Should Promo Company Reimburse L.A. for Cost of Jackson Memorial Service?

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," July 7, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRIAN SULLIVAN, GUEST HOST: Once again, Michael Jackson's body set to leave the Staples Center any minute now, the memorial service just wrapping up. It was, indeed, by all accounts, a beautiful ceremony.

But now comes the hard part, paying for it. We are hearing it could cost the city at least $4 million. Think about it, 3,200 police officers, 300 or so firefighters and EMTs, choppers, crowd control. It all adds up.

And that is why the city is launching a Web site, asking fans for donations.

Our next guest says the Jackson family and the promoter should foot the bill.

Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine joining us now.

Dennis, welcome back to "Your World."

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How are we going to pay for this? I mean, the city is strapped, if not broke.


SULLIVAN: Where is this money coming from?

ZINE: Brian, we're strapped. And we have a $530 million deficit in the city of Los Angeles.

Our state is issuing IOUs, a lot of California Patrol officers out on this, the Caltrans — our state Caltrans employees out, in addition to the massive deployment of LAPD personnel, Department of Transportation personnel from the city. This may exceed $5 million in costs between the city of Los Angeles and the California State government.

SULLIVAN: And you're — and you know what, Dennis?

ZINE: We are both in desperate financial shape.

SULLIVAN: I will — I will — I will add a little gasoline to that fire. You are probably just talking about direct costs.


SULLIVAN: I mean, what, did they estimate hundreds of thousands, if not a million, people out there lining the streets. These are clearly people in the middle of the day who are not at work. They are not make income. They're not buying things.

ZINE: Well, that's — that — that's true.

We didn't have a million. We had about 1,000 folks that showed up that did not have tickets. It was well-organized, as far as the police response, the police discipline. But it is a massive show of protection.

And, in addition to what we need to do for crowd and traffic control, there is also the concern, when you have an international audience, as this was an international audience for this memorial service, you have got terrorism to be concerned with. So, we had to activate our terrorist section within the city of Los Angeles — a lot of components put together to make this event a peaceful, successful event.

But, when you look at it, the marketing by AEG Staples, they have marketed this throughout the world. They are responsible. I am not calling the Jackson family or the private sector. I am calling AEG that have the obligation, the responsibility, the moral responsibility, the ethical responsibility to pick up the tab.

Our city attorney is going after AEG. They're going after them to say, you are responsible. You have held this. And when you really look at this memorial service, this memorial service had the concert component. It was well-orchestrated. And they have gained so much publicity for Staples, for AEG.

But it should not be on the backs of the taxpayers. Condolences to the fans and the family of Michael Jackson, a phenomenal entertainer. But the people of Los Angeles should not be paying for this, when we are giving furloughs to our employees....


ZINE: ... when the state has three furlough days a month for state employees. It is ridiculous that we need to pick up the tab for this extraordinary event.

SULLIVAN: And we're — and, Dennis, we're showing the scenes. You know, maybe the numbers were nationwide, but there was a lot more than 1,000 people outside. You had traffic issues, of course.

I get your point. It is a big, disruptive event. Do you think you're going to get anywhere with AEG? AEG, a global company, but an L.A.-based company, correct?

ZINE: Absolutely.

And they shut down freeways. They are going to be shutting down freeways as this entourage proceeds wherever the destination. They will be shutting down freeways, so there is a major disruption to the commuters, the businesspeople of Los Angeles.

But, over and above that, it has been a memorial service for Michael Jackson. That's complete. Now it's the final stages. It will start to slow down. It will start to...


ZINE: ... redeploy our personnel.

But AEG is going to be held accountable, held responsible. And I have stepped up, along with some of my colleagues, to say, AEG, you have got to pick up this tab. We need to compel them to pick up this tab.

Our city attorney is — has already sent them a letter -- sent them a letter yesterday. And I — I have read the letter. Clearly, it states AEG, you are responsible for picking this up.

But just look at what they have gotten. Look at how much television time. And, here in Los Angeles, every television station, except one, carried this live. So, all of the generation that AEG and Staples, they are accountable, they're responsible.

And we have many celebrities in this region.


ZINE: We have many funerals, many memorial services.

Nothing — nothing has ever matched anything like this.

SULLIVAN: And just so — just so you know...

ZINE: This has been a promotion by AEG.

SULLIVAN: ... we are showing our viewers live shots right now, aerial pictures from KABC and a variety of nations — or networks that you mentioned there, Dennis, that the Jackson family has just left the Staples Center.

There are, as you said, a significant number of cars. The roads are clearly closed. They are lined with however many fans, spectators, onlookers. I mean, there are clearly many, many of them.

How much money are you looking to get from AEG? Are you going to try to tally it up and then send them the direct bill? Do you have an estimate?

ZINE: We are already tallying — we are already tallying it up.

And I don't know until today that the California Highway Patrol is involved in the motorcade and shutting down the freeways and shutting down the on ramps and off ramps.

But I would estimate we are looking at about $5 million. But what AEG will do, they will market this. They will market the rehearsal that Michael Jackson did before his tragic death. They will market that. They are out to make millions upon millions of dollars.

And all we are asking for is, give the city of Los Angeles the money that they have expended for this deployment of personnel, not only police and fire, but our Department of Transportation, our public works, the K-rails that were brought in...


ZINE: ... the barricades that were bought in.

This was an extraordinary effort by the city of Los Angeles for this memorial service. And Michael Jackson, again, a phenomenal entertainer. No one gets this type of security and protection. This has gotten to the point where AEG needs to step up.


ZINE: And we will continually hammer AEG to do what they morally are obligated to do. And that's pay the tab. The taxpayers can't afford it. We can't afford it.

SULLIVAN: Yes. Dennis, we have got to...

ZINE: It's — it's incumbent upon them to do it.

SULLIVAN: Dennis, we have got to go — Dennis Zine, the Los Angeles city councilman.

ZINE: Thank you. Thank you.

SULLIVAN: Dennis, good luck with your campaign. Thank you very much.

ZINE: Thank you.

SULLIVAN: All right.

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