Michael Jackson's public memorial on Tuesday reportedly cost the cashed-strapped city of Los Angeles over $1.4 million dollars – and according to the city controller, Wendy Greuel, the LAPD could've saved some of that money spent on a pricey lunch.
In an internal memo acquired by Access Hollywood and addressed to Jim Featherstone, the general manager of the Emergency Management Department, Greuel criticizes the department for spending $48,826 on lunches from a Jensen's Finest Foods in Wrightwood – "nearly 80 miles from Los Angeles."
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"There are many troubling issues that are raised by this expenditure," she wrote. "It does not appear that your office took steps to find the lowest possible price to provide lunch for the first responders. Additionally, in an effort to support local business during these difficult economic times, it would have been preferable to make this purchase from a business located in the City of the Los Angeles."
Instead, Greuel even suggested a culinary alternative that could've fed the police.
"Upon seeing this bill, my staff called a local Subway – in the City of Los Angeles – and was quoted a price of $17,491.25 for 3,500 box lunches. That's a potential savings to taxpayers of more than $31,000," she wrote.
According to CNS, Featherstone responded by saying the meals were more than just "box lunches."
"This is an all-day meal bag with a 24-hour shelf life," he said. "It's not just one sandwich."
He added that he'd chosen Jensen's because of the quick turnaround needed on the food.
"I'm all for supporting city industry. I understand the fiscal situation," he said. "But Jensen's is a shop that's pretty much dedicated to volume emergency sustenance. If I can find another vendor who can meet the same quality and quantity requirements that I need in a declared or non-declared emergency, I have no problem with that."
With neither concert promoters AEG nor any private citizens stepping up yet to offset the costs of the memorial, the city has reached out to Jackson fans to help cover the expenditures through a page on its Web site.
According to CNN, $17,000 had been donated by Wednesday evening, but the site was down due to excessive traffic for much of the day on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Related Content from AccessHollywood.com:
PLAY IT NOW: Did Doctor Admit He Was Father Of Michael Jackson's Kids? (July 8, 2009)
PLAY IT NOW: Michael Jackson's Public Memorial: The Unseen Moments