Deal struck to stop Neverland auction

March 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Michael Jackson's lawyer says the singer has reached an 11th-hour deal to refinance his Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, avoiding a public auction of the property that had been scheduled next week.Jackson attorney L. Londell McMillan told The Associated Press the pop star has worked out a "confidential" agreement with Fortress Investment Group allowing him to retain ownership of the famed property.

A representative for Fortress did not immediately return a call for comment.

The property was scheduled to be auctioned March 19th after Jackson went into default on the 24.5 million dollars he owes on the 2,500-acre spread.

A source close to Jackson -- who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter -- says it's not clear whether the entertainer will keep Neverland.

Jackson has not lived there since his acquittal on child molestation charges in 2005.