May 22, 2015


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Mayor's office will no longer buy season tickets to sports events

Mayor Sam Katz's office spent close to $29,000 on hockey, football and baseball games last year.

Katz's staff confirmed this afternoon that his office spent $24,704 on Jets season tickets, $2,160 on Bomber season tickets and $2,064 on Goldeyes season tickets for the 2011 season.

Earlier today, Katz said the mayor's office will end the practice and no longer purchase season tickets to sporting and any other cultural or other events. Katz said his office did not renew the Jets tickets, and will return the 2012 Bomber season tickets.

"I've decided it's Vatime to stop, period," he said, following this morning's executive policy committee meeting. "There will be no more tickets of any kind purchased or distributed."

Katz previously said his office will give the tickets to charities, or they will be offered to city politicians if no one is using them.

Katz said council's governance committee will work to develop a policy on free tickets for city councillors.

Last week, Katz said he would like to see Winnipeg develop a policy on accepting free tickets in light of a provincial crackdown. Currently, councillors have to declare gifts worth more than $250 to the city clerk's office.

Clerk's office records show that six members of council have since declared they have received Jets tickets. Couns. Paula Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo) and Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) both received tickets from Canad Inns. Browaty declared that he received a total of four tickets for two games. Havixbeck declared that she received three seats.

Browaty said he declared the tickets on Monday after councillors received an email to clarify the city's current policy on gift declaration. He said he was unaware that councillors must declare any gifts worth upwards of $250 every 30 days. Browaty said he mistakenly thought members of council only need to update their declarations once a year.

He said he does not think accepting tickets from a private business has any influence over his decisions as a councillor. Browaty said he has previously declared participating in a golf tournament and a gala ticket he received, both of which were worth more than $250.

"It's a good place to talk business, whether it's at a dinner or a hockey game," he said. "I don't think myself of any of my colleagues would be influenced to make a decision any certain way due to hockey tickets being involved."

Havixbeck said Canad Inns asked her if she was interested in attending a Jets game and she accepted. She said councillors are often invited to a variety of functions, and it's important to show support.

"I think it's important to support and be part of all events and create an awareness," Havixbeck said.

Couns. Russ Wyatt (Transcona) and Brian Mayes (St. Vital) both received tickets from Mayor Katz. Mayes declared that he received two tickets to a game on Jan 21, worth an estimated $320. Wyatt received three tickets.

Coun. Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) declared he received four Jets tickets, including two from Mayor Katz and two from Meyers Norris Penny. Coun. Dan Vandal (St. Boniface) declared four Jets tickets he received from Mayor Katz.

Katz confirmed the tickets he gave Wyatt, Mayes and Fielding were his own personal tickets, and not those purchased by the mayor's office.

History

Updated on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 10:26 AM CDT: Updated and new headline

11:44 AM: updated

12:17 PM: Updated

3:41 PM: updates with full writethru

3:58 PM: adds Vandal

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Mike Deal | @wfpmdeal

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