Free Braves, Falcons tickets raising eyebrows

Augusta Commission - Augusta seal with skyline
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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, June 3, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A bird's eye view of the Falcons isn't cheap, but some Augusta commissioners could be in the hot seat for accepting free seats there.

Sources tell News 12 that Heery International offered those seats to a bunch of local leaders, including some on the school board.

For the past 10 years, the company has overseen city projects like the sheriff administration building, the judicial center and the TEE Center. They made close to $10 million.

"I was offered a $1.5 million bribe for the TEE Center. So, if I was going to take anything, that $1.5 million looks a lot better than a ticket to the Falcons game," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

Commissioners Mason and Corey Johnson admit to using the tickets.

"It's not like they were out trying to garner support. The contract was not on the line, it's not like it was up for renewal, so, I mean, that's just typical," Johnson said.

Johnson and Mason also admit Heery International donated money to their campaigns, but that this will not buy their vote.

"You are not going to buy Alvin Mason's vote, period. Just like CH2M Hill, who used to be a part of this government, they supported my campaign, and I voted for them to be removed. So, there is no conflict of interest."

And both Mason and Johnson say there's no conflict of interest here, either. They say the seats and the campaign contributions simply aren't a game-changer -- their votes are not for sale.

Commissioners will talk about this on Tuesday before the vote on Heery International's contract extension.

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