Carney’s trip to Super Bowl cost state almost $4,100 for security

Gov. John Carney posted to Twitter this photo of him and his son Jimmy at the Super Bowl Feb. 4. Twitter photo

DOVER — Gov. John Carney’s trip to Super Bowl 52 in February cost taxpayers $4,087.97.

While the governor paid for flights, lodging and tickets for himself and his son Jimmy to attend the game in Minneapolis, he didn’t cover the costs incurred by two state troopers who accompanied him.

State records show two members of the Delaware State Police squad responsible for protecting the governor charged the state for meals, gas, tolls and lodging, with the bulk of it going to their hotel bill.

The total of approximately $4,100 does not include salary paid to the troopers over the course of the trip.

About 80 percent of the troopers’ expenses came from a three-night stay at the Doubletree Minneapolis Park Place Hotel, located about 10 minutes from U.S. Bank Stadium, where the Super Bowl was played. While rooms can be had now for around $100 a night, one room over the weekend of the United States’ most popular sporting event cost the state $3,249.69 for three nights.

Unlike the governor the troopers drove to Minneapolis and back. They made five stops for fuel, spending $340.05 on gasoline. They also spent $125.67 on tolls and $372.56 on food, which included three meals at Minneapolis’ Dover Restaurant — perhaps a fitting stop for Delawareans.

According to data obtained through multiple Freedom of Information Act requests, members of the governor’s security team set out on Friday, Feb. 2, and returned Tuesday, Feb. 6.

At least one trooper was able to enter the stadium with Gov. Carney despite not having a ticket to the game.

Gov. John Carney posted on Twitter this photo of him and his son Jimmy at the Hen House Eatery in Minneapolis the day of the Super Bowl. Twitter photo

The governor, an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan — he has sung the team’s fight song at public events on occasion — opted to attend in hopes of seeing Nick Foles and company bring home the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory. With the Eagles winning 41-33 over the New England Patriots he doubtless returned home with no regrets about opening his wallet to make it to Minneapolis.

But the trip did not just cost him money and while $4,100 falls well short of impacting the state’s budget, it remains money charged to the public.

A spokesman for Gov. Carney said the governor does not plan to reimburse the state for the troopers’ expenses.

“The Governor is assigned Troopers from the Delaware State Police Executive Protection Unit to provide security for personal and business travel,” Jonathan Starkey wrote in an email. “It was the recommendation of the Executive Protection Unit that they accompany him in Minnesota, and the Governor trusts their judgment. Governor Carney paid his own way.”

Mr. Starkey would not disclose what determines when members of the Delaware State Police accompany the governor on trips, calling it a security risk.

In 2004, then Gov. Ruth Ann Minner received some criticism for taking a Delaware State Police plane to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to watch the Blue Hens in the Football Championship Subdivision title game. The governor’s office initially said the flight cost $500 for fuel and would be charged to state government before Gov. Minner reimbursed the state $1,382 from her campaign account.

“The university was playing in a national championship,” she said at the time. “It is my duty as governor to attend, support and represent the citizens of Delaware. I chose the most cost-effective means to do it.”

A spokesman said at the time Gov. Minner was invited to attend by the host, the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

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