By Tibby Rothman and Dennis Romero
Anschutz Entertainment Group, the owner of Staples Center and the organizer behind the controversial Michael Jackson memorial there in July, will pay to defray at least some of the city's costs to police, direct traffic and clean-up during and after the event, according to City Councilman Dennis Zine.
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Zine on Monday said he had breakfast with company CEO Tim Leiweke and that the executive pledged to help end the controversy by contributing money to cover city costs.
The July 7 memorial has been the source of much ire: On Friday the city released a report indicating that it spent nearly $3.2 million to deal with the crowds that came to witness the memorial or just to be near it. The memorial was produced as a television special and was carried on channels throughout the world. A subsequent concert film based on Jackson's rehearsals for his AEG-promoted This Is It concert residency in London has grossed $200 million, with 10 percent of
that profits going to AEG.
City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has vowed to recoup the city's costs and Zine has also been critical of the city's role in helping the concert, show and sports promoter put on the event, which was free for more than 17,000 ticket-holders.
The city's report claims that tourists and fans brought in $4 million to local merchants in the days surrounding the memorial, but little evidence beyond conjecture is offered, and the money only contributed a few hundred thousand dollars to city tax coffers at a time when fire stations are being shuttered and police overtime is being tapered off because of a budget shortfall.