California.

“Neverland and MJ are fine,” McMillan said.

A representative for Fortress did not immediately return a call for comment.

The property was scheduled to be auctioned March 19 after Jackson went into default on the $24.5 million he owes on the 2,500-acre (1,000-hectare) spremminent sale have been rampant for months.

Among those rumoured to be interested in the propeotic animals have been removed and the ranch is said to have fallen into disrepair.

“No one is living here,” a security guard at the front gate said this week.