Olympic report will recommend IOC expulsions, admit misdeeds

Probe won't result in criminal allegations, chief investigator says

January 22, 1999|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- Scrambling to contain a scandal, the International Olympic Committee's chief investigator of the Salt Lake City bid promised yesterday to deliver a report that will contain frank admissions of wrongdoing and specific recommendations for reform, but no criminal allegations.

Packages of cash and gifts worth $100,000 and more were common in Salt Lake City's winning bid for the 2002 Winter Games, Richard W. Pound, vice president of the IOC, told the Associated Press yesterday.

"Some of the members, but not all, received gifts in six figures," he was quoted as saying. "That was in direct cash and benefits."

Pound, chairman of the IOC panel looking into allegations of bribery and other misdeeds, said the report he will make Sunday will recommend the expulsion of some IOC members.

"That is our supreme recourse, and that is what we're prepared to do," Pound said at a news conference after a speech before a sports industry trade show.

"We have found evidence of very disappointing conduct by a number of IOC members," he said.

"We'd like to express our sincere apologies for the actions of certain IOC members. Moreover, the IOC would like to express its deepest regrets to the people and community of Salt Lake City."

Pound acknowledged that a toughly worded report might hinder fund raising by cities preparing for Games but added, "I think it's better that we not let this drag on."

The Canadian lawyer and former Olympic swimmer, who has served on the Olympics' governing body for 21 years, said he is disturbed by what he has uncovered.

He wouldn't reveal details of his conclusions before releasing them to the IOC executive committee Sunday. Allegations that have been made public suggest that some IOC members voting on which city to award the Winter Games accepted gratuities from Salt Lake City officials, including tuition for their children at Utah schools and, in one case, involvement by an IOC member in a lucrative real estate deal.

"It's really disappointing to find that they [other IOC members] have been involved in this kind of conduct and damaged an organization that I hold very dear and thought they did, too," Pound said.

Salt Lake City's bid is being investigated by agencies including the U.S. Customs Service, the Justice Department and the Utah attorney general's office.

"We do not think there have been any crimes committed, but it's up to the U.S. Department of Justice to decide that," Pound said.

The commission "did extensive debriefing of past cities" and found no improprieties in the process by which other cities have won Olympic Games, he said.

Pound said he hopes to "shut down" the cottage industry made up of agents and consultants that has popped up to assist bidding cities but acknowledged that he might not be able to do much to stop them. His investigation has not found any improprieties on the part of the agents, he said.

"We will do whatever is necessary to put our house in order," he said. "After we act, there will be no question that we do not accept inappropriate behavior on the part of IOC members."

Pound rejected calls for the resignation of IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, who has acknowledged receiving valuable gifts from Utah officials during the bidding. Samaranch did not hold a vote on the awarding of the Games and accepted gifts only on behalf of the IOC, which kept them as a matter of protocol, Pound said.

The IOC will honor its commitment to hold the Games in Salt Lake City, he said.

John Krimsky Jr., deputy secretary general of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said he doubted the scandal would diminish the chances for other U.S. cities to win the Games. Baltimore and Washington have applied to be host of the 2012 Summer Games.

"I think the process that has been followed has been flawed. I don't think that means the U.S. should be blamed for what has been a loose and flawed process," Krimsky said.

"I think the impact on the American cities that will seek to represent the U.S. in 2012 will be minimal," he said.

John A. Moag Jr., a Baltimore investment banker and member of the Baltimore-Washington steering committee working to get the 2012 Games, said the scandal has not hampered the group's fund raising or ability to sign up volunteers.

Pub Date: 1/22/99

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