Michael Jackson Leaves Neverland

Residential News » Residential Real Estate Edition | By Ruth Ryon | December 1, 2008 11:28 AM ET

(LOS ANGELES, CA) - Pop star Michael Jackson has signed over his Neverland Ranch, in the hills of Santa Barbara County's wine country, to several entities including the company that sold the property to him 20 years ago.

Sycamore Valley Ranch Co., now a joint venture between Jackson and an affiliate of Colony Capital, is an L.A.-based real estate investment company run by billionaire Tom Barrack. It owns several properties in Las Vegas, including the Las Vegas Hilton.

Jackson had gone into default on the $24.5-million he owed on the 2,500-acre ranch, and he had faced foreclosure before Colony Capital bought his loan earlier this year. The deed does not show who owns Sycamore, but the property was called Sycamore Valley Ranch before the pop star bought it in 1988, and the owner before Jackson was Palm Springs developer William Bone, who founded Sunrise Co. in 1963 and is chairman of the board.

When Bone owned the ranch, he built a Tudor-style mansion there and promoted the property in a marketing brochure the size of a coffeetable book. Bone, also president of the National Auction Group, specializes in upscale golf and was once quoted as saying, "The high-end ranch market is for wealthy people who like to hunt, but golfers are entrepreneurs."

Jackson, 50, brought amusement park rides and exotic animals to the ranch, where he invited children to visit. The pop star was acquitted in court for misconduct with teenage boys at the ranch, but he reportedly lived in Dubai and elsewhere after his acquittal.

There have been no reports yet regarding how the ranch will be used, but the zoo animals have been taken to other locations such as a nonprofit sanctuary in Arizona.

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