LOS ANGELES — Memorial services for Michael Jackson will not be taking place at the Neverland Valley Ranch, according to the late singer’s family.
A statement released Wednesday afternoon (July 1) on behalf of the Jackson family clarified previous, unconfirmed information on the matter, which had been reported by multiple outlets.
“Contrary to previous news reports, the Jackson family is officially stating that there will be no public or private viewing at Neverland,” the statement reads. “Plans are underway regarding a public memorial for Michael Jackson, and we will announce those plans shortly.”
Earlier accounts had stated a public memorial would be held on Friday for the King of Pop at his former residence, the Neverland Valley Ranch, with a private memorial taking place two days later. Neverland was purchased by Jackson in 1988, and the sprawling property that was once home to a zoo and an amusement park remains forever associated with Michael Jackson.
There were a number of concerns, however, from various California officials about logistics, including dealing with the number of cars on the small, winding roads surrounding the compound in the city of Los Olivos. The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday that the family ran into trouble obtaining a permit to bury Jackson on private grounds, despite Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reportedly volunteering to cut through any bureaucratic clutter that could slow down the process.
But officials in Santa Barbara County were not able to process the request in more timely fashion.
“It’s nobody’s fault. Everybody in Santa Barbara feels bad about it,” a Times source said.
Speculation is now swirling about where the public memorial will now be held.
According to UsMagazine.com, a source with knowledge of the proceedings said the public memorial may be moved to downtown Los Angeles at the Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers.
There also is speculation that a private memorial may still take place at Neverland, but plans for a burial were unresolved at press time.
As of Wednesday afternoon, William Boyer, a spokesperson for Santa Barbara Country, said he has not heard from the family about further plans, the Times reported.