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Why San Diego? Taxpayer-funded junket raising eyebrows

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Why San Diego? Taxpayer-funded junket raising eyebrows

CREATED May 30, 2012

Reporter: Marcelino Benito

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Councilman Paul Cunningham's alleged behavior on a TREO trip to San Diego is just one part of the story. The controversy swirling around Cunningham is raising questions about the trip itself. How much did it cost? Why were local leaders there in the first place?

No one agreed to talk about the trip on camera, except for Ward 6 councilman Steve Kozachik.

"The Cunningham story is the smaller story in all this," Kozachik said. "I hope he deals with his personal situation, but taxpayers deserve to know the point of this trip."

Kozachik is pushing for answers. He's asked for an agenda item at next week's council meeting to discuss the TREO trip. He tells KGUN 9 that TREO and local leaders should be able to explain to the public the reasons behind the trip and the costs associated with it.

"I would like the people on that trip to let us know what the taxpayer dollars got out of it," Kozachik said. "What it cost us, what was on the agenda, and the benefits of it."

9OYS reporter Marcelino Benito reached out to TREO for answers. TREO officials would not return phone calls, but responded via email. TREO spokesperson Laura Shaw tells 9OYS 38 people took part in the San Diego trip, but most individuals traveled using private dollars. When pushed on the reason and purpose for the trip, Shaw did not respond.

As for the City of Tucson, spokesman Michael Graham confirms to 9OYS that two city employees traveled to San Diego on the taxpayer dime. The combined cost of the trip for those employees was $4,000. It covered air fare and a 3 night stay at the luxurious Torrey Pines Resort.