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LA to foot $1.4 million-bill for Jackson's memorial
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-07-10 07:54

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

The amount included $1.1 million in overtime pay 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 $4 million.

Nonetheless, city attorney Carmen Trutanich said his office was investigating how the city can legally press third parties to pick up at least some of the tab.

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 thus far donated $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 information technology department is working to rectify the problems.

Dermatologist warned Jacko

A dermatologist linked to the inquiry into Jackson's death denied giving the star dangerous sedatives, as attention returned to the role of drugs in the star's tragic demise.

Investigators are reportedly looking into five doctors who treated the superstar in the past and have zeroed in on a powerful sedative - Diprivan - discovered at Jackson's rented mansion after his death.

Diprivan is commonly used to induce unconsciousness in hospital patients ahead of major surgery and experts say it should only be administered by a trained anesthesiologist.

Jackson's long-time dermatologist Arnold Klein denied on Wednesday he was the source of the drugs found.

"I didn't give him this crap that they're talking about," he told ABC television. "How am I going to prescribe Diprivan when I don't understand how to use it?"

Klein said Jackson appeared to be in good health a few days before his death. "I saw nothing at that point in time that would make me worry whatsoever but I always was concerned about him because I always worried about other doctors," Klein said.

"Here's the problem with Michael: No matter what he wanted, someone would give it to him," added Klein.


(China Daily 07/10/2009 page10)