Wow, must be nice to be friends with Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Dozens of free tickets went to elected and appointed officials, according to documents obtained by 13 Investigates.
The tickets belong to the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, a public agency run by Harris County and City of Houston to develop and operate sports stadiums in the area. The authority operates Minute Maid Park, where the Astros play, along with several other Houston-area arenas. As part of the deal, the HCHSA gets a suite in the stadium and controls the roughly 30 tickets for each game.
According to the lists, half of the Houston city council got tickets to the postseason (AL Division Series or Championship Series) or World Series. Three of them got tickets to three games each. Councilman Robert Gallegos' office confirmed his attendance. Councilman Jack Christie told us he uses the games as a chance to market sports for Houston. Councilman Dave Martin told us he considers the games a working event. Martin also serves on the Sports Authority Foundation's Board of Directors.
Janis Burke, the Sports Authority CEO, told 13 Investigates she encourages the elected officials to speak with invited guests and sponsors.
Martin told 13 Investigates he reimburses the authority for his tickets. The Sports Authority CEO told 13 Investigates, "None of the attendees had to pay for their tickets."
Leadership at the Sports Authority said no payments had been received to date, but would continue to check.
Mayor Sylvester Turner got a ticket to the suite for Game 2 of the World Series.
County Judge Lina Hidalgo got a free ticket to one of the playoff games against the Tampa Bay Rays.
County Commissioner Adrian Garcia was given a ticket for Game 1 of the World Series.
Seven state representatives got free tickets and so did two state senators, as did the president of the University of Houston.
The documents show who received the free tickets. They were non-transferable. In one case, the documents show City Council member Ellen Cohen returned hers. It was given to another guest instead. No other changes are noted on the lists.