CEO of developer with business interests in DC took Mayor Bowser to the Masters: City Paper

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The CEO of a company with significant business interests in D.C. arranged and paid for Mayor Muriel Bowser’s last-minute trip to the Masters golf tournament, but details were scarce until a Washington City Paper report Wednesday.

On Friday April 12, Bowser’s public calendar said she would be going to Augusta, Georgia, as part of a sports and economic development visit. There was no statement with details like who she was going with or how she was getting there.

City Paper reporter Tom Sherwood, formerly of News4, first reported the mayor was the guest of Jodie McLean, the CEO of EDENS, a retail and real estate developer. McLean also the co-chairs the Gallery Place/Chinatown Task Force, which is exploring redevelopment around Capital One Arena.

McLean flew Bowser down on a private jet.

“You just don’t walk in and decide one day you are going to go to the Masters,” Sherwood told News4. “Millions of people want tickets to that … Big-deal corporations have big-deal events there. The mayor went as a guest of EDENS, a corporation that has business here in the city — Union Market is one of their things — and I think the citizens have a right to know how did this trip come about.”

A spokesperson for the mayor told News4 the city fund will pay for the trip but declined to say who the mayor met with or how much the city will have to pay for the ticket to the Masters, which can cost thousands of dollars.

One of Bowser’s senior advisors, Beverly Perry, also went on the trip, Sherwood reported.

“Her chief senior aide in the mayor’s office, who’s in charge of negotiating to try to get the NFL team to come back to RFK, went also, and so I want to know all the details about it,” he told News4.

A spokesperson for EDENS told the City Paper McLean invited the mayor with the agreement the expenses would be reimbursed.

“Some of those people who go to the Masters are high-end people who have the money to invest in D.C.,” Sherwood said. “That’s the good part. The mayor has the right to go down there and do that. But I don’t think she has the right to obscure all these details about its cost and who was involved.”

The mayor’s trip to Augusta lasted just one day. She returned that Saturday night.

The City Paper also reported Bowser happened to run into her former chief of staff, John Falcicchio at the Masters. Falcicchio resigned last year amid a sexual misconduct investigation. The paper cites sources saying the mayor and Falcicchio only spoke briefly.

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