USOC Chief Ward Survives Ouster Attempt
U.S. Olympic Committee chief executive Lloyd Ward survived a move to oust him during an executive committee conference call, according to published reports Wednesday.
A motion to dismiss Ward was raised but members did not vote on it during the call Tuesday night, USOC acting president Bill Martin said. Ward did not participate.
Martin said earlier in the week that Ward asked that he be allowed to remain in office until the committee’s full 123-member board meets in April.
USOC spokesman Darryl Siebel told The Associated Press on Wednesday he could not comment about the conference call because he did not know about it until after it happened.
Ward told The New York Times after the call, ``You’ll have to ask Bill Martin what he’s asked of me. I’m not going with rumor.″
Two participants demanded that Ward be fired and five questioned whether he could remain as CEO amid a widening management crisis, Martin said. Other members of the 19-member executive committee were neutral or voiced support for Ward, the reports said.
``This clearly is a crisis,″ Martin told The Denver Post. ``When your CEO is in 10 to 15 newspapers every day, you’ve got a problem. He is a marked man. ... My question is, what is our obligation to support Lloyd? How far do we go?″
Committee member Herb Perez made a motion that the committee vote to dismiss Ward, but Martin said no vote could be taken because it was not considered an official meeting, The New York Times reported, citing a person involved in the session.
The Denver Post reported that Martin said the meeting ended with a plan to examine Ward’s leadership for the second time since January. At that time, an internal investigation found he had broken ethics rules in allegedly trying to steer Olympic business to a company with ties to his brother. Ward was reprimanded and denied a $184,400 bonus.
Martin said he will work with fellow executive committee members McCarthy and Rob Stull to form a plan to ease sponsors’ concerns, appease Congress and study the costs of keeping Ward, as opposed to searching for a new CEO.
Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Ted Stevens of Alaska and Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado, a 1964 Olympian, are scheduled to travel to Colorado Springs on Friday to talk with USOC employees and officials.
They are working on the possibility of rewriting the 1978 law that chartered the USOC.
Martin said executive committee treasurer Frank Marshall will work with attorney Mark Levinstein to examine recent media reports about Ward’s activities.
Ward reportedly allowed the USOC’s former marketing chief to bill the USOC $34,600 last year for hotel costs in Colorado Springs. Also to be examined are reports that Ward and his wife billed $115,664 in travel costs to the USOC last year.
Ward has denied any impropriety concerning the travel costs for him and his wife.
Ward found support among many of the people representing athletes and governing bodies of several sports. He also was backed by Anita DeFrantz, who sits on the USOC board and the IOC.
``We are a sick, sick organization,″ she told The Denver Post, referring to the USOC. ``If we think amputating a knee or a toe is going to make us well, that’s severely wrong.″