Delaware River Port Authority money is your dime, toll-payers and taxpayers, and you paid for one of its top honchos to go to a big party.
Fox 29's Jeff Cole reported Wednesday night that the Pennsylvania Society's annual holiday party is so important it's held at the Waldof-Astoria in midtown Manhattan.
The governor attends along with many politicians, lawyers, business leaders. In 2006 and 2007, the deputy CEO of the Delaware River Port Authority also went – and toll payers covered a chunk of the tab.
How do we know? We used the right-to-know law and obtained hotel bills and expense reports which show Deputy CEO Robert Gross attended the event in '06 and '07 and spent some $3,400 for hotel rooms.
Sources tell Fox 29 that Gross is a "close associate" of former Sen. Vince Fumo, who sat on the DRPA board and is now serving time for corruption.
The bill for the Marriott Marquis shows the room charge in 2006 was $449 a night plus tax for three nights, for a total of a little more than $1,500.
The next year, Gross was reimbursed $1,900 by the authority.
We wanted to know why the people who pay the tolls on DRPA bridges or ride PATCO should have to pay these bills, and why it was important for the deputy CEO to attend the three-day function in Manhattan?
A DRPA spokesperson said the Pennsylvania Society provides "one stop, face-to-face" networking with leaders from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, and $3,400 is not a lot of money in light of the millions spent in those controversial economic development grants.
But all expenses are on the table in light of the on-going controversy.
The DRPA said it only reimbursed for the hotel. Prior to 2003, it may have spent more at the Pennsylvania Society because it hosted a number of events there.