Fiesta Over: Bowl CEO Sentenced
John Junker, the CEO who expensed to the Fiesta Bowl everything from bullion to strip-club meetings, received a sentence of probation in Arizona state court on Thursday for his involvement in reimbursing Fiesta Bowl employees who donated to politicians. Earlier this week, a federal court sentenced Junker to eight months in prison over the scheme.
The investigation into the political malfeasance revealed questionable financial decisions made by Junker and others running the Fiesta Bowl. The bowl paid the $33,188 tab for Junker’s birthday party, a $1241 strip-club, and four country-club memberships for its CEO.
By way of comparison, the politicians came cheap. The Fiesta Bowl carted state legislators around to various athletic events and encouraged employees to donate to their campaigns on the condition of reimbursement. Arizona officials ultimately ponied up $310 million—more than two-thirds of the costs—to construct University of Phoenix Stadium, home to the Fiesta Bowl and this season’s Super Bowl.
Junker, CEO of the bowl game for decades before his 2011 resignation, has been ordered to pay $113,000 in fines and restitution. Five other bowl employees received probation for their roles in the racket. Many of the state legislators who took the small gifts while awarding the Fiesta Bowl the taxpayer-funded gift of a new home, remain in office. Despite the prosecution of six Fiesta Bowl employees, not a single Arizona office holder has been charged with a crime relating to the affair.