- Last Updated: 6:05 AM, August 13, 2012
- Posted: 12:27 AM, August 13, 2012
Game. Set. No match.
State lawmakers must ditch their luxury seats to this year’s US Open after an ethics panel nixed the freebie, The Post has learned.
The Legislature’s Ethics Commission told the US Tennis Association to rescind invitations to legislators after state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) questioned whether he was even allowed to attend the sporting event in Flushing and sit in the USTA’s ritzy President’s Suite, which boasts an open bar and great views of the action.
“It’s inappropriate. It’s one thing to invite elected officials to maybe an opening ceremony, but it’s another thing to invite an elected official to sit in the President’s Box,” Avella (right) said.
“That’s something that would cost hundreds of dollars for the average person, easy. The elected officials should know enough to realize this is inappropriate.”
Now city lawmakers who have long enjoyed the perk — including Queens members of the City Council and Council Speaker Christine Quinn — are awaiting a decision from the city Conflicts of Interest Board on whether they can attend the event this year for free.
Quinn received written permission from the COIB to attend the high-profile event in 2008, but the USTA never bothered to get clearance when it began inviting lawmakers decades ago.
“The USTA believed in good faith they were in compliance based on existing COIB literature on the issue of gifts,” said its rep, Alice McGillion. The COIB is expected to make its determination when it meets Aug. 22, two days before the start of the popular sporting event. McGillion would not say which lawmakers and city employees were invited and several contacted by The Post — including city Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Queens Councilman Daniel Dromm — said they were not planning on attending anyway.