"The public can trust us because we're not flagrantly violating the rules," Airport Authority chairman Bob Watkins told the voiceofsandiego.org.
Two years after efforts at self-reform, members of the Airport Authority board and senior staff are still taking high-priced flights, staying in expensive hotels and eating in the finest restaurants, according to a published report.
Among the incidents reported by the voiceofsandiego.org: board chairman Bob Watkins and board member Bruce Boland flying to London on a trade mission when the Chargers played the Saints last year, paying $5,500 per ticket for business-class air travel instead of $950 for economy. Watkins and a member of Parliament who was his guest then saw the game, each sitting in a $1,200 seat on the 5-yard line.
The VOSD.org story comes in the wake of a similar report two years ago by by the San Diego Union-Tribune. The paper's investigation prompted internal reform at the agency, but the voiceofsandiego.org reported that the new practices were not always adhered to.
"Employees have repeatedly been reimbursed for expenses that aren't allowed under the new policy.... When the authority's employees and board members travel, they still eat at the finest restaurants and stay at the finest hotels. They have booked last-minute flights to long-planned conferences, adding hundreds in costs," reports the voiceofsandiego.org.
Watkins told the online news site he was not alarmed by what it had found in its investigation and added that the "authority's expense reimbursement policies were a 'guideline' and needed to have flexibility."