via NY Times
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Hours after an extensive collection of memorabilia owned by Michael Jackson went on view for a public auction, the auctioneer and Mr. Jackson announced Tuesday that they had agreed to cancel the sale and return the property to him.
Mr. Jackson hired Julien’s Auctions last year to sell the contents of Neverland Valley Ranch, his former estate northwest of Los Angeles, and the company put together an auction of more than 1,000 items. But last month Mr. Jackson’s company, MJJ Productions, sued to prevent the auction, saying that he had not been given an opportunity to review the items in advance.
The terms of the agreement were not revealed. But in a joint statement, MJJ Productions and Julien’s said that the exhibition, at a former Robinson’s-May department store, would remain up until April 25.
“From an artistic standpoint we are very disappointed,” said Darren Julien, president of Julien’s. “It’s just kind of a relief for us, because it’s a resolution. Litigation is not fun for anybody.”In the announcement, Julien’s and Tohme R. Tohme, the president of MJJ Productions and a spokesman for Mr. Jackson, said they had “made arrangements that will allow the collection to be shared with and enjoyed by Jackson’s fans for many years to come.”
Mr. Julien had expected a large turnout for the auction, and said that his company invested $2 million to prepare it.
But when the doors opened for the exhibition Tuesday morning, only a few dozen fans and passers-by were on hand. Some, like Abby Marie, who said that as a young girl she dreamed of dating Mr. Jackson, said they were uncomfortable viewing his personal items knowing that he opposed their sale. “I feel horrible that this is even here,” she said. “I’m a vulture for looking at this stuff that he doesn’t want on display.”