EXCLUSIVE: Mayor Phil Gordon's Girlfriend Had Paying Gig With Big Phoenix Developer Doing Business With City. SEE UPDATE
Mayor Phil Gordon's girlfriend landed on mega-Phoenix developer Steve Ellman's payroll in 2009, political insiders confirm.
Elissa Mullany, who started dating Gordon in early 2008, spent time in City Hall arranging meetings and making phone calls on behalf of Ellman. Gordon directed staffers to "tell Elissa to do this" or "tell her not to do that" because Ellman is going to be calling her, a source tells New Times.
See update here.
Local spin-doctor Jason Rose, who has represented Ellman over the years, said Mullany was not working for Ellman, but he would not give a direct answer to whether she had worked for him in the past.
Gordon refused to comment on Mullany's clients, saying questions should be directed to her. He wouldn't share her phone number, however. He said she might be listed in the phone book.
Bill Scheel, one of Gordon's senior staffers, said Mullany did not have an official role in the Mayor's Office.
Gordon's daily calender tells a different story.
|Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon|
Gordon met on July 27 for dinner with Ellman at The Parlor Pizzeria on Camelback Road. On August 25, Gordon had another dinner meeting scheduled with Ellman at Tarbell's restaurant on Camelback. Mullany was listed as the contact for both of the meetings, and typically that indicates who will arrange and attend a meeting.
Records also show that Ellman was included in meetings with foreign dignitaries and tagged along with Gordon on at least one trip to Mexico.
On July 28, Ellman and Gordon met with Abdullah Saleh Al Jum'ah, the CEO of Saudi Arabia at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa. And during a trip to Mexico City on September 29, Gordon apparently met up with Ellman, according to his calendar.
During that trip, Gordon, and presumably Ellman, met with family members of Mexico billionaire Carlos Slim.
Gordon repeatedly has touted these trips as a way to grease the wheels for foreign investments to come to Phoenix. But the ties between Gordon, Mullany, and Ellman raise questions about the true motivation behind his globetrotting.
It seems to explain why he would exclude city experts in economic development from trips to places like Qatar, where the Gordon and Mullany recently traveled.
Signing paychecks for Gordon's girlfriend isn't a bad way for Ellman to maintain close ties with the mayor. Neither is tagging along with Gordon -- like on the trip to Mexico -- a bad way for Ellman to tout his development ventures and gain the confidence of potential foreign investors.
Rose wouldn't answer any more questions about whether Mullany used her relationship with Gordon to leverage business opportunities or whether Ellman enjoyed special access because he was paying Gordon's girlfriend.
Instead, Rose declared a conflict on Wednesday and recused himself from representing either Gordon or Ellman on this matter.
Rose was a consultant for Gordon when questions first surfaced about Mullany's employment with Ellman, and sherpherded Gordon through a previous scandal with Mullany.
Last year, it was revealed that Gordon paid Mullany more than $200,000 for raising money and managing several political-action committees. Some of the money came in $10,000 or $20,000 chunks from campaign funds that had been dormant for a couple years.
Public records show that Mullany received an additional $100,000 for raising money for the mayor's State of Downtown fund.
That pot of money, which local businesses and corporations contribute to for downtown marketing and improvements, was also used for more than $3,000 worth of Super Bowl tickets.
Debra Stark, the mayor's latest chief of staff, said she would figure out who attended the game and get back us.