Friday, June 21, 2024

Long Time Michael Jackson Friend Ron Burkle Buys the Former Neverland Ranch as A Land Bank Investment


Colony Capital and Tom Barrack no longer own Michael Jackson’s former Neverland Ranch.

Ron Burkle — investor, philanthropist and supermarket king — has bought the Sycamore Valley Ranch from Barrack for a reported $22 million.

I like this idea a lot. Burkle was a good friend to Michael, sheltering him and helping with financial problems when he needed it.

Burkle’s aide de camp Frank Quintero tells me:

“This is a land bank of 2700 acres of spectacular land. Ron Burkle is a resident of Montana and has owned approximately 1,000 acres in Oak Glen, California since the 70s. Like that property, this is just a land bank opportunity.”

Quintero continues: “At the time he purchased the Sycamore Valley Ranch property it was not listed and he bought it from the seller directly. Ron was looking at Zaca Lake, which adjoins the property, for a possible Soho House retreat. which he decided was over priced and far too remote. The Sycamore Valley Ranch property adjoins it and when Ron saw the land from the air he called Tom Barrack directly and asked if he’d sell it. ”

During the last 10 years of his life, Michael let Neverland wilt. By the time he died, the property had been through foreclosure. Barrack and Colony Capital came in through Michael’s erstwhile manager, the horrible Tohme Tohme, who worked for Barrack and came to be one of last financial predators of the King of Pop.

Burkle will not be living at Neverland, Quintero says. He remains a full time resident of Montana. Who knows? Maybe he’ll let the Jackson children do something with the ranch. But I have no information on that, it’s just speculation.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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