Skip to comments.Jackson's Ranch Closed After Staff Go Unpaid (Neverland)
Posted on 03/10/2006 5:59:34 PM PST by blam
Jackson's ranch closed after staff go unpaid
By Catherine Elsworth in Los Angeles
Michael Jackson has been ordered to shut down his fantasy-themed Neverland Valley Ranch and fined nearly £100,000 for failing to pay his employees or maintain proper insurance.
California officials closed the sprawling estate in the Santa Ynez valley, Santa Barbara, and barred workers from the property after discovering that the singer had allowed the compensation policy protecting employees to lapse in January.
Michael Jackson failed to pay his employees
Jackson, 47, who has spent much of his time in Bahrain since he was acquitted last June of sexually abusing a young boy at Neverland, was not at his ranch when authorities arrived. An agent of the State Labour Commissioner visited the property to issue the order after a ranch employee reported that a colleague who was injured on the job did not have the cover required by the state.
Cover for 69 employees at the ranch lapsed on Jan 10, said Dean Fryer, spokesman for the California Department of Industrial Relations. Also, at least 30 staff have not been paid since December.
"We issued a stop order to the security guard at the front gate," Mr Fryer said. "In effect, it shuts them down. They're not permitting workers to be employed."
The ranch, which Jackson bought in 1988 for $17 million (£10 million), includes an amusement park, miniature railway and zoo. Bubbles the chimp, one of the zoo's inhabitants, became Jackson's most famous companion.
Children were also invited to Neverland, including the child actor Macaulay Culkin and others selected by charities with which Jackson was involved. Mr Fryer said local animal welfare agencies had been notified of the shutdown so they could make arrangements to feed and care for the animals.
Jackson was fined $69,000 (£40,000), or $1,000 (£580) per employee, for allowing his insurance to lapse. Earlier in the week, he was cited for violating state labour law by failing to pay employees, fined $100,000 (£58,000) and ordered to pay $306,000 (£177,000) in unpaid wages.
He was given five days to appeal. If workers are seen at the ranch violating the order, the department can seek criminal charges or file a civil lawsuit.
During Jackson's child molestation trial, when he was accused of abusing Gavin Arvizo, a 13-year-old cancer survivor, prosecutors alleged that the pop star faced serious financial troubles due to mounting debts.
According to unconfirmed reports, Jackson has recently returned to California and is staying with his parents in Encino, near Los Angeles. His spokesman could not be reached for comment.
The "stop order" prohibits the singer from employing anyone at the 2,800-acre ranch until the insurance issues are resolved, Mr Fryer said. He could reopen the estate if he got workers compensation insurance but may face legal action if he fails to pay the back wages.
Mr Fryer said the department's investigations into the ranch's affairs would continue.
California officials closed the sprawling estate in the Santa Ynez valley, Santa Barbara, and barred workers from the property after discovering that the singer had allowed the compensation policy protecting employees to lapse in January. State Labour Commissioner visited the property to issue the order after a ranch employee reported that a colleague who was injured on the job did not have the cover required by the state.
Hope they send State Labor Commissioner to the capital for the same shake up... Because meanwhile Arnold has come to an agreement with the Democrats on a bond plan that contains bond money for illegal farm workers. So again here is an example of the right hand not knowing the left --- is it or is it not illegal to hire labors if the employer and employees do no pay their fair share of state taxes?
About time they closed this freak show.
Just hope the animals are being taken care off. He's got a small zoo there. They need to call animal control and seize the animals.
I hope they will do that and never return the animals to him.
Any bets on who's going to bail him out this time?
He owes the vet who took care of them 100,000 dollars.
Perhaps the best way to fix this whole MJ thing is to allow him to go completely under. That would remove the allure of glamor and money and give him less access to little boys.
Someone needs to investigate the deal behind the kids he claims as his. There is no way they are genetically his.
and thousands of kids are saved.
Once this "man" is separated from his money, the truth will finally come out. Probably about "his" children as well. I fear for their safety, although if he is with his parents there is at least an unpaid adult in the house.
It is definitely the beginning of the end for MJ. I think the book his brother is shopping around is the first little drip that will turn into a raging river very soon.
Eventually, there will be screams from the press of "why didn't anyone do anything to stop this? Where were the authorities." They will see no irony in that whatsoever, of course.
That said, whenever I see video of the young MJ, it breaks my heart what he became. What a sad and tragic story.
I wish this sicko would leave the US and never come back.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.