Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Elected Officials in Charlotte Have Their Own Version of Free Tickets, Time for a State Law Banning Free Tickets


As we have seen in the past few weeks with a post on Triadwatch where Greensboro City Council members were given free circus tickets CLICKHERE for that post.

Now we have a situation in Mecklenburg County where a commissioner is raising a red flag on the ethical aspects of giving away free CIAA Basketball Tournament tickets . The post is titled "Rotten Apples and CIAA Tickets". Here is  part of the post.

James took issue last month with commissioners receiving upwards of $9,000 worth of “free” tickets and skybox seats to the CIAA tourney. The select tickets are annually provided to the county, which along with the City of Charlotte “donates” $200,000 a year to the CIAA. The council also receives an allotment of CIAA tickets for its largess with the taxpayers’ money.

James questioned the ethics of elected officials in effect receiving gifts in a de facto kickback from an entity that does business with the county. Along with his fellow GOP board members, James wanted to donate the tickets to a local charity, which could then sell them and make some coin for a good cause. Last we heard the county manager nixed that idea. Not sure which commissioners and councilmembers ended up luxuriating in the skyboxes, but we’re working to track it down.

This situation sounds like a broken record in this state where so many people think it is their right and priviledge to get these freebies as a local elected official.As we have seen this has happened in Greensboro and now Charlotte in just the past few weeks. How many other cities allow this to happen? Is it time to ban the freebies all together? Is this ethical?Does it show a conflict of interest?

 This comes to light on a state level because the Governor of New York is now in hot water today over World Series Tickets here is what was said on Fox News,CLICKHERE

New York Gov. David Paterson, trying to hold onto office in the face of one scandal, was accused Wednesday of violating state ethics laws when he sought and obtained free Yankees tickets for the 2009 World Series and then may have lied about his intention to pay for them, according to a state report.

He faces penalties of nearly $100,000, and the case was referred to the Albany County prosecutor's office and the state attorney general for possible criminal investigation into whether Paterson -- "or anyone else" -- gave false answers to commission questions or backdated a check to pay for the tickets.

It looks like the Governor violated ethics laws of the State of New York. Maybe we can get some ethics laws in this state as well that will cover all local and state elected and appointed officials from banning gift giving of free tickets.

1 comment:

George Hartzman said...

If elected officials accepting free tickets in New York is Illegal, why are gifts that could be passed on to contributors legal in North Carolina?

"Gov. David A. Paterson falsely testified under oath during an ethics investigation into his acceptance of free World Series tickets last fall…behind home plate and had a face value of $425 each…according to the State Commission on Public Integrity, which announced on Wednesday that it had asked prosecutors to determine if criminal charges should be brought against the governor…

…Mr. Paterson has had a contentious relationship with the Commission on Public Integrity; he sought to abolish it, and early last year called on its members to step down after a critical report by Inspector General Joseph Fisch…

…The commission charged Mr. Paterson with violating two provisions of the Public Officers Law, each carrying a maximum penalty of a $40,000 fine, and violating three sections of the State Code of Ethics, including a provision that bars the governor from using his official position to secure unwarranted privileges, which carries a $10,000 civil penalty…

Seats at sporting events have long been a temptation for public officials. As the new Yankee Stadium was being built, the Bloomberg administration pushed for a free luxury suite. And when Rudolph W. Giuliani was mayor, he regularly attended Yankees games, sitting in box seats but paying only occasionally…"

Nicholas Confessore and Jeremy Peters
New York Times