City Attorney Drops Investigation Of Staples Center After It Kicks In Cash For Michael Jackson's Memorial
Following Anschutz Entertainment Group's announcement that it would give $1 million to the city (and $300 to the L.A. Police Foundation) to defray the city's costs related to last year's Michael Jackson memorial show at its Staples Center venue, the Los Angeles City Attorney's office stated that it has ended its pursuit of possible charges against AEG in the matter. "Our office believes that the proposed donation is an appropriate and complete resolution of the issues related to the Jackson memorial and no further action on the part of the city would be warranted," City Attorney's spokesman Frank Mateljan told the Weekly.
City Attorney Carmen Trutanich last year declared that AEG was the subject of a criminal inquiry regarding the memorial and the $3.2 million the city spent to help the billionaire-controlled corporation stage its Jackson show. Strangely, after the tough talk from Trutanich, who elevated the matter from civil to possibly criminal, Mateljan says, "We did conduct an inquiry but ultimately there wasn't anything there to pursue."
Following Trutanich's threats -- and, to be fair, he wasn't the only one at City Hall infuriated by a corporate giant taking taxpayers for a ride while the city suffered a historic financial crisis -- chief Tim Leiweke then indicated that, although he would like to settle the matter with the city, he couldn't make a move until it was clear his company was not the subject of possible criminal sanctions. It felt like a standoff until the "donation" announcement was made Friday.
City Councilwoman Jan Perry, who very clearly appeared to be on AEG's side in the matter (and not the taxpayers'), said the delay in settling the issue came because Leiweke "was responding to threats to his organization.''
We're still not sure how $3.2 million in city costs -- mostly for policing the event, which was expected to attract thousands of MJ fans to the Staples Center area but ultimately did not -- turned into $1.3 million. Stay tuned.