Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Jacko: Investing With Brunei Prince In Vegas?

All I can say, is first there was Elvis, then Celine with her musical venue, coming soon possibly Britney, and now The King Of Pop! Gosh I love Living in Las Vegas! -Steve Harless

Jacko: Investing With Brunei Prince In Vegas?
By Roger Friedman
Jacko: Investing With Brunei Prince In Vegas?
He’s baaaack.
Michael Jackson is back in Las Vegas. It’s the first time he’s been there since November 2003, when he was arrested for child molestation and conspiracy, charges he was subsequently acquitted of. But coming back to Vegas must be strange for him, especially on his shopping sprees. One such adventure was caught on tape in Martin Bashir’s “Living with Michael Jackson” special.
This is great news for the press, since it means Jackson has learned absolutely nothing in three years.
Las Vegas is also a well-known Jackson locale in the Jordy Chandler saga. It’s the place where June Chandler, Jordy’s mom, has said Jackson separated her and her then 13-year-old son so the pop singer could sleep with the boy in the same room while the mother shopped at Jackson’s expense.

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The fact that Jackson is back in Vegas brings up a lot of issues. For one: His stay at the Irish castle and compound of Michael Flatley is evidently over. Jackson’s been there with his entourage since June 2006. The adage “house guests and fish stink after three days” didn’t seem to matter to him. But since Jackson is traveling on Christmas, it could mean that Flatley finally had enough of his guest’s long mooching.
Sources do tell me that Jackson’s return to Las Vegas has something to do with his old pal, Prince Jefri of Brunei. This is not Prince Abdullah of Bahrain or Prince Alaweed of Saudi Arabia. No, Prince Jefri is much loathed in Vegas, and the frequent object of multi-billion dollar international lawsuits. He’s often referred to as the Sultan of Brunei, but he’s really the Sultan’s brother, accused in his own country of huge financial looting.
Prince Jefri has long been one of Jackson’s benefactors. Jackson has lived for free in many of the hotels Jefri used his country’s money to purchase, including the Dorchester in London and the Palace in New York.

Now comes word from sources that Jefri may have plans for Jackson regarding his interest in Spanish Trails, a private golf community just ten minutes from the Las Vegas strip. Home to celebs and the very wealthy, Spanish Trails is gated and guarded. Jefri built a 100,000-square-foot mansion there some years ago which turned into a famous white elephant of an estate. It’s unclear whether this property or another is what Jefri has in mind for Jackson.

A bigger question might be where Jackson would get the cash to invest in anything. His financial situation remains controlled as ever, and he is mostly illiquid despite his 50 percent ownership of Sony/ATV Music Publishing. His home, Neverland Valley Ranch, carries a $25 million lien from Fortress Investments, a firm that also has possession of Jackson’s $325 million in loans.
With Jackson back in the U.S., there should be some interesting maneuvering to control what’s left of him. His public relations adviser, Raymone Bain, and children’s nanny, Grace Rwaramba, each very unpopular with Jackson’s fans, claim to be his managers. But now that he’s in Vegas, Jackson’s father, Joseph — who lives there with his daughter, Michael’s half-sister — will begin angling for influence. But Bain is said to have brought in an old crony, Rev. Jesse Jackson, who also may try to advise Michael.
Meanwhile, as I wrote yesterday, watch for process servers to start tracking Michael Jackson down now that he’s returned to the United States. Let the games begin!

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Positive Housing Market Rebound News!

Glad to hear any positive news....

Sales of New Homes Post Gain in NovemberDec 27 10:14 AM US/Eastern

By MARTIN CRUTSINGERAP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON


Sales of new homes rose in November while the backlog of unsold homes fell for a fourth straight month, providing hope that the serious slump in housing could be ending.
Sales of new single-family homes rose by 3.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.047 million units, reflecting solid sales increases in every region of the country except the South.
The increase was better than had been expected and offered hope that the steep slide in housing may be starting to bottom out as builders, using a wide array of incentives, begin to make a dent in the record level of unsold homes.
The 3.4 percent rebound in sales last month was the third increase in the past four months. It helped to lift the median price for a new home to $251,700, an increase of 3.2 percent from a year ago. The median price is the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less.
The housing industry has undergone a severe slowdown this year following a prolonged boom that had been fueled by the lowest mortgage rates in more than four decades.
This year's slump followed five years in which sales of both new and existing homes had set records.
What some are calling a recession in housing has been a big factor in the economy's overall slowdown, cutting 1.2 percentage points from growth in the July-September quarter, a period when the economy expanded at a lackluster pace of just 2 percent.
Many analysts believe housing is continuing to act as a drag on growth in the current quarter and will continue to depress activity through the early part of 2007.
The number of unsold homes fell by 1.4 percent in November to 545,000. It was the fourth straight decline in inventories after they had hit an all-time high of 573,000 units in July. Builders have been cutting prices and offering various incentives such as helping to cover closing costs in an effort to move finished homes and reduce high cancellation rates.
It would take 6.3 months to exhaust the current supply of homes at the November sales pace, down from 6.7 months in October and 7.2 months in July.
Sales last month increased in all parts of the country except the South, where they fell by 9.3 percent. Sales were up 22.5 percent in the Northeast, a rebound from a huge 35.5 percent drop in October. Sales rose by 22.4 percent in the Midwest and 19 percent in the West.

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