Two weeks after Michael Jackson's death, administrators of his estate are temporarily authorized to reopen for business and negotiate, among other things, agreements relating to the singer's ill-fated "This Is It" concert tour.
While fans in London on Monday lit candles and placed flowers outside the 02 Arena where the entertainer was due to begin his run of 50 concerts, lawyers were in a Los Angeles Superior Court ironing out details of the powers given to two men named by Jackson to administer his estate.
Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff conferred wide-ranging authority on attorney John Branca and recording executive John McClain, at least until Aug 3.
The list of powers for the administrators includes taking control of all of Jackson's physical assets and placing them in secure storage facilities; hiring people with expertise in handling various aspects of the estate with fees subject to court approval; and handling tax matters.
The judge also authorized Branca and McClain to negotiate with AEG, the producers of the concert, for the benefit of the estate.
Attorney Paul Gordon Hoffman, a member of the team representing Branca and McClain, said a quick court order was needed so the two men could "begin to take the actions necessary to preserve the assets of the estate and address the needs" of Jackson's three children.
Meanwhile, papers filed in court showed Jackson's mother, Katherine, is seeking a stronger role in her late son's affairs.
Hoffman said that an attorney for the Jackson family sent an e-mail "stating that it was his intent to have the order reflect that Katherine Jackson should be treated like a third trustee". Hoffman argued that to gain that power, attorneys for Katherine Jackson would need to appear and submit a competing proposed order. No such order was submitted.
Mayor says LA will pay
Also on Monday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the city would pay the estimated $1.4 million tab for police, traffic control and other services related to Jackson's memorial service.
Villaraigosa, who was vacationing in South Africa a week ago when more than 17,000 fans flocked to downtown Los Angeles to watch the public memorial, asserted on Monday that the city would not ask the Jackson family or AEG Live, the owner of the Staples Center where the event was held, to help the city recoup its expenses. He also lambasted a city website set up to request donations.
"This is a world-class city, and we provide fire and police protection, period," Villaraigosa said during his first public appearance since returning from his trip. "The idea that we would charge the family for a funeral is nonsensical."
Despite his comments, the city council was expected to take up the issue yesterday when City Attorney Carmen Trutanich was to report on the costs of the event.
Source: China Daily/Agencies