ALBANY, N.Y. - U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Peter Ueberroth warned the state's top lawmakers that New York will lose its chance to land the 2012 Summer Games if a plan for a Manhattan stadium is not approved, according to a letter released Friday.
Ueberroth said in a letter to state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno that failure to approve the West Side stadium "would grievously damage New York's Olympic bid and America's Olympic movement."
"The (International Olympic Committee) has made it clear that without full approval of the proposed Olympic stadium before the IOC vote, New York's bid will not be successful," Ueberroth said in the May 5 letter, which was first reported by the Daily News.
New York, Madrid, Moscow, London and Paris are the Olympic finalists, with the IOC to vote for the host city July 6 in Singapore.
A spokesman for Silver said the letter did not change the speaker's desire to get more answers concerning the stadium's finances and legality before making a decision. Aides to Silver and Bruno said they were committed to building whatever facilities are necessary to hold the Olympics, if New York City wins the bid.
The stadium, also to be home of the New York Jets, is a centerpiece of New York's bid and has the backing of Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But it is strongly opposed by some local groups.
"Now is the time to rally support for the bid and we need to get past this last hurdle on the Sports and Convention Center," Pataki spokeswoman Lynn Rasic said Friday.
A key vote on the stadium plan is set for next week. The state Public Authorities Control Board - which has three voting members, representing Pataki, Bruno and Silver - was to have voted on the proposal Wednesday. But it postponed the vote until next Wednesday instead when legislative leaders made it clear they weren't ready to commit $300 million to the project.
Ueberroth, a former baseball commissioner and chief executive of the 1984 Los Angeles Games, wrote the letter in part because Silver and Bruno publicly questioned the need to approve the stadium before the IOC vote in July, said the News, citing an unidentified source.
Silver and Bruno, the leaders of the two houses of the state Legislature, both denied accusations that they were endangering the city's bid, the News said.
"The IOC doesn't care if the stadium is in Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn or Staten Island," Silver said. "I support the Olympics coming to New York City and would work to ensure all necessary venues and facilities for a fully successful Olympics are in place by 2012 if the city wins the bid."
Bruno's spokesman, John McArdle, said the Republican senator is committed to building "whatever we need" if New York wins the bid.
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