Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Tropical heatwave for Jetton, Gibbons, Shields
Scantily clad dancers swaying to the beat of Latin music, bartenders who pose in bikinis for the company calendar, and the food's not bad either.
Mango's Tropical Cafe is a top tourist attraction in Miami Beach, and thanks to Monsanto lobbyist Frank Plescia, Speaker of the House Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, Senate President Pro Tem (and attorney general candidate) Mike Gibbons, R-Kirkwood, and Sen. Charlie Shields, R-Kansas City, majority floor leader, had the pleasure of experiencing the ambience of Mango's first hand on Nov. 18.
Among the highlights of visiting Mango's, according to the restaurant's website, is bartender Nelly from Nicaragua (pictured), Mango's Star of the Month. "I love the music, enjoy dancing and meeting people from all over," Nelly says on her Star of the Month video. The dancing does come into play at Mango's since, in addition to the floor show, Nelly and other bartenders provide entertainment by actually dancing on the bar.
Documents posted today on the Missouri Ethics Commission website indicate Plescia treated each legislator to a Mango's meal worth $62.06.
It was not the only meal lobbyists bought for Jetton, Gibbons, and Shields Nov. 18 and 19 as the three attended the 11th annual leadership training program "for emerging state legislative leaders and experienced state government relations professionals (lobbyists) put on by the State Government Affairs Council (SGAC) at the Ritz Carlton. SGAC is essentially a group consisting of lobbyists (or the euphemistic "government relations" personnel). The Mango Cafe junket appears to be the only outing, however, which did not include Cassie Jetton, Brenda Shields, and Liz Gibbons.
Ethics Commission documents show that Plescia, who serves on the SGAC Board of Directors, also covered lunch for Jetton, Gibbons, Shields, and their wives on the same day, spending $40.62 on each of them, as they dined at Finnegan's Way.
Jetton apparently did not get enough lunch at Finnegan's Way, and also received a $49 lunch from Plescia the same day.
Lobbyist Sherry Doctorian, representing the law firm of Armstrong Teasdale, was not as specific with her disclosure report, but she also chipped in with $48.26 apiece for "meals, food, and beverage" for the legislators and their wives on Nov. 18 and paid $39.15 for meals for each of them on Nov. 19.
On the same day, she also paid $80.73 each for "meals, food, and beverage" for Rod and Cassie Jetton, according to the disclosure form.
Also keeping the elected officials and their spouses from going hungry was one of their old colleagues, former Rep. Carl Bearden, whose client AT&T footed the bill for $55.07 meals for all of them Nov. 19.
Bearden also paid $12 apiece in travel costs for Mr. and Mrs. Gibbons and Mr. and Mrs. Jetton on Nov. 17 and $11.25 for travel for the Jettons and Liz Gibbons on Nov. 20. The travel expenses were paid by Bearden representing himself, according to the Ethics Commission documents.