The Lakers, Michael Jackson, and Taxpayers
Los Angeles is broke.
But that's no reason not to party in style, as long as it doesn't cost taxpayers.
The Lakers are now world champions, and they will have a much deserved hometown parade. Team spokesman John Black tells CNBC the Lakers organization will pick up the entire cost of the celebration scheduled for Monday, which will be "close to $2 million."
A crowd of 500,000 to two million fans are expected, but the parade route will be shorter, and the destination venue smaller, than last year's $2 million parade. Los Angeles didn't have any money last year for a parade, either, and the Lakers covered much of the cost then, along with Staples Center owner AEG and private donors. This year, the Lakers are footing the entire bill.
That's not all.
Last year the city was also burdened with the costs of providing traffic, security and sanitation services for the massive memorial service held for Michael Jackson at Staples Center July 7.
There was criticism at the time that the city shouldn't have to pay for the memorial. City Attorney Carman Trutanich says he demanded $2 million to $3 million at the time.
Today, AEG and the estate of Michael Jackson announced they're giving Los Angeles $1.3 million, the amount the city administrator says the memorial actually cost city agencies. Of the $1.3 million, $1 million will go into the general fund and $300,000 will go to the Los Angeles Police Foundation to buy specific equipment for law enforcement.
"It was important to us that all parties agreed that this was not an obligation but a choice we believed was important to make at a time when thousands of City employees are being reduced," said AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke in a statement. He says the payment "will allow us to finally put this issue behind us." Part of the $300,000 going to the police foundation comes from $90,000 already donated from sales of suites inside Staples for the Jackson memorial.
The donation also allows AEG to mend fences with the City Attorney Trutanich. "We have had the opportunity to develop a very positive relationship with him and his office which I am sure we will continue to call upon as we work together on additional issues facing our City in the coming years," Leiweke said.
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