International, U.S. and Salt Lake City Olympics officials all deny the city potentially could lose the 2002 Winter Games because of the bribery scandal.
The disavowals came Monday after Marc Hodler, the International Olympic Committee's senior member and head of the oversight panel for the 2002 Games, suggested the games could be moved or even canceled if Salt Lake can't raise enough money because of the scandal. Gifts and scholarships allegedly were given to IOC members and their relatives.
Holder raised doubts about the ability of Salt Lake organizers to raise the remaining $350 million needed to meet their $1.45 billion budget.
The spin put on that by other Olympic officials was to focus on the money already raised -- not on that still needed.
"Salt Lake has already raised 75 percent of the revenues we need to put on the games, so we're well on our way," said Robert Garff, chairman of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.
If Salt Lake City should fall short in raising money, "we may have to scale back the games to fit the old-time Olympic program," he said.
He said they could downsize venues or cut cultural programs or recruit more volunteers.
"We are not panicking," he said.
John Krimsky, deputy secretary general and managing director of business affairs for the U.S. Olympic Committee, said Hodler's remarks "certainly make it more difficult" to satisfy sponsors.
But he said 72 percent of the budget was made, all of the television contracts were made and sponsors were prepared to ride out the scandal.
"Their principal concern is a speedy resolution to the four independent investigations," Krimsky said. The allegations are being investigated by the Justice Department and separate committees of the IOC, USOC anSLOC.
Krimsky said he expected within days to secure the $5 million payment US West has said it would withhold pending a more complete answer from SLOC to the phone company's questions about the scandal.
- The IOC hired a public relations firm to soothe sponsors and improve its image. Michael Payne, marketing director, met with officials of Hill & Knowlton Inc. in New York and was to discuss the scandal this week with sponsors.
Payne on Monday also discounted Holder's conjecture about the games being moved or canceled. He said the games could be moved from Salt Lake City "only in the event of war, earthquake or civil disturbance."
- Gov. Mike Leavitt hit the television talk show circuit, saying Utah's image will be restored by the investigations and that there will be no more new allegations beyond those that have already come to light, which include hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships, cash payments and expensive guns and skis.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported Tuesday that relatives of IOC members from Ecuador and Finland were employed by the Salt Lake City bid committee while it pursued the 2002 games.
The newspaper, citing unidentified Olympic officials, said the daughter of Agustin Carlos Arroyo, an IOC member from Ecuador, and the husband of Pirjo Haggman, an IOC member from Finland, worked briefly for the bid committee.
Salt Lake Mayor Deedee Corradini, already hammered by two previous, unrelated scandals and under fire in the Olympics scandal, announced she would not seek re-election this year.
She said it was just coincidence that her announcement came amid the Olympics scandal -- and the suggestion of two City Council members that she resign. She said she'd been thinking for six months of not seeking re-election.
Corradini was a member of the bid committee that won the 2002 Games and is a member of the current organizing committee. She has had little to say about the bribes scandal, and some council members have criticized her for not being forthcoming.
In another development Monday, Rene Paquet, who headed Quebec's bid committee, which lost to Salt Lake City, said his city might sue the IOC for compensation because rules of a contract signed with the organization were broken. He also said IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch should resign.
Anita DeFrantz, an IOC vice president from the United States, said Monday that the organization's probe of the scandal is almost complete. She said letters have been sent to the members "who apparently have abused their privilege," and they have 10 days to respond before a report is completed and a news conference is held Jan. 25.
"By that point, we believe that we will have folks who need to resign clearly identified and, I hope, resignations in hand," she said. "So I expect there are going to be fewer members of the IOC."
Asked how many committee members wil be forced out, she said: "I believe it will be less than a dozen."
She does not believe the scandal will cause Salt Lake City to lose the games. She said there is not enough time to make a change and the city would have won even without the "apparently compromised votes."
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