Mayor Steve Benjamin’s economic development trip to the Paris Air Show last month cost the city of Columbia about $4,000, almost $1,000 less than planned, according to a city memo.
The six-day trip cost $3,998.96, assistant city manager Teresa Wilson wrote in a memo to Benjamin. The mayor released the memo to reporters.
Benjamin said Tuesday he met with 15 aerospace companies, mostly suppliers for the new Boeing plant in North Charleston. He said some of the companies are solid prospects. But the mayor did not name any company nor announce new investment for Columbia.
In May, the economic development staff projected the trip, from June 18 through June 23, would cost between $4,932 to $6,000, a memo, also released by Benjamin, shows.
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Benjamin stayed two extra days in Paris, which he paid from his pocket, his spokesman said. The extension forced him to change his return flight, which added $218 to the airfare, Benjamin adviser Michael Wukela said. Benjamin paid for that, too, Wukela said.
Further, the mayor’s wife, Judge DeAndrea Gist Benjamin, went on the trip as well, Wukela said. All her expenses came from the family’s own money, the spokesman said.