Friday, May 13, 2011

Wait, Russell Pearce Might Have Lied About the Fiesta Bowl Scandal?

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Hard to believe (that he might be lying about what he took from the Fiesta Bowl or that this guy is still in office, your choice), but the Arizona Republic looked further in Pearce's somewhat adaptable story about his relationship with the free stuff express formerly available from the Fiesta Bowl committee:

In 2005, Pearce pushed through legislation giving the Fiesta Bowl a public subsidy worth $263,000, as well as more control over operations during the 2007 national championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Pearce, in a written response to questions from The Republic, said the 2005 legislation passed with overwhelming support. There was just one "no" vote, and it was signed into law by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano.

The bill "was not in my control," Pearce wrote. "I did not sponsor the bill."

However, legislative records show Pearce was the sponsor of the bill. While the bill was amended by another lawmaker, it was done so with Pearce's knowledge, and he has publicly taken credit for helping the Fiesta Bowl.

In 2007, the bowl said, it paid $2,140 for tickets for Pearce for a Navy football game.

Pearce, however, said he did not have to pay for those tickets because the Fiesta Bowl asked him to attend a speaking engagement at the game in Annapolis, Md. At the event, he said, he presented a check from the Fiesta Bowl. He said he was not required to reimburse the bowl because state law allows a legislator to accept gifts when performing a "ceremonial function."

A Navy spokesman said he was unable to determine if Pearce attended a speaking engagement. Terry Fahn, a Fiesta Bowl spokesman, said to the best of his knowledge there was no record of the bowl asking Pearce to make a presentation at the Navy game.

In 2008, the bowl said it paid $4,060 to provide Pearce tickets for a Los Angeles game between Ohio State and the University of Southern California. Pearce, however, said the tickets went to a family member.

Pearce wrote that his adult son, Justin, "contacted his personal friend Gary Husk (who also was Justin's attorney) about purchasing tickets to this game." The bowl said it was never paid for the tickets.

Husk is the bowl's former lobbyist, now facing a State Bar of Arizona investigation after Fiesta Bowl employees accused him of being involved in a scheme to reimburse employees for campaign contributions. Husk could not be reached to discuss Pearce's explanation. But he previously denied any wrongdoing.

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