LA Mayor: Thanks, But We Can Pay for MJ Memorial

Mayor calls donation request 'ridiculous'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2009 12:43 PM CDT
In this 1998 file photo, Elizabeth Taylor arrives with Michael Jackson at the Pantages Theater in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles for a birthday celebration for Taylor.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Imagine the surprise of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa when he returned from vacation to find his proxy asking for donations to fund the Michael Jackson memorial. “This is a world-class city, and we provide fire and police protection, period,” he says. “The idea that we would charge the family for a funeral is nonsensical.” The “ridiculous” donation website stopped accepting money after having accumulated about $35,000, E! reports. More:

  • ABC is being accused of paying for its exclusive interview with Joe Jackson airing tonight, but the network says it only paid for year-old footage, the Los Angeles Times reports. “We don’t pay for interviews, period,” says a spokesperson.
  • A heartbroken Elizabeth Taylor was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital yesterday after days of emotional exhaustion related to the death of her friend Jackson, the New York Post reports.
  • When Jackson’s tour kicked off—which would have been yesterday—he was planning to channel the dance moves of his idol, Fred Astaire, his dance instructor tells the New York Daily News.