Memorial set for Tuesday at Staples Center
Staples Center will be the site of a public memorial service on Tuesday for Michael Jackson, a publicist for the Jackson family said Thursday, but it is unclear who will pay for the massive law enforcement deployment necessary for the event.
Ken Sunshine, a Jackson family representative, said the service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the downtown arena, site of the singer’s final rehearsal.
Further details will be announced at a news conference this morning, including how people may register for the 11,000 tickets that will be distributed to the public.
All tickets to the event will be free, according to a news release from Sunshine’s firm.
Earlier in the day, Sunshine had asked for the public’s patience as the family sorted through details of the service.
“There’s a lot of sensitivities, and everyone should respect that,” Sunshine said.
Randy Phillips, chief executive of AEG Live, the promoter of the 50 Jackson concerts that had been planned for London, said the ultimate decision about the date and format of a memorial lay with Jackson’s mother, Katherine.
But even before plans had been finalized Thursday, city leaders were raising questions about who would pay for the city resources needed to pull off a memorial to the singer.
The law enforcement deployment would involve thousands of officers -- more than were present for last month’s Lakers victory parade, according to sources familiar with the planning, who were not authorized to speak publicly.
City officials debated whether taxpayers should pay all or part of the $2-million cost of the Lakers’ parade from Staples Center to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and various business leaders, mindful that the city was weighing layoffs and furloughs, raised enough money privately to pay that tab.
City officials are unclear on just how large the turnout might be for Jackson’s memorial service -- or whether it would spill into nearby L.A. Live or surrounding parking lots.
“There’s no precedent for this,” said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who represents downtown and is serving as acting mayor because Villaraigosa is on vacation in Africa and City Council President Eric Garcetti is in Japan.
Councilman Dennis Zine said he was concerned about whether the LAPD would have time to plan for an event of that scale, particularly since many officers will also be working overtime during the Fourth of July weekend.
“You don’t have a lot of time to work up a tactical plan and notify the officers,” Zine said.
Also Thursday, an attorney for Debbie Rowe, the mother of Michael Jackson’s two elder children, said she had not decided whether to seek custody, despite telling a television reporter that was her intention.
Eric George, Rowe’s lawyer, did not dispute that Rowe told an NBC-TV Channel 4 reporter by telephone that she wanted custody of Prince Michael Jr., 12, and Paris Michael Katherine, 11, the children she bore when she was married to Jackson.
But her lawyer said it would be a “distortion of the truth” to interpret Rowe’s comments to the television reporter as her final decision in the custody case.
He described the custody proceedings as “the most private and the most sensitive of matters as they impact the lives and fates of young children.”
As the biological parent, Rowe, 50, would be in line to obtain the children unless a judge determined that would not be in their best interests.
Rowe appears to have had little contact with the children over the years, though she does have visitation rights.
Katherine Jackson has temporary custody of the children. A custody hearing scheduled for Monday has been postponed until July 13 at the request of attorneys for Katherine Jackson and Rowe.
Dolan reported from San Francisco. Times staff writers Andrew Blankstein, Cara Mia DiMassa, Maeve Reston and Harriet Ryan contributed to this report.