Originally created 12/31/98

IOC VP meets with Salt Lake officials

SALT LAKE CITY -- An IOC executive looking into alleged bribes in Salt Lake's successful bid for the 2002 Winter Games didn't get to see all the documents he wanted.

"I've seen summaries of what they had," International Olympic Committee vice president Richard Pound told the Deseret News on Wednesday. "That's one thing, but it's not as useful as seeing what the actual records look like."

Pound completed a two-day visit Wednesday and left town without issuing a statement on information concerning the bid process that brought the games to Utah. He was looking for information to be included in an IOC report on the matter.

The commission Pound heads was expected to submit a report to the IOC executive board on Jan. 24 at Lausanne, Switzerland. But IOC director general Francois Carrard, coordinator of the investigation, said Wednesday the Salt Lake inquiry may take more time.

"I don't know whether we will have a final report on Jan. 23," he said in a telephone interview from IOC headquarters. "I'm sure there will be a progress report, but it may not be the final stage."

Meanwhile, a former employee of the Salt Lake bid committee said Wednesday that members of the Olympic family openly accepted gifts for years.

Salt Lake Olympic officials have admitted having a $400,000 scholarship fund that benefited 13 recipients, including six relatives of IOC members. IOC members also were given thousands of dollars worth of guns and skis and some received free medical treatments, including plastic surgery.

Robert Hunter, who worked as the Salt Lake bid committee's head of communications for two years and with the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for another two before leaving last June, told the Standard-Examiner of Ogden that such gift-giving seemed to be common practice.

"Just about all IOC members came here and they've all benefited from gifts that exceeded whatever the rule was," said Hunter, who added that he saw nothing wrong with the practice. "All of our guests were treated very, very well."

"You do it and it's fun and out of it you see people come together," he said. "But there was never any clandestine plan and everybody saw what we were doing for years."

Shelley Thomas, SLOC senior vice president of communications, said she wasn't part of Pound's information-gathering session and didn't know who was interviewed by the Canadian executive. She also said Pound, a lawyer from Montreal, would make no additional statements.

In the interview with the Deseret News, Pound said he wanted to hear SLOC's side of the story.

"One of the things we're going to have to do is get explanations for some of the things we've found," Pound said. "We do have to be careful we don't `Ready, aim, fire."'

He said that while SLOC officials were being cooperative, some of the documents he wanted to review were not available.

"It was kind of a rush job for them," Pound said. "I haven't got it all. So far, what they've found seems to support their general recollections."

Thomas said Pound spent most of Wednesday in a conference room and did not break for lunch. She did not know what materials or documents Pound was reviewing, but noted that employees were asked to retrieve bid documents.

"All we're doing is answering requests and answering fully any questions," Thomas said Wednesday. "He is keeping his own schedule."

Frank Zang, SLOC director of communications, said a lawyer from the Los Angeles law firm of O'Melveny & Myers, which the IOC panel has hired to represent it in the investigation, also was present at Salt Lake Olympic offices on Wednesday.

The IOC inquiry is one of four into the Salt Lake bid. Also investigating are the Justice Department, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Salt Lake organizing committee's ethics board.

A U.S. Olympic Committee panel headed by former Maine Sen. George Mitchell began its investigation on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., and is planning to issue its report to the USOC by Feb. 28.


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