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Alaskan Claims IOC Sought Bribe

December 15, 1998

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ One of the organizers of Anchorage’s unsuccessful bids for the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics said Monday he was solicited for bribes by agents of the International Olympic Committee.

Rick Nerland, who served as executive vice president with the Anchorage Olympic Organizing Committee, said the incidents occurred in the mid- and late 1980s.

``It was suggested to me by an individual that, for financial payment, votes could be influenced,″ said Nerland, who owns an Anchorage advertising and public relations agency. ``I told them we didn’t need that kind of help.″

Nerland revealed the bribes for the first time in an interview with KTUU-TV in Anchorage.

Nerland’s revelations came two days after Marc Hodler, a senior IOC official from Switzerland, accused four people of vote-buying and cited alleged irregularities in the selection of four Olympic cities _ Salt Lake City; Atlanta; Nagano, Japan; and Sydney, Australia.

The IOC also is investigating another scandal surrounding the selection of Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics. That case centers on a scholarship fund set up by the Salt Lake bidding committee. The fund gave nearly $400,000 in scholarship aid to 13 people, including six relatives of IOC members.

Nerland refused to name the individuals who solicited the bribes from Anchorage organizers.

``There are a lot of people on the periphery of the IOC who claim to have a lot of influence. It was people on the periphery,″ Nerland said.

The first contact came from an Asian representative at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1985 or 1986, Nerland said. The second came from an African representative at a meeting in Anchorage in 1987 or 1988.

Nerland said he had heard rumors that bribes were solicited from cities bidding for the games and was disappointed when it occurred. He said he dismissed the idea ``on the spot.″

Nerland said he discussed the solicitation with Dave Baumeister, president of the Anchorage Organizing committee. Baumeister died several years ago.

``He and I discussed this,″ Nerland said. ``I don’t know if other members were approached. I don’t think so. Dave and I were the ones that were primarily involved in the lobbying.″

Despite the scandal, Nerland said he thinks most IOC members are ethical and honest.

``There may be some bad apples in the bunch that they need to cull out, but that’s not representative of the body,″ Nerland said. ``Hopefully this will clean up the process of selecting cities.″

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