Video Update: Utility President Takes Trip Paid By Vendor

A ticket to the NCAA Final Four and Championship game are hard to come by, but the President of Metropolitan Utilities District got that and more from a supplier of natural gas.

President Doug Clark received a free trip to New Orleans for the Final Four, compliments of Northern Natural Gas who has a contract with M.U.D.

Clark told Channel Six News Fact Finders, "I don't see anything wrong with it, as long as your not guaranteeing anyone that they're going to get your business.'

A Northern Natural spokesman said there was absolutely no conflict of interest. He said the company has an annual trip to the Final Four for senior officials of utilities. It does business with several top officers of gas companies or districts from other states, who received the same expense free trip. M.U.D. is the third largest gas customer of Northern.

The M.U.D. President said he took a flight to New Orleans on a corporate jet courtesy of Northern. Clark also received three nights in a New Orleans hotel and received a suite for one session and regular tickets for another session of the NCAA Final Four.

Clark said, "By having a better relationship with your vendors you can often negotiate better deals and find more opportunities to lower cost and improve service for your customers."

Clark said no rate payer money was involved. He said utility company senior management from California, Wisconsin, and other states also
made the trip and attended meetings as well as the Final Four.


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