Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has been a frequent flier to Dubai, one of the states that makes up the United Arab Emirates.
It's never been entirely clear what goes on during the visits.
But the National, an English-language newspaper in the UAE, offers a glimpse in an article it published on December 31, "US mayor seeks help for his city in Dubai."
Mr Gordon has had no trouble adjusting to Dubai's high-flying lifestyle. During his recent visit he briefly stayed at the luxury Armani Hotel inside the Burj Khalifa. The place, he said, was "tailored just like Armani clothes".
A US mayor who wears Italian designer suits? "I have a few, but on my salary not a lot. Ties," he quickly points out.
Suites at the Armani Hotel aren't cheap -- one night at the luxury hotel runs as much as $3,267 a night. And Armani isn't giving away his suits, either, at about $1,800 a pop.
More from the National:
Mr Gordon also dined at Mr Alabbar's house near the Bab Al Shams desert resort with the Emaar chairman's son and other friends. They spoke about US government policy, Arizona's immigration law and Phoenix's property sector, Mr Alabbar recalls.
Mr Gordon says that after the global downturn, Phoenix and Dubai had emerged the wiser. "We both probably learned that so much dependency on real estate development and not diversifying is not healthy."
Several years ago, when Mr Gordon first came to Dubai, Mr Alabbar, his brothers and Emaar board members accompanied their US visitor to a spot "in the middle of nowhere" where the men barbecued meat and boiled tea over a fire, refuelling [sic] the flames with wood they collected in the desert and the two men "bonded", Mr Gordon recalls.
"It was a beautiful night," Mr Alabbar adds.
Gordon touts that his travels are about boosting Phoenix's economy.
But what is the real purpose behind the travels, since Gordon's own e-mails recently revealed that his girlfriend, Elissa Mullany, has a global connections company? Can't have a global connections company without a Rolodex full of, well, global connections.
To be sure, Gordon's travels to Dubai are credited for landing Phoenix an agreement in 2008 between the two governments that is supposed to make it easier for corporations in Dubai to do business in Phoenix.
While nothing has really come from it, best practices are apparently shared in areas like waste-water management, according to the National.
Interesting tidbits from article include:
- Gordon's 2008 trip to the Super Bowl included hosting "a delegation of Dubai business leaders, including Mr Alabbar."
(We've been asking questions about who paid for Gordon and Mullany's 2008 and 2010 Super Bowl tickets and about who owns the private jets they flew on to get to the Miami game. Still no answers from Gordon. Read more on that.)
- Dubai economic leaders already have ties to Arizona and the Valley.
"Sultan al Mansouri, the UAE Minister of Economy, studied engineering" at Arizona State University," according to the article.
He's a Sun Devil!
New Times still has questions about how this "high-flying lifestyle" is funded, so we have requested a comprehensive list of Gordon's travels, including who paid for the global jaunts.
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