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Silicon Valet

George Shirakawa Jr. bought whisky for his guests.

George Shirakawa Jr.

Local Dining: $352.36 (Ranking: 8th)
Travel: $4,766.98 (Ranking: 6th)

  • Shirakawa wined and dined his former colleagues for two $200-plus meals while at a state school board convention in Long Beach in November 1995. In one case Shirakawa, formerly a member of the Franklin-McKinley school board, generously used taxpayer dollars to treat the Oak Grove school board to jumbo shrimp, New York steak, swordfish, mahi-mahi, lamb chops and lemon linguine. He also bought a couple of shots of Jack Daniel's, scotch and red wine for his dinner guests, though Shirakawa says he personally didn't drink any of it. (Shirakawa went so far as to say he never bills the city for his own bar tabs, although travel records from another trip indicate that he bought margaritas.) At the end of the five-day trip he had spent a total of $643.12 on meals. (In contrast, the city's travel per diem for meals is $34 a day unless receipts are provided.) "I feel it's justified because we get a lot of work done, we network, we establish good relations that carry throughout the year," Shirakawa says.

  • During a recent National League of Cities convention held in San Antonio, Shirakawa spent $66 on valet parking--more than twice as much as it would have cost to park his car himself. When asked if he could have parked his car himself, Shirakawa replied, "Yeah, you could, I suppose, but obviously I didn't do that. ... I didn't necessarily think about it ahead of time and say, I think I'll charge taxpayers [extra for valet parking]."

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  • From the April 10-16, 1997 issue of Metro

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