Californian authorities fine the singer
Michael Jackson has been ordered to close down his Neverland ranch by Californian authorities.
The singer has been fined $169,000 (£97,000) for not paying at least 30 staff since December and letting his employer’s insurance policy lapse in January.
The local authority will now take care of the animals in the property’s zoo.
Anyone employing more than one person has to have a worker’s compensation policy under Californian law.
According to BBC News, ranch operators have been given five days to appeal the decision and all of the employees have been told to stay away.
A security guard at the front gate of Neverland was served with an order to stop operations at the ranch.
However, officials were turned away when they asked to see the property’s management.
A spokesperson for the state’s department of industrial relations, Dean Fryer, said that Jackson could reopen the ranch if he obtains workers’ compensation insurance.
If he fails to pay back the wages however, he may face legal action by the state.
The singer has been living in Bahrain since he was acquitted on child molestation charges last June.
The Californian department of industrial relations were alerted following an unpaid wage claim made by a Neverland employee.
The worker said that a colleague had been injured at work and was unsure about filing a claim due to the lapsed insurance.
Jackson’s Neverland ranch is located in central California and contains the main house, zoo and theme park within the 1,100 hectare (2,800 acre) plot.
The zoo has housed elephants, giraffes, snakes, orang-utans, tigers and a crocodile.