Ethics board questions mayor about golf outing
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Steve Mellon, Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl answers questions from the Ethics Hearing Board this morning about his participation in June in a charity golf outing.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl insisted to members of the city Ethics Hearing Board today that there was nothing wrong with his participation in a celebrity golf outing, but board officials said they may want new rules clarifying such events.
Mr. Ravenstahl attended a board meeting by invitation, rather than in response to any complaint, to address issues that arose from both UPMC and the Pittsburgh Penguins sponsoring his participation in the Mario Lemieux Celebrity Invitational. The organizations each contributed $27,000 to the fund-raising event to sponsor trios of golfers joining a celebrity for two days.
The mayor said the benefit of the sponsorships was for medical research supported by the Lemieux foundation, not for him.
"This was not a gift to me -- I received nothing," he said. "It would be different if I was the [beneficiary] of $9,000. I wasn't."
Ethics board members did not accuse the mayor of misconduct but raised questions about the perception that such corporate sponsors could gain influence by supporting his attendance at costly events. The board plans to propose new guidelines that could cover such charitable sponsorships and discuss them with the mayor, said the board's chairman, Sister Patrice Hughes.
"People understand he did not receive $9,000 -- he made that quite clear," she said, but she stated there's still reason to seek clarification of similar issues for the future.
Mr. Ravenstahl said he will be willing to consider any proposals from the board but would oppose setting any strict dollar limits on the types of events a public official can take part in.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
First Published August 21, 2007 12:28 pm