BRIDGEPORT — If aldermen want to celebrate the home opener for the Chicago White Sox, they will have to do it on their own dime, according to city ethics officials.
Ethics Board Chairman William Conlon Monday warned aldermen not to accept an offer from the team to watch the first game at the newly renamed Guaranteed Rate Field from free seats while noshing on cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.
The offer constitutes a "prohibited gift" under the city's ethics rules because the package is worth more than $50, according to the letter from William Conlon, the chairman of the Chicago Board of Ethics.
Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th) said he will be in the stands April 3 with his family, hoping that the White Sox bring Chicago another World Series championship — after using his own tickets.
O'Shea said Conlon's ruling was clearly correct.
"We should not be talking about perks for a select few," O'Shea said. "The people we serve are beyond frustrated."
Last fall, Conlon angered some members of the City Council when he ruled that aldermen could not take advantage of the Cubs' offer to buy playoff tickets at face value. Ald. Milly Santiago complained "I'm a poor alderman" but later apologized.
O'Shea backed that decision, telling his colleagues to "buy their own damn tickets."
Any offer of face value tickets to elected officials constitutes a "prohibited gift" under the city's ethics rules because the tickets are available to the public at a much higher price, according to the final ruling approved unanimously by the ethics board in November.
The city bans public officials from accepting gifts worth more than $50. Violations could trigger fines of $1,000 to $5,000.