Bennett Defends Augusta Trip
Mayor Michael Bennett says he has no personal connection with Ripken Baseball despite the ethics commission review.
McGrady submitted a complaint, stating that Bennett traveled to Augusta, GA, on Oct. 3 to lobby for the Ripken Baseball group for personal gain. The Ethics Commission found Bennett in violation by not providing “adequate disclosure to the public” and using “the prestige of [his] office for private gain,” according to the review.
Bennett said he is dismayed that this was “an open and shut case.” He said that he was not speaking on behalf of the city or the Ripken Baseball group, but he was only speaking about how the city’s relationship with Ripken Baseball works.
The Ripken Baseball group paid for Bennett's travel expenses to speak to Augusta leaders at an event about building a new stadium for the city's minor league baseball team, the GreenJackets.
“Mayors all over the United States are cheerleaders for their local businesses. They go everywhere. That’s part of the job,” Bennett said.
McGrady expressed concern about the cost of the construction of Ripken Stadium in a press release Wednesday and said "that Aberdeen taxpayers lose hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, and we need to get out from under that debt.”
When asked whether he knowingly broke the code of ethics, Bennett said “absolutely not.” He said he is glad he traveled to Augusta.
Bennett and McGrady are both running for mayor in Aberdeen. The municipal election is on Nov. 8. Voters can cast their ballots at the Aberdeen Senior Center from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.