Two more USOC corruption stories -2/25/03

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    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/sports/AP-OLY-USOC-Woes.html

    Ward Billed U.S.O.C. $115,664 in Travel Costs

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Filed at 11:53 p.m. ET

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- U.S. Olympic Committee chief executive Lloyd Ward and his wife
    billed $115,664 in travel costs to the USOC last year, The Gazette reported Tuesday.

    The expenses included flights to see Evander Holyfield fight in Atlantic City,
    N.J., and to Florida, where the couple has a home, according to a USOC report obtained by the
    Colorado Springs newspaper.

    The cost of trips taken only by Ward's wife, Lita, totaled $27,813 in 2002, the newspaper reported.
    Lita Ward's travel included two round-trip flights between Sarasota, Fla., near the couple's home,
    and Colorado.

    The report on travel expenses comes amid a congressional inquiry into the USOC's spending and
    operations, ethics complaints against Ward and infighting that led to the resignation of the
    committee's president.

    Former USOC marketing chief Toby Wong billed about $35,000 for travel expenses and meals at hotels
    within 6 miles of the USOC campus in Colorado Springs, the organization's former ethics compliance
    officer confirmed this week.

    Ward defended his travel expenses to the newspaper, saying the Holyfield-Chris Byrd heavyweight
    title fight Dec. 14 allowed him and USOC chief financial officer Early Reese to meet with sponsors
    and donors.

    Ward reimbursed the USOC for his wife's $1,979 expense.

    The USOC documents show that Lita Ward accompanied her husband to Geneva, Switzerland, at a cost of
    $14,795 for two plane tickets to a meeting with IOC president Jacques Rogge.

    She also flew to Los Angeles by herself to attend the U.S. Figure Skating Championships last January
    and with Ward to New York for the U.S. Open tennis tournament in the fall, according to the
    newspaper.

    Ward, who is building a house in Colorado Springs, said a provision in his employment agreement
    allows for the USOC to pay for Florida travel while the house is under construction.

    Reese and USOC chief operating officer Fred Wohlschlaeger declined comment to The Gazette.

    Ward said his wife sometimes takes his place at official functions when he has a conflict. That was
    the case, he said, with the 2002 figure skating championships and Champions on Ice.

    ``She's an official delegate of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and it's provided for in my employment
    agreement,'' Ward said.

    Patrick Rodgers, the USOC's former ethics compliance officer, disagreed. ``She doesn't represent the
    USOC in any manner or form,'' Rodgers told the newspaper. ``The representatives of the USOC are the
    president, secretary general, officers and board members. His wife is none of those things.'' Sen.
    Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., an outspoken critic of the USOC, said the new reports did not
    surprise him.

    ``At this point, nothing surprises me anymore,'' Campbell told The Associated Press on Tuesday. ``I
    think very frankly it's a self-inflicted tightening noose. They can't blame this on anybody else.''

    Ward also defended Wong's expense account, which he said was set up by the USOC to record and
    monitor her relocation expenses.

    ``This was being tracked,'' Ward said. ``Throughout 2002, the relocation expenses were identified
    and characterized as an account receivable .. We operated fully within relocation policy, in the
    full light of day.''

    Rodgers had said the actions represented a misappropriation of funds. David D'Alessandro, chief
    executive of John Hancock Financial Services, is among those questioning how the USOC's spending.
    His company contributes $10 million in sponsorship money, and he wants a full account of the
    organization's finances. The push for reform began this year after ethics charges against Ward
    touched off internal battles. Ward was reprimanded by the executive committee and denied a $184,000
    bonus for allegedly trying to steer Olympic business to a company with ties to his brother.

    Five ethics committee members resigned in protest after only a reprimand was given, and USOC
    president Marty Mankamyer resigned Feb. 5.

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/25/sports/othersports/25USOC.html

    Ex-U.S.O.C. Leader Questions Payments

    By RICHARD SANDOMIR

    A former president of the United States Olympic Committee said yesterday that the $50,000 relocation
    payment given last year to a woman hired as the organization's chief marketing officer should have
    paid for all of her moving and living expenses.

    But the woman, Toby Wong, billed the organization another $35,000 for rooms and meals at two hotels
    in Colorado Springs, where the U.S.O.C. has its headquarters, even though she never moved to
    Colorado from Arizona, according to The Denver Post.

    "I was on the personnel committee at the time," Sandra Baldwin, the former president said, "and it
    was very clear that the $50,000 should have been used to pay for her move, unless she had a separate
    agreement with the chief financial officer or the chief executive officer." Advertisement

    The chief executive, Lloyd Ward, hired Wong directly, and two Olympic officials said he had approved
    the extra $35,000.

    Wong's lawyer, Philip Hilder, said Wong understood that Ward had approved the costs.

    Nonetheless, a former ethics compliance officer for the U.S.O.C. questioned the payments to Wong. "A
    relocation bonus is to relocate," said the officer, Patrick Rodgers. "The fact is, paying her
    another $35,000 was inappropriate." Ward said he would not discuss personnel issues.

    Wong's relocation payment is yet another issue dogging Ward, who survived an ethics investigation
    but lost a $184,800 bonus because he violated the organization's ethics code.

    A former ally of Ward's, Bill Stapleton, a U.S.O.C. vice president, is ready to seek his
    resignation, three Olympic officials said. Ward serves at the pleasure of the organization's
    23-member executive committee. The committee's acting president, William C. Martin, was unavailable
    for comment.

    Last night, Ward said he had no intention of stepping down. "I don't feel like I'm in an endgame,"
    he said. "Part of my athletic training is never giving up."

    He added, "My state of mind is I want to get back to focusing on the athletes."

    Wong, who resigned earlier this month after nine months with the U.S.O.C., repaid half the $35,000
    as part of her severance agreement, which paid her nearly $150,000.

    Paul George, chairman of the U.S.O.C.'s compensation committee, said the original $50,000 relocation
    payment did not have to be approved by the entire committee. "Whatever she did with the $50,000,
    minus taxes, she was entitled to use it for relocation, temporary housing and moving," George said.
    "She did not have to submit an accounting of it."

    Hilder said on Sunday that Wong did not relocate because she was told by the Immigration and
    Naturalization Service to remain in Arizona while she finished becoming a naturalized citizen. Wong
    was born in Canada.

    But Chris Bentley, a spokesman for the I.N.S., said Monday that there was no requirement for a legal
    permanent resident to stay in one city or state during the naturalization process. A naturalization
    application can easily be transferred from one I.N.S. field office to another, which would cause
    only a two- to three-month delay, he said.

    But Hilder said that Wong was worried about having to wait to be naturalized if she moved her case
    from Phoenix.

    "She had already been waiting for a year, and she was told she had to stay," Hilder said. "U.S.
    citizenship means a lot to her, and she didn't want any further delays." Wong is now a United States
    citizen, Hilder said.
     
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