Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown used his 18 tickets to the state skybox at FedEx Field to entertain business leaders, union officials, state politicians, lobbyists, friends and family, according to records requested by The Baltimore Sun.
Guests included a number of prominent African-Americans, including Democratic Party Chairwoman Yvette Lewis, former Democratic Party treasurer Kenneth R. Banks, Podesta Group partner Paul A. Brathwaite, lobbyist Gregory Proctor and the head of the Maryland Washington Minority Contractors Association, Wayne R. Frazier.
Records from 39 games from August 2007 to December 2011 show Brown spent $20,330 of taxpayer funds on food and non-alcoholic beverages. The amount per season is significantly more than Gov.Martin O'Malley paid in concessions at his M&T Stadium box in Baltimore — but the lieutenant governor does not benefit from the same "at cost" prices charged at the city stadiums.
The Sun requested the records detailing how Maryland politicians use their skyboxes after Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake excluded a city leader from her box for publicly disagreeing with a policy.
Rawlings-Blake and O'Malley both have access to separate boxes at M&T Stadium, where the Baltimore Ravens play, free of charge due to a law enacted when the stadium was built. O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake also have boxes at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for baseball games.
O'Malley can also use the skybox at FedEx Field in Landover. But control of those Redskins tickets goes to Brown, a former delegate from Prince George's County.
Marc P. Goldberg, a Brown spokesman, said the tickets are "generally used to maintain and foster relationships" with key officials and "for the purposes of legislative outreach, economic/business development, strengthening ties to communities, improving federal relations, and related efforts," Goldberg said.
"The lieutenant governor's friends and family members, as well as staff, have also received tickets," Goldberg said.
Several guests, including Banks and Braithwright either did not return calls or declined to comment for this story.
But from emails back and forth, it seems guests appreciated the tickets. "I have truly enjoyed having the opportunity to share the excitement of Washington Redskins football in such a prestigious manner," wrote Richard Hall, a Brown friend, in an email requesting three tickets to five games last season.
On two occasions the lieutenant governor offered tickets to preseason games for charitable use.
In August 2010, Brown — a colonel in the U.S. ArmyReserves — gave eight preseason tickets to two wounded soldiers, who brought friends and family. He had met the soldiers the previous month during a visit to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Brown's neighbors, who are developmentally disabled, received tickets to a different preseason game in September, according to emails.
Not all VIPs were accommodated. The lieutenant governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands asked a day too late — tickets had already been given away — and missed his chance to watch the Redskins play the San Francisco 49ers with his daughter.
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