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Staples Center offers to host Jackson memorial

According to KNBC, Randy Philips, president and CEO of AEG, is still waiting for a response from the Jackson family. The Los Angeles Times reports the memorial may take place on Tuesday.
/ Source: msnbc.com staff and news service reports

According to KNBC's Robert Kovacik, AEG and the LAPD have offered the Staples Center to the Jackson family for the memorial service.

Randy Philips, president and CEO of AEG, is still waiting for a response from the Jackson family.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the memorial may take place on Tuesday, July 7.

DEA joins probeMeantime, the investigation into Michael Jackson's death deepened late Wednesday with word that federal authorities will step in to help local police take a look at Jackson's doctors and his medications.

The Drug Enforcement Administration was asked to help the probe by the Los Angeles Police Department, a law enforcement official in Washington told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

Following Jackson's death, allegations emerged that the 50-year-old King of Pop had been consuming painkillers, sedatives and antidepressants.

The federal agency can provide resources and experience in investigating drug abuse, illicit drug manufacturers known as "pill mills" and substances local police may not be familiar with, the official said.

No public memorial at NeverlandContrary to rumors, there will be no public or private viewing for Michael Jackson at his Neverland Ranch, the Jackson family said in a statement Wednesday.

Authorities in Santa Barbara County had been preparing for tens of thousands of fans to descend on the 2,500-acre ranch after media reports that a public viewing would take place later this week.

A private memorial service for family and friends could take place at the ranch, most likely after the funeral.

The Associated Press source said billionaire Thomas Barrack, who owns Neverland in a joint venture with Jackson, sought an exemption to bury the singer at the ranch. But the person says it’s a complicated process and it couldn’t be done for a burial this week.

It was not possible to rule out that Jackson’s body might return to the ranch, either for the private service or a burial sometime in the future, if the family can get the go-ahead from state and local officials.

Asked about the possibility that Jackson could be cremated and the remains brought to the ranch, the person said, “That’s not the plan.”

The family would need to get permission from local land-use officials to bury Jackson on private property, then submit an application and paperwork with the state Cemetery and Funeral Bureau.

The state application would then need to be approved by the funeral board, a process that could take anywhere from seven to 30 days.

Kim Brown, a spokeswoman for the Department of Consumer Affairs, could not confirm any application had been filed by Jackson family representatives unless the certificate had been approved.

Fans still turned out at NeverlandAdoring fans and dozens of news crews poured into this bucolic town near Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch on Wednesday expecting to witness the finale to the story of the “King of Pop” — only to learn their hasty trips were unnecessary.

A large crowd of mourners set up camp outside Neverland’s gates with lawn chairs and coolers of bottled water, while hotel rooms surrounding Jackson’s estate sold out within minutes of the first — and eventually, erroneous — reports Tuesday that the pop icon might be buried there.

Residents of Los Olivos, who were plagued by reporters following Jackson’s 2003 arrest on child molestation charges, once more had their lives upended by streams of TV vans and fans eager to mark the passing of a pop culture giant.

The excitement, however, appeared to be for nothing. That news didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Jackson’s die-hard fans, many of whom refused to believe that the family would bury their most famous son without acknowledging the fans who helped propel him to superstardom.

More than three dozen TV news trucks and several hundred cars parked outside the gates of Neverland and yellow police tape kept gawkers off the property of two private schools across the street.

The narrow, two-lane road lined with cattle ranches and oak-studded hills was nearly impassable to traffic and fans, forcing visitors to park more than a mile away and make the final pilgrimage to Neverland on foot.

Reminiscent of GracelandIn a scene reminiscent of a latter-day Graceland, many mourning fans placed notes and flowers and then departed, but about 100 settled in to wait. By noon, county officials had set up portable toilets and a large trash can, and California Highway Patrol officers were directing traffic. Officers also began placing no parking signs along the road.

Rosie Padron had roped off a spot just outside the gates of the sprawling ranch in hopes of being the first in line if the public was admitted. Padron and two friends were ready to wait overnight or longer and had set up lawn chairs and a photo montage of Jackson’s career.

“I can’t believe they wouldn’t do something for his fans,” said Padron, who also videotaped the events. “Michael loved his fans.”

Without a Jackson-sanctioned memorial, at least one industrious promotions company hoped to appease fans with a weekend-long event hosted by a nearby, 1,000-acre private ranch. Promoter Releve Unlimited circulated fliers advertising three days of music and video tributes to Jackson, with a $40 parking fee and food and drink available from local vendors and wineries.

“We’re going to have a safe environment so people aren’t just standing by the side of the road,” said Christine Souza, a spokeswoman for the company.

Inside the gates of the theme-park-style Neverland estate, at least two dozen workers could be seen placing fresh sod along the drive to the main house, mowing the lawn and doing maintenance on an ornate, iron-and-gold gate within the ranch.

The fountains were on and sprinklers had been set out to water the grass. Fresh flowers surrounded its train station.

A receptionist at KW Custom Iron, which had a crew at Neverland, said the company was not authorized to comment on what kind of work they were doing there. She declined to give her name.

Fans flood into Los OlivosMeanwhile, at Fess Parker’s Wine Country Inn, rooms sold out within 20 minutes of the first media reports that Jackson would be buried — or at least memorialized — on the grounds of Neverland, said Jessica Larsen, the hotel’s general manager.

“It was first media, and then after about an hour, the fans were calling in,” she said. “There’s been quite a few people calling, even internationally, and it’s been hard for them” to learn the inn is fully booked.

Residents in Los Olivos, a laid-back town used to wine tourists, took the crush of fans and reporters in stride — especially after weathering a similar onslaught during Jackson’s arrest, trial and eventual acquittal. More than 2,200 reporters camped out at the Santa Barbara County courthouse for the proceedings and dozens roamed the winding roads around Los Olivos during that time.

Rebecca Gomez, a local artist, was busy early Wednesday setting up an exhibition of her work that was scheduled to open later that day. She said she’d already noticed that the people arriving for this chapter in the Michael Jackson story seemed different than the ones who jammed the city when he was on trial four years ago.

“Whatever happens now is respectful instead of that other crowd we had the last time,” she said.