Olympic Bribery Case Files Released
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Nearly 10,000 pages of confidential files in the Olympic vote-buying scandal reveal Salt Lake’s now-indicted bid executives might have taken a page from organizers of the Nagano Games.
The files organized A-Z by International Olympic Committee delegates were released to The Associated Press on Saturday by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.
They show Tom Welch, the bid chief, and Dave Johnson, his deputy, chased their Olympic dream by doing everything from consulting fortune tellers to rushing emergency cash to IOC members’ wives.
The documents include new allegations Japan paid $100,000 per vote when Nagano won the 1998 Winter Games over Salt Lake City, which was widely recognized as having the better technical bid.
Salt Lake eventually won the 2002 Games.
But in March 1991, Welch received disturbing news from Ireland’s Olympic chief in a letter underlined ``strictly private and confidential.″
Patrick Hickey, quoting Italian Olympic sources, said ``certain IOC members have entered into a contract with Nagano to vote for them for a fee of $100,000.″
And on June 14, 1991, the day before Salt Lake lost his first bid, Welch fired off an angry letter accusing IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch of trying to sabotage Salt Lake’s bid.
``The word is spreading among your colleagues by those close to you, in your name, and being attributed to you personally, that `We cannot let the Games go to Salt Lake City or the press will eat us alive,‴ Welch wrote.
The AP was unable to reach Samaranch for immediate comment.
A bitter Welch, who considers himself a scapegoat for the Olympic vote-buying scandal, has no doubt Japan bought the Games in 1991.
``You had a lot of things in play,″ Welch said Saturday. He accused the Japanese of locking up the IOC vote with a $15 million pledge for an Olympic Museum, then paying a day after the IOC vote.
``There was a concerted effort on the part of Samaranch to see that Japan won, to the point I felt they weren’t playing fair,″ he said.
Welch says the bid-committee documents can help prove he and Johnson did nothing criminally wrong. Both men were indicted last summer on 15 conspiracy, fraud and bribery counts for doling out $1 million in cash, gifts, travel and scholarships to IOC delegates and their families.
The files show the extraordinary lengths to which Welch and Johnson went over a decade of Olympic bidding.
In 1991, the wife of Western Samoa IOC delegate Paul Wallwork sent a desperate cable to Welch that reads, ``Urgently need thirty thousand.″
Julia Wallwork said she had a friend in a ``serious situation″ but she also wrote, ``Regard as business arrangement between you and me ... appreciate your absolute confidence.″
Welch said Saturday that he knew the money was for Mrs. Wallwork, who had just separated from her husband. Welch wired $30,000 from his daughter’s trust account. He didn’t know if he’d get the money back but did, years later, without interest.
Welch said he often lent money to IOC relatives as heartfelt expressions of friendship that went with Olympic bidding. He says his job was to win over ″100 kings.″
It eventually paid off. Julie Wallwork, for one, was said to be ``very important″ in profiles the bid committee sketched of IOC members. She was her husband’s closest consultant on Olympic matters.
Paul Wallwork was expelled by the IOC because of his wife’s loan, although she insisted he never knew about it. Julie Wallwork returned to her husband. Welch wouldn’t discuss the reasons for her loan.
The papers released Saturday consist of bid correspondence, U.S. State Department cables, work papers, news clippings, travel plans and flight itineraries, translations, birthday and other lists of IOC members.
In 1991, a State Department cable from Algeria said: ``We have a good shot in winning Zerguini’s vote, and intend to spare no effort in putting Salt Lake City’s case forward.″
Mohamed Zerguini, the IOC delegate from Algeria, was reprimanded because his family made generous use of Salt Lake-paid trips, jet-ski rentals and gifts including Nintendo Game Boy video games.
The seven boxes of documents released by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee on Saturday did not include 360 pages withheld by staff lawyers because of privacy concerns.
Those papers include employment and university applications and grade transcripts for children of IOC members who got U.S. jobs and educations. They also include medical reports of IOC delegates and family members treated at Utah hospitals.
``We wanted to hold nothing back,″ said SLOC spokeswoman Caroline Shaw. ``We believe we are the most open Games in the modern Olympic movement.″
On the Net:
Salt Lake Organizing Committee: http://www.saltlake2002.com
U.S. Olympic Committee: http://www.olympic-usa.org.
International Olympic Committee: http://www.olympic.org/
U.S. Justice Department: U.S vs. Welch, et al: http://www.utd.uscourts.gov/documents/profpage.html