MORE BREAKING (x2): Pictures of Flowers at the Patriots Game

Filed in Delaware by on August 15, 2014

The NJ released video today of conversation with Erika Benner with her explanation of the Patriots tickets:

As of this writing, there is the video, no other reporting by the NJ. The much rumored picture of Chip Flowers at the game is shown here. Benner claims that Flowers not only knew about the charge on her state card for these tickets, he told her the charge was allowable since they were doing some State business.

EDIT: The NJ has released some of its reporting on this:

Flowers, in an interview earlier this week, said he attended at Benner’s invitation the Oct. 16, 2011 Patriots game against the Dallas Cowboys at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. He said she told him she was using her family’s season tickets.

Flowers says he only learned recently that the ticket for the game he attended with her was charged to taxpayers, although he was not specific about when he learned that. He said Benner told him in the past that the NFL tickets she bought on the state card were for a different game, not the Dallas game they attended.

“I never lied about what I knew at that time,” Flowers said in an interview.

State records, however, reviewed last year by Flowers, his office and other state officials investigating Benner’s travel showed that she charged a payment to Boston Car Service that posted on her state credit card on Oct. 17, the day after Flowers and Benner used the car service to travel to the Patriots game.

The car service picked Flowers and Benner up from a Boston apartment that Flowers said his law firm uses. The car was billed to the state at $595, and repaid three months later. The tickets, which also were repaid, were purchased through the online retailer StubHub at a cost of $539.

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  1. jason330 says:

    Watching that you have to feel for Benner.

  2. kavips says:

    I got the opposite reaction. Something is not right…

  3. EvanQ says:

    Much to his chagrin I am sure, I’m with Kavips…something here ain’t right. If you don’t like the guy fine…but this smacks of a political move…it wouldn’t be the first time in Delaware…recently.

  4. cassandra_m says:

    What is smacks of is the entire House of Cards he constructed being blown apart.

  5. EvanQ says:

    Eh. I dunno cass…maybe. I’m just lookin at who’s left in the race…

    Sean B – Come on guys…we ALL know he has ZERO finance experience…he’s a crony…I mean I get it, you support the guy who supported you, etc. But we should be able to agree…he’s a neophyte.

    Sher V – Oh for Christ’s sake can we just call that what it is too? A desperate plea for relevance? “Gimme a seat at the table…any seat!”…I hear she’s already planning a run for U.S. Senate for next cycle (sarc…but I wouldn’t be surprised)…

    Ken Simpler – Experienced…qualified…dull as a box of rocks (but what CFO isn’t)…of course, he’s a former hedge fund manager who wants to build casinos at the beach on public land but…

    *shaking my head* No wonder you people hate Republicans.

  6. cassandra_m says:

    we ALL know he has ZERO finance experience

    You know, I need to write about this. Although I have written about it in reference to Flowers — this office essentially keeps the state’s checkbook. The work of managing the funds is the work of the Cash Management Board. Colin Bonini ran for this office and he has documented problems with basic math and you guys supported that. Chip Flowers is a lawyer — no finance experience whatsoever and plenty of people supported him. I heard part of the Sher v Simpler debate and both of them talking about investment strategies is sheer puffery. Investments of the state’s money for this office have statutory restraints. One of Chip’s problems was that he wanted to pretend those restraints did not exist. And none of the people in the GA who claimed to be so supportive of these reforms lifted a single finger to try to change the limits on the kind of investments the state could make in order to make all of this money every keeps saying is out there.

  7. cassandra_m says:

    Eh. I dunno cass…maybe. I’m just lookin at who’s left in the race…

    Here’s the other thing. Shortly after the story about Benner’s credit card charges first broke, I had MANY people reach out to me to tell me that Flowers was at that game AND that there was a picture. A few of those people were folks I trust completely (many of them were anon emails) and as much as I poked around, I couldn’t confirm it. So I didn’t write it. But I have been hearing about this picture and that he really was at that game for quite awhile.

    I also think that the existence of that picture was the reason why he defended her so long AND why he kept working overtime to spin all of those travel charges.

  8. anono says:

    “Although I have written about it in reference to Flowers — this office essentially keeps the state’s checkbook. The work of managing the funds is the work of the Cash Management Board.”

    That’s not entirely true. The CMPB sets the investment policy. The Treasurer manages the funds in accordance with that policy.

    Plus, the Treasurer sits on the CMPB as it decides the investment policy, so we need the best, most experienced person in that seat offering the best policy forward for the board to consider. In a cooperative environment, with an experienced, seasoned finance person as Treasurer, a great deal of good could come out of the CMPB.

    Then there’s the day-to-day management aspect of the job that requires finance experience to ensure that the managers are properly executing the strategy. The CMPB only meets 2x a year. The day-to-day is a critical function, requiring finance skills.

    And let’s be honest, not requiring our Treasurer to have finance experience is how you get situations like Chip Flowers. So while it’s certainly within your rights to make whatever choice you want, the only reason I can see to vote for Barney is basic partisanship. Simpler wants the job, he wants to do the job, and he’s got the proper experience for the job.

  9. cassandra_m says:

    In a cooperative environment, with an experienced, seasoned finance person as Treasurer, a great deal of good could come out of the CMPB.

    Like what, really? The Treasurer is one of 9 people on that Board? If you are expecting a more aggressive investment posture, you still need the GA to loosen the strings. Because whatever policy the CMPB puts forward is always constrained by the fact that by statute, the options available to this Board are very conservative ones. The Treasurer’s office does execute on that policy, but the job is mainly a QC one since there are banks who are doing the investing based on that policy, with a staff of people are are doing the day to day work — no matter who the Treasurer is.

    And all that is is an argument for this function to be in the Finance Department, really.

  10. ql says:

    The video seems to have been pulled.

  11. Anny says:

    Just when you didn’t think things could get any crazier, Benner and Flowers just released text messages from each other. These two are a match made in heaven. At least the fiance’ knows what she is getting herself into fully.

  12. cassandra_m says:

    Try this link.

    Not sure why they keep breaking the links.

  13. Jason330 says:

    “The video seems to have been pulled.”

    The lawyers have been busy this morning.

  14. Anny says:

    ql the video wasn’t pulled, they updated the site with a ton of text messages from both parties. The video is still there.

  15. Jason330 says:

    They both sent the NJ the same text thread – both thinking that the thread is exculpatory.

    Crazy.

  16. ql says:

    Cassandra, thank you, that link worked. What.A.Weasel.

  17. Rufus Y. Kneedog says:

    Other people said it before….I read this and look at the texts and I just get tired. And a bit sad too. Getting lied to makes me sad.
    I guess the next question is how long has Sean Barney known about this?

  18. Aint's Taking it Any More says:

    “The CMPB sets the investment policy. The Treasurer manages the funds in accordance with that policy.”

    Not correct. The Treasurer does not mange funds in an investment context. The banks/investment companies manage investment funds in accordance with CMPB policy. The Treasurer writes checks and insures that the State has funds available to cover those check. That is the extent of the Office’s management of state money.

    The office needs to be abolished. I’m voting for who ever advocates that result.

    Now that Flowers has withdrawn, the Legislature has no excuse to pass some public disclosure legislation relating to the CMPB.

  19. puck says:

    I read through the texts. Benner sounds like she was being coached by someone to bait Flowers. Not that he didn’t take the bait. That is proably why she moved the conversation to text instead of voice, so she would have something to show, and stayed on for so long.

  20. Unstable Isotope says:

    This is like a terrible soap opera. Both of them sound sleazy as hell.

  21. puck says:

    The sleaziest thing is that they used her minor son to provoke the whole exchange, knowing that only a minor would be able to do something so anti-social and terribly provocative while avoiding consequences for himself or his mother.

  22. cassandra_m says:

    The thing is that Flowers could have simply rolled his eyes and ignored the minor son and none of the crazy around the text messages ever would have happened. Neither of these two (Flowers or Benner) are wrapped too tight, but there were adult decisions available to Flowers pertaining to the behavior of this kid that he did not avail himself of.

  23. Anny says:

    I wondering when we hear from Erika? I don’t think it did her or Chip any favors to release the texts, they both come out looking unhinged. He, being an adult, threatening a minor and her for still wanting to meet up for a drink after she feared for her son’s safety. Also, still don’t get why her and her son were anywhere near his parade staging area. Not everything is adding up, but then again it never has.

  24. Truth Teller says:

    Seeing that Flowers is the first black to ever win a state wide office do any of you believe that he may be a victim of the Delaware Way???

  25. AQC says:

    I’m so sick of him and his followers victimhood! He lied repeatedly, he had an affair with a subordinate and he had a juvenile (at best) text exchange. Even if every other elected official has done the same, it’s all wrong and he deserved to lose his job!!!

  26. puck says:

    The lesson to learn from this (among many) is that telephone communication is not private, and text and email even less so. I think people have a sense of possession and entitlement to their cell phones because they are shiny status symbols and they pay a lot of money for them, but the data isn’t really yours.

    If Nixon hadn’t recorded his own phone conversations, he would have finished his term.

    Flowers’s enemies are of course much smarter than Nixon, and had the benefit pf the Nixon experience as an object lesson, so there is no record of the project to bring down Flowers. Jack Markell knows cell phones and how they work.

    But who knows, maybe some transcripts will turn up of those conversations too.

  27. AQC says:

    Are you serious Puck?! That’s your takeaway out of this?

  28. puck says:

    Are you serious AQC? What part do you disagree with? Explain.

  29. ITK says:

    I don’t know what’s so hard to get. In the political game, you give people ammunition they are going to use it. In this case, Chip Flowers was a constant giver. His mouth and his zipper were out of control, despite what he and his deputy say. It is quite clear they had a romantic/physical relationship. You would have to be a moron not figure that one out. Add to that all of the people he pissed off by arguing with the CMB (even if correct on some points) and other legislative parts and it’s a recipe for being put out to pasture. All Chip did was get out in front of the roasting that would have ensued if the Sunday article had been released without comment. He’s a coward who won’t face the music for his egotistical actions. Hope his female subordinates in Massachusetts don’t fall for the bull or we will see this same script again one day. Good riddance.

  30. Anny says:

    If anyone is still confused about the nature of the relationship, feel free to listen to Rep. Kowalko’s interview on the Susan Monday Show.

  31. Rufus Y. Kneedog says:

    ITK – from what I’ve heard in the debates I think he had some legitimate points concerning the CMB: Marvin, $44 million, financial disclosure, taking $$ away from WTC etc.. I didn’t hear Barney challenge them effectively.
    If you take away his personal issues, I think he runs unopposed in the primary and wins re-election easily. (yeah I know and if my aunt had…..)
    Anyway, you may be writing him off prematurely. He is 39 years old, loaded with ambition, by all accounts very intelligent, very strong debater – for better or worse I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him again. Four years?

  32. ITK says:

    Anny- do you have a link or could you provide the location? Perhaps her ex-hubby can provide some insight?

    Rufus – you are correct, definitely some legitimate concerns. But, those tend to be drowned out by having your hands dirty. Perhaps he can come back in a few years, but so will these issues.

  33. Anny says:

    ITK, it is on the 105.9 website under Susan Monday podcasts. Start at the 9 minute mark. Let me know if you get the same impression I did.

  34. cassandra_m says:

    The lesson to learn from this (among many) is that telephone communication is not private, and text and email even less so.

    The lesson to learn from this is that covering up going to a Patriots game, and car service charged to Delaware taxpayers by telling everyone that you were not there — knowing full well this picture was out there — was playing with fire he had not ability to control. It is the picture that did him in, not the text messages. You could ignore those (and why not — both sides seem plenty unhinged), but the lying about the game charged to taxpayers was really bad.

  35. Tom Kline says:

    Where’s the indictment?

  36. puck says:

    Picture at a football game – lamest smoking gun ever.

  37. cassandra_m says:

    Right. After he spent, what, a year and a half denying he was at this boondoggle that was meant to be funded by taxpayers? Really?

    That lame smoking gun is why he is gone. If the NJ didn’t get their hands on that, he’d still be running for office and spinning you for all its worth. It wasn’t the personal stuff that he claimed in that press conference, it was the fact he was caught red handed. And if he had acknowledged he was at the game right from the very beginning and worked at fixing those problems, he wouldn’t have been such a vulnerable office holder and certainly would have been well past this. I’ve been reading people talking about this for days now and they all are upset over the misuse of funds. And that is worth being upset over, and if we were talking about Colin Bonini instead of Chip Flowers you would get that.

  38. puck says:

    So what if he lied to the News Journal about whether he attended the game or not? Flowers presence at the football game has no bearing on whether he knew how the tickets were paid for.Flowers does not have any obligation to inform the News Journal of his social activities, and may even misinform them if he wishes. In any case, the charges for the tickets were what – $539 and repaid in three months, and weren’t even on his state credit card. Which makes it a common peccadillo, not quite an “Oh My God” scandal.

  39. cassandra m says:

    He lied to a bunch of people, not just the News Journal on this thing. And once he saw her travel receipts he knew how the tickets were paid for. He knew when reporters were asking him about those charges a year and a half ago. If he hadn’t lied about where he was AND what he knew about it, he might not have gotten so jammed up. But the overarching narrative everyplace is of the misuse of funds. It may have been paid back, but it still looks to a great many people that getting caught was the only reason why there wasn’t more misuse of taxpayer funds.

  40. Geezer says:

    @puck: For “The News Journal” substitute “the public” and read your comment again.

    Neither you nor Chip will believe this, but Jack Markell could not have cared less about Chip Flowers. Chip Flowers was like a hemorrhoid — a minor annoyance, but when it flares up, a real pain in the ass. If it keeps flaring up, you have it removed.

  41. Point of Order says:

    Does anyone know why the site for State Treasurer treasury.delaware.gov is returning a “can’t be returned” message?

  42. Point of Order says:

    Never mind. The only state agency using third party servers was hacked. Hmmm.

  43. cassandra_m says:

    That’s odd, wonder why they are using third party servers? Thanks for the update!