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City attorney says L.A. 'wasted a lot of dough' on Michael Jackson memorial, defends quest for payment

City Atty. Carmen Trutanich defended his efforts to recoup city dollars spent on the Michael Jackson memorial from the owner of Staples Center, but denied today that he asked AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke for $6 million during a meeting in July.
A day after Leiweke told The Times editorial board that Trutanich tried to “bully” the company into paying the city the money to cover various city services provided during the Jackson memorial, Trutanich justified his actions in a speech to members of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce at City Hall.

“If going after your money is being a bully, then I’m a bully; I have no problem doing that,” Trutanich said. “We wasted a lot of dough on the Michael Jackson memorial. We wasted a lot of money. Now if any of you think that we didn’t, I’ll take your donation after my speech.”

The city attorney, who took office in July, said his only goal “is to make the citizens whole."

"It’s not to hurt a corporation that’s been very, very good to the City of Los Angeles,” he added.

Trutanich also offered a different account of his July meeting with Leiweke, who said the city attorney demanded $6 million to settle the matter at that time.

“I met with people at AEG immediately after our election and I told them what the amounts of money [were that] we deployed,” said Trutanich, who later estimated he asked for $2 million to $3 million from Leiweke. “The money that was offered back was insufficient. I didn’t think it was in the best interest of the taxpayers and so I said no and that was the end of the meeting.”

In an interview after the speech, Trutanich said he did not arrive at the $6-million figure until a month after the meeting, when the city’s top budget analyst’s estimated the city’s overhead on the day of the Michael Jackson memorial at that amount.

“I’m not saying I’m not doing it now,” Trutanich said of his alleged request for $6 million. “I’m going to ask for what the city lost.”

Trutanich said his office is continuing to investigate how much the city spent.

-- Maeve Reston at L.A. City Hall

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Comments () | Archives (103)

Personally I think the Jackson family should be responsible for the cost. I liked Michael Jackson but fair is fair. If it was an average person who needed security for an event that average person would have to pay for it out of their own pockets, why should the Jackson's be treated differently? They have the money to pay for it the City of LA does not-remember this state is broke!

I'm concerned with Mr. Trutanich's lack of compassion!! Granted the memorial cost the city money, but it definitely wasn't "a waste." For his simple lack of decency and heartlessness I will never vote for him for any position in this city again!

Finally an elected official who stands up for the tax payers and doesn't kowtow to the developers or the politically correct crowd.

Go for it Carmen!

If anyone is interested in wanting to know the truth, like I was several months ago when – in shock at my reaction to Michael Jacksons death, I first started looking behind the haze of hyperbole I have been force-fed for years via newspapers, TV networks and tabloid feeders like Smoking Gun about Michael - I received a rude and shattering awakening. There is a reason why a depth charge of grief and anger has ignited in the hearts of millions, if not billions of people around the world – some of whom were not die-hard fans, as well as those of course, who are. I invite – no, urge anyone who wants to at least talk about possibilties; to read Mary A. Fischers award-winning article ‘Was Michael Jackson Framed’, to listen and look at the verbal and written statements of Thomas Mesereau and Brian Oxman, to read the extremely well written book ‘The Michael Jackson Conspiracy’ by Aphrodite Jones, to read Geraldine Hughes ‘Redemption,’ and to visit thesilencedtruth website. On this website please take the time to look over the comments in the ‘Remember’ section – in particular Cory Rooney’s. For seemingly unfathomable reasons, a well-researched and successful extortion attempt by one man, Evan Chandler – a man who is now forcibly and legally estranged from his son, and who from copious statements from witnesses involved in the circumstances of that time has been described as a self-serving, opportunistic predator who cared little for his own son – and even less for the truth. When one looks behind the hysteria induced by Dimond, Orth, Allred and countless others who put ratings and copy before a human life, you end up with more of a collection of compelling questions than answers, and a more than seriously uneasy feeling of something being not quite ‘right’ about the sheer level of engineered cruelty involved.

In the years to come, perhaps reasons will emerge from the rubble as to why a supernovic talent with a history of unparalleled giving and a persona of complex innocence, was consistently and wilfully humiliated, tortured and stripped of his dignity and spirit for a period of over 15 years, on the basis of astonishingly non-credible accusations – and more importantly why this was actively encouraged. May I say at this point that I am not a conspiracist, I find that approach to life, depressing and ultimately limiting. But it cannot be denied that the potent, heady mix of newly syndicated, pneumatic televison networks and online tabloids all fighting for their share of white hot media glare; the lure of fantastical amounts of money and good old fashioned human greed; came together to produce one mother of a takedown. In the final analysis, it seems this was never really a story about drugs and the Beatles catalogue - but about our willingness to believe a lie.

And no, I do not include the 2005 trial - Michael was found not guilty on all 14 counts by a highly conservative jury. One man links both sets of allegations -Tom Sneddon. Interesting isn’t it, that while Sneddon was spending millions endlessly raiding Neverland and travelling the world looking for corroborating witnesses to prove Michael’s guilt (he found none), that a real abuser in his jurisdiction held Jaycee Dugard captive for over 18 years. I wonder if any feel as I do, that it is not now redundant to ask the question whether Sneddon’s obvious desire to ‘nail’ the then, biggest pop star on the planet was the deciding factor in how he chose to use the American taxpayers resources.

Note to the City Attorney: Send the bill for the memorial to Tom Sneddon. He spent millions hounding Michael, culminating in an abortive trial that everyone knows was based on the lies of a disturbed mother, with a history of alleging sexual abuse. In a public statement, Thomas Mesereau is quoted saying these costs accumulated by Sneddon were 'unprecedented.' Paying for this memorial is the very least Los Angeles can do after what they took from Michael - his life.

For years, Michael allowed children from LA to visit neverland, gave the presents, donated a lot of money for programs like Heal LA and now, theyre too poor to colaborate with their most important resident memorial. Unbelievable.

The whole Jackson family is a joke.

I hope LA broke beyond repair for doing this.

I think of all the teachers getting laid off. All the city workers getting their hours cut. 6 Million could feed a lot of homeless. It could help a lot of single mothers struggling on food stamps. It could open a battered womens shelter or open a school. Or pay for better school supplies and computers. It could put more police on the street to battle drunk drivers and those lunatics that drive around talking on their cell phones like drunken zombies.

Then I think of the repeated allegations against MJ. I think of the 20 million he paid to settle the first child molestation case. I think of the star struck juries that have let celebrities off for murder. How many people have read the book "Michael Jackson Was My Lover" with interviews with former neverland workers about MJs behavior with kids? PLEASE READ THIS BOOK - before you chime in on the MJ debate.

Well It was the city's idea to shut down LA and keep all of his fans out. I'm sure that cost a lot of extra money to keep his fans from lining the street like they should have been given the right to do in mourning and respect. From what I could tell is they paid alot of officers to stand around and do nothing. There mistake. I'm sure Michael Jackson contributing to LA much more than what it cost them in some way or another through the years.

I agree the city needs money, but dont ask for $6 million, when the memorial only cost $2 Milion, Thats not fair either. Carmen Trutanich should compromise instead of trying to stick AEG with all the city expenses. Its not AEG's fault the city can't manage its budget!!!

My question is: Why is it the city attorney requesting payment for services? AEG did nothing illegal by allowing a funeral at the Staples Center. The major crime involved with this is Mr. Jackson's homicide. It seems more like a political ploy by Mr. Trutanich aimed at making the mayor look bad. Chief Bratton also commented that he felt it was the obligation of the city to pay for public safety in these types of events. Maybe the city attorney needs to stop over-stepping his authority and calm down a bit.

I say resist's Anshultzs's attempt to milk L.A. out of every penny for the costs of the 'show' he put on . He will make a fortune out of Michael Jackson's demise.

It would be nice if people making comments would stay on topic. Start a blog if you want to rant about fact/opinions that deal little with the point that the City is trying to collect money (that taxpayers) paid toward a funeral for a celebrity (not life-long public servant).

How many millions if not billions of revenue has MJ brought to LA just for living there?

How many hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in revenue was brought to the city just for the funeral?

To charge anyone but the city for this funeral is only biting the hand that feeds you.

Whatever "the Nooch" says isn't worth the paper it's written on, the airwaves it takes up, whatever. He's known to locals in Long Beach (where he worked and lived last 25 years) and San Pedro (where the extended Serbian-Croatian community makes its base) AND to the USC community (where he worked to get all the jocks off after they "allegedly" raped and beat people and so on) as someone who does and says anything to get his way. He developed a rep for being so successful not because he's smart but because he'll do and say ANYTHING to "win" and because he played both sides of the DA's office for his clients - getting charges dropped before they even went to court, making him worth whatever he charged to many whose cases looked impossible.

Clearly he did that to AEG and was just out of his league: his standard thuggish ways didn't go over so easy. But seems AEG's head honcho kept quiet about it, even after Trutanich burst into City Hall threatening "criminal aspects" but has refused to say what he's meant ever since. From this L A Times article seems he means - ? Still not clear, but he threatened to bust AEG over broken sidewalks? Looking for excuses, maybe?

Since the meeting with AEG that took place in July, or before hard to remember exactly, Trutanich has threatened to sue volunteer commission members, board members, and now to jail a City Consulmember who's supposed to be his boss. Plus the guy who's taken the Building & Safety job for now = gee, maybe that guy will apply for combat pay, as well anyone who takes on a city job as long as this character is playing Don Corleone? ON OUR TAXPAYER DIME.

He's even threatened and ordered to shut up a citizen who challenged him at a public City Hall meeting last Saturday, a Neighborhood Council meeting, where he was supposed to be "on his best behavior." That's all over YouTube and in blogs that SUPPORTED him like LACityWatch.com, and aboutmedicalmarijuana.com - yeah, the medical pot patients went out in droves to support the guy because he promised to support their cause. Boy are they shocked and disappointed like everyone else who supported him.

What's really scary is the first thing out of this guy's mouth after getting elected was how he wants to create a 200-man private police force so he can go around and get dirt on everyone in the city, from the looks of it, public and private citizens especially those who didn't support his election.

There's WAY too much of a pattern of his behavior as a bully just since he's been in office and the public eye for anything he says to make a difference.

Anytime the Mayor offers something for free you can bet that someone, somewhere will be charge to make up the cost. I also think the Jacksons should have paid for the complete tribute to Michael God knows they have the money.

The truly amazing thing is that we have a city official who is actually looking out for the best interests of the city instead of those of special interests.

If we had a mayor and 15 councilmembers who acted as honorably as Trutanich, we would be in far better shape.

AEG: You will make tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) on Michael Jackson. At the same time, the city is on the fiscal edge. Wake up, do the right thing, write the check and move on.

The Jackson family had MORE than enough money to cover the memorial cost, rather than the cash-STRAPPED state fronting the money.

Carmen Trutanich is exactly right; the City of Los Angeles DID in fact waste alot of money on that memorial service. However, wanting to recoup the money they wasted is absurd.

The Los Angeles police Dept. had WAY too many officers in Downtown L.A. that day. There was never any need for that many officers. I know this first hand because I drove down there the morning of the funeral to buy t-shirts; at the intersection of Venice and Figueroa, the entire North hand side of Fig was blocked by a row of LAPD motorcycles. Not standing length to length, but stacked parked SIDE BY SIDE! Why in world did there need to be 15 motorcycles stacked side by side to block off access to the Staples center, when a couple of wooden barries would have done the same trick, or, at the very least, just three officers, with their bikes length to length? Why did the LAPD contract out with a deli to provide sandwiches for their entire squad that day, outside of Downtown? The city's cost were excessive because the resources they allocated to the effort were excessive. Why doesn't Mr. Trutanich go back to the people that were responsible for resource allocation for that event, and ask them where was their god given sense at the time?

Lastly, the Jackson family should not have to pay one dime for any funds the city is out as a result of that memorial. That memorial was not put on by either the Jackson family, or the Jackson Family Trust (or whatever they call it). The memorial service was put on by AEG. They offered to host a memorial service for Michael Jackson, and that's what happened. If the city feels it needs to go after someone to recoup it's losses, it needs to go after AEG. Which is precisely why neither this article, nor Mr. Trutanich mentions anything about the Jackson family.

All of you people that continue to harbor ill will towards this slain musician really need to wake up and just move the heck on with your lives. The man is dead for god's sake! Let it go, and let the people with legal experience, AEG lawyers, Mr. Trutanich and the City of Los Angeles settle their differnces.

I didn't understand it when they did it. There are bodies left at the morgue all the time because the families cannot afford to pay the funeral costs. Why should Michael Jackson be considered more important than some other law abiding citizen?? I wouldn't walk across the street to get any of his CD's if they were GIVING them away. So he was a great dancer and some people liked the way he sang. (Big Deal.) There is NO entertainer that should be considered more special than the average person. They got their attention and monetary reward while alive. The Jackson family (who has the money) should have paid every cent of the cost or it shouldn't have happened at all.

Populists often overstep their bounds and make brash and ill-considered decisions. But AEG has made plenty of money off this City, and off Michael Jackson, and the taxpayers should not foot the bill for increased costs arising from the funeral of a private citizen. A lawsuit between AEG and the City of LA would be expensive, however, and and is not what either party needs.

Well, I agree with other comments here. How about all the taxpayers money spent on the Santa Barbara trial in 2005? How about all the money spent on seventy (70!!) sheriffs sent to Neverland to investigate an innocent man? There was not one social services interview to support the charges. The accusers were/are well-known grifters.
Send the bill to the Santa Barbara DAs office.
Hey - LA City Attorney - my feeling is if fase evidence can be trumped up by the state for someone rich & famous than this can this can happen to any ordinary citizen. Sounds like the beginnings of a police state to me. Read up on this in Aphrodite's book Micjael Jackson Conspiracy.

The City/LAPD felt the security was necessary they should foot their own bill. The LAPD routinely over uses it's units on these public events... parades or othwerwise.

Trutanich is wasting even more city resources by chasing after the " city lost"

Last I heard AEG and the Jackson family don't run the LAPD or the city.

Trutanich is an embarassment

I am curious if anyone has asked the City attorney who ordered all the police that ended up to not be needed? Who was it that actually made the calls that cost the city this money?

i think he may find out that no one from the Jackson family asked for that many police officers to be there or for that type of protection....

Let me guess, this guy is a Republican, right?

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