The memorial service for singer Michael Jackson cost the city of Los Angeles $1.4 million, the mayor’s office said Wednesday.
Costs included putting extra police on the streets, trash pickup, sanitation, traffic control and more for the Tuesday event, spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said. Three thousand police officers — almost one-third of the Los Angeles police force — were on hand to ensure the Jackson events proceeded smoothly, Los Angeles Assistant Police Chief Jim McDonnell, said Tuesday. The city, which is $530 million in debt, set up a Web page asking Jackson fans to donate money to help with the expenses. On Tuesday morning, hundreds of donors contributed more than $17,000 through the Web site. But then, the high volume of traffic caused it to crash frequently and for long periods of time, the mayor’s office said. The city, therefore, was unable to collect contributions for several hours on Tuesday. The site also crashed for 12 hours, beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesday — and again, periodically throughout Wednesday morning, the office said. Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich does not want taxpayers to pay a penny for the service, his spokesman said Wednesday.
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“The city attorney does not want something like this happening again, the city paying [the initial costs] for a private event,” spokesman John Franklin said. “That’s especially in a cash-strapped city, where people have been furloughed or even lost jobs.” During the Los Angeles Lakers championship parade this year, nearly 2,000 police were called in, at a cost of $2 million. The Lakers and private donors reimbursed the city for most of the expenses. Michael Roth, spokesman for AEG, which owns Staples Center and put on the event, could not be reached for comment.