Nearly six years after Michael Jackson's death, his fans are reluctant to lose yet another bit of his legacy: RadarOnline.com has learned that a group of Jackson supporters has started an online petition in an attempt to halt the sale of Neverland ranch. But do they have any chance of success?
"Neverland, Michael Jackson's house, is one of the most important places for Michael Jackson's fans," the petition states. "It's one of the reminders that we have of Michael …"
Supporters of the petition, which has almost 8,000 signatures, claim they would like to see the property transformed into a memorial and/or museum, and threaten that they will boycott future Jackson products if the estate does not find a way to make that happen.
However, lawyers for the Estate released a statement, clarifying they had no role in preventing the sale, because Colony Capital owns a majority stake in the property. The ranch property itself was co-owned by Jackson and Colony Capital, which bought out Jackson's $23 million mortgage just as the property was about to go into foreclosure. The 2,500-acre ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley area of Santa Barbara County has an assessed value of $27 million.
“Over the past week, the Estate has received inquiries from members of the fan community about the sale of Neverland," lawyers for the estate said. "It has also been brought to the Estate's attention that there are members of the fan community who intend to boycott future products until Neverland is in the possession of Michael's children with the hope that this action will persuade the Executors to do something that they are powerless to do."
"As has been said in previous statements from the Estate, both to the media and to the fan community, the Estate is very disappointed over the decision by Colony Capital to sell Neverland," they noted. "Unfortunately, that does not change the reality that it the Estate is not in a position to stop the sale of the property. As was also stated in a previous statement that we shared with you last July, under the terms of the agreement that Michael himself signed with Colony Capital, Colony has the right to sell."
"No matter how many requests or notices of boycott the Estate receives, it cannot prevent the sale of Neverland, nor would it be fiscally responsible for the Estate to spend Michael's children's money on purchasing the property again," the statement said.
In closing, the Estate expressed their disappointment by the decision to sell Neverland.
"The Estate is very saddened by the thought of the sale and hope that the fan community can understand and appreciate that the Executors worked with Colony to try to find an alternative to the sale of the property but were unsuccessful in doing so and Colony ultimately determined that it needed to proceed with the sale – something that they have the legal right to do."