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USOC to Call for a Review

January 21, 2003|Alan Abrahamson | Times Staff Writer

Following the suggestion made by the senior International Olympic Committee delegate to the United States, the U.S. Olympic Committee plans to appoint a special "oversight panel" to review circumstances surrounding an ethics-related controversy.

In a statement Monday, USOC President Marty Mankamyer said a special panel should undertake a wide-ranging review. The USOC's ethics oversight committee found USOC Chief Executive Lloyd Ward had "created the appearance of a conflict of interest" in connection with a proposed power-supply deal for the 2003 Pan American Games.

Last week, the USOC's executive committee said it would take no action against Ward. The announcement Monday came after Anita DeFrantz of Los Angeles, the senior IOC representative to the U.S., sent a two-part e-mail to the 22-member executive committee over the weekend calling for a review, saying it was the "best and probably the only way to heal this organization and resuscitate its good name."

The USOC has found itself confronting unrelenting turmoil since the disclosure that Ward last year directed USOC staff to make introductions on behalf of a Detroit company to 2003 Pan American Games organizers in the Dominican Republic. The company, Energy Management Technologies, had ties to Ward's brother, Rubert, and a childhood friend, Lorenzo Williams.

Ward has acknowledged an "error in judgment" but maintained he did nothing wrong.

A host of questions related to the oversight panel remained unanswered Monday, including its makeup, chairperson and a time frame for work.

Mankamyer proposed in her statement Monday that the chairperson of the oversight panel be "a non-sport person with strong ties to Capitol Hill."

In 1999, the USOC resorted to such an approach when, in the midst of the corruption scandal tied to Salt Lake City's winning bid for the 2002 Winter Games, it appointed a special commission chaired by former Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) to review its role in the scandal.

Mitchell's commission found that the USOC had failed to properly oversee the bidding process and recommended a number of changes, which the USOC adopted.

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