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Jackson memorial: City attorney investigating how L.A. ended up footing the bill

The Michael Jackson memorial is over, but the debate over the estimated bill to the city of nearly $4 million continues to rage.

Newly elected Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich told the City Council he was investigating how the city ended up on the hook for police costs surrounding the memorial.

He assured the council that his new management team was going to find out how the city got into the position of providing support for the event and how it could recoup some of the money. His staff also is  researching legislation “so we won’t be caught in this lurch again,” he said.

City sources had estimated the cost of policing and other city services at $3.8 million, though officials are still tabulating the final costs. Far fewer fans than expected converged on downtown Los Angeles for the memorial than expected, and the LAPD decided to let about 1,000 officers go home early. 

Before the event, L.A. Councilman Dennis Zine said AEG, the entertainment company that produced the memorial and was handling Jackson's comeback, should pay the city for the costs it incurred. Councilwoman Jan Perry suggested the Jackson family make a contribution.

Of course, at least some of those costs could be recouped with extra tax revenues from the swarm of fans and media reporters who came to L.A. for Jackson's memorial. There were reports of full hotels, but it's unclear exactly how much extra tax revenues the business brought in.

-- Maeve Reston and Andrew Blankstein

Comments () | Archives (60)

In your "investigation" please let us know what amount has been generated over the last few days by tourists and locals who have undoubtedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on hotels, restaurants, etc..

Then and ONLY then come back to us with the "bill".

Thank you!

I agree and would like to know how and why the city got left holding the bag. This is a pop star, not a political dignitary or head of state. Sorry guys, I know that many of you loved MJ, and for good reason. But my city is gouging tax payers like myself for their lack of fiduciary discretion and ability to manage a budget. So I have to ask, how come we are paying for MJs memorial event expenses?

Too bad you LA Council members weren't this alert to other events that took up the time of the police in the past. Events such as the marches by those in support of immigration rights, the constant street fares, the movie companies filming at various locations, etc. Many etcertas in fact for the past three decades. How about the Mayors junkets to the Democratic conventions and overseas. How about the junkets taken by each of you council members to sunny locations overseas as well as Europe. Well now. Does that provide a little context for you?

San Diego

Ask Jan Perry. She was quoted in this very newspaper as saying that the city would pay for the MJ memorial out of a "special fund" set aside for "extraordinary events."

Don't spend any time investigating. The answer is simple: We have a bunch of morons running this city, from the mayor (wherever he is) to the police chief, the city council, on down. How pathetic that they are begging for money from the public so a party/concert (NOT a memorial) can be held for the benefit of millionaire entertainers and their billion-dollar media companies.

I'll tell you how LA got stuck with the bill: City Council sleight-of-hand. The "special fund" the councilwoman Parry claimed could be used, is supposed to be for things like natural disasters and life-threatening emergencies, of which this event was neither.

Is the City Council scratching its own back with allowing this liability on city funds? So what if the event brought in money? So did the Laker event. There was no need to recruit benefactors to pay for this because it's the responsibility of the family.

What about the merchants who lost money? You know, the ones who couldn't do business because streets were closed and traffic was diverted? The Council would like us to think that it was all profitable, but is only wiling to present half the information. Let's see the losses. This venture didn't even break even and hurt the area merchants more than it helped.

Aside from the hotel and other revenue from media and tourists at the event and the positive light in which the city was portrayed, it is likely that the city has made and will continue to receive millions of dollars in taxes from Mr. Jackson and his estate.

As with any other commercial promotion, those who benefited from the improvement of the brand should cover the costs. The Jackson Family wanted it big and expensive to protect the future income of the music and Joe Jackson's new record label, send them the bills.

Where are all those politicians that came out against the Lakers parade? They were so quick to voiced their opinions then but silent now! Just because it's Michael Jackson?

The way the city got stuck with this bill is they out talked and snookered by Al Sharpton and group. Al is a great one who specializes in spending someone else's money. He is full of suggestions about memorials, commemorative stamps and other programs but he never puts up his money where his mouth is. He likes to use ours.

The taxpayers of LA should certainly not have to pay for this, and shame on Villaragosa for even asking. The taxpayers of LA didn't organize the event or vote on whether or not funds should be used. LA should look soley to AEG and the Jackson family for contributions. What happens if LA has a true emergency or another "extraordinary event"? Is law enforcement now going to be out of money? Is it any wonder that the state and City are in such bad financial straits? Sure, go ahead and cut benefits to the poor, elderly and children, but spend millions on a special event. How does that make any sense?

Of the listed venues for the circus being in town, yesterday's
performance at The Staples Center was omitted.

Hmmm, City Atty. Carmen Trutanich's staff is researching new legislation to stick event organizers with paying for the cost of policing the city??? Probably not a good move as this would make the city of Los Angeles less competitive with other cities vying for convention business.

We may have to swallow this and hope the extra people which came in town provided enough additional tax to defray the cost. For councilwoman Jan Perry to suggest the Jackson family pay is a little insensitive when their presence in California alone has generated lots of extra bucks over the years.

You must be joking - LA is meant to the entertainment capital of the world and as such this is the price we pay for having all those vistors and the film & music industry here - grow up, you can not have it both ways.
Perhaps you should total all the revenue that MJ's death has raised and offset that against the policing bill - you just want it both ways - typical politician

LAPD's intelligence-gathering departments aren't performing very well.

For the Lakers parade, they knew streets would be lined and a Coliseum would be filled. And LAPD's intelligence departments thought 2,000 cops were sufficient for the job.

But for today's Michael Jackson memorial, they believed 3,000 cops were needed for the massive crowds that were going to attend - or attempt to crash - the memorial. And how many were there on the perimeter? Five thousand peaceful fans.

I don't think the LAPD should be asking for public assistance paying for their enormous miscalculation of needed personnel. They need to be able to gather better intelligence to better protect our communities.

Clint Bradford
Mira Loma

Sorry San Diego, movies pay for the retired officers assigned to our sets. No money comes out of the cities pocket.

this could easily become a free speech issue, how can you legislate against public events if you require the event holder to pay for huge security contigent in the area around your event for a crowd that may or may not show up, and may or not behave itself. how do you decide which events will draw rowdy crowds or not. its only in recent times that cities and police departments have decided to prepare on the level that they do now. im willing to bet the cost of replacing a few broken windows is way cheaper. we probably can blame this response on the 1999 seattle wto protesters who organized anarchy, also at other world financial meetings, then using this methodology on other events.

Just repeat what Shemp said about 12 million times....

I bet no one ever get the EXACT COST,if you DUMMIES think the filling of hotels will pay for LAPD's overtime,,you're dreaming,,What about the fire dept.,freeway closer,helecopters, all OVERTIME,or double time and one half LOTS OF MONEY THAT L.A. don't have,,LOS ANGELES YOU KEEP ON DREAMING,ONE DAY YOU WILL WAKE UP AND THROUGH THE BUMS OUT. YOU,YOU,DUMMIES, WHO DO YOU THINK OCCUPIDED THE HOTELS,(LAPD) THE POLICE OFFICERS DON'T LIVE IN LOS ANGELES CITY

Hey LA, stop whining about the costs. You are the entertainment capital of the world and this is a tiny cost of maintaining that status. Your entrainment and tourism industries generate billions and billions and billions for your local economy. Suck it up, this is called the costs of doing business. You got three hours of non-stop global coverage of your city.

The culprit was POOR PLANNING by those who approved the expense. Wednesday morning quarterbacking won't correct the error. Whats done is done, the moneys gone. The fund should always be for public events, not private events turned public. No matter how you look at it, funerals/memorial services are private moments paid for by the surviving family members.

Will the city be willing to provide escort for every funeral in Los Angeles?

Shemp is my personal hero today.

Forget for a moment whether Michael Jackson meant anything to you or not. How in the world did this concert and the security needed for it get to be the responsibility of the tax-paying citizens? No disrespect to the Jackson family intended, but why not private services then later on a memorial concert? For that's what it was. One look at Mariah Carey's dress should confirm that....

Pragmatically, I hope that extra revenue from hotel bookings, car rentals, dinners out and a stiff drink or two (probably needed by many) help make up the difference. I also hope George Clooney is on my doorstep when I come back from the market this morning. But he, and those mysterious extra revenues, are probably both figments of fervid imaginations.

This was a thread of inherent racism running through Jan Perry's support of using our tax dollars for this business sponsored and related event for a psuedo black man. Evidence the shameless self-promotion of those race hucksters Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton injecting themselves in the limelight. We should pay the bill by deducting the cost from Perry's salary.

Wow only 3.8 million for the longest commercial ever?

This was really the cheapest way to promote L.A. worldwide.

Johnny: that was a clever comment, I bet you're the first one to think of that...

But anywho - I'm curious how the City of LA got stuck with several hundred illegal billboards and supergraphics with borderline pornographic imagery littering its skyline. I'd much rather Trutanich chase down the answer and get a solution to that question rather than why LA got "stuck" paying for the public memorial of one of it's most prodigious and noteworthy residents it has ever produced.

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