Cash-starved Los Angeles is facing mounting costs surrounding Michael Jackson's memorial, and the city wants the entertainer's fans to help pick up the tab.
The city is on the hook for $3.8 million to cover overtime pay for public service workers and support staff for the star-studded event held at the downtown Staples Center, according to Los Angeles council member Dennis Zine. The city is already facing a budget deficit of more than $500 million.
Zine and other city officials have called on entertainment group AEG to cover the costs. AEG owns the Staples Center and was the promoter for the concerts that Jackson was slated to perform in London starting later this month before his sudden death on June 25.
"The preparation for the service recognizing the tragic passing of Jackson was done quickly," he added, "and most of it has been done on overtime. AEG is responsible, and they've indicated that they don't want to pay anything."
Council member Jan Perry, whose district includes the Staples Center, has been quoted as saying that she'd "love it" if the Jackson family were to help cover the costs.
The mayor's office has set up a Web site where Jackson fans can donate to help pay for the city's memorial-related costs.
Final resting place is still a mystery
It was not clear what will happen to Jackson's body. The Forest Lawn Memorial Park Hollywood Hills cemetery, where the private family service was held, is the final resting place for such stars as Bette Davis, Andy Gibb, Liberace, David Carradine and Ed McMahon. Jackson's grandmother is also buried there.
But Jackson's brother Jermaine has expressed a desire to have him buried at his estate, Neverland.
The world tunes in to say goodbye
Fans in Asia stayed awake into the wee hours, bars across Europe held Michael Jackson theme nights and television stations from Sydney to Paris cleared their schedules to broadcast the King of Pop's service.
In London, dozens of fans sheltered under umbrellas against the rain as they watched the event on a big screen outside the arena where Jackson was to have performed 50 comeback shows starting next week. Many more stayed dry at home after the BBC announced it would show the ceremony live.
In Santiago, Chile, the national police band played We Are the World during the guard change at the presidential palace La Moneda, as hundreds watched.
Not everyone was won over. Peadar O Docherty, 24, barman in the Stag's Head pub in central Dublin said: "In Ireland we like a good funeral, so we'll be tuning in. There's no good sports match on tonight anyway."
Shouldn't this list be of seven things?
Those fine folks over at TMZ — remember they were the first to report Jackson's death — have kept up the revelations. Take this post, for instance:
• Michael Jackson signed his will on 7/7/02.
• Michael Jackson's memorial was on 7/7/09 ... exactly 7 years after the will was signed.
• Michael Jackson's two biggest hits — Black & White and Billie Jean — were each No. 1 for 7 weeks.
• Michael Jackson's three biggest albums — Thriller, Bad and Dangerous — each produced 7 top 40 hits.
• Michael Jackson was the 7th of 9 children.
• Michael Jackson was born in 1958 ... 19 + 58 = 77
• Michael Jackson died on the 25th ... 2 + 5 = 7
• Michael Jackson has 7 letters in his first and last name.
Among the fans, plenty of celebrities
Nearly 20,000 people attended the memorial. Among them were some notable invitees:
Larry King; Dionne Warwick; LeVar Burton; Mariah Carey; Spike Lee; Wesley Snipes; Lou Ferrigno; Stevie Wonder; Usher; Lionel Richie; Brooke Shields; Kobe Bryant; Berry Gordy; Jennifer Hudson; Magic Johnson; John Mayer; Chris Brown; the Rev. Jesse Jackson; the Rev. Al Sharpton; Smokey Robinson; Queen Latifah; Martin Luther King III; Bernice A. King; Shaheen Jafargholi (finalist on Britain's Got Talent); Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds; Mickey Rooney and his wife, Jan Chamberlin; Mario Lopez; Corey Feldman; Earth, Wind & Fire; U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas); Louis Farrakhan; Kenny Ortega; and Cicely Tyson.
Notably absent from the service were Elizabeth Taylor; Diana Ross; and Jackson's former wife Debbie Rowe. Taylor sent her regrets via Twitter.
Among the fans, plenty of celebrities
More than 20,000 people attended the memorial. Among them were some notable invitees:
Larry King • Dionne Warwick • LeVar Burton • Mariah Carey • Spike Lee • Wesley Snipes • Lou Ferrigno • Stevie Wonder • Usher • Lionel Richie • Brooke Shields • Kobe Bryant • Berry Gordy • Jennifer Hudson • Magic Johnson • John Mayer • Chris Brown • the Rev. Jesse Jackson • the Rev. Al Sharpton • Smokey Robinson • Queen Latifah • Martin Luther King III • Bernice A. King • Shaheen Jafargholi (finalist on Britain's Got Talent) • Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds • Mickey Rooney and his wife, Jan Chamberlin • Mario Lopez • Corey Feldman • Earth, Wind & Fire • U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) • Louis Farrakhan • Kenny Ortega and Cicely Tyson.
Notably absent from the service were Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, and Jackson's former wife, Debbie Rowe. Taylor sent her regrets via Twitter.