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Call it the Junker Junket -- one of many. Phoenix's Fiesta Bowl (a college football bowl game) has fired its chief executive, John Junker, for lavish spending, inappropriate political contributions by employees, and political dealings beyond the scope of a non-profit organization. Junker and his organization piled up big expenses on trips that had a dubious connection with business -- particularly a Phoenix strip club. Junker explained to investigators, "We are in the business where big strong athletes are known to attend these types of establishments. It was important for us to visit, and we certainly conducted business."

But a San Diego trip did not appear to have much of a business connection, if any. According to the report issued March 21, in October of 2009, the Fiesta Bowl spent $4,000 for Junker and former board member Mike Allen to fly to San Diego to meet with consultant Gary Husk "to play golf and spend several nights at the Grand Del Mar," according to the report. The chief operating officer, Natalie Wisneski did not think the trip had a business purpose. Junker said that he met with Husk at the hotel to discuss football bowl games. Asked why the meeting had to be held so far from Phoenix, Junker explained to investigators, "One of the things I was interested in was getting away from the telephone and things like that. We did long range planning." Allen was there to counsel on how Fiesta Bowl agreements work, claimed Junker.

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Comments

Visduh March 31, 2011 @ 7:36 p.m.

It was probably very hot in the Valley of the Sun that Fall. The preferred get-away for many of those "Zonies" is right here, yep, "River City", aka San Diego. So he and a bud headed for the coast, and enjoyed a few days here. Not that much different from many others from there. What's the problem?

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SurfPuppy619 March 31, 2011 @ 9:58 p.m.

LOL...if they used heir own money no problem, but when using a non profit's money big problem, the status of the non profit is put at risk.

The NFL is a non profit corp-still don't knwo why they are allowed that status.

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Don Bauder April 1, 2011 @ 8:40 a.m.

Government officials in Arizona are looking into the Fiesta Bowl story, too. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh April 1, 2011 @ 8:42 a.m.

We comment on corruption all the time. Sports, with all the big bucks, is a ripe plum for the picking by the corrupt. And let's not forget that NCAA sports is just as much a profit-making business as any of the pro leagues. College football hasn't been "of students, by students, or for the students" for at least two generations. The big schools all rake in many millions a year from it.

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Don Bauder April 1, 2011 @ 9:02 a.m.

The college sports corruption has been around for a long time. One of my best grade school and high school friends was a star football player. He and I went to the University of Wisconsin together in 1954 -- roomed together for a year or two. He got paid by a local car dealer, purportedly to sweep the floors, do errands, etc. He never showed up there once. I had another high school friend who got some money for transferring to a high school in Ohio for his senior year. The hanky-panky has been at the high school level for more than half a century, too. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 1, 2011 @ 8:38 a.m.

The problem is that the Fiesta Bowl was charged for the junket, and the chief operating officer told investigators that the trip didn't have a business purpose. Best, Don Bauder

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