Coun­cil plans vote on 2028 Olympics

Of­fi­cials next week could OK host­ing Games — with­out know­ing a bud­get.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Dakota Smith

The Los An­ge­les City Coun­cil is set to ap­prove an agree­ment to host the 2028 Olympics with­out know­ing the sum­mer Games’ bud­get or re­ceiv­ing an in­de­pen­dent eval­u­a­tion of the spend­ing plan.

The coun­cil is ex­pected to vote as soon as next week fol­low­ing an agree­ment reached be­tween the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee and LA 2028, the bid com­mit­tee for L.A. to host the Games.

The com­mit­tee, a pri­vate non­profit seek­ing the Games, pre­pared a $5.3-bil­lion bud­get for the 2024 Olympics that was an­a­lyzed by ac­count­ing firm KPMG.

The com­mit­tee will pre­pare a new bud­get for the 2028 Games, LA 2028 Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Gene Sykes said in an in­ter­view Fri­day, but that spend­ing plan won’t be fi­nal­ized for months, he said.

The lack of fi­nan­cial de­tails high­lights how quickly the IOC, the bid com­mit­tee and city lead­ers are mov­ing to com­plete the 2028 Olympics deal. The ac­cel­er­ated process is crit­i­cized by NO­lympics LA, a group op­posed to the city host­ing the Games.

How­ever, bid com­mit­tee lead­ers say no venue changes are ex­pected for the 2028 Games, and they will re­ceive an in­creased con­tri­bu­tion from the IOC.

The IOC will award the Games in Septem­ber and a City Coun­cil vote is needed by mid-Au­gust, of­fi­cials said.

City Coun­cil mem­bers said they are still re­view­ing the plan fol­low­ing a brief­ing Fri­day by Sykes and city ad­vi­sors.

“I see no red flags so far,” Coun­cil­man Mitch O’Far­rell

said. “But I’m go­ing to take a very crit­i­cal eye at th­ese re­ports.”

O’Far­rell said the KPMG anal­y­sis for the 2024 bud­get “looked re­ally strong.” The coun­cil will re­ceive reg­u­lar up­dates about the bud­gets from the Olympic com­mit­tee in the com­ing years, he added.

Se­cur­ing the 2028 Games re­quires the coun­cil’s ap­proval of both the host city con­tract and a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with LA 2028 and the yet-tobe-formed or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee that will run the Games.

The host city con­tract re­flects the city’s com­mit­ment to host the Games in 11 years and puts Los An­ge­les tax­pay­ers on the hook for cost over­runs if un­fore­seen ex­penses arise.

The coun­cil is plan­ning a sec­ond com­mit­tee hear­ing on the Olympics next week, fol­lowed by a full coun­cil vote, and coun­cil Pres­i­dent Herb Wes­son has vowed to thor­oughly study the deal.

“We will vet the pro­posal,” Wes­son said ear­lier this week. “We’ll scrub it, scrub it and re­scrub it.”

NO­lympics LA or­ga­nizer Jonny Cole­man said he was shocked that the coun­cil would vote with­out know­ing the bud­get.

“Whether you like the Olympics or not, this is a ter­ri­ble process,” Cole­man said. “If they don’t have any of the de­tails, they shouldn’t be mov­ing for­ward.”

Sykes said the IOC has given the com­mit­tee un­til March 2019 to fi­nal­ize agree­ments with venue op­er­a­tors for the Games.

The bud­get for the 2028 Games will be re­leased at some point be­fore that date, he said. KPMG will also re­view the spend­ing plan for the city.

IOC’s deal with the bid com­mit­tee in­cludes new spon­sor­ship sales, re­ten­tion of a po­ten­tial sur­plus, and fund­ing for youth sports pro­grams through­out the city. Those de­tails will be fac­tored into the 2028 bud­get, Sykes said. In­fla­tion mod­els will also be used for cost and rev­enue es­ti­mates, he said.

Over­all, the 2028 Olympics plan is the same as the one for 2024, Sykes said. That pro­posal is low-risk be­cause it uses ex­ist­ing venues such as the Coli­seum, Sta­ples Cen­ter and Pauley Pavil­ion, ex­perts say.

A city re­port re­leased Thurs­day by the of­fices of the city ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer and the chief leg­isla­tive an­a­lyst out­lined sev­eral con­cerns about the 2028 Games.

The re­port notes “the bid com­mit­tee is pre­par­ing a re­vised bud­get for the 2028 Games. As a re­sult, the city has not had an op­por­tu­nity to con­duct a bud­get val­i­da­tion of the 2028 Games bud­get.”

Also, host­ing in 2028 in­creases un­cer­tain­ties “con­cern­ing fu­ture eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal con­di­tions,” the re­port states.

The re­port also ad­dresses state leg­is­la­tion that pro­vides for $250 mil­lion in state tax­payer sup­port to cover cost over­runs. How­ever, that leg­is­la­tion was for the 2024 Games, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Given the state Leg­is­la­ture’s sched­ule and abil­ity to in­tro­duce a new bill or change the ex­ist­ing one, “the ques­tion of state sup­port may not be re­solved un­til 2018,” the re­port stated.

At Fri­day’s hear­ing, Coun­cil­man Paul Kreko­rian said the city needs as­sur­ance from the state about the $250-mil­lion guar­an­tee. The state also may need to in­crease the guar­an­tee be­cause of in­fla­tion, he said.

“We are tak­ing on some added risk with the state guar­an­tee be­cause it could be that they don’t act,” Kreko­rian said.

Over­all, city rep­re­sen­ta­tives were largely pos­i­tive at Fri­day’s meet­ing about the 2028 Olympics agree­ment. Chief Deputy City Atty. Jim Clark told coun­cil mem­bers that “the risk in this deal is ac­cept­able.”

Paul Buck Euro­pean Pressphoto Agency

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI an­nounces Mon­day at StubHub Cen­ter in Car­son that the 2028 Sum­mer Olympic Games are com­ing to Los An­ge­les.

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