City attorney to go after $3 million the city put out for Staples Center service.
*The Los Angeles city attorney wants back the $3 million it shelled out for Michael Jackson’s memorial at the Staples Center, a spokesman said Monday, despite an audit concluding the event generated even more revenue for the city.
The July 7 service pumped about $4 million into the local economy from hotels, restaurants and other businesses, according to the report released Friday from the city’s chief legislative analyst and city administrative officer. The City Council’s Public Safety Committee is expected to review the report next week.
City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is still committed to seeking reimbursement from Staples owner Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG).
“The bottom line is the city attorney’s very committed to recouping the taxpayer’s dollars,” spokesman John Franklin said. “During these tough economic times right now, that’s big money. We’re laying off, people are getting furloughed. … It’s still money that we put out for a memorial service for Michael Jackson.”
AEG President and Chief Executive Tim Leiweke has accused Trutanich of trying to bully the company into paying. The audit said the city spent $3.2 million on the event, including $2 million in police overtime. However, it noted that there was no ordinance in place at the time that would require the organizer to reimburse city costs. That measure was only adopted on Oct. 26.
Given the memorial’s economic benefits and the lack of an ordinance, “the city may wish to cease pursuing cost reimbursement,” the report concluded.