The Irishman hired by Michael Jackson to auction off the contents of his Neverland ranch has said he is completely shocked to hear that the singer's management is suing to have the auction cancelled.

Westmeath-born Martin Nolan is Executive Director of the Los Angles-based Julien's Auction House which was contracted by MJJ Productions Inc to sell off all the contents of the 2,800-acre Californian ranch.

MJJ Productions lodged papers with the Los Angeles Superior Court last night demanding the return of all the items and the payment of damages.

A selection of the possessions up for auction are currently in the Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons in Co Kildare. They are due to go on world exclusive display to an invited audience this evening, and to the public from tomorrow.

After its initial unveiling in Ireland, the exhibition will then travel around the world before the auction takes place in Beverly Hills at the end of April.

Mr Nolan said neither he, the company, nor the company President Darren Julien had yet been served with legal papers preventing the auction or demanding the return of the property.

He said he was surprised and could not understand why Michael Jackson's management was suing the auction house as he had spoken to the singer's manger Tohme Tohme two days ago who said Michael Jackson was really happy with everything.

Mr Nolan said the company had returned three Rolls Royce cars and two paintings to the singer in recent days at his request.

At this point, the exhibition is still going ahead.

Michael Jackson is to hold a press conference in England this afternoon where he is expected to announce a world tour.