Canadian Jackson fans, would-be profiteers stalled by red tape on eve of memorial

Canadian Michael Jackson fans, wannabe profiteers and would-be Good Samaritans who won tickets to the pop star’s memorial on Tuesday found themselves stymied by anti-scalper red tape and forced to change their plans for the star-studded service in Los Angeles.

Janice Jacobs

TORONTO — Canadian Michael Jackson fans, wannabe profiteers and would-be Good Samaritans who won tickets to the pop star’s memorial on Tuesday found themselves stymied by anti-scalper red tape and forced to change their plans for the star-studded service in Los Angeles.

More than 1.6 million fans registered online for a chance to attend the memorial for the deceased pop star — scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET at the Staples Center — and only 8,750 names were chosen, with each winner receiving a pair of tickets.

Aside from giving fans the chance to pay their final respects to Jackson, the memorial service will also feature performances and appearances from stars including Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, Kobe Bryant, Jennifer Hudson, Usher and Motown founder Berry Gordy.

Live coverage of the event is set to dominate the television dial with most of the major Canadian and American networks planning to extensively cover the memorial. The event is also expected to be streamed online and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are sure to hopping with live commentary from fans.

But for some of the Canadians who were lucky enough to win the memorial-ticket lottery, actually trying to use, sell or donate their tickets proved to be exceedingly difficult.

“When I first saw the email I was ecstatic — and when I saw the odds of winning I nearly dropped out of my chair,” Toronto winner Matthew Rajnauth wrote in an e-mail to The Canadian Press.

“I definitely didn’t anticipate that much red tape,” he said of all of the steps required to attend the event, “but I have to say I understand — an event like this definitely warrants it.”

Winners of the coveted tickets were informed on Sunday evening and then had a few hours to register their ticket code and some personal information online, which produced a voucher.

The voucher then had to be brought to Dodger Stadium on Monday along with a piece of photo ID in exchange for two wristbands for the memorial service, one of which would be non-transferable.

While Rajnauth said he would have loved to attend the service, he figured it was a longshot when he applied.

When the 24-year-old decided he realistically couldn’t go, he was hopeful that he could give the tickets to a family member or friend, but he found there just wasn’t enough time.

“Unfortunately, the ticket is going to have to be framed as a keepsake at this point,” the investment professional wrote.

“I don’t think I would sell them, I’d prefer to give them away to someone who could enjoy the show — I don’t think it would be right to profit off his death.”

Calgary-based winner Matt Schichter had no such ethical concerns when he found that he scored a pair of tickets.

The 26-year-old radio host said he never had any intention of actually attending the service when he applied for tickets, and upon winning, he immediately took to eBay in the hopes of “trying to make a buck.”

“It sounds horribly wrong because you’re cashing in on someone’s death but at the same time, it’s a tough economy right now and we could all use some money,” Schichter said over the telephone.

But eBay didn’t play along. He said his ads were removed by the Internet auction site, an action that Schichter said he actually respected in a way.

“They were trying to avoid people selling them, which was really smart on their part,” he said. “(It) was kinda cool … I’ve always been against scalpers, and I was kinda kicking myself for doing this myself.”

Schichter ultimately gave the tickets away for free to a stranger over the Internet, who planned on taking a red-eye flight to California.

On eBay, tickets were being bid up into the multi-thousand dollar range — though it’s impossible to verify the seriousness of those bids — before auctions were pulled. Craigslist also put a stop to attempts to scalp the tickets.

Just Posted

Maskwacis RCMP seeking suspect in fatal hit and run

A Maskwacis man was fatally injured after being hit early Saturday morning on Hwy 611

Red Deer to get new a plan to end homelessness as the problem persists

Despite some successes there’s ‘a long way to go,’ says manager

Many Red Deer-area farmers deal with a disastrous year

Dought in the spring, snow at harvest creates bad yields, sends hay prices soaring

Photos: Part of downtown Red Deer covered in trash over the weekend

Downtown businesses deal with trash, needle debris, graffiti

Delburne man’s reckless driving led to fatal crash: Crown prosecutor

Jury began deliberating in manslaughter trial on Monday afternoon

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — A rally in support of Alberta’s oil industry… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Canada’s Kim McRae finishes seventh at luge World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Canada’s Kim McRae finished in seventh place at… Continue reading

Jeff Bridges to receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at Globes

LOS ANGELES — Jeff Bridges may have once been considered as one… Continue reading

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

NEW YORK — Racial justice. Obstruction of justice. Social justice. The Justice… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Most Read