CORRECTION: Earlier headline once read Story Changes. That was unfair and inaccurate. See the Busman for discussion. We can only speculate as to how this all looks from the Trib’s perspective.
From the Trib’s Jeremy Boren:
The team paid $27,000 for a two-day golf package that allowed three golfers to play during the tournament June 27 and 28 at the prestigious Laurel Valley Golf Club. Ravenstahl played with the Penguins group only on the first day.
On June 28, the second day of the tournament, Ravenstahl played on the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s dime with two of the hospital system’s executives.
The story may have changed, but Mayor Ravenstahl’s tune has not.
“I don’t think there’s much difference between the UPMC event and the Penguins event,” Ravenstahl said yesterday. “When you’re the mayor, you have to have discussions with those individuals, and that’s sometimes how business gets done.”
By the way, when did the One Hill CBA Coalition get to take Mayor Ravenstahl out golfing at a “high end” event, in order to present city residents’ concerns about arena development? Or is that equally important side of the coin still in the planning stages?
Because Luke is right about how business gets done — waiting patiently in a government office has not done the trick in the past.
Ethics Board Chair Patrice Hughes:
“The Penguins don’t have a contract with the city,” Hughes said. “I don’t think it’s the same thing as UPMC. There’s a nuance there.”
With respect, we feel any nuance is tissue-thin. The Penguins are also deep in negotiation with City of Pittsburgh over a very large-scale and controversial development.
The conflict of interest may be even more apparent in this case.
FWIW, the P-G Editorial Board this morning took a dim view of Ravenstahl’s acceptance of the golf outing.
It’s one thing to be an invited guest by a charity to extend support for its mission and purpose. It’s something quite different to show up as an invited participant by a corporate contractor that has paid your substantial price of admission — in this case $27,000 to sponsor the mayor and two other golfers.
The Comet will have more on the various counter-arguments we’ve heard cropping up on the blurghosphere next week.