From Patrick McGrady:
Patrick McGrady today filed an official complaint with the Aberdeen Ethics Commission regarding the reported actions of Mayor Michael Bennett.
According to articles published by the Augusta Chronicle and Baltimoresun.com, Mayor Bennett traveled to Augusta, Georgia during the first week of August, 2011 to advocate on behalf of the Ripken Baseball Group. Ripken Baseball owns the Augusta GreenJackets, a team in the same league at the Aberdeen Ironbirds.
After filing the paperwork, McGrady said, “It is up to the people to ensure that their elected officials are acting in an ethical and honest manner. It seems that Mayor Bennett not only had his trip paid for by the for-profit Ripken Baseball folks, but he also mislead the audience in Augusta on this lobbying trip.”
Ripken Baseball wants the City of Augusta to build them a new stadium, with a deal similar to Aberdeen’s. In recent talks, the people of Augusta have been hesitant to agree to a Stadium deal because they heard about the large financial costs to the City of Aberdeen.
This trip was paid for by the Ripken Baseball Group. It is not clear if this is classified as a employment relationship, a gift, or a campaign contribution.
While in Augusta, Mayor Bennett spoke about the relationship between Aberdeen and the Ripken Group to a group of politicians, government employees, and community members.
The Ethics Commission complaint submitted by McGrady was initiated to get answers to serious questions about the Mayor’s behavior and relationship with the Ripken Group.
According to the Augusta Chronicle article about Bennett’s trip, Bennett disputed that the City of Aberdeen loses several thousand dollars per year. Budget documents from the Aberdeen City website show that since the 2007 budget, the taxpayers of Aberdeen have subsidized the Stadium with more than $2,000,000.
McGrady continued “The people of Aberdeen deserve honesty from our elected officials. The people of Aberdeen have been suffering under this Stadium deal for a long time, and it seems odd that Mayor Bennett would tell folks in Augusta otherwise. For the sake of the people of Aberdeen, I hope this isn’t true. With the problems with high taxes and high water bills in Aberdeen, the Mayor should be working for the people in Aberdeen, not lobbying for big corporations.”
Patrick McGrady is a candidate for Mayor in the November 8 Aberdeen election. He is an Aberdeen small businessman who wants to work to make Aberdeen government honest and more efficient. Once elected, he will work to reduce the burden of high property taxes and water bills on the people of Aberdeen. More information about the campaign can be found at www.McGradyforMayor.com.