Houston funeral costs point of contention in Newark
April 9th, 2012
03:12 PM ET

Houston funeral costs point of contention in Newark

It seems some Newark, New Jersey residents have a bone to pick with Whitney Houston’s family.

According to CNN affiliate CBS New York, the city's taxpayers aren't pleased with the more than $187,000 tab Newark picked up for police overtime during Houston’s funeral there in February.

Some residents say the late singer’s family should have paid for its own security at the New Hope Baptist Church, rather than have the city take on the overtime for close to 200 local police officers.

CBS News adds that the sum represents about 5 percent of the department’s $4 million annual budget.

The star-studded February funeral for the late singer was attended by such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Costner and Tyler Perry.

A coroner ruled Houston's official cause of death as accidental drowning, with "effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use" being contributing factors.

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soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. scottwd

    Some people are just ridiculousness. That might of been like $1 out of everyone's pocket. Whitney has already payed us with her music for a life time. http://www.sharedsorrows.com/

    August 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. South Dakota Pheasant Hunting

    We're a bunch of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with helpful information to work on. You've performed a formidable job and our entire group will probably be thankful to you.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joe Schmoo

    For those of you that think real jewelry doesn't go into the grave or crypt anymore, you obviously are not a funeral director. I personally, as a funeral director, have seen many items of significant value buried with the loved one of others. It happens all of the time. Where I am at, families are responsible for paying the costs associated with the need for public law enforcement, security, etc. I don't quite understand why it would be any different there, but each locale is different. RIP Whitney

    April 12, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. Alex

    The City of Newark should not have to pay- The family should. I'm sure family members benefited from Whitney's earnings during her life and career.

    April 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Clete

    I like many others, was fooled by the family. The funeral was supposed to be a quiet, dignified affair for family and close friends only. Instead, it turned into a media farce. If I lived in Newark, I too would be angry.

    April 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nedom

    She he deserved good burial. Let's get the coke dealer(s) pay for the funeral costs. Period.

    April 11, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dl

    At least they did not have to suffer an increase in the crime rate over it. No different than the Mohegan Sun taking all of the town's tax dollars and seeing our taxes have at least trippled in our previously quiet CT. town, traffic, police and fire depts., roads, etc all high in cost the same that the Foxwoods Casino did to Ledyard, CT ,both were quiet out of the way towns with rich history and beautiful scenic coutryside, no longer. The citizens of the town's pay, not the Indian Casino's. Plus anyone that qualified receives a monthly income, fantastic medical, housing and so on because an ancestor was a Native American how long ago? So they had to provide police protection, big deal it's done everywhere all of the time and the stars do not pay or their families.

    April 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lee Tutt

    I guess I understand why the city of Newark wants to get payed.

    April 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jason83

    I remember hearing Houston gave an interview with oprah. Houston said crack is whack. Guess who got whacked.

    April 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Merri B

    Lots of good points. But if the police didn't provide such a huge presence, everyone would have crashed the funeral and the family said it was to be a private invitation only funeral. One of the street gawkers interviewed said she was disappointed at not being able to go to the funeral. She felt left out. Now you put that feeling behind a huge proportion of Newark, and the police were needed. Unless you were family and/or invited, per family request, you shouldn't have been there. It would have been the biggest funeral crash in history and traffic and safety concerns would have been a hundred times worse. The family's wishes would absolutely NOT have been respected. Who should pay? I don't know. But, if everyone could have been trusted to abide by the family's wishes, police presence above what is normal for a funeral wouldn't have been necessary. Obviously they couldn't be trusted.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Donna

    so bill the family for the funeral OT. Whats so hard about that. Her records are selling like crazy now – I'm sure they can afford it.

    April 11, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. honey suckle

    I always thought any city events attracting tourists from now and then. City of Newark will always be remembered as Whitney's hometown; lodging, souvenirs stores, restaurants, to name a few, would benefit for the years to come. $187,000 seems nothing compared to hosting an olympic.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Richard

    Truly, all the ranting confirms that our American society is one of the worst in the world. There certainly isn't much to be proud of when I see some of these comments. Some of you are so L-O-W! How disgusting you people are!

    After the dust settles perhaps the authorities will realize that a contract with the Houston family should have been signed in advance of the memorial service. I agree that taxpayers should not have to foot the security expense.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mike

    Troof: "The City shouldn't pay for a private funeral – ever – for anyone."
    Did you bother reading the article? Newark paid for overtime for police for security. Not the funeral itself.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Illeagle-j1

    No comment!

    April 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  16. ja

    @@#$, thy couped some kind if residual taxes ofr something, may they should all resign since they can't anticpate costs, SHFU, where is this place

    April 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Chris

    That bill amounts to about a week of Whitney's drug habit. Her family should pay for it – with interest. Just another low rent family who has money expecting the govt to pay for them.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  18. crabbyappleton

    they should have to pay and not the city...liquidate some of her lavish clothing that we paid for by making her famous...that amount of money should be a drop in the bucket to her estate.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Chris

    Classless in life and death it seems for the Houstons.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Dan

    Ugh. As long as she stays dead I don't really care.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Tracy

    Nobody in Newark is complaining, another example of cnn making the news . Public safety is part of the reason i pay taxes. People think the houston fmily should pay – why – so they are suppose to pay to keep newark residents safe – I don;t think so.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  22. k

    People let the woman rest in peace! Nobody is perfect! Have some respect for the deceased.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  23. njreb1863

    What are they complaining about? Their welfare checks aren't taxed. The money will ultimately come from Federal subsidies. Now I have a problem. I agree with whoever posted, her family shold have paid for all security if they wanted it. Or, let the prima-dona celebrities bring their own bodyguards.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Charles manson

    It`s not that you are tired of talking about Whitney Houston, It`s that you are tired of nobody talking about you!!!

    April 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Leucadia Bob


    April 10, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  26. pitung

    It should be paid by the black entertainers who has no problems paying that amount, since we have so many black entertainers who are millionaires.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Honie

      So when a white entertainer dies and there's an alleged bill they all pull together and pay it right?Is that what you're saying?

      April 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jute

      pitung, Does it really matter what color the entertainers are as long as the people with money pick up the tab?

      April 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • lt from va

      are you suggesting she had no white fans? btw....what does race have to do with this? i thought white folks were the ones complaining about black folks trying to make everything a race issue. guess you just blew up that theory!

      April 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moiphy

      Failed English huh? Come on.....fess up. I d i o t.

      April 11, 2012 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
  27. Mary

    So? Let them get out there and do their jobs and write some tickets and arrest some felons and they can recoup the money. Also may they could buy a lot less donuts since they all look like Shamu in blue.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  28. Ellen

    Famous people bring out a crowd, alive or dead. My guess is that the city had a bunch of full hotel rooms and restaurant meals sold, taxis and car service used – if there are any hotel or sales taxes there, plenty was collected by the city from the people who came to the funeral, or to line the streets before and after. It is appropriate to have police provide coverage for this kind of an event, when a public figure dies. The purpose of the police isn't really just to protect the family in this kind of situation, it is to prevent chaos in the surrounding streets – and that is a city issue. Traffic control for something like this is no different than if it were a sports event, or even if the singer was living and had come to town to perform – you need police to help with every aspect of a big event that the the public is interested in observing. Tacky to complain about it, really.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  29. wmskadder

    I'm with Uncle Joe, so much media attention of so called "celebreites and star's) all these people, (hollywood,etc) have the public hoodwinked. These people live a very generous life style,doing what. working, ha, ha. they get paid a lot of money for doing what, acting??? which doesn't even require an education or schooling. They have a very tight knit fraternity and have to much to say about matters. Here we are again praising Houston and putting her talent above being a drug user. That's a good message to send our kids. Talent over drug use. She lived using and died using, that should be the message we send our kids. Will I remember her voice, yes, will I remember she quieted her voice by drug use, yes. Will I remember Bobby Brown, only as someone who contributed to Houston's death and continues to gain from her stature and death. Hollywood has no consious. Hollywood is all about raking in the money at anyones expense to justify their life style of decadents. Who's to blame, all you idiots that support them by buying a movie ticket, video, etc. Your life will go on without watching a movie. Houston didn't affect my life other than enjoying her music, but it did bother me that she lied tand deceived her fans and her loved ones about being clean.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  30. Dudley Do Write

    Big deal. They'll just write more tickets to make up for the 187K.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  31. Delilah

    This is why you get a PREARRANGED funeral. No one discussed this beforehand? If city police are used, who do you think would pay for it? If you use city ambulance, you pay for it. They bill you. Wasn't this obvious? You have to pay policemen. That is just fact. They don't and never have worked for free. I sort of respect them for that.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  32. Guido

    Add my name to the list of people sick and tired of reading or hearing about Whitney Houston.
    Like Joe said, no one forced Houston to become addicted to drugs; she did that on her own.
    Granted Houston once had a beautiful singing voice, but that was years ago, and she flushed her career down the toilet just as I'm sure her handlers flushed drugs down the toilet of the hotel room where she died before the cops showed up.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Delilah

      Mr. Guido sir
      In many ways I agree with you but on this I disagree. Whitney Houston sang the Star Spangled banner beautifully for the Superbowl that year when we as a country needed it. I do respect her for that and it was an historical rememberance. Beautifully done. She must have really loved this country to stream out those beautiful words that day for us to hear.

      Now days, it seems to be the rule, rather than the exception, that these new superstars don't even KNOW the words to the our national anthem or to judge it or make fun of it. Remember recently, Christina Aguilara and Roseann Barr?

      Also, alcoholism and drug addiction are family ILLNESSES. Everyone around her was in denial. Ultimately it was HER illness. That I agree with you. But she had a beautiful voice at the height of her career and she was beautiful. She even made tours to Iraq. To me, she and Marilyn Monroe had very similiar lives.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  33. Uncle Joe

    I'm sick and tired of reading about Whitney Houston. How about featuring articles about the men and women in our armed forces who have given their lives for this country instead of another Hollywood druggie.

    No one forced Houston to marry no-talent Bobby Brown or take illegal drugs. That was her decision and she paid the price.

    April 10, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  34. ruaripadraig

    Based on the 2010 census, the $187K cost comes to about 67 cents per Newark, NJ resident.

    April 10, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  35. Rolyat

    All the City of Newark, NJ has to do is bill Whitney Houston's estate for the $187,000.00 Plain and simple. I don't care what people say, she did not die broke. Did she have the $250M fortune she once had ? NO! ! But she was still worth millions. And it's been estimated her estate has brought in $10M to15M in record sales alone since her death.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Wastrel

      Do not assume that Whitney or her estate got a penny from sales of stuff that is 5 or more years old. That isn't how the record industry works.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • jason83

      also to note, after she passed away her record sales went through the roof. All of that money should have gone to Newark to pay for funeral cost and extra security. Why would you need extra security anyway, (I am not putting her down or anything) but did the Houston family hire extra security so her corpse wouldn't be stolen?

      April 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Jen

    Maybe you guys weren't taught properly growing up, you should be ashamed of yourselves speaking ill of the dead..... Let her rest in peace, she is dead!!! ALSO I think her daughter has been through enough have a little respect!!! GROW UP!!!

    April 10, 2012 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  37. Yan

    What a bunch of MORONS some of you are here,you guys need to learn to have more respect for others,mostly after they die.
    Some of you must be very unhappy in life.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • nosferatu

      Nope, just unhappy with having to pay for a rich coke ho's funeral.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Honie

      Did you send your money in yet?This bill will be paid by Miss Houston's estate so stfu stupid.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • k

      I agree no home training.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      They have as much right to speak their mind as you do. Get over it. She was a junkie and her family should kickback the cost of security. Why they needed it to begin with is because her people would have screwed the process up.

      April 11, 2012 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      They have as much right to speak their mind as you do. Get over it. She was a junkie and her family should kickback the cost of security.

      April 11, 2012 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |

    i also have a bone to pick, lol hehehe

    April 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Opppaah

    She hasn't had any crack in over a month now. Hope shr don't have the shakes.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  40. yea

    All jokes aside. I did hear that she was face down in scalding bath water, she burned the skin on her face. You have to be really drugged up not to feel that. That's all, more jokes!

    April 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ling Quan

      Maybe she making stew. In China people' used to make berry berry guuud stew. Add carrot, snow peas, bamboo shoots. Berry berry guuuuud. Mmmmmmmmm.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Red Foreman

    they need to send the bill to her coke dealer.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Jose

    Newark NJ is poor enough, they don't need to pay the tab!!!!

    April 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Louie

    That jewelry was put on her for the viewing only. People don't bury the dead with real jewelry anymore. Her daughter has her jewelry. The town went out of their way to make that funeral easier for the family and the fans. The family should pick up that tab.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pirate

      Still though, it wouldn't hurt for Simone to dig her and check just to be sure. RRRRRRRRR matey. Shiver me timbers.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Tree

    Is someone still guarding her grave? They say she was buried with about $500,000 worth of jewelry. That would be like digging up a pirate's treasure !

    April 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jenny

      That is stupid...why would you bury someone with that much jewelry? Why didn't they use that to pay for the security instead of making the city pay for it? The problem is that now the city will have to go without something that they can ALL use because of the money used for security out of their budget. Very selfish family. I'm sure her daughter could have used the money from her jewelry.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • db

      In order to reduce the chance of grave robbing any valuables are always removed and returned to the family when the casket is closed and locked for the final time. The only thing left in the casket is the body, clothing, and of course the casket finery. Remember that all bodies rot and liquids slither away from the bones soak into the bed of the casket. Not a good sight and not only that but have a high concentrate of nasty stuff that can cause illness or death to the grave robber. Not a good idea.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • jason83

      then the $187,000 should have gone to the city of Newark, New Jersey to pay for the funeral expenses before the casket was closed for good. Common sense would tell you that.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Sokman

    In Missouri we dont expect the public to pay for a c0ke wh0re's funeral. We chuck em in the river with the dead h00kers. Thats why we got 60lb catfish

    April 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • yea

      Funny as he!! When you catch and eat a catfish, do you catch a buzz and then take penicillin?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • SALLIE

      Did the taxpayer's pay for the funeral or did it cost money for the police. You idiots don't read well do you! Her family paid for her funeral, you didn't. It just cost extra for the security and what is 5% of a 4 milliion dollar budget. You would have nothing to say if you didn't know what it was spent on. Fools!!!!!!

      April 10, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Me

      ill bet your momma made a delicious meal for one of them 🙂

      April 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Cartman

    Lots and lots of juuuuus live up there. They don't want to spend their juuuuuu gold.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • tracy

      That comment should be removed.Why would the jewish people of Newark pay for Ms Houstons funeral.She was a huge public figure,but that is excessive for the city budget to absorb.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deena

      Wow, you are stupid, aren't you. Got eat rocks

      April 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Timmie

    . . . . And the answer is. . . Who is Timmie? . . . . Yaaaaaaaay !R

    April 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Sokman

    Funny, they loved her & spouted on & on about how she touched their lives until they had to pay out of their own pockets

    April 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Troof

      The City shouldn't pay for a private funeral – ever – for anyone.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      Do you think they should pay for her twice? First they buy her albums, and now her family expects to pay for her funeral security? Her death was not accidental. She was hooked on drugs for years. She died due to her own negligence. Regardless, no one but my family will pay for my funeral as no one but your family will pay for yours. Her family should pay for hers, as well. Cities are broke, she wasn't.

      April 11, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      I agree, loved her until they have to pony up the money. Tell them to whine to their nutso gov who lowered the flag. Bet that task wasn't done for free all over the state. Buck up Nancy's, your town relished in the attraction now you have to pay the piper.

      April 12, 2012 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
  49. Timmie

    I'll take who is firsty for $500, Pat Sayjak.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |

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