Councilmember Darren Suen, two Elk Grove city executive employees take junket to Las Vegas to study 'road construction above ground'

Enjoying their visit to Las Vegas on taxpayer dollars are the city's innovation manager Christopher "CJ" Jones (left), economic development director Darrell "Bojangles" Doan, and District 1 City Councilmember Darren Suen. | 

As revealed by information posted on social media, Elk Grove District 1 City Councilmember Darren Suen enjoyed a taxpayer-paid junket to Las Vegas. Suen was accompanied by the city's innovation czar Christopher "CJ" Jordan, and economic development director Darrell "Bojangles" Doan.

According to the information posted by Suen on his Instagram account, the three men attended the ICS 2023 Las Vagas Convention. The ISCS describes its mission by saying the "ICSC promotes and elevates the marketplaces and spaces where people shop, dine, work, play, and gather as foundational and vital ingredients of communities and economies," or, put another way, the promotion of shopping centers. 

Interestingly, in his Instagram description, which included 10 pictures (see video below), Suen wrote a message indicating the trio was there to study traffic management. The note said, "Successful advocacy trip for our city! Interesting transportation system to navigate road construction above ground."

Before Elk Grove's former Ghost Mall, the Elk Grove Promenade was demolished for the Sky River Casino, Doan and other elected officials attended the ISCS convention annually to generate retailer interest in the doomed facility. Unsurprisingly, Doan's trips' were fruitless. 

Aside from Suen's ambiguous message justifying attendance at a shopping center convention, the only significant retail project in the city's future is the so-called Project Elevate on Elk Grove Boulevard adjacent to District56. However, in February, Elk Grove entered into a six-month agreement with Houston-based Hines Interests to develop plans for the so-called lifestyle shopping center.

Interestingly, Suen posted the pictures on Tuesday. May 23. On Wednesday, May 24, Suen skipped the first two hours of the city council meeting, where his colleagues commented on the drunk driving arrest of District 4 City Councilmember Sergio Robles.

After Suen joined the meeting, he did not explain why he was absent. Furthermore, Suen did not comment on Robles' admitted drunk driving and did not report his activities in Las Vegas during the meeting.

According to the ISCS, registration costs for the three-day event that concluded on May 23 were $1,325 per person for ICSC members and $1,800 for non-members. It is unknown what rate the city paid for Suen, Jordan, and Doan's attendance. 

The estimated minimum cost of the trip is $10,000. 

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D.J. Blutarsky said...

Maybe they were there to pull the rug out from under Las Vegas and lure the Oakland Athletics baseball team to the Grove? No seriously, we have a shortage of shopping centers in Elk Grove and our crack team of money men were there to seal deals using our tax dollars.

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

The picture of the three gentlemen should be re-captioned as:

Reggie (left), Jughead and Archie.

CCO_EG said...

No surprise here, these guys love to get their whistles wet.

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