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L.A. taxpayers ‘ripped off’ by Jackson memorial

A Los Angeles city councilman is calling on AEG Live to pay some of the estimated $1.4 million cost for Michael Jackson's memorial service Tuesday at the Staples Center.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A city council member on Thursday called on AEG Live to pay some of the estimated $1.4 million cost for policing Michael Jackson’s memorial service at the Staples Center.

Dennis Zine told Fox 11 that the city’s taxpayers “are getting ripped off” because the owner-operator of the Staples Center profited by charging media up to $50,000 to use risers outside the venue.

AEG President Tim Leiweke had said Zine was out of line for asking AEG to pay for policing because it helped solicit donors for the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA victory parade last month.

Jackson’s concert promoter, AEG Live, said that it paid for the memorial itself along with the Jackson estate, but did not mention the cost of crowd control.

The parade and memorial both resulted in extraordinary costs to Los Angeles at a time when it is in debt for half of a billion dollars and facing employee layoffs.

The cost of city services for the Lakers’ parade was about $1 million. Donors covered about $850,000 of that sum. The Lakers and AEG spent another $1 million to produce the parade and rally at Memorial Coliseum.