Turns out, Mayor Adrian Fenty wasn't the only big-city mayor to be touring Dubai and Abu Dhabi the week of Feb. 15-23. One of Fenty's role models, Chicago's Richard Daley (D), was also there, according to published reports.
Daley was part of a trade mission and economic development research trip sponsored by several Chicago business coalitions.
Daley appears to have gotten more exclusive access to top UAE leaders than did Fenty, who was received by Rashid Mubarak Al Hajiri, chairman of the Department of Municipal Affairs for the emirate of Abu Dhabi:
Fenty received $25,000 from the UAE government to cover his expenses. It's not clear whether Daley accepted any foreign funds. D.C. Wire has calls in to Daley's office and the Chicago business organizations that helped set up the trip.
Fenty has called his trip to Dubai a vacation, but he said he met with some local government officials while he was there. His wife and twin sons accompanied him, but the mayor said UAE did not pay for their expenses.
After emailing several questions about Fenty's trip to Ambassador Yousef Al-Otaiba's office at the UAE embassy in Washington, D.C. Wire received this response: "As part of his diplomatic mission, the Ambassador regularly invites and hosts US and local government officials, foreign policy experts, cultural and business leaders and others in the UAE. The Ambassador did not accompany the Mayor on the trip."