Olympic Board Approves $100 Million Giveaway
Olympic organizers held their last board meeting today and approved a plan to divide the profits of the Winter Games.
(Sep. 18, 2002)------SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ The final numbers are in and they show the Winter Olympics made $100 million, games' organizers were to announce Wednesday.
The Salt Lake Organizing Committee's board are meeting Wednesday morning to divide the spoils. The Utah Athletic Foundation stands to become the biggest beneficiary of the Olympic profits.
The foundation was guaranteed at least $40 million from the games to run the Kearns speedskating oval and the Utah Olympic Park _ Park City's venue for ski jumping, bobsled, luge and skeleton.
Now the foundation could receive $76.5 million. However, Olympic organizers want the foundation to take over a third Olympic venue, Soldier Hollow, where cross-country ski races were held.
SLOC president Fraser Bullock also will propose two Olympic plazas, one for $3.6 million built around the Olympic cauldron at the University of Utah and a $6.6 million downtown plaza featuring the retractable Hoberman Arch used to award Olympic medals.
Other giveaways would include $1 million for a "celebration fund" to mark Olympic anniversaries and another $1 million for matching grants Bullock planned to detail at Wednesday's board meeting.
Organizers already have doled out $11.5 million in furniture, appliances and equipment to charities and Utah schools. They left $4 million worth of sports equipment at Olympic venues, and plan to donate $9 million in unused telecommunications and Xerox credits to the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The 1984 Summer Olympics at Los Angeles holds the record for turning profits of $225 million. Summer Games are larger endeavors and sell more tickets than the Winter Olympics.
Last April, Salt Lake organizers announced a tentative $56 million profit, a figure they adjusted upward by $16 million on Tuesday after settling most of their accounts. Then Bullock added other donations and gifts organizers made or plan to make, figuring total profits at $100 million.
That doesn't include the $171 million organizers spent building and improving Utah's Olympic venues.
Bullock said the bottom line was improved by savings from mundane projects, such as turning parking lots back into fields, and favorable settlements, including an insurer's agreement to cover millions in legal fees stemming from this city's Olympic bid scandal.
Bullock saved money other ways, negotiating final payments to contractors without tapping a budget for litigation. Only one of 3,500 contracts for goods and services remains in dispute, said Bullock, who wouldn't elaborate but said the dispute didn't involve big money.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)