Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Figures: NJ Dems Snapped Up Springsteen, U2 Tickets While Bashing Ticket Brokers

Is anyone really surprised a sleazebag lowlife like Jon Corzine would be a shameless hypocrite? Of course not. Fortunately, Corzine is gone from office, but we're still left with plenty of pols with their greedy paws out.
Former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine’s office got U2 and Bruce Springsteen seats the public couldn’t buy last year, at the same time the state was suing brokers over ticketing practices, according to documents showing 22 elected officials received special treatment.

Corzine’s office reserved 57 tickets for U2, Springsteen and the Jonas Brothers at Giants Stadium and IZOD Center from July to October 2009 through the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, agency records show. The documents, evidence in a state lawsuit against ticket Web sites, indicate more than 350 seats for 15 concerts were set aside for elected officials.

Officials got a jump on some of the season’s hottest shows by obtaining seats through the state agency, which operates the two venues. At the same time, New Jersey was suing online brokers over marketing tactics including taking orders before tickets are on sale. Tapping the agency for tickets may violate ethics rules that bar officials from taking “unwarranted privileges,” the head of the state ethics commission said.

“The means by which the tickets are secured has everything to do with undue access and using official position to secure an unfair advantage,” said Paula Franzese, chairwoman of the state Ethics Commission. “I would like to see an investigation.”
Are you listening, Governor Christie?
Fred Scalera, the deputy assembly speaker who drafted legislation to crack down on scalping, had 40 seats set aside for Springsteen, the Jonas Brothers, U2, AC/DC and Eric Clapton.

Scalera said the orders were for people who call his office and that he’s “never done it for myself or my office.”

The bill would require venues to disclose how many tickets are available to the public. Federal legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat, also would require the disclosure of how many tickets are available to the public.

Democrat Senator Paul Sarlo’s office reserved a total of 68 tickets, the most among elected officials.

Chris Eilert, Sarlo’s chief of staff, said he used tickets to see the Jonas Brothers and Springsteen. The senator also attended shows, Eilert said. To reserve tickets, state officials call the agency’s executive office and give them credit card information for the purchase, he said.

“This is something that has been happening since the authority opened,” said Eilert, who was listed to pick up 66 of the tickets.

The office of Senator Richard Codey, the former acting governor and president of the New Jersey Senate, received a total of 60 tickets, second-most on the list.

“Not me or anybody on my staff went to any of those concerts,” Codey said.

The 57 tickets reserved by Corzine’s office included three tickets to see the Jonas Brothers on July 14 that were held for Jennifer Velez, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services.

Velez paid for the tickets to take her daughter and friend to see the Jonas Brothers, said Ellen Lovejoy, a spokeswoman. The seats were arranged through Corzine’s office, she said.

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