-- U.S. Olympic Committee President Marty Mankamyer told seven high-ranking USOC officials last weekend she would resign by the end of last week, but during a meeting with the 22-member executive committee last Thursday, Mankamyer said she had changed her mind.
Mankamyer said today that she had been pressured by the organization's five vice presidents and two other officials to resign on the basis of a Jan. 10 report from the USOC's ethics oversight committee. She said they accused her of having obstructed the ethics committee's work with regard to its investigation of USOC CEO Lloyd Ward.
However, she said, events later in the week convinced her it was in the organization's best interest to remain.
A growing number of USOC officials say they believe Mankamyer has tried to undermine Ward, who was investigated by the ethics commission for conflict-of-interest violations, USOC officials say. The committee found Ward's behavior with respect to a business venture by his brother's company constituted an apparent conflict of interest, but also noted that timely compliance counseling could have prevented the problem.
The committee also stated that it "deeply resents any attempt to abuse its process and use that process for other purposes."
Mankamyer said the reason she denied having been asked to resign earlier in the week was because she understood the matter to be confidential between her and the USOC executive committee. Mankamyer said she made the decision to resign after a meeting with USOC vice presidents Herman Frazier, Bill Stapleton, Bill Martin and Paul George. The meeting also included Athletes Advisory Council member Rachel Godino and Robert Marbut of U.S. Modern Pentathlon.
"They tried to tell me it was in the best interests of the USOC," Mankamyer said. "I was tired of them yelling at me."
Mankamyer said the resignations of three ethics committee members and two USOC officials this week made her reconsider. She said she wasn't sure she agreed with the ethics oversight committee's conclusion that Ward had committed no violation.
She said she prepared a speech that she gave to the executive committee Thursday night, saying she had changed her mind and thought the organization should try to move forward.
Meantime, the USOC official who first raised ethics charges against Ward attempted to use the allegations to gain a more favorable severance package but was reluctant to discuss them with the USOC's compliance officer, the case's lead investigator stated in his report.
Rick Mack, the USOC's managing director of human resources, told investigator Fred Fielding that Hernando Madronero "launched into a litany of threats . . . if his demands for a long-term [one-year] severance were not met" after he had been terminated last October, Fielding wrote in his report to the USOC, which The Washington Post has obtained.
The interview was described in an seven-page report by Fielding, who had been retained by the USOC ethics oversight committee to investigate charges that Ward directed Madronero to help his brother win a lucrative contract selling power generators at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The report stated that Madronero received a six-month severance rather than the one-year severance he requested. He initially was offered a three-month package.
Madronero told Fielding that Ward gave him information about his brother's company's interest in a business venture, but "Ward never followed up with him about this issue, or even talked about it at all or asked any progress," the report stated.
Fielding, an attorney with Wiley Rein & Fielding in Washington, stated in his report that Madronero denied that any negative discussion with Mack had occurred. Madronero could not be reached to comment.
Madronero told Mack that Ward had discriminated against him because he was Hispanic and had asked him to help his brother in a venture that presented a conflict of interest, the report stated. Mack told Fielding that Madronero raised the accusations against Ward after Ward had left the room.
"Although it was very threatening, to Mr. Mack none of the charges had any credibility," Fielding wrote.
Mack discussed the allegations with USOC attorney Jeff Benz, Fielding wrote. The report stated that Benz followed up with Ward, asking him about the situation with his brother and determined "nothing improper" had occurred, the report said.