OK, so we're browsing Allen Gwinn's city of Dallas credit-card database, right? (You probably are too.) And, so, like, we're looking for what Allen calls "eyebrow-raising" items. So we go to the vendor section of the database, and we don't get out of the A's when we run into this particular item: "ATLANTIS CASINO RESORT: $1,893.92." So we click on that, and it says that the expense is credited to one person: "O. KENNETH SHAW," or Kenny Shaw, as he's better known in his position as the director of the city's Office of Emergency Management.
According to Gwinn's database, Shaw dropped that much coin at the Reno, Nevada, hot spot on April 10, April 21 and April 28, 2006. Since Shaw isn't in and Mayor Laura Miller hasn't returned our calls and e-mails, we called the casino-spa-resort-you-name-it to see if, in fact, it hosted an emergency-management or disaster response or Homeland Security conference during that month. After all, that would explain the expenditure -- and it seems there was indeed a Disaster Response & Recovery Expo in Reno on April 24-26, only it took place at the Reno Hilton.
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After bouncing up and down the phone chain at the Atlantis, we did talk to a nice woman in the public relations department, Janet Miller, who put us on hold to check with catering. After a few minutes, she returned to say that the head of catering, who keeps the events schedule and certainly knows about any event "requiring food," knew of no such conference taking place at the Atlantis during that time period. In fact, Miller says, the only conference being held at the Atlantis in April involved "an industrial ceramics group, which I don't think fits your criteria," says the nice woman in PR.
Which isn't to say Shaw doesn't have a good excuse for dropping $2,000 at a Reno resort last spring. We're just waiting for it.
Incidentally, Shaw dropped $498.40 per night for four nights at the Atlantis -- which means, Miller says, he likely stayed in the Paradise Combo, "which is almost like a suite but not quite." Sounds sweet nonetheless. --Robert Wilonsky