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Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch; No More Auction

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The famous Neverland Ranch, which has hosted thousands of children in the past, was set to be auctioned off on March 19th. But yesterday, Michael Jackson made a deal with the company he owed $24.5 million to, avoiding the auction and the rumors that David Beckham was going to buy into the property according to an Associated Press news report.

150 miles north of Los Angeles in Los Olivos, the ranch is a 2,500 acre property within wine country and lately, Jackson has not been around. "[He] is said to be living in various places, including overseas, and his family has said that when dozens of sheriff's deputies raided the place in 2003 they destroyed the fond feelings he once had for Neverland."

Despite his absence after the trial over child molestation in which Jackson was not convicted, neighbors noted that he was a good neighbor, even if the home was an attraction, complete with a roller coaster, arcade, bumper cars, merry-go-round, ferris wheel and a train. The community seemed to embrace the pop star as he pitched quite a fair share:

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When a rattlesnake would get into a classroom at The Family School, Morrison said, a call to Neverland would bring the snake handler over to dispose of it. If a child got hurt on the playground, the ranch doctor and Neverland's own fire department would arrive sooner than the local paramedics.

As to how much longer Jackson will be keeping the property, Associated Press' report feels skeptical: "Whether he'll keep it for long, however, remains to be seen." To that, one neighbor speculated that maybe Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will buy it for their kids.

Neverland Ranch Photo: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill