Michael Jackson Sues to Stop Auction of Personal Items
Fans of Michael Jackson hoping to bid on his gold records and spangled socks may have to change their plans.
On Wednesday the struggling King of Pop – who is expected to announce a series of concerts this week – sued a Los Angeles auction house where more than 2,000 items from his Neverland estate were to have gone on the block over the course of five days in April, the Associated Press reports.
Included in the sale, first announced in December, are paintings, Jackson’s American Music Award for Thriller, a Rolls Royce, a gilded throne and a basketball singed by Michael Jordan. A first look at the sale items was featured in PEOPLE earlier this year.
The suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges that Julien’s Auction House promised to send Jackson, 50, an inventory of the sale items, and that the singer hadn’t approved the removal of every item on the list.
In the legal papers, Jackson’s MJJ Productions describes some of the items removed from Jackson’s former home near Santa Barbara as “priceless and irreplaceable.”
Auction house founder Darren Julien has denied the pop singer’s claims. Speaking to PEOPLE on Thursday morning from Ireland – where he’s overseeing the display of Jackson auction items at the Museum of Style Icons for what he says is an exhibition specifically requested by Jackson’s manager – Julien says, “Three days ago, his manager told us how happy Michael was about how this was going we’re perplexed.”
As for claims that Jackson did not give permission or possibly didn’t realize the items removed from Neverland would be sold, Julien says, “We’re an auction house. That’s all we do. We’re not movers. As early as last week, we returned some items that he didn’t want in the sale.
And as for the auction moving forward, Julien remains optimistic: “We’re hoping that it’s just some miscommunication.”
• Reporting by RENNIE DYBALL