As governor, O'Malley has a state skybox at Ravens stadium, which allows him to purchase up to eight Super Bowl tickets, ranging in price from $950 to $1,250 apiece. O'Malley and his wife, Baltimore District Judge Catherine "Katie" Curran O'Malley, will use two of those tickets and will pay for them with personal funds, said O'Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory.
Guillory said no taxpayer funds would be used for the trip. She said O'Malley hasn't decided who will get the other six tickets, but said anyone using the state's seats will have to pay his or her own way.
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Like the governor, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has access to eight tickets because she controls the city's stadium skybox. She and her husband, Kent, will pay to attend the game and plan to stay at a friend's home nearby, according to her spokesman, Ryan O'Doherty. O'Doherty said the mayor hasn't decided how to travel to New Orleans for next Sunday's game, but will disclose whether public or other funds are used.
Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young and Comptroller Joan M. Pratt — with whom Rawlings-Blake has sometimes feuded — were both offered the chance to buy tickets but declined, O'Doherty said. The mayor's brother, Wendell, bought two of the tickets, as did City Councilmen Robert W. Curran and William H. Cole IV, all using their own money.
James Browning, regional director for the watchdog group Common Cause, said he would have no problem if the governor or mayor wanted to use taxpayer money to pay for the trip since "the game is a big deal and I'm sure there are legitimate business and networking opportunities there." But Browning said he would like to see the tickets distributed democratically.
"It's a chance to do the right thing and show the real Baltimore and the real diversity, instead of just a bunch of insiders," Browning said. "It's a moment for the whole city to share.... It shouldn't just be for people with political connections or with money or clout."
Last year, Common Cause took issue with the way O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake used their stadium suites, saying they should be used as the "people's skybox," not to reward political allies. The organization also called on the governor and mayor to create a written policy governing how tickets are distributed for the boxes.
Ravens stadium was built with $200 million in public financing. According to the Maryland Stadium Authority, the offices of the mayor and the governor were given boxes through an addendum to the lease agreement for the stadium in 1995.
At least one other local government leader will be attending the game. According to spokesman David Nitkin, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman is going with his father and brother. No public funds are being used for the trip, Nitkin said.
Baltimore Sun Media Group staffers Alison Knezevich, Arthur Hirsch and Kimber Matzinger-Vought contributed to this article.