Delegates hit Super Bowl lobbyist finds the tickets 3 legislators deny conflict of interest

January 30, 1992|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Annapolis Bureau of The Sun

ANNAPOLIS -- When they wanted to get their hands on Super Bowl tickets last week, three legislators turned to a reliable source: lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano.

Mr. Bereano, the highest-paid lobbyist in Annapolis, supplied tickets to three delegates as well as a former delegate who works for the Schaefer administration.

All three said they paid for their tickets as well as their travel.

Mr. Bereano said the only thing he paid for was Sunday brunch for part of his group.

"The reason to go was not Bereano; Bruce happened to have the availability of tickets," Del. Timothy F. Maloney, D-Prince George's, said.

Mr. Maloney said he paid Mr. Bereano $600 for his ticket in the lower deck at about the 5-yard line. "I didn't let Bruce pay a nickel."

Also sitting with Mr. Bereano were Dels. Michael Arrington, D-Prince George's, and Henry B. Heller, D-Montgomery.

"I don't look at it as he did me any favor," Mr. Arrington said. "I have other relationships with people that could have very well found a ticket for me."

Phil Andrews, executive director of Common Cause of Maryland, said lobbyist-supplied Super Bowl tickets raise questions in the public's mind.

"The public, I think, would question whether the legislators who accompanied Bereano to the Super Bowl would be objective on bills he's lobbying for," Mr. Andrews said. "I think they are probably going against human nature when they say they don't feel any obligation for that kind of favor."

Mr. Heller, who drove out to Minneapolis with the lobbyist, said he has known Mr. Bereano and his son for years and considers them friends.

"I can say no to Bruce as well as to my superintendent of schools," said Mr. Heller, a former teacher in Montgomery County.

Mr. Maloney and Mr. Arrington flew out for the game. Also part of the group was former Del. Dennis Donaldson, now an aide to Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

Mr. Bereano represents dozens of clients with issues pending before the legislature. He spent more than $162,000 of his clients' money on meals and gifts for state legislators and other officials in 1990, according to records he filed with the State Ethics Commission.

"The bottom line is it adds up to friendship and camaraderie," Mr. Bereano said. "All I did was organize and put the whole thing together.

"We're really, really good friends," he said. "We had a super time."

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