TheSmokingGun.com - Citing Michael Jackson's failure to cover his employees with required insurance, California state labor officials today effectively closed the singer's Neverland Ranch and fined him $69,000, The Smoking Gun has learned.
Investigators with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement arrived at the sprawling Los Olivos estate this morning and served the below work stoppage order on a security guard. Additionally, in a March 7 letter, the state apprised Jackson that more than 30 workers have filed unpaid wage claims against him and that he owes those employees more than $300,000, as well as penalties in excess of $100,000.
The state's demand letter contends that Jackson has been welshing on his employees since last December. Today's state "stop order" bars Jackson from "using any employee labor" until he secures required workers' compensation insurance and warns that if Jackson fails to abide by the enforced work stoppage he could be charged with a criminal misdemeanor.
In addition to being fined $1000 apiece for 69 workers, Jackson is also liable for up to 10 days pay for those employees who now are no longer allowed to report to Neverland for work. While it is unclear how many workers are still employed at the cash-strapped Jackson's ranch, state officials used the 69 worker figure based on Neverland's most recent quarterly tax report, filed in December 2005, which said that 69 employees worked there.
According to state records, Jackson's workers' comp policy expired about two months ago. The 47-year-old singer has been out of the country since shortly after his June 2005 acquittal on child molestation charges. Since then, he has been spotted in Bahrain and, more recently, London. (3 pages)
And they're homeless now, too.
Update: Turns out the llamas were already taken from this...
But there are still caged elephants, tigers and orangutans. And what a shocker, he owes the vet money too:
$ 91,602 unpaid veterinarian bills +
$ 69,000 fine to state of California +
$ 300,000 in unpaid wages claims +
$ 100,000 in unpaid wages penalties +
$ 3,100,000 claim from gay p*rn producer Marc Schaffel +
$ 64,000,000 claim from fmr. mgr. Dieter Weisner
$ 270,000,000 in loans+
a custody battle that's heatin' up
= Wacko Jacko ain't never comin' back from Bahrain
Update 3.10.06: Oh no! The stop order is not limited to the Neverland staff but also applies to Jackons assistant and the staff at his parents' Hayvenhurst home. Will Michael Jackson's mother have to make their meals and do their laundry? Will Joe Jackson be forced to tend his own lawn?
Update later 3.10.06: Janet Jackson will bail her little brother out again so her mom doesn't have to start making her own bed!