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LA seeks aid on Jackson expenses

LOS Angeles spent US$1.4 million to provide security, traffic control and other services for Michael Jackson's memorial service, city officials said yesterday as they looked for ways to have others help the financially troubled city pick up the bill.

The amount included US$1.1 million in overtime for the 4,173 officers who worked on Wednesday to secure Staples Center, Forest Lawn, cemetery and other areas that attracted fans and members of the media, the Police Department said in a statement.

City officials said the remaining amount covered traffic control, cleanup and other costs related to Tuesday's public memorial service, which was attended by a total of more than 17,000 fans and watched by tens of millions of people around the world.

Matt Szabo, a spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, hailed the tally a success. He said it was "far less" than the initial estimate of US$4 million.

Nonetheless, city attorney Carmen Trutanich said his office was investigating how the city could legally press third parties to pick up at least some of the tab. Trutanich aims to have a report ready for the City Council by today, said spokesman John Franklin.

The city has also set up a Website urging fans to make tax-deductible donations through credit cards, PayPal or check to help defray costs.

Fans have so far donated US$17,000, but contributions have been hampered by technical problems, Szabo said in a statement.

The site received so many hits that the servers crashed on Tuesday night and several times on Wednesday, Szabo said. The city's IT department was rectifying the problems.

AEG Live, the owner-operator of Staples Center, has not committed any money to the Jackson memorial, which it organized and promoted.

City Controller Wendy Greuel called on the City Council to create a policy declaring who should pay for city services associated with such events.


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