Following reports of politicians in and around former Gov. Jon Corzine’s office allegedly receiving special treatment in acquiring event tickets, current New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has tapped one of his legal colleagues to conduct a review of the ticketing policies at the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA).
Ralph Marra, a former acting U.S. Attorney for the state who now serves as the chief attorney for NJSEA, will conduct the review, which reportedly will focus on the “appropriateness and ethical implications” of the NJSEA’s policy of holding back event tickets for use by state officials.
“It’s worth a look, and we understand the appearances,” Micheal Drewniak, spokesperson for Gov. Christie, told The Star-Ledger newspaper.
An unnamed person who answered the telephone today, April 8, in Marra’s office hung up when asked to comment about the review. How long the review will take, and what specifically it will look at have not been disclosed.
This week, Bloomberg News reported that nearly two-dozen elected officials had hundreds of tickets held back for their use at concerts at NJSEA facilities in 2009, prior to Christie’s election. The concerts in question were by Bruce Springsteen, U2 and the Jonas Brothers; the officials reportedly paid face value for the tickets.
But, the tickets were never made available to the public, and the holdbacks came at a time when former state Attorney General Anne Milgram was in the process of suing several online ticket brokers for allegedly trying to sell tickets they did not have in hand or for seats that did not exist. Milgram was replaced as attorney general by Paula Dow, who is continuing the lawsuit. Select-A-Ticket of New Jersey and TicketNetwork of Connecticut are two of the defendants in the lawsuit.
NJSEA spokesperson John Samerjan yesterday told TicketNews that the authority’s policy concerning ticket holdbacks for elected officials has been in effect for decades and has not been a secret. While he did not believe a review was necessary, Samerjan said the commission would be happy to cooperate with any review.
Earlier in the year when Marra was appointed to the NJSEA post, he told the Star-Ledger newspaper that he was excited to work for the authority. “The Sports Authority is facing a lot of challenges and I’m eager to jump in there and help out.”
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