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L.A. City Council to discuss Michael Jackson funeral costs

July 21, 2009 | 10:20 am

The city's price tag for the Michael Jackson memorial comes before the Los Angeles City Council this morning, and it could get nasty.

The council is expected to order a thorough audit of all city expenses for the memorial, and members specifically want to know why the city paid $48,826 for the 3,500 lunches handed out to police officers providing security.

Under a proposal from council members Dennis Zine and Jan Perry, the council also may consider establishing new policies that dictate how much the city will spend on such "extraordinary, non-emergency, multi-departmental, large-scale events.''

On the flip side is a motion from Councilwoman Janice Hahn calling for a complete accounting of the tourism benefits derived from the memorial. Hahn said the memorial promoted Los Angeles as a global destination for Jackson fans.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said last week that the city will pick up the estimated $1.4- million tab for providing police protection, traffic control and other services, and will not bill either the Jackson family or the company that owns Staples Center, the Anschutz Entertainment Group, known as AEG.

Los Angeles is a big city and home to big events, and it's the city's responsibility to ensure the public is protected, the mayor said.

But that was before The Times reported Monday that AEG, the concert promoter behind the superstar's planned 50-date performance in London, received a $50-million offer from Sony Pictures for the rights to about 1,200 hours of rehearsal footage. Fox, Paramount and Universal also have submitted bids.

Even before the July 7 memorial, Zine was calling on AEG to pick up the city's costs for the event.

Meantime, City Atty. Carmen Trutanich has launched an inquiry into the chain of events that led the city to provide support for the memorial.

-- Phil Willon at City Hall

Interactive timeline: Michael Jackson | 1958-2009