Editor's note: At 5:23 p.m., Chris Heinbaugh shot us the following e-mail: "The Mayor is returning Sunday and will not be attending the Super Bowl game." But he's still in Arizona for the festivities. Carry on.
In late December, Mayor Tom Leppert created friction between himself and the Dallas city council when he told the members they couldn't accept their customary gratis Cotton Bowl tickets, provided, as always, by the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. This was just a few days after he fired off a memo asking for an improved ethics program. And all this was done without sitting down with the council to explain what was going on. Some council members applauded the move; others, not so much.
But what'll they think of this: Mayor Tom's heading to Arizona this weekend -- for, yup, the Super Bowl. Which is a heck of a nice way to relax after spending the week in Mexico. Of course, you aren't paying for the trip to Phoenix: Leppert’s plane ticket and accommodations are being picked up by the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee, which is sending Leppert to scope out the scene -- or, as it's known in the travel trade, as a perk. But Chris Heinbaugh, Leppert’s chief of staff, tells Unfair Park that “if Mayor Leppert decides to stay for the game, he will purchase his own ticket.”
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Turns out, Leppert will also be joined on this particular jaunt by a former Dallas mayor.
But first, so you know, Heinbaugh says this trip was run past the City Attorney’s Office and everything checked out. This ain't nothing like Cotton Bowl ducats. Because, see, it’s the free tickets at city facilities that are the problem -- because the contracts with each city facility are different, according to Heinbaugh.
“It’s a complicated thing," he says, "and, unfortunately, no one had been looking at it closely.”