Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon wasn't always a travelin' man. Believe it or not, the man who is now jetting off to places like China, Qatar, Dubai, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia, was once known for his aversion to hopping on a plane and leaving Phoenix.
While he touts his travels as a means to stimulate the local economy with foreign investment and to create thousands of local jobs, an e-mail Gordon sent to Singapore suggests there might be another reason behind all the globetrotting.
Helping build his girlfriend's global connections company?
"Will you let the president know that I will be in china at least from
January 3 2011 to the 9th," Gordon wrote on October 8 to Tian Tian, an assistant to the president of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. "I am able to come earlier or stay longer if the president wants to meet in china or for me come singapore. [sic]. My significant other who has a small company focused on global connections will be with me."
Elissa Mullany, Gordon's significant other and former fund-raiser, has accompanied Gordon on many of his trips around the United States and overseas.
It raises questions about whether Gordon is using the influence that comes from being mayor of the fifth-largest U.S. city to help build a list of global connections for Mullany.
David Liebowitz, Gordon's most recent flak, emphasized that Mullany did not work for or represent the City of Phoenix and that the "mayor's travels -- and those who travel with him -- are not paid for with taxpayer's money."
Liebowitz said that MullanyWunder, LLC is Mullany's only company, but he didn't know much about it or its focus.
Mullany actually has at least one other company: Mullany Consulting. (Odd that the Mayor's Office wouldn't know about that company since it also has received money from political campaign funds tied to Gordon.)
It's unclear whether Gordon in his e-mail is referring to MullanyWunder, Mullany Consulting, or some other company Mullany has started. It is also unclear when Mullany shifted from political fund-raising, marketing, and consulting work to focus on global connections.
Perhaps it was about 2008? The two already were romantically involved when Gordon appointed Mullany to the Phoenix Global Trade Initiative, a now-defunct partnership with the
business community that was also trying to tap into global economic opportunities.
Mullany also was spokeswoman for the Phoenix-Dubai Initiative, part of the short-lived Global Trade Initiative. On one occasion, Gordon took Mullany to Qatar, leaving behind city staff (including one economic development official) who were also scheduled to go on the trip.
The public has the right to know the purpose of the trips and the identity of the individuals,
corporations, or governments paying for Gordon and company to travel.
New Times didn't get an answer regarding who paid for a recent trip that Gordon, his son, Mullany, her sons, and her mother, reportedly took to Mexico in November. The group apparently flew on a private Gulfstream out of Cutter Aviation in Phoenix.
One industry expert estimates the value of a flight on a Gulfstream to Mexico City would cost at least $60,000.
Liebowitz only echoed that it didn't come out of taxpayers' pockets.