City Hall

Elissa Mullany, Former Girlfriend of the Former Phoenix Mayor, Writes a Letter to Phoenix Residents

Even as Phil Gordon, former Phoenix mayor, fades into the political background, his one-time gal pal, Elissa Mullany, has injected herself back into the public eye.

She wrote a letter to Phoenix taxpayers that appeared in the Arizona Republic on Monday to bring them "up to date on what's been happening" with her.

We were all dying to know.

Mullany tangled her professional and private life with former Mayor Gordon in 2008 -- receiving  perks and making money off of the relationship.

She flew on private jets, visited places like Dubai, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, she and her children petted a rare white tiger in a private zoo in Mexico, and she mingled with performers and professional athletes in luxury suites at Super Bowl games.

She was paid big bucks to manage her boyfriend's political funds and landed jobs, including one with mega-developer Steve Ellman, and was paid to organize meetings for foreign dignitaries. She bolstered her company's name recognition and bottom line with business Gordon guided in her direction.

She may have enjoyed the lavish lifestyle free of charge, but it didn't come without a price -- at least not in the court of public opinion.

In her letter to Phoenix residents, she says that she hasn't dated Gordon "for a while."

But she apparently has been Googling her name. She writes:

"When you Google my name, you mostly see the phrase 'the mayor's girlfriend Elissa Mullany.' And I know what you're thinking, Phoenix -- to label or define any woman by her "male half" demeans all women. But, hey -- technology and simplistic writing are not always your friends."

This out-of-the-blue letter from Mullany includes her answering questions from her "mailbag that have been building up over the past couple of years."

To Al from Maryvale: Yes, I really did graduate cum laude, and later earned a master's degree.

To Leticia from Laveen: You're welcome. I was happy to raise funds for the Silent Witness program. Happy to help our community expand the Convention Center and build the Metro light-rail line, the downtown campus of Arizona State University and the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix.

To David from Ahwatukee: Yes, I did raise funds for Councilman Sal DiCiccio. Sorry.

To Monica from Phoenix: No, I was not paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in fundraising fees. When you hold a big fundraising dinner, for example, you need to pay the expenses of the event: facility charges, audio/visual rentals and, of course, the big one -- dinner. In fact, my entire income for 2009 and 2010 was about $48,000. Not a bad living, but not what you expected, huh?


Her claim in the latter caught our eye.

She says she only made $48,000 in 2009 and in 2010.

She and her former lover never disclosed information that would have allowed the public to know who she was working for, and what connection those individuals/companies had with Gordon.

But, still, her claims are hard to believe, given what we have been able to find in public records, including those filed with the Federal Election Commission.

First, she doesn't mention 2008 -- the year that she and Gordon started dating.

That year alone, available public records show that she and MullanyWunder (her business with Cate Wunder) raked in more than $171,000 -- and that's just from political action committees.

She was paid most of the money from the federal PAC, Moving Phoenix Forward, Gordon's political campaign funds, Phil for Phoenix and Friends of Phil, and other committees, including Building Our Future, Phoenix Parks and Preserves Initiative, and Phoenix Elections Consolidation.

As New Times previously reported, Mullany was getting paid for fundraising efforts from Gordon's campaign funds during time periods when the campaign hadn't shown a dime of revenue. And she was also making money for managing funds that had been dormant for a year or longer.

Who knows how much she made raising money for other elected officials, including councilmen DiCiccio and Tom Simplot? Frankly, it's just not worth slogging through those accounts to see how much money Mullany pulled in from those jobs.

And neither Mullany nor Gordon ever disclosed -- despite repeated requests -- her other clients. So there lies another unknown amount of revenue for her company.

But we do know that she was a consultant for Veolia Transportation -- an international transit firm that won a $380-plus million city-bus contract from Phoenix.

(She helped coach them on how to win that contract. And, long story short, the Federal Transit Administration is investigating just how that company landed the contract.)

We also know that she was working for big-time developer Steve Ellman, Donald Trump, when he was trying to build a high rise in Phoenix, Valley Metro, and Gordon's downtown projects, including the defunct Phoenix Global Trade Initiative.

She also made about $8,000 arranging meetings for foreign dignitaries.

She says many of her "fundraising efforts have been done on a volunteer basis -- and when I do suggest a fee, it's almost always less than what other fundraisers ask."

Her take from Moving Phoenix Forward was about 40 percent.

She writes that "you might be interested to know that I raised a great deal of money for city staff to travel internationally in pursuit of economic-development opportunities so you and I and other taxpayers wouldn't have to foot that bill."

We had to chuckle at that one, recalling the not-so-funny time that Gordon -- at the very last minute -- abandoned one of his senior staffers and an economic-development director to instead take only Mullany on a weeklong trip to the Middle East -- Qatar and possibly Dubai.

And she wraps up her -- as far as we know -- unsolicited note to Phoenix residents by telling us about her "life beyond the Google search."

I'm a proud and loving mother to two wonderful boys. Like many of you, most of my time is spent cheering them on at soccer and working on school projects -- I wouldn't have it any other way. I serve on the board of directors for their school and as the teacher's assistant for my older son's class.

I volunteer hundreds of hours to the Arizona Animal Welfare League (the largest no-kill shelter in the Valley.) My boys and I have fostered nearly 20 animals rescued by the shelter.

None of those things are front-page stuff, I know. That's why I wanted to write this letter.

The tagline reads: Elissa Mullany is a public-affairs consultant in Phoenix.

A cry for work?

She does have experience making her affairs public.

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Monica Alonzo
Contact: Monica Alonzo