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Jackson memorial payback hindered by threat?

December 7, 2009 12:30:05 AM PST
Los Angeles taxpayers will likely pick up the tab for Michael Jackson's more than $ 3-million memorial this summer.A City Council committee took up the matter Monday. The discussion centered on a threat from the Los Angeles City Attorney.

LAPD expected more than a million people for the Michael Jackson memorial. They had the largest deployment of police since the Los Angeles Olympics. The overtime alone cost the cash strapped city $2 million.

"It was an event promoted by Staples. In all due respect to Mr. Jackson -- his sad death, untimely death -- the fact of the matter is, it was more than a memorial service," said L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine.

It became clear Monday the city has no chance of recovering the costs as long as its city attorney holds out the possibility of a criminal prosecution.

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has said there are potential criminal or civil violations he's investigating regarding the memorial.

There had been negotiations with AEG, the owners of Staples, about the company paying the costs -- until Trutanich made that threat.

"When you have a threat of criminal prosecution hanging over your head that's not conducive to having somebody make a donation," said Councilwoman Jan Perry.

Members of the Los Angeles City Council's Public Safety Committee all but admitted Jan Perry was correct. Liewicke has said of the threat from the city attorney, "prove it or drop it." He's accused Trutanich of being a bully.

"I think there is nothing gained by prolonging this any further," said Councilman Craig Weiss. "We are going to be partners with AEG for a long, long time."

Friday, the City Council hopes to have Trutanich explain just how far he's willing to take this, whether there is a chance of criminal charges.


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