Romney’s Olympic Tax Payer 1.5 Billion Shakedown Road to the White House

Romney’s Olympic Tax Payer 1.5 Billion Shakedown Road to the White House

Report Contributor: Tricia Erickson, author of the book, Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters?

With the ABC News revelation of the IOC committee bribery scandal, the fate of the 2002 Olympics on U.S. soil, and a predominately Mormon city in the balance, the organizing committee searched for their white horse to salvage not only the Olympics, but Salt Lake City.                                                

When it came to the Olympics, the relationship between Mitt Romney and the LDS church was symbiotic. The LDS church needed Romney to aid in ushering in the Mormon Kingdom on earth while portraying the Mormon faith as a wholesome, mainstream religion. With his eye on the Office Of the Presidency, and just coming off his loss to Senator Edward Kennedy, Romney needed the LDS church and its vast network to finance, support and promote his political aspirations. Nowhere was this more apparent than the Salt Lake City Olympics – the Greatest Show on Earth for the Mormon Church and Mitt Romney – all funded in part by you, the U.S. taxpayer.

Did businessman Romney deserve the “White Horse” reputation of saving the Olympics?

Let’s review:

According to the Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe,

His determination to present himself as a white knight came at a cost. Some colleagues now say he magnified the extent of the Olympics committee’s fiscal distress, risked some possible conflicts of interest among board members, and shunted aside other people whose work had been instrumental in promoting the Games. 

A perceived enemy of Romney was Tom Welch. Tom Welch and David R. Johnson were accused of defrauding the organizing committee:  

  • – Romney urged Welch to accept a plea bargain, which he refused. All 15 felony charges against Welch were thrown out by Judge David Sam who said “I can only imagine the heartache, the disappointment, the sorrow that you and your loved ones suffered through this terrible ordeal. My hope is that you will now be appropriately recognized and honored for your efforts.” Romney refused to acknowledge his efforts or accept Welch’s innocence, calling the prosecutors “inept.” (Source: Bob Hohler, Boston Globe)
  • – Quoting an article by David Baumann, “Romney Helped Salvage Olympics.” St. Petersburg Times: Sydney Fonnesbeck, who was on the Salt Lake City Council and a friend of Welch’s, said, “He” (Romney) “just came in and gathered the money that was already (pledged) … He didn’t want to give anyone else any credit. We became nobodies. A lot of us were hurt and angry. It didn’t surprise any of us when he ran home and ran for governor.”

Lisa Roche wrote in the Deseret News,

  • – Mitt didn’t save the games. It was a publicity ploy from the beginning to build his platform in politics,
  • – Mitt’s objection was to look as good as he could.

Bob Drogin of the Los Angeles Times reported:

In 2000 Senator John McCain, railed against the “pork barrel spending” and “fiscal abuse” of tax payer money used for the Salt Lake Games”. “The American taxpayer is being shaken down to the tune of nearly a billion and a half dollars,” he said. “He (McCain) repeatedly denounced ‘pork barrel subsidies’ for the 2002 Games, identifying earmarks for construction projects, road improvements, new post offices and other infrastructure in and around Salt Lake City. 

In their December 2001 Sports Illustrated article “Snow Job,” Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele (Barlett, Donald L., and James B. Steele. “Snow Job.” CNN/Sports Illustrated, 10 Dec. 2001. Web. 25 Apr. 2010)., wrote For the past few years, while attention was focused on the Great Olympic Bribery Scandal…private and public interests have siphoned an estimated $1.5 billion out of the U.S. Treasury, all in the name of the Olympics.

Bartlett and Steele further cited four “Olympic records” set by the Salt Lake City Olympics:

  1. Federal Handouts: The amount of federal taxpayer money spent in Utah was more than “the amount spent by lawmakers to support all seven Olympic Games held in the U.S. since 1904 – combined.  In inflation-adjusted numbers.
  2. Private Interests: For the first time, private enterprises – primarily ski resorts and real estate developments – stand to derive significant long-term benefits from Games-driven congressional giveaways.
  3. Milking of Government Agencies: Utah’s five-member congressional delegation has used the Olympics to drain money from an unprecedented number of federal departments, agencies and offices – some three dozen in all, from the Office of National Drug Control Policy to the Agriculture Department.
  4. Most Amount of Taxpayer Money per Athlete: Federal spending for the Salt Lake City games will average $625,000 for each of the 2,400 athletes who will compete. (Not a penny of it will go to the athletes.) That’s a 996% increase from the $57,000 average for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. It’s a staggering 5,582% jump from the $11,000 average for the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Again, these are inflation-adjusted numbers.

On her blog, Debbie Schlussel (What’s So Great About the Olympics? Part II) wrote in February 2002:

U.S. taxpayers will pick up nearly $1 out of every $5 spent on the Salt Lake City event…That doesn’t include the $1.1 billion in federal transportation funding of projects like Interstate 15 reconstruction and building light rail in Salt Lake

Contrary to previous practices of the US Olympic Games, Romney’s Olympic Games used more US Federal tax dollars to enhance the long term worth of for-profit non public Utah business interests than any of the former US host states.

Cronyism was demonstrated at its best when Kem Gardner, friend of Romney, was awarded the contract to build the Olympic Legacy Park in his shopping mall with millions of tax dollar reimbursements at his disposal. Funny how there was no competition for the bid to do so. Could it not have been built on public land? 

It is further interesting that 25 of the board senior manager’s severance pay was boosted. They obviously felt so good about it that they donated to Romney’s campaign for governor of Massachusetts soon after the games ended, along with additional donations from the board of trustees.

According to the Globe, All told, Romney reaped more than $1.5 million in campaign funds during his governorship from individuals and families with ties to the Olympics.  Moreover in 2007, Many of his Olympic-related donors have since joined a massive fundraising movement for Romney’s presidential campaign. (Source: Bob Hohler, “Romney’s Olympic Ties Helped Him Reap Campaign Funds.”

Thinking minds want to know, did Mitt Romney’s business experience truly save the Olympics or did he USE the Olympics to save his political career on his gubernatorial pit stop to the White House?


 About the author: 

New Book! Former Mormon Bishop’s Daughter and Political Commentator Reveals Real Story on Mitt Romney!

Tricia Erickson, (a conservative) was the first Damage Control/Crisis Management Specialist in the country, as stated by Barbara Walters on the show “20/20”. Tricia is also a political consultant and on-air contributor. She has opined on many local and national news and entertainment TV and radio shows/networks. She is also the author of the new book “Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters? The Mormon Church Versus The Office Of The Presidency of the United States of America.”

Tricia purposely became less active on-the-air in recent years and has not necessarily sought to participate in on-air interviews. However, because of the concern in her heart that for the first time in history, a prominent Mormon could achieve the Office Of The Presidency, she feels a responsibility to educate the public, both in the US and abroad, regarding what this potential Mormon President could truly mean for America. She is an expert on the well-masked cult of Mormonism and a former Mormon Bishop’s daughter who left the church in her mid 20’s. 

From a political stand point, she believes it is imperative to reveal the facts on Romney’s political record, in opposition to what the Romney camp will shift the voters to believe in order to achieve the Presidency.

Side note:  Some of the issues Tricia has been called to speak to in the past are the dangers of Radical Islam, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Mormonism, all things political, the imaging-posturing-positioning of Presidential Candidates, the culture wars and more. Her companies: Crisis Management, Incorporated (crisis management and communications) and Angel Pictures & Publicity (a political and entertainment publicity and consulting company) Tricia’s blog web site:

Related links:

Here’s Your Record on Romney Flip-Flops..for your records

Mitt Romney Is Better Suited For Liberal New Hampshire Than Conservative Iowa:

Hear from Tricia all about the premise of the book and why it is so important to arm ourselves with the facts before going to the voting booth:

Hear about the Mormon Secret Temple Ceremonies that Mitt and Ann Romney frequented in the Mormon Church…interview with Janet Parshall, Nationally syndicated show broadcasts through 600 stations:

Thom Hartmann & Tricia Erickson: Mitt Romney and the Mormon Chruch