Report says ex-US Olympic official had' substantial conflicts of interest' in Salt Lake City's bid

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The Independent Online

A former top official of the US Olympic Committee had "substantial conflicts of interest," including receipt of about $65,000 in payments from backers of Salt Lake City's bid for the winter Olympics, an internal investigation says.

A former top official of the US Olympic Committee had "substantial conflicts of interest," including receipt of about $65,000 in payments from backers of Salt Lake City's bid for the winter Olympics, an internal investigation says.

The committee forced Alfredo La Mont to resign in January as director of international affairs after learning of his links to the Salt Lake City Olympic controversy.

An internal report said most of the money came in the form of consulting contracts with two companies linked to La Mont.

The report said at least $3,000 of that money then went to the son of a member of the International Olympic Committee, which voted in 1995 to hold the 2002 Winter Games in Utah.

The report also includes a letter from that IOC member, Austin Sealy of Barbados, in which Sealy refused to accept La Mont's initial offer of a $3,000 monthly "retainer" in the weeks before the 1995 vote.

"I do not want to become involved in any conflict-of-interest situation or indeed in any form of activity which might raise questions," Sealy wrote to La Mont.

Sealy said in February that La Mont never mentioned Salt Lake City in connection with the $3,000 check.

The IOC gave Sealy a written reprimand for his dealings with La Mont and the Salt Lake City bid.

Ten other IOC members were ousted or quit the committee for their roles in taking part of more than $1 million in gifts and other perquisites that boosters of the Utah games paid in exchange for votes.

Contacted by telephone today at his Colorado Springs, Colorado, home, La Mont would not comment.

USOC spokesman Mike Moran said the organization plans no legal action against La Mont, but a Justice Department investigation is continuing. A former Salt Lake City businessman has pleaded guilty to a tax fraud charge in that investigation, and the son of a South Korean IOC member has been accused of lying to the FBI.

The report prepared by USOC's law firm, Hogan and Hartson, said the Salt Lake Organizing Committee paid for information about and influence with IOC members through two firms linked to La Mont: Citius and ARCA.

The Salt Lake City organizers paid Citius $45,700 and ARCA $19,000, as well as giving La Mont a $112 pair of ski bindings and a $1,027 check to reimburse him for a dinner with sports officials in Mexico, the report said.

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