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Saturday, December 20, 2014

John Junker Expensed Strip Club Visits to the Fiesta Bowl, Is now Fired

Details to one of the bigger corruption schemes in college football were released Tuesday. Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker was fired based on the findings of an investigation that revealed improper use of funds and campaign contributions. To understand the background for Junker’s job, he makes nearly $600,000 a year just for running the Fiesta Bowl, which is one of the four BCS bowl game sites (along with the Sugar, Orange, and Rose Bowl). The Fiesta Bowl has been found to fund politicians’ campaigns so they protect the BCS, which in turn protects the job and cushy living people like Junker make. And why wouldn’t he do everything possible to protect his job? When you look at the long list of gifts he lavished himself, his family, and his friends with, it will all make sense.

The investigation found that “bowl-paid expenses included tickets to high-profile sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, that were given to local politicians, visits to a local strip club, a 50th-birthday party for Junker and other executives at Pebble Beach and a honeymoon trip to Vancouver for Junker’s executive assistant.”

Yes, tax dollars were used to fund a strip club visit for Junker and two of his pals. From the investigation report:

On September 12, 2008, Junker, Aaron Brown, and Shawn Schoeffler spent the evening at Phoenix’s Bourbon Street, which claims to be a “World Famous Strip Club.” Aaron Brown is a Maricopa County Sheriff’s lieutenant who owns Blue Steel Consulting, Inc., a company that provides security services to the Fiesta Bowl.

Junker’s American Express statement includes five separate charges from Bourbon Street for the evening, totaling $1,241.75. (The men also spent $46 at Z Tejas, a restaurant, and $48.47 at Tilted Kilt, a bar, that evening, all paid for by the Fiesta Bowl.)

Junker acknowledged that the more than $1,200 spent at Bourbon Street that evening was not all spent for food and drink but “in all likelihood” included the payment for women to dance for them. One of the investigators retained by counsel to the Special Committee conducted an investigation that concluded that the individual amounts that totaled up to the night’s charges equated with the charges for private dances. The Fiesta Bowl paid for the drinks and all the strip club charges.

The handwritten description on Junker’s American Express statement for the strip club visit said “Junker, A. Brown—security site planning.” Junker stated that they did discuss business during the evening and that there was a business purpose to the Bourbon Street visit: “We are in the business where big strong athletes are known to attend these types of establishments. It was important for us to visit and we certainly conducted business.”

Brown stated that it was his fault that they went to Bourbon Street and that he had pushed Junker to go. Brown said they had “normal business discussions” while at Bourbon Street. Our review of other executives’ American Express statements found several other apparent visits to Bourbon Street. Schoeffler’s American Express statements, for example, show that Schoeffler was reimbursed by the Fiesta Bowl for six other visits to Bourbon Street although his charges per visit (ranging from $45.75 to $145.50) were significantly lower than the September 12, 2008 visit noted above.

Likewise, Fields’ American Express statements show two charges to Bourbon Street, one on September 2, 2009, for $400, and another on September 3, 2009, for $48.25.

Talk about an absolute disgrace. I’m glad they were investigated and that Junker was fired. More people should be too. Tax dollars aren’t around for officials to live life lavishly on our dime but for them to perform public services. And think about how pathetic the excuse for the strip club trips was – they called it security site planning. Security site planning? Is that a joke? What does that mean? They were planning on hiring strippers to take tickets at the Fiesta Bowl gates?



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