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Michael Jackson Laid to Rest, But Not Neverland Rumors

Media reports say ranch has been sold but a different estate sale may be the source of confusion

On the day after pop star Michael Jackson was buried in Los Angeles, rumors were swirling about the fate of his Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos.

Media reports Friday said Ed Hardy clothing line designer Christian Audigier had purchased the 2,800-acre property at 5225 Figueroa Mountain Road. It later appeared that the rumors were the result of confusion over the Holmby Hills mansion Jackson was renting when he died June 25 of an apparent drug overdose. Audigier has announced his purchase of that estate, which is owned by Ed Hardy CEO Hubert Guez, and says he will move in at the end of Jackson’s lease on Dec. 15.

In a statement, Agence France-Presse said the Houston Chronicle “completely misrepresented” the AFP story.

It is very clear in our dispatch that Audigier is buying the house Jackson died in in Los Angeles and not Neverland,” AFP spokesman Christophe Vogt told Bob Field, who leads Never!, a Santa Ynez Valley group opposed to Neverland being transformed into a Graceland-like tourist attraction. “I asked them (the Chronicle) to kill the posting on the Web because it’s going viral right now.”

Santa Barbara County officials said they had no information about a sale of the ranch, which is owned by real-estate investor Tom Barrack, founder of Colony Capital LLC.

Jackson was entombed Thursday night at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk.

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