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Olympic Trials

Fraser Bullock faces a world-class challenge: turn the scandal-plagued, debt-ridden 2002 Winter Games into a winner.

The organizing committee has released all the papers from its files that may be related to the scandal, including one known as the “geld document.” It purports to contain lists of influential members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), with details about the personal needs that might be met to win their vote — including geld, German for money.

The Justice Department charges that in the months prior to June 1995, when Salt Lake City was awarded the 2002 Games by the 15-member IOC, Welch and Johnson accepted envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars from a “potential sponsor.” The receipts were allegedly part of a scheme to influence the votes of IOC members. More than $1 million in cash payments allegedly ended up benefiting the families of IOC members, and Welch and Johnson personally. No IOC members were indicted, but 10 have resigned or been expelled since the scandal broke in November 1998.

A Front-Row Seat?

One might think that after spending a year and a half helping set up the 2002 Winter Olympics, CFO Fraser Bullock might be entitled to a close-up view of a few chosen events. But the freestyle aerial-skiing enthusiast — “I’ll ski anything, anywhere,” he says — figures that if he sees any sports at all, “it will be in passing.”

Bullock concedes that the “CFO’s position is pretty much on autopilot once the Games begin.” As COO as well, though, between the February 8 opening ceremony and the February 24 closing, Bullock says he will be focused “exclusively on assessing the performance of our operational team. I’ll be all over the place, at various hot spots and venues, looking into delay issues, weather issues, and the like.”

Even if he were to take a seat to watch, say, the men’s aerials finals on February 19, he’d have to plunk down between $45 and $95 for a seat under his own rule that Salt Lake Organizing Committee executives aren’t entitled to free tickets. He believes it’s the first time the Games have charged their own organizers for seats, but says that “you just don’t want any question about any sense of impropriety at all” at an Olympics already scorched by scandal.

When the Olympics close, the CFO job gets busy again, as Bullock plans to supervise an intense period of asset monitoring. From conversations with officials from previous Games, especially Atlanta’s 1996 Summer Olympics, he learned that “there’s a notorious history of all kinds of assets walking off the venue” — often in the hands of contract personnel or volunteers. “We will have a controlled exit that is 100 percent inspected,” he says, noting that SLOC hopes to realize $20 million to $30 million in liquidation of equipment.

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