I had an opportunity to interview Michael Jackson's Neverland Real Estate Agent via electronic mail(E-Mail). She has recently written a book revealing more then just that-They were the best of friends!
Yet even so she does reveal some exclusive tidbits on what went on over 20 years ago-the exact details in endeavoring to search for the palace of his dreams!
But before you go out and grab a copy of her book, go ahead a read my exclusive interview with Gloria Rhodes...
An Interview With Neverland's BrokerR.J. In your book, you mentioned that Michael was very definite about what he wanted. Were there any other ranches Michael seriously considered before aiming solely at Neverland?
Gloria "The answer is positively not. He knew exactly what he wanted and had actually been on this ranch before. The only thing was that he didn’t know where it was located. We had to find it. The other thing is that when Michael fell in love with something he would get it."
R.J. You’ve mentioned that William Bone originally asked for $32million and what he was being offered was a disgrace. What ultimately made him change his mind when he was offered $17 million?
Gloria "I completed my negotiations at $17mm and then, at their insistence, turned the transaction over to John Branca, Frank De Leo and Marshall Gelfand and I understand that negotiations may have continued between them and William Bone, but I was not informed of the outcome. I have heard that Bill Bone is suing the Michael Jackson estate for an additional payment that is allegedly due him from the recent sale of a majority interest in the Neverland Ranch – but this is rumor and I haven’t been able to confirm it."
R.J. Legend has it that Michael had both written and produced a track called “Neverland Landing”. Do you know anything about that?
Gloria "It’s quite possible he did although I never heard it. Michael had many different types of “landings” at Neverland. Once he arrived in a hot air balloon. Another time he and his friends parachuted into Neverland! I also saw him jump from the roof into a tree. My heart almost left my body and I told him it was very very dangerous. I told his father of his antics and he said 'Don’t be surprised at anything Michael does. He is as agile as a monkey. Michael knows how to take care of himself.' I decided to say no more."
R.J. How did you feel when Michael Jackson made a statement on 60 Minutes that Neverland is just a house but is no longer a home?
Gloria "I was devastated when I heard Michael say that because I knew Neverland was where he had spent the happiest 15 years of his life. It really broke my heart that he felt that way. His big dream was to build a paradise for children and that had been turned into an evil thing by the media. His dreams were completely crushed."
R.J. There was a rumor going around that Mr. Jackson wanted to start all over on another ranch in an undisclosed location. Is any of that true to your knowledge?
Gloria "At one time he thought of opening up a theme park in Albany, New York. I met him in New York and we went scouting up there. The area in general was not to his liking. Michael was a designer. He knew exactly what he wanted. Another location I showed him was a ranch in the Antelope Valley called Rancho Valyermo in Peach Blossom. The ranch was owned by Ruth Yardun and her sons. However, the ranch was very small and in the middle of the desert. It would not have worked for his animals."
A big thank you goes out to Gloria Rhodes Berlin for contributing her time by answering these questions.:)
To learn more about this fascinating journey these two took in scouting out the best land to germinate Mr. Jackson's dream, I encourage you to purchase a copy of her new book-Michael Jackson: In Search Of Neverland!