Who would have thought that the city’s new ethics code would have impacted the Stanley Cup finals? But the code precluded Mayor Pam Iorio from being comped by the St. Petersburg Times for the opening game against Calgary, and she had to ante up for tickets. Guest luxury box ducats for the mayor and her husband had a face value of $700. Since the mayor can’t accept a gift in excess of $100, she paid for them. Sort of. With left over campaign money.
Here’s how that works.
After campaigns, politicians typically allocate a portion of left over funds to charity and to an “office account” for business-related items that are inappropriate to charge off to taxpayers. Iorio did both.
She wrote out $7,500 checks for the Boys and Girls Club and the Andy Aviles Scholarship Fund (in honor of the Robinson High Marine killed in Iraq). She also contributed $10,000 to the Community Foundation Scholarship Program that had been established by former Mayor Dick Greco. The remaining $10,000 went into the “office account.”
She tapped into that account, for example, when she treated the budget staff to lunch upon completion of her first budget. The same account covered the ticket value.
“The office account helps fill a gap,” explains Iorio. “Things that come up of a work nature that you don’t want to spend tax money on.”
It just happens that the nature of some work is more fun than others.