Free Tickets In Georgia
Elected officials in a metro Atlanta suburb got more than 200 tickets for concerts by The Eagles, Dave Matthews Band and dozens of other shows at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, records show.
Alpharetta leaders kept limited records of how the tickets were used, and some records were erased last year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The tickets, purchased by Alpharetta’s convention and visitors bureau, were intended to promote tourism. The bureau spent nearly $150,000 buying two years of season passes to the amphitheatre.
The tickets were to be distributed to hotel owners, restaurants and radio stations, among others, the newspaper reported.
Alpharetta elected officials took more than a fifth of the tickets — 204 tickets for 43 shows, with VIP parking and coveted orchestra-section seats for such acts as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Stevie Nicks.
City councilman Jim Paine said elected officials who attend concerts promote the music venue. Asked how elected officials attending concerts helps tourism, Paine said they’re promoting the amphitheater through word of mouth.
“Using our network of friends we know,” Paine said. “Our personal friends and political friends, and talking up the venue, and hopefully creating an interest in coming to the venue.”
There’s no public benefit to members of the city council attending concerts, and failing to track how tickets are used raises more questions, said William Perry, executive director of Common Cause Georgia.
“Taxpayers have a right to know where their taxpayer dollars are going,” Perry said, “and right now, it looks like it’s going to council members.”