By Brian Maass

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – The mayor of Commerce City, Ben Huseman, is publicly apologizing to constituents and fellow council members for getting so drunk on a recent city- sponsored trip, that he couldn’t remember his hotel room number. He says he mistakenly charged a bar tab to a fellow council member.

“There is no excuse for me getting this intoxicated,” said Huseman, “especially when I am there to represent the city. That is something that will not happen again while on a trip like this.”

Despite the apology, his colleagues have voted unanimously to have an independent investigation conducted into the Huseman’s actions.

Ben Huseman (credit: Commerce City)

According to Huseman and records reviewed by CBS4, the incident occurred when Huseman and seven council members traveled to Washington D.C. from March 3-5 for meetings with congressional leaders and a follow- up conference.

In an original Facebook post, Huseman explained he was at the hotel bar with two other council members and a stranger who they had met Sunday evening. The mayor said the bar tab of $107 was erroneously charged to the room of councilman Jose Guardiola. In his original post, Huseman did not mention his drunkenness, but said he apologized profusely to Guardiola and corrected the tab with the hotel.

He told CBS4 since it was a bill for alcohol, he had intended to pay for it personally as the city does not pay for liquor.

After his initial post, Huseman later updated his narrative saying, “I was trying to use my phone to get my room number because I had indulged in too much alcohol and could not remember my room number. At the time the charge was made, I was trying to charge the tab to my room and looking at my phone trying to remember my room number in my inebriated state.”

Asked how much he had been drinking, Huseman did not provide an exact number of drinks consumed, but said, “I had attended a party earlier in the evening and then spent time socializing with friends and at the bar. I was more intoxicated than I should have been, especially on a trip where I was representing Commerce City.”

Huseman has since written that he “drank excessively” and “there is no excuse for the incident that occurred or for the level of intoxication that I reached while representing our city.”

The apology did not go over well though with Guardiola. According to text messages between Guardiola and the mayor provided to CBS4, Guardiola wrote, “your explanation on Facebook is not very accurate. If it was a simple mistake, council wouldn’t have voted to investigate it. You’re not helping with this post which is not true just be honest, but you are doing damage control.”

Huseman responded saying, “I’m not trying to hide a damn thing. I never once claimed to be a saint.”

Guardiola declined to discuss what happened with CBS4 citing the pending investigation. He directed inquiries to the city managers office.

Facebook commenters have mostly praised Huseman for being transparent and accountable, although one wrote, “Glad you owned it. But your in a role model situation! Representing our City!! Was the alcohol worth it? Drink on your own time and dime.”

Brian Maass