Dear Member of the
International Olympic Committee:
|Alderman Manny Flores of Chicago's 1st Ward has introduced a law in City Council tht would limit Chicago's taxpayers to a total exposure of $500 million for the 2016 Olympics. Download a copy of the ordinance.
Alderman Flores published this letter in today's Chicago Tribune
:No free check for the 2016 Summer Games
By Manny Flores - August 2, 2009
will soon learn if Chicago receives the honor of hosting the 2016
Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. Winning the Games will be a
testament to our city's vitality and global leadership, and will offer
an unparalleled opportunity for economic stimulus and community
development. But these benefits will only be realized if we host a
Games that respects community needs, is fully transparent in its
contracting and hiring and is accountable to the citizens who will live
with the Games' infrastructure and financial legacy for coming decades.
Unfortunately, we're not there yet.
At this late date, Chicago taxpayers have yet to receive information
that is key to securing citywide support for the Games -- a full
accounting of Chicago 2016's donors and expenditures, a plan that
ensures an open and fair contracting process, detailed information
about an insurance policy to protect Chicago taxpayers from cost
overruns, and an independent third-party analysis of the proposed
This information already exists. The technology to make it easily
accessible also exists. And with only two months remaining before the
host city is announced, it is time for the 2016 Committee to provide a
greater degree of transparency and accountability by adopting these
an independent oversight committee that will have regular access to
financial statements and contracts. This committee should be composed
of respected civic, business and law enforcement officials who have no
financial ties to City Hall or the 2016 committee, and should be
staffed by an independent compliance office that can regularly monitor
the Games' finances and practices.
Implement a process for contract bidding that allows citizens to easily
learn who is being awarded contracts, how much each is worth, and what
work is being done. This should include a full listing of contractors
and subcontractors, and should be completed before any contracts are
financial disclosure and conflict of interest forms for Olympic
committee members -- just as all elected officials do -- by Sept. 15.
4. Publish all committee and public expenditures related to the Games onto an open and searchable database on a quarterly basis.
Disclose funding commitments to cover the Games' expenses and outline
protections that will be in place to limit the liability for Chicago
taxpayers, including the proposed insurance policy to cover
cost-overruns. This information should be made available immediately.
I have introduced legislation to cap the city's financial commitment
for the Games at the $500 million that was authorized by the City
Council in 2007. It has been said that if my legislation passes, we
will not be able to sign the host city financial guarantee contract
required by the International Olympic Committee -- effectively killing our chances at being named the host city.
I don't want to that to happen, but the 2016 committee and City Hall
have a responsibility to protect Chicago taxpayers. The five points I
outlined would be a significant step forward in providing the
protections we need to support a city guarantee.
Only with an open process can we be guaranteed that the needs of
communities are met and that taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly.
Now is the time for Chicago to set the highest standard for transparent
and accountable leadership. Let's not squander the opportunity.