No Games Chicago today issued its own review of the Civic Federation’s review of the 2016 Committee’s finances. “What we’ve got here is the sheep paying the foxes to audit the wolves” said No Games organizer Tom Tresser. “There are so many conflicts of interest in the inception, staffing and execution of this report as to make it virtually toothless.” Nevertheless, despite the many flaws in the reporting process, the document still reveals many new reasons for Chicagoans to be concerned about the 2016 bid process and its authors.
No Games co-founder Bob Quellos concludes our analysis saying, “How can we trust the independence of L.E.K.’s report when it is was hand picked by individuals backing the bid and L.E.K. is currently competing for a contract at O’Hare’s International Terminal that is worth $33 million a year in revenue? This whole process reeks of typical Chicago politics.”
Even so, L.E.K.’s report does provide enough information to conclude that Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid is a raw deal for the people of the city. From shaky promises about insurance policies to over inflated projections on sponsorships and donations — it is clear from L.E.K.’s report that Chicago 2016 is attempting to sell the people of the city a lemon.
Read our statement. It’s got links to references and other articles to back up our assertions.
If you’ve been to the 2016 community meetings as No Games Chicago has – you’ll recall hearing the claim that no taxpayer money has been or will be spent on the games. No Games has challenged that claim repeatedly – wondering how they keep failing to include the almost $200 million for the purchase, demo, remediation and TIFs committed to the Village in their calculations.
Now the Civic Federation report lifts up an obscure point that the city will spend $35 million IT DOESN’T HAVE for two venues that IT DOESN’T NEED – from page 73 of the L.E.K. report.
Remember, the Park District CUT swimming hours 30% this summer?
Oh, wait, they will probably say “We meant to build those facilities all along!” That’s what Lori Healy said about the purchase of the Michael Reese Hospital site. “The city wanted to purchase that site for development for a long time” she told a group of women at a private reception in mid June. But Pat Ryan told us a different story at the last 2016 community meeting at the Palmer House. He told the crowd in answer to a question from a No Games member that it was the 2016 Committee who approached the Mayor with the idea to acquire the site.
The Civic Federation’s report looking at the finances of the 2016 Committee is out. No Games is going over it page by page and from what we’ve seen so far – despite being full of conflicts of interest and unchallenged assumptions, it raises new alarms for the people of Chicago. It seems that local news headline writers feel the report gives the 2016 a clean bill of health. Far from it.
As reported in the Chicago Tribune:
Chicago’s 2016 Olympics bid: Deeper look shows potential financial pitfalls
David Greising – August 28, 2009
The Chicago 2016 Olympics committee is determined for Chicago to host the Games, come hell or high water.
But Chicagoans, who are being asked to guarantee the Games, need to worry about what will happen if we get both hell and high water.
The Civic Federation gave a remarkably robust go-ahead to the Olympics bid on Wednesday. The financial watchdog group’s president, Laurence Msall, stepped before microphones in City Hall and declared that the Chicago 2016 projection of a $451 million financial surplus is “fair and reasonable.”
Everyone expects Chicago 2016 to puff up the potential of their Summer Games. By the same token, there are people with every bit as strong a motivation to take a careful look at how much it would cost if things go terribly, financially wrong.
For such worrywarts, a close read of the Civic Federation report reinforces their skepticism of all this Olympics hoopla.
Take a careful look at Msall’s report, and one can only wonder: Did he read the darn thing?
Chicago, are you ready to be ruled by the IOC from Switzerland for seven years? No kidding. The Host City Contract includes language on making local laws subservient to the IOC Charter and Swiss law.
As reported in the Vancouver Sun:
Contract binds Vancouver to play by IOC rules or not play at
Elites of the Olympic movement and former mayor sealed deal to bypass Canada’s constitutionally protected rights and freedoms
By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun – August 7, 2009
It’s easy to understand why the International Olympic Committee would want any disputes with host cities decided by its own “court,” so that it is beyond the grasp of courts in countries whose judicial systems are dodgy.
But why on earth did Vancouver’s former mayor Larry Campbell sign the host city contract governed by Swiss law and agree that “any dispute concerning [the contract’s] validity, interpretation or performance shall be determined conclusively by arbitration, to the exclusion of the ordinary courts of Switzerland or of the host country?”
The sports court — the IOC’s arbitration process — deals with issues of athletes’ disqualifications due to doping or other infractions. It has rarely, if ever, dealt with the myriad other issues from sponsorship agreements to taxes to financial disbursements that are covered in the Vancouver agreement.
Signing off Vancouver’s right to access Canadian courts in the event of a dispute with the IOC is just one of the troubling pieces of the 61-page contract signed in 2003 and obtained by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association under B.C.’s Access to Information Act.
The contract’s preamble declares that the IOC is “the supreme authority of and leads the Olympic movement.”
And the Olympic ayatollahs required that the city stage the Games in full compliance with the Olympic Charter and that it agrees to “conduct all activities in a manner which promotes and enhances the integrity, ideals and long-term interests of the IOC and the Olympic Movement.”
The mayor had another rough night meeting the public Tuesday at the South Shore Cultural Center.
Here’s a gem from WBEZ’s coverage of the hearing. “The mayor didn’t answer that – or most – questions directly, instead asking his staff to meet people individually. A handful of speakers brought up the city’s 2016 Olympic bid – almost all, like Judith Rodgers, opposed to it. RODGERS: If you can get that money together for a stupid Olympics, you can take that money and put more police on the street.”
You can listen to this short clip by using the Evoca player by clicking here.
Read other coverage:
Chicago Sun-Times – “Mayor culpa: Daley catches ab earful at public hearing” – “You’re spending all that money and energy on the Olympics. Mayor Daley, where are the dollars for improving the quality of life for African Americans in this city?” asked Queen Sister, founder of the It Takes A Village organization in Roseland.”
Chicago Tribune’s John Kass – “Mayoral ‘apology’ is really snow job” – “…for the first time in my life, I really don’t understand what the heck you’re talking about. No, really. What’s prompting this is that the mayor desperately wants to host the 2016 Olympic Games. He must show the International Olympic Committee that he’s in control of his own town before the IOC picks the winning city in October. But Chicagoans are angry about his parking-meter rate hike, and about taxes, and about schoolchildren being shot to death in the streets, and that doesn’t speak well for the total-control image thing.”
Chicago Tribune – “Mayor Richard Daley criticized at public budget hearing“- “Mayor Richard Daley fielded complaints about crime, the city’s Olympics bid and the parking-meter controversy Tuesday night during a packed public hearing on the South Side, but he offered little direct response to his critics.”
As reported online by AFP:
Rio de Janeiro’s bid to become the first South American city to host the Olympics is gathering momentum, a source close to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) told AFP on Thursday.
By contrast the long-time favourites and frontrunners for 2016, Chicago, are losing ground equally fast and alienating many IOC members previously favourable to them, largely due to gaffes by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
The other two cities – Tokyo and Madrid – are still in with a chance but have much ground to make up before the vote of IOC members in Copenhagen on October 2.
Rio have made huge advances ever since their charismatic IOC member Carlos Nuzman made a passionate and effective presentation to the European Olympic Committee (EOC) in Istanbul last November.
Aided to a large part by Brazilian president Luis Ignacio ‘Lula’ da Silva, they have built on that steadily and with apparently a vibrant economy and the funds in place they are ready to meet all the requirements of the IOC.