The ferris wheel of justice has rolled over The King of Pop.

It’s now official: Neverland Ranch, home to the, uh, man, who was once the most famous singer on the planet, many carnival rides, and who knows how many tickle fights with McCauley Culkin, is closed.

Dozens of employees have been laid off due to the fact that the California Department of Labor shut down the ranch because Jackson carried no workers compensation.

After all that has been alleged to have gone on at Neverland–from supplying kids with alcohol to drug use to sequined fingerprints on Garanimal zippers–Michael Jackson’s home is shut down not due to any of the plethora of “alleged” crimes, but because he wasn’t set up to accommodate government regulations in the event his umbrella holder poked out an eye or a Neverland carney lost a leg in a bumper car accident. 

The government shutting down Neverland for a lack of workers comp is the pop world real estate equivalent of getting Capone on tax evasion. The lesson here being that, if you’re a bank robber, child molester, carjacker, or mobster, your odds of getting off the hook are far greater if you simply keep your paperwork with the State timely and on the up-and-up.

Frankly, Jackson should feel lucky for getting away with just having to leave the country. A couple hundred million dollars in outstanding loans and problems with the government pale in comparison to what could have happened. For a while, it was looking like Michael was facing the kind of serious jail time often reserved for the kind of person that has a playscape in the wine cellar, but fame can get you out of just about anything–with the exception of government financial regulations.

When Jackson was found not guilty on all counts after last year’s molestation trial, it was not surprising in the least. I have no legal background, but yet managed to follow the case enough to conclude that many of the witnesses for the prosecution were as greasy as half-cooked bacon. When you’re trying to convict a freak, you can’t do it with people who are freakier than the freak in question–the kind of folks who make Mr. Haney from Green Acres seem like a beacon of integrity.

In his later life, Jackson allowed himself to be surrounded by every form of blood sucker, extortionist, and weasel imaginable–yes, it was worse than pro wrestling. These were the witnesses the prosecution at the molestation trial had to testify against Jackson.

Jackson could be really stupid for allowing these people in his life, or very smart. He could have surrounded himself with dirtbags and leeches who have no credibility so that when they take the witness stand they’re laughed out of the courtroom. It’s a quite effective life strategy for those with dealings that are questionable at best. “If it’s good enough for the Clintons…”

Somehow though, the thought of Michael Jackson going to jail without being accompanied by some of the parents who allowed their kids to spend the night with him would have made the vessel of justice seem a little emptier. Especially the parents who sent their kids to Neverland after all that was known of the charges against Jackson.

Late last year, for example, about 200 kids visited Jackson at Neverland. Yes, parents were still allowing their kids go to the place where “beat it” wasn’t just a song. Amazing. Perhaps when those kids get older and realize what their parents did, they’ll reciprocate by sending ol’ mom and dad off for a weekend at Jack Kevorkian’s “amusement van” and see how they appreciate the gross negligence.

When you figure all the money Michael has paid out to the families of children to shut them up, his financial difficulties are easy to understand. Consider just the kids in the visit mentioned above. Let’s see, 200 kids at about $1.75 million a kid equals… a checkbook that’s very difficult to balance.

The problems were so insurmountable that Jackson left the country.

Now it appears that Michael will live out his days as a “kept woman”, if you’ll pardon the expression. Jackson is living in Bahrain, where it has been reported that Prince Abdullah has supplied him with a driver, a Bentley GT, Rolls Royce Phantom, and, more valuable still, gas for both cars.

In Bahrain, Michael Jackson will have more than enough admirers and donors to keep him believing that he’s still on top of the world, even if he is nearly broke, shamed, and can’t sell new music. Much of Jackson’s life has been built on fantasy. Why stop now just because the carousel has been repossessed?


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