June 30, 2009 / 6:24 PM / 8 years ago

Jackson's funeral plans sketchy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Details of Michael Jackson’s funeral remained sketchy on Tuesday, with media reports surfacing that the family was planning a series of elaborate, head-of-state-style memorials for the King of Pop while California authorities seemed largely in the dark.

<p>A general view of the front gate to Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, California June 30, 2009. REUTERS/Phil Klein</p>

The celebrity website TMZ.com reported that Jackson’s body would be driven the four hours from Los Angeles to Neverland Valley Ranch on Thursday, accompanied by a 30-car motorcade, where a public viewing would be held over the weekend.

Similar reports came from television news network CNN and Britain’s The Sun newspaper, which said the entertainer’s body would first be driven through the streets of Los Angeles -- and taken to the funeral service in a glass-sided horse-drawn carriage, complete with a matching glass coffin.

Jackson, the pop music star whose hits include top-selling album “Thriller,” died suddenly last Thursday of cardiac arrest in Los Angeles, and since then fans have anxiously awaited details of his funeral or public memorial.

So far, his family has been silent. On Monday, patriarch Joe Jackson said it was too soon to announce funeral plans.

But if arrangements were being made Tuesday for a massive funeral service in less than 48 hours, authorities in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara seemed largely unaware of them.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Capt. David Sadecki said his office had not been formally contacted by the Jackson family about a funeral procession. He said police and fire representatives had met about “the Michael Jackson situation” but had no further details.

“The Santa Barbara Fire Department is going to accommodate the Michael Jackson family for any request that they might have,” Sadecki said.

Representatives for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff and Los Angeles Police Department said their offices had no information about funeral arrangements

Meanwhile Tom Barrack, chief executive of Colony Capital Llc, the private equity firm that co-owns Neverland, issued an open letter to the people of Santa Barbara County asking them to prepare for “a global drama of epic proportion.”

Barrack offered no specifics of a funeral but admonished residents that their treatment of the Jackson family and fans would be under scrutiny.

“Let’s adopt an attitude of hospitality, warmth and tolerance and allow the world to pay their respects to this global icon by conducting ourselves with grace and elegance,” Barrack said in the letter.

Elsewhere, Lalosa Burns, a spokeswoman for Jackson’s hometown of Gary, Indiana, said that city was planning a July 10 memorial at the US Steel Yard baseball stadium.

Burns had no further details of that service and it was not clear if Jackson’s body would be taken to Indiana, where the mayor of Gary has reportedly offered to bury him.

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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