Neverland memorial? Decision on Jackson service could come today [Updated]
The already complicated details of plans for Michael Jackson's memorial service became more confused today as CNN reported there would be a public viewing of the pop star at Neverland Ranch on Friday.
But a source knowledgeable about Neverland affairs said that no decision had been made."Nothing has been confirmed," the source told The Times. "The family is still trying to work it out."
The source said an announcement about plans is expected later in the day.
[Updated at 11:30 p.m.: Tohme R. Tohme, a businessman who helped arrange a deal that gave control of the Santa Barbara ranch to the Century City private equity firm Colony Capital, said in an interview before Jackson’s death that the performer associated the property with his 2005 criminal trial and had no interest in returning to live there.
“Michael Jackson will never set foot in Santa Barbara after what they did to him,” he said in May.
CHP officials said they had not yet been apprised of any plans for a memorial tribute that would involve a motorcade from the Jackson family home in Los Angeles to Santa Barbara County.
“There’s been no formal request at this time,” said CHP Sgt. Mark Garrett. “We don’t know the details of what any movement would be. We’ve heard rumors just like the media and the public.” Garrett said that, once the CHP is notified of the family’s wishes, and if they involve transit in CHP jurisdiction, “we will take the appropriate action to ensure traffic control and public safety.” ]
[Updated at 1 p.m.: A clerk at the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department said some type of event is planned in the area in the next few days. "Right now, they are working on getting everything together,'' she said.]
-- Harriet Ryan, Chris Lee, Catherine Sailant and Andrew Blankstein