D.C. Council chair bats away offer of free Nats tickets

Mark Segraves, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and the head of the District agency that manages Nationals Park have turned down an offer from the Washington Nationals for two free tickets to every playoff game.

Mendelson’s chief of staff, Denise Tolliver, tells WTOP the chairman rejected the offer after consultation with his general counsel.

“Given the value of each ticket, he decided he better not take them,” Tolliver says.

The D.C. Council recently passed new ethics guidelines for councilmembers, which include reporting requirements for gifts. No other councilmembers were offered tickets.

A Nationals spokesperson says the team made the same offer of two free tickets to every game to Mayor Vincent Gray and to Events DC, the quasi-government agency which oversees the ballpark lease.

Gray plans to accept the offer but is having it processed through the normal channels for any gift to the city. Gray spokesperson Pedro Ribeiro says the mayor has invited Bertram Abramson, a 99-year-old Nationals fan who watched the Washington Senators play in the World Series in 1924, to be his guest at a game.

Ribeiro says the tickets are not box seats, but was unsure exactly where the seats are located in the stands.

Greg O’Dell, president and CEO of Events DC, also turned down the offer. Teri Washington, a spokesperson for O’Dell, says he won’t be in town for the first playoff series and plans on paying for his own tickets should the Nationals advance.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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