Convention center controversy: City worker placed on leave
Reporter: Marcelino Benito
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Another controversy brewing in downtown Tucson, this time it involves a personnel shakeup at the Tucson Convention Center. One of its longtime staff members and former directors put on leave by the City of Tucson. KGUN 9 wants to know why.
9OYS obtained a copy of a city memo alerting Tucson's Mayor and Council long time TCC employee Tommy Obermaier had been placed on "imposed leave, pending the outcome of an investigation." No one is talking details of the investigation, but 9OYS learned Tucson Police handed it over to the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
"If it's about management issues, I'm not totally surprised," said Councilman Steve Kozachik.
Kozachik not surprised because of the TCC's history, a crumbling building that struggles to attract larger shows. Losing shows to other venues or other cities ends up costing the city of Tucson millions in lost revenue.
"For people to say that we have a good management structure down there and that we're doing a good job, that's just all head and no cattle man, that just doesn't sell," he said.
Obermaier served as director of the TCC from 2008 to 2010. A local union group, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees tells 9OYS Obermaier has made it difficult for union employees to work shows at the convention center. Kozachik won't comment on those specifics, but says clients have been unhappy with what's been going at the TCC.
"We've had complaints, multiple complaints from lots of different people and how it's being run," Kozachik said.
Kozachik says he like other taxpayers is anxious to learn what the investigation turns up and if something is wrong, people need to be held accountable.
"It is key we send a message to the taxpayers that we know what we're doing down here, but we're not sending that message right now," he said. "We got huge credibility issues right now."
9OYS reporter Marcelino Benito did speak with Obermaier on the phone seeking comment. He declined the interview opportunity.