Junket junked: Travis County officials’ all-expenses-paid trip to F1 track in England scrapped


A pair of Travis County Commissioners, concerned at the short notice, blocked a county staff trip for two to London, all expenses paid by the operators of a Formula One racetrack outside of Austin.

County Judge Sam Biscoe recommended the county take up the offer so Fire Marshal Hershel Lee and a Sheriff’s Department official could scope out safety and security measures taken by Formula One operators at the Silverstone track.

Having thrashed out the plan behind closed doors - an operating method familiar to Circuit of Americas, which has blocked public scrutiny of its dealings with Travis County and the state of Texas - commissioners Sarah Eckhardt and Karen Huber said no go in the open session, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Biscoe and commissioner Margaret Gómez supported the trip, but the deciding vote, commissioner Ron Davis, was not at the meeting.

“Time is too short,” Huber said, “and the homework is not done."

Eckhardt said she would be open to sending county staff on a similar fact finding trip with better advance planning. She did not, however, say whether or not she favored the trip being paid for by the secretive track operators or by taxpayers.

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo 'Formula Renault, Silverstone 2010' by flickr user ash-brown, used via a Creative Commons license.