March 31, 2008, - 1:31 pm

U.S. Olympic Committee Soaks Taxpayers For More Multi-Millions

By Debbie Schlussel
You’ve all read the stories about how this sports team or that sports franchise soaks a city for millions–even billions–for new stadiums, while holding a gun to the municipality’s head, threatening to move. It always results in more taxes paid by residents and higher fees to the less fortunate. And it always subsidizes the workplaces of millinaires (the players) and billionaires (the team owners).
But, now, it is the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) that is soaking taxpayers. The USOC–which is already subsidized by American taxpayers in millions of dollars due to 501(c)(3) status (so, it does not pay taxes on millions in revenue and profit) and gets other tax-paid earmarks for security and other costs–threatened to leave the city of Colorado Springs, unless it pays millions, $53 million to be exact, in new buildings, dorms, headquarters, etc. for the USOC. Yup, the USOC is taking the city hostage.

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And Colorado Springs–unwilling to lose the USOC (which is not the city’s largest employer, the U.S. military is)–has reluctantly decided to pony up the $53 million package the USOC is demanding:

They are expected to provide the organization with offices in a new downtown building at the nominal fee of $1 a year.
At the end of a 25-year deal with the city and a local developer, the USOC would own the building.
That’s not all. Other incentives to keep the USOC in the Springs include a major face-lift of the USOC’s Olympic Training Center in the Springs, new offices for several Olympicrelated amateur sports groups and a skybridge to connect USOC offices to a parking garage.
The total package, with about half funded by the city and most of the rest by real estate company Land-Co Equity Partners, is worth about $53 million.

Paying this ransom is ridiculous. And Colorado Springs residents and you, the rest of the American taxpayer rolls, will foot the bill. The fact is that this decision by Colorado Springs does not occur in a vaccuum. Colorado Springs cannot make up the expenditure by merely raising taxes on residents, businesses, and workers. It will need to make up the expenditure in some way, for instance, by applying for more federal grants and loans in areas where it normally got less. Money is a fungible good, and it’s fungible-ing to wealthy sports execs and athletes with endorsement deals.
The fact is that the USOC is a very wealthy organization. It has billions in funds from exclusive sponsorships of the U.S. Olympic team, sales of USOC-emblazoned license plates (does your charity get to make money through license plates?), and other revenue sources. This is a profitable “charity.”
Worse, one of the expenditures, which Colorado Springs will now have to “spring” for is a state-of-th- art set of luxury dorms for Olympic athletes in training. But many of these are athletes with big endorsement deals, none of which they will have to pony up for their stay in the dorms or free training at Olympic facilities.
As a former sports agent for an Olympic athlete (and Silver Medalist in diving), I saw my client get thousands of dollars in monthly subsidies from the USOC for what was basically a subsidy of his chosen career. The same goes for this $53 million package for the rich USOC.
Do you get free new offices, living facilities, spa chef-made meals, and job-training paid for by the government?
Why should the USOC get this largesse, when it can well afford to pay for it on its own?
It’s one thing to root for Team USA. It’s entirely another to pay this kind of corporate welfare to those who can well afford to pay for it on their own.

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3 Responses

I guess its the same as all other government handouts — the govt. doesn’t have to watch its bottom line; it can just soak the taxpayers for everything. The 2008 Olympics are in China, and the people of Tibet are bravely protesting Chinese suppression of their freedom. Not only as Clueless Condi, representing the Bush administration said it would be ‘feckless’ to boycott the opening of those Olympics (much less the whole thing) but that it was rong of Carter to boycott the Russian olympics in 1980, one of the very few things Carter did right.

c f on March 31, 2008 at 4:08 pm

USOC, internationalists. Reminds me of the UN.
Wasn’t it Karl Marx who said, in order for communism to work there must not be countries or borders, and everyone must believe in it. (not exact words but something like that)

StuLongIsland on March 31, 2008 at 8:57 pm

DO NOT GET ME STARTED ON THE OLYMPICS!
OK – I STARTED!
In 2002, the Olympics came to Utah. The first thing that happened was the whole bribery scandal involving all the local aristocrats, some now excommunicated church leaders (one was a former bishop who should had known better, and millions of our tax dollars gone with the wind.
This is where “Mitt Happens” Ronmey came in on his white horse to rescue this damsel in distress, and save everyone’s good image…
He’s what happened to my family and I:
I lost a week’s worth of work and was nearly fired because police and some rent-a-cops kept closing off our neighborhood for security reasons.
Our car was broken into a few times.
Our house almost was broken into (nobody messes with a huge guy carrying a shotgun).
We were nearly mugged, and I almost arrested for punching out the mugger!
Not to mention the bombings increased (some jerk bombed a substation; we had no power for over a week!)
Through all this, we were told by the local leaders taht our security was great, the parties were fantastic, and that it was truely a heartwarming experience… for them.
For most of us normal Utahn’s outside SLC and Park City, it was just something we saw on TV once in a while. We were too busy fighting off intruders and making a living.
The USOC, IOC, and a number of other communist jerks cost us a lot of funds and freedom. At least the Church was not acting out of sorts during the whole thing. Life was still normal on Sundays.

bhparkman on April 1, 2008 at 12:03 am

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