Stephen Ellison

Oakland's Ethics Commission Question City's Use of Free Pro Sports Tickets

Oakland's Public Ethics Commission is questioning city officials' use of complimentary tickets to professional sporting events, saying some council members are not properly documenting who accompanies them to the games or who uses the tickets in their place.

At a special meeting Wednesday night, the commission announced an investigation into the city's policies for use of tickets to Golden State Warriors games and Oakland Raiders games, in particular.

"I think it is very important going forward that this city and this city's ethics commission and City Council clean this up," Commissioner Stephen Shefler said during the meeting.

Some of the tickets in question are for luxury suites, which usually are the most expensive seats in a venue.

"When you have a ticket at a $10,000 face value, and you give it to someone, something is expected in return or you’ve received it already," Commissioner Dana King said.

The city has free use of a luxury suite at the Oracle Arena through its lease with the Warriors. The commission asked tough questions about who gets free tickets and how are they given out.

Council members are allowed to use the tickets to make sure the arena is being run properly. They can allow family members to use them or bring a guest, but only if the transaction is documented properly. The commission believes the documentation process is in question.

That was made clear to Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Executive Director Scott McKibben.

"I think it’s your job to determine whether or not these people should be going to four games in an eight-day span or not, not mine." McKibben told the commission.

Councilman Noel Gallo was the only council member at the special meeting.

"We do need to be accountable for our actions," Gallo said. "The system has to be presented. What are the rules to be able to create the reporting? That’s what I think has been missing here."

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