LA mayor blasts critics of Jackson funeral cost

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Jul 14, 2009 at 1:11 PM EDT

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Monday hit out at critics who said Michael Jackson's family should have footed the bill for last week's memorial, describing the claims as "nonsensical."

With Los Angeles and California facing a cash crisis, some local politicians said the 1.4 million dollar bill incurred by the city to police Jackson's service should be paid for by the superstar's family or donors.

Villaraigosa -- who was on vacation during the build-up to the memorial -- ridiculed the criticism on Monday even though staff from his own office set up a website designed to raise contributions to the overall costs.

"This is a world-class city, and we provide fire and police protection, period," Villaraigosa said.

"The idea that we would charge the family for a funeral is nonsensical."

Villaraigosa also said the website set up by his office to help defray costs -- which netted around 35,000 dollars in donations from around 1,800 people -- was a "ridiculous" move. It was unclear whether Villaraigosa would order the money be refunded.

Jackson, 50, died on June 25 after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest at his rented mansion in an upmarket neighborhood of Los Angeles.




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