Business Mogul Ferried DC Mayor to Masters Tournament on Private Jet: Report

Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser (Getty Images)
May 8, 2024

Muriel Bowser, the Democratic mayor of Washington, D.C., flew by private jet to a high-profile golf tournament last month, and a business mogul with investments in the city footed the bill, the Washington City Paper reported on Wednesday.

Bowser’s trip on April 13 to the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, was fully paid for by Jodie McLean, chief executive officer of a national retail and mixed-use real estate company called EDENS, according to the D.C.-based outlet.

"Jodie McLean invited Mayor Bowser to the Masters, as well as arranged travel. This was done under the agreement by all parties that the expense would be reimbursed," EDENS spokeswoman Sommer Hixson told the outlet in a statement Wednesday morning.

Bowser has confirmed that McLean’s company arranged a private plane service to fly her and her senior adviser Beverly Perry to the golf tournament in the morning and then back to D.C. that evening. Tickets for the flight alone cost $5,000 to $6,000 each, the outlet noted.

EDENS has millions of dollars in real estate assets in D.C., according to Washington City Paper, including a 40-acre retail and dining space called Union Market.

Bowser's trip to Georgia came during a period of high-profile crimes in D.C., which has seen a surge in homicides during her administration. Just days before the trip, the city was hit with four separate shootings in a single day that killed two and injured eight more, including a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old. D.C. police also found a man dead inside a car with gunshot wounds in the early hours of April 13, and a 15-year-old girl was fatally shot in an apartment building a day later.

The Democratic mayor has sought to keep the details of her expensive trip away from the public eye, declining to elaborate on the travel costs and what specific events or meetings she attended while at the tournament. 

The mayor’s office on the eve of her departure disclosed only that "Mayor Bowser will travel to Augusta, Georgia, as part of a sports and economic development visit." 

Bowser’s office later said Events DC had paid for her and Perry’s trip, but sources told the Washington City Paper this week that the convention and sports authority has not yet received any invoices for the officials’ expenses.

 "Why the secrecy?" one source said, according to the Wednesday report.