From the Rockets to Rush, free Toyota Center tickets for City Council

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Throughout the pulse-pounding Clutch City playoffs at the Toyota Center, some of the biggest winners weren't on the court. They were in a taxpayer-funded suite overlooking the court with access to a buffet and soft drinks.

And the wake of a May 17 ABC-13 report disclosing the members of Houston City Council and their guests going to the games, city council members continued to cheer on the home team. Council members Jack Christie, Dave Martin, Richard Nguyen, and Brenda Stardig all used the Toyota Center suite during final days of the Rockets playoff games, records show.

City Hall has the suite to wine and dine people considering bringing convention business to Houston.

City Council members don't only grab tickets when it's basketball season.

When Bette Midler performed at the Toyota Center May 18 to sing her tribute to girl groups from the World War II era to the '90s, councilmembers Mike Laster and Ellen Cohen signed up for tickets.

And when Drake on May 24 took the stage at the Toyota Center as part of his summer tour entitled 'Jungle,' Councilmembers Larry Green, Dwight Boykins and Jerry Davis took tickets.

And when Rush, a rock band with 20 gold and platinum studio albums came to the Toyota Center on May 20, Councilwoman Cohen took all four tickets available.

One questionable omission in the ticket records reviewed by ABC-13: City policy says council member are supposed to sign in guests in, so taxpayers know who's benefiting from the free tickets.

That seldom happens, records show.

See the original ABC-13 investigation into Toyota Center tickets here.
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