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Earlier this week, Fox 5’s Paul Wagner broke the news that the mayor’s office had an agreement with organizers of some special events in D.C. to waive the costs of having police work security for the event. For instance, the mayor’s office waived $200,000 in security costs for the National Marathon in 2009, and $285,263.06 this year, according to Wagner.
Other events, like the Boy Scouts parade or Race for the Cure, don’t get a similar break, Wagner reported.
The marathon is put on by the Greater Washington Sports Alliance—which according to publicly available tax records, isn’t exactly hurting for funds. It reported revenues of $1.6 million in 2008, the last year for which records are publicly available. It did have expenses of $1.7 million—but more than a third of that was salary costs.
And most of that went to the GWSA’s highest-paid employee, Bob Sweeney. He saw his salary go up nearly 50 percent in two years to $300,000 in 2008. The GWSA’s 990 form in 2006 showed that Sweeney averaged 30 hours of work a week and was paid a base salary of $201,400 then. Not bad, right? In 2007, Sweeney made a salary of $263,327 on an average of 30 hours a week, tax records show. And in 2008, Sweeney pulled down $250,000 in base compensation and $50,000 in “bonus and incentive compensation.” Cha-ching!
Sweeney wouldn’t talk to Fox, and didn’t immediately return LL’s calls. So what you want to know now is, why is the city waiving fees for the marathon, when the organization that puts it on is able to pay its president so well? LL has posed that question to the mayor’s office and will post a response as soon as we get one. (Commence holding breath now.) The alliance’s mission statement is nice and vague:
The Sports Alliance, which was formed in 2003, is the regional sports commission for the Greater Washington area. We are a comprehensive resource for promoting sporting events, delivering sports information and developing regional collaboration. We have two major goals:
- Attract marquee sporting events to the region
- Support youth investment organizations that use sports to build character & values, encourage fitness and enhance education
The main “marquee sporting event” it attracts appears to be the marathon. Incidentally, Sweeney donated $2,000 to Mayor Adrian Fenty’s campaign last year.