Watkins didn’t attend the game with the person he said he had. When I talked to him in July about the expense, he told me he’d taken a member of the British Parliament. He said they sat on the 5-yard line. At the time, he said this:
The tickets that I got were for myself and a member of Parliament over there who essentially is involved in airport security and as a result of that particular activity, we then met with a number of other people who were involved in England’s — Great Britain’s airports — Stanstead and Heathrow, so it was a business expense, not a junket.
Diana Lucero, an authority spokeswoman, said that Watkins actually took James R. Burrows, then the CEO of Litelogic, a British company that puts LED advertisements on buses and that had interest in doing business in San Diego.
Lucero wrote in an e-mail:
Mr. Paul Keetch (member of Parliament) was invited but had to cancel at the last minute. Mr. Watkins told you he invited a member of Parliament to the game, but did not clarify who actually attended. This was not corrected after your article appeared on July 9 because we did not know otherwise until the recent media inquiry and we asked Mr. Watkins for the name.
The football game was among a litany of expenses submitted by airport officials that we wrote about last month. The expenses, which included dinners and lunches together, violated airport authority policy.