Two Salt Lake Bid Officials Indicted

Following the collapse of plea bargain negotiations this past week, Tom Welch and Dave Johnson, the highest-ranking officials charged in the Salt Lake City bid scandal, were indicted on charges that they made $1 million in illicit payments to help get the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

The 15-count indictment alleges that the two “offered and paid $1 million to influence the votes of more than a dozen International Olympic Committee members”.

Both were charged with one count of conspiracy, five counts of mail fraud, five counts of wire fraud and four counts of interstate travel in aid of racketeering. Each of the charges carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Welch, 55, the former president of the Salt Lake Olympic bid committee, resigned his position in 1997 and Johonson, 41, the ex-vice president of the bid committee, resigned in 1999.

The Justice Department said Welch and Johnson also “personally diverted $130,000” in bid committee income. Johnson’s attorney Max Wheeler, has said that the $130,000 came from Olympic sponsor Jet Set Sports, a New York-based travel agency that specializes in Olympic vacation packages. But he said Welch and Johnson spent the money on the bid effort and the two did not pocket it.

SLOC President Mitt Romney said he wasn’t surprised at the indictments and doesn’t believe it will have significant financial consequences for the Games.

And the International Olympic Committee said it stands ready to cooperate, as it has from the beginning.

Also the U.S. Olympic Committee said the charges “represent another important step in bringing closure to this matter. With the investigation apparently complete, we look forward to attention once again being focused on the athletes of the world as they prepare to compete at the 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia and the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City”.

Wheeler said he expects the case to take at least a year and probably longer, which means a trial could drag into the February 2002 Games and steal attention from the athletes.

scroll to top
%d bloggers like this: