A Metro article yesterday incorrectly stated the amount of questionable expenditures identified in an audit of the Maryland State Games. The figure is $460,000. (Published 1/20/91)
Gov. William Donald Schaefer announced yesterday that he has put together a high-powered team of corporate, government and sports figures to rescue Maryland's bid to be host of a U.S. Olympic Festival.
The festivals, held in years that have no Olympic Games, are considered an Olympic warm-up.
Maryland's attempt to attract the festival in 1993, 1994 or 1995 has been jeopardized by the scandal surrounding the Maryland State Games, a state Health and Mental Hygiene Department program that had been spearheading the effort.
A state audit found more than $460 million in questionable expenditures by the games program, a disclosure that prompted the state Attorney General's Office to open a criminal investigation. The auditor's findings led to dismissal of two games officials and the disbanding of the program.
Schaefer has yet to decide whether to resurrect the program, but he used yesterday's State of the State address to reaffirm his support for attracting the festival. The Democrat said a similar 1987 festival in North Carolina produced $225 million in benefits to that state.
The state has put together a new team of government and business leaders to oversee the bid. Their job is to raise about $5 million in private money to play host to the festival in 1994 or 1995, according to Michael Marqua, director of the Maryland Sports Promotion Program.
"We couldn't be prepared by 1993," he said.
The state is expected to make its bid Jan. 31 in Dallas. Maryland is one of five finalists, along with Denver, Miami, St. Louis and San Antonio, competing for one of the three festivals.
Maryland's team is led by J. Henry Butta, president and chief executive officer of Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. of Maryland. It will include William E. Kirwan, head of the University of Maryland; sportscaster Jim McKay; Phyllis Brotman, Maryland state chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee; Vicky Bullett, a U.S. women's basketball Olympic gold medalist; and Andy Geiger, director of athletics for U-Md.
Marqua said no State Games officials formally associated with the festival bid have been retained and that responsibility for trying to attract the festival has been transferred from the health department to the Department of Economic and Employment Development.