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O'Malley's Super Bowl tickets went to top aides, delegate

The Baltimore Sun

Gov. Martin O'Malley's Super Bowl tickets went to a pair of top aides and a city delegate, the administration said this week. 

As governor, O'Malley has a state skybox at Ravens stadium, which allows him to purchase up to eight Super Bowl tickets, ranging in price from $950 to $1,250 apiece. O'Malley and his wife, Baltimore District Judge Catherine "Katie" Curran O'Malley, used two of those tickets and paid for them with personal funds. Three other pairs of tickets were purchased at face-value by the governor's public affairs director, Stephen Neuman; state budget director T. Eloise Foster; and State Del. Shawn Z. Tarrant, a Baltimore Democrat.  

O'Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory has said no taxpayer funds were used for the trip.

Like the governor, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had access to eight tickets because she controls the city's stadium skybox. She and her husband, Kent, paid to attend the game and stayed at a friend's home nearby, according to her spokesman.

The mayor's brother, Wendell, bought two of the tickets, as did City Councilmen Robert W. Curran and William H. Cole IV, all using their own money.

James Browning, regional director for the watchdog group Common Cause, has said he would have liked to see the tickets distributed democratically.

"It's a chance to do the right thing and show the real Baltimore and the real diversity, instead of just a bunch of insiders," Browning said. "It's a moment for the whole city to share.... It shouldn't just be for people with political connections or with money or clout."

Last year, Common Cause took issue with the way O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake used their stadium suites, saying they should be used as the "people's skybox," not to reward political allies. The organization also called on the governor and mayor to create a written policy governing how tickets are distributed for the boxes.

Ravens stadium was built with $200 million in public financing. According to the Maryland Stadium Authority, the offices of the mayor and the governor were given boxes through an addendum to the lease agreement for the stadium in 1995.

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