ORLANDO, Fla. – King of Pop Michael Jackson, who was indicted Wednesday on child-molestation charges, is relaxing with his children and entourage in Central Florida.

Time-share magnate David Siegel confirmed early Friday that Jackson is staying at his $7.3 million mansion in Isleworth. Jackson is at the 12-bedroom, 19-bathroom, 22,000-square-foot mansion on 3.5 acres at least through this week, Siegel said.

Siegel said he’s never before rented out the complex and that Jackson is paying him “not a substantial amount” to stay there. Rather, Siegel and his wife, Jacqueline, said they were lending the house as a favor. The couple is building an 88,000-square-foot home nearby.

“I’m not doing it for the money,” Siegel said from his present home in Windermere. “He’s going through some tough times right now. I felt he needed some privacy. I think he’s getting a bum rap, and I think that he’s innocent.”

Siegel said he learned from “a friend of a friend” that Jackson needed a private place to stay. He wanted to be near Orlando, Siegel said, so he could take his children to Walt Disney World and other attractions.

Siegel said he met Jackson several years ago when Jackson brought his then-fiancee Lisa Marie Presley to one of his former homes in Isleworth. Jackson was interested in buying the estate, but Siegel said his ex-wife wouldn’t sell it.

“He was very nice,” Siegel said, adding that he and his current wife plan to visit Jackson while he is in town.

The estate is in a gated community on a peninsula.

“It’s very private and secure,” Siegel said. “So hopefully he won’t be hassled.”



(c) 2004, The Orlando Sentinel (Fla.).

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Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-04-23-04 0119EDT



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