USOC withdrawing from deal with city, LandCo

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The U.S. Olympic Committee has notified the city that it is withdrawing from the “Economic Development Agreement “executed by the city, LandCo and the USOC on March 31, 2008.

“The USOC has terminated the Economic Development Agreement, the Design Build Agreement and Affiliation Agreement amongst the city, LandCo and the USOC,” USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel wrote in an e-mail.  “That said, we are still in discussions with the city and LandCo to find a resolution to the open issues and, if possible, see these projects fully developed and delivered.”

The EDA, which spelled out in detail the responsibilities of all three parties, is the basis of an agreement in which the city and LandCo committed to finance, pay for and build various facilities for the USOC.  LandCo and the city proposed to construct a downtown headquarters building, athlete housing at the Olympic Training Center and other improvements to the OTC campus, and to renovate a city-owned building adjacent to America the Beautiful Park for the use of National Governing Bodies.

City Council members were notified of the USOC’s withdrawal via telephone messages from the city attorney late Thursday afternoon.

“This is a public agreement,” said Vice Mayor Larry Small, “and if it’s no longer in force, then we need to have an open, public hearing to discuss the whole situation.”

City Councilwoman Jan Martin refused to comment.

While work proceeds on both the downtown headquarters building at 27 S. Tejon St. and on the NGB building, the athlete housing at the OTC remains in limbo.

The project, which began so hopefully, has devolved into a welter of lawsuits and mutual recriminations, with each party faulting the other participants for non-performance. 

On March 27, LandCo filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court accusing the city and the USOC of multiple breaches of contract and of engaging in a deliberate scheme to  cut LandCo out of the deal.

In its filing, LandCo  stated that “… it is now clear that the USOC wants a totally different deal, and the city wants LandCo to pay for that deal.”

Under the original agreement, LandCo was obliged to provide $16 million for OTC improvements, and renovate the building at 27 S. Tejon for the USOC’s use. LandCo would retain two floors of the building for itself. 

The city agreed to issue up to $32 million in certificates of participation to provide permanent financing for both the headquarters and the NGB building, and the USOC agreed to sign long-term leases to occupy both buildings for up to 25 years.

None of those contractual terms have been met.  The city and the USOC have indicated that they can’t  move forward unless LandCo first commits $16 million for the OTC improvements, and LandCo has so far failed to persuade its partners that the money is available.

The deal has been stalled for nearly six months.

Skip Gilbert, who heads USA Triathlon was present at a recent meeting of NGB executives with USOC CEO Stephanie Streeter.  Gilbert said she characterized the EDA as “dead.”

He said she told the group that, “We’ve gotta come up with something different — we all want to get something done.”

Jim Johnson, CEO of G.E. Johnson & Co., the contractor for the headquarters building, said today that he had not been informed about the USOC’s withdrawal from the EDA.

But, he said, “That would be consistent with strategies that I have been told by the city.  They’ve actually been sending their auditors to determine project costs.  We were expecting to hear something yesterday (about a restructured deal), but so far nothing.  There have been so many different deadlines out there I’ve lost track of them — but we’re going to get there, one way or the other.”

Johnson, whose company has shouldered much of the financial burden of renovating the headquarters building while the principals attempt to resolve their difference, remains optimistic.

“They’re this far away from making a deal,” he said, a fraction of an inch separating thumb and forefinger.

And, he was asked, does he feel confident that he’ll eventually get paid in full?

“Well,” he said, “we certainly hope so!”

10 Responses to USOC withdrawing from deal with city, LandCo

  1. WELL … Nice job City Council and Mayor Lionel. YOU blew it so don’t try to pawn the blame off on others. BAD choices all around – begining with electing ALL of you buffoons on the Council! GREAT job City Manager & City Attorney …

    When will the trials begin??

    May 8, 2009 at 4:02 pm

  2. Well, the other shoe did drop I guess……For months (or since inception) the public’s right to information and open sessions with this debacle have been denied. Now the bag of burning ‘stuff’ is laying at the city’s doorstep and the citizens will now have to figure out a way to pay for the $50M tab the USOC is leaving behind.

    As I’ve read in other blogs, it continues that our City Manager, City Council, Vice Mayor, Mayor and BOCC (while not directly named here, have been involved) continue to be complete pushovers to the contractors and promises of ‘big deals’ in this city and county.

    When unscrupulous acts are done, everyone eventually gets caught. It will (unfortunately) be humorous over the next few months or years to count the number of tails that will be caught in this locked door.

    Mayor Rivera – you’ve sunk our city by your lying, nativity and side deals. The city council and the city’s senior administration should all be fired (or recalled) and replaced with competent people. There are people in this community who are smart enough to see through the blinders of black lies told at the council meetings and behind closed doors….they just don’t have the financials nor desire to expose how stupid our current administration really is today.

    As many of us recall from our grandparents – if it’s too good to be true, it is probably too good.

    I’m sure our founding fathers continue to roll in their graves as each year passes their dreams are crushed by the ineptitudes of the mighty leadership of this city.

    USOC – good riddance, go be someone else’s red headed step child in another city.

    Ken G.
    May 8, 2009 at 4:06 pm

  3. It is perplexing to me. The agreement we have with USOC in our city was a difficult task (so I thought) amongst the competetive cities who would benefit. All of this unfortunate problems occuring should be resolved to help the USOC stay in this fine city. Seems like the powers that be should put up, or shut up.
    Terry Henderson, President
    Boulder Street Gallery
    206 North Tejon Street
    Colo. Sprgs, CO 80903

    Terry Henderson
    May 8, 2009 at 7:17 pm

  4. This is all legal positioning. The USOC in my opionion is going no where. This deal will get put together one way or another. As much as I would like to bash political candidates, you get what you pay for. In this City you will not pay the Mayor or Vice Mayor or Council member so you got what you paid for. But all said and done they are still the best representives to this City dollar for dollar that we could ever hope for. It is easy to run for City Council and a lot easier to critisize them, jump in and see if you can contribute. Best wishes to all, we have a wonderfull City and we will survive this short setback. Greg

    May 8, 2009 at 8:31 pm

  5. Isn’t it strange that a Classic Homes advertisement is right to the right side on this article, didn’t they lose the bid for the USOC? Looks like the press is influenced by those that may purchase advertisement for the press. Greg

    May 8, 2009 at 8:40 pm

  6. Hey, Ken G., how do you figure the County has had anything to do with this mess? Do you just hate local government and like to use elected officials as targets of your uninformed vitriol? Why don’t you grow a pair and run for Council, if you’re so freaking smart? BTW, the word is “naivete,” not “nativity.”

    Dick Burns
    May 8, 2009 at 10:37 pm

  7. Dick –

    Whew, glad you’re so good to catch my spelling error…what would I have done without you DICK.

    It is easy to see you are mis-informed, dense or a liberal. The county administration of El Paso is involved with every major event, negotiation, etc in our county – duh. Whether their names are on the ‘official’ commentary or off the record, the commissioners are there and involved. Since few true facts are known and are only beginning to surface through multiple channels, no one really knows the complete story. The real sad part – the elected officials you put in office will never tell the real story or will lawyer up and seal the information and their testimony.

    I do find it ironic that rather than focus on what I said, you choose to attack my character, of which you know nothing of anyways. So in your haste to accuse me of being a government hater (far from the truth Mr. Burns) where shall the blame lie when all is known in this debacle – the taxpayers who knew nothing, the secretary who answers the phone at the county courthouse – no you noob, the politicians idiots like you continue to elect into governmental offices?

    Since you’re well mis-informed, I have been active in years past with elections for the right candidates. I don’t recall seeing your name on any ballots.

    Now Dick, if you are directly involved and would like to share something with the rest of the crowd…..
    PS – I do a have a pair.


    Ken G.
    May 11, 2009 at 5:30 pm

  8. Ken G., you are so off base, you are manning the hot dog stand. You have no clue, but like the guy with too much Brut and an unbuttoned shirt, you think you are so cool when others laugh out loud at your buffoonery. Again, what proof, PROOF, I say, do you have that El Paso County has any responsibility in this embarrasing affair?
    The answer is: None. You ignorant moron!

    Dick Burns
    May 11, 2009 at 8:45 pm

  9. I agree with greg when he says that what we are seeing is so much legal and public posturing. My hope is that the USOC and the OTC stay in the Springs in spite of Lionel’s bungling and Council’s complicity.

    Dick Burns
    May 11, 2009 at 10:10 pm

  10. Mr. Burns –

    See you at the town hall meetings when they occur. We then can debate who is the buffoon and moron.

    I’m guessing at your posturing that you must work for the county or a retired county employee?

    Ken G.
    May 12, 2009 at 5:07 pm