The Fiesta Bowl is reportedly under investigation for $38,000 worth of political contributions made by 14 bowl employees made since 2000. While there is nothing illegal about donating to politicians, the problem arises when (as is being alleged here) those who donated get reimbursed for their gifts.
Apart from that, the tax-exempt, ostensibly non-profit Fiesta Bowl has been under scrutiny for spending $4 million on lobbying to keep the game in the BCS rotation by hosting extravagant parties and shelling out gifts and freebies.
Now the IRS is reportedly getting involved in the bowl employees dealings, a development the organization will not confirm or deny. According to the Arizona Republic, the bowl group has hired high-powered Southern California-based attorney Nathan J. Hochman to defend the Fiesta Bowl as state and federal investigators continue looking into the group's financial and political dealings.
Amid all this turmoil, Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker is being placed on an administrative leave of absence. The organization seems to be cooperating with the investigation, sending out 1099 forms to current and former employees to file with their taxes:
In a related tax issue, the Fiesta Bowl recently informed current and former board members that they would be receiving a Form 1099 to account for benefits they received the past three to four years. Board members buy tickets to the football games, but they have received complimentary tickets to related Fiesta Bowl events and parking passes, which are considered income.
According to bowl spokesman Andy Bagnato, these forms are being sent out by the request of the group's accountants, not the IRS.