The Lake Placid Winter Olympics operation may be headed for bankruptcy next week.
But organizers of the February games are counting on President Carter to bail them out with a commitment to reshuffle about $4.3 million in funds already earmarked for other projects in fiscal 1981.
"We are running out of time," Peter L. Spurney, the Olympics' general manager, said in an interview yesterday.
Spurney blames Carter's insistence on a boycott of the Moscow Summer Olympics for trimming Lake Placid's revenues.
He says the Winter Olympics anticipated $2 million in revenue from radio stations designated as official Olympics outlets, but the boycott had so turned people off that the return was only $50,000.
The Lake Placid Olympics Organizing Committee (LPOOC) has pegged its shortfall at $5.9 million. New York State offered yesterday to pick up $1 million of that, and Jack Shea, twin-gold-medal winner in 1932 and supervisor of the town of North Elba, and Lake Placid Mayor Robert Peacock say their communities will write off $600,000 in services they provided for which they have not been paid.
Last year the White House ordered te Economic Development Administration to shift $11 million to Lake Placid, but insisted that that would be the last federal money approved. That position was strongly affirmed by Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee handling EDA funds.
Deputy White House counsel Joe Onek sat in on a strategy session at the Capitol yesterday, but asked no questions during the hour he was there. a
Onek's recommendation will be the key for Lake Placid.
If the Olympic organization goes broke, counsel William H. Kissel says there will be "three to five years of litigation." The 1984 games slated for Los Angeles will suffer, he warns, and the community of Lake Placid will be "saddled with a tremendous debt."
Two hotels have already gone bankrupt there, he points out, and other businesses are threatened.
Spurney, who concedes that "the atmosphere isn't good, the climate isn't good" for administration for congressional approval of additional federal money, maintains that only a few weeks ago the White House offered $1 million more.
That wasn't enough.
For the moment the Olympic committee is surviving because creditors have continued to cooperate, but if those creditors sue, the LPOOC could be faced with involuntary bankruptcy.
Spurney said the White House had offered money to the United States Olympic Committee because of the adverse impact of the Moscow boycott policy, and said Lake Placid deserved comparable treatment.
Spurney also argues that $2 million of the $49.25 million Congress authorized for Lake Placid sports facilities has never been appropriated.
Congress voted $47 million for the sports facilities, $22 million for athletes' housing which is being converted to a federal detention facility for young adults, and $12 million for security assistance provided by the Defense Department.
Spurney says he made a mistake in accepting the last $11 million the administration offered instead of the $13.9 million he says the LPOOC really needed at the time.
If Lake Placid had threatened not to go ahead with the Games unless it got the larger amount, he said, "we would not have had these problems."
Spurney also says it was a "basic mistake" to mingle private and public funding for the Winter Olympics.
Spurney says Lake Placid has 10 days to two weeks, at the outside, to come up with the needed funds.
EDA has promised to pay out all the appropriate funds, but says some of the expenses should not be paid by federal money.
Spurney says he had to pay for some construction, a federal responsibility, with administrative money, which was to be raised privately, and Washington should make up the difference, especially since he trimmed administrative expenses from $60 million to about $45 million.
A recent mail appeal for contributions yielded only $85,000 -- far less than officials had hoped.
Spurney said the reports of a lack of snow in the Northeast just prior to the games held down revenues.
Expensive snow-making operations, opening-day ceremonies, other site work and renovation of the old downtown Lake Placid arena contributed to the cost overruns.
The committee would like to sell some leftover communications equipment to the Defense Department and some other items to the Bureau of Prisons for a detention facility. These could bring in as much as $500,000. EDA has insisted that the money be returned to the Treasury.