VANOC mum on finances

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency



VANCOUVER - A balanced budget remains the goal, but Vancouver Olympic chairman Rusty Goepel said Wednesday that financial results of the 2010 Winter Games won’t be released until fall.

Chief financial officer John McLaughlin said almost $200 million in revenue remains to be collected.

“I don’t want to be projecting a specific number without knowing,” McLaughlin said after the organization's first closed-door board meeting since Jan. 20.

Even the number of tickets it sold remains a secret. Deputy chief executive Dave Cobb, who headed ticket sales, referred the question to McLaughlin, who said he did not know.

VANOC stopped publishing quarterly financial reports in late 2009, breaking a clause in the 2002 Multiparty Agreement with governments that funded the Games. VANOC’s fiscal year ends July 31, but many question marks remain.

Negotiations to compensate owners of Whistler Blackcomb and Cypress Mountain have not begun. Whistler Blackcomb hosted sliding and alpine skiing, while Cypress held snowboarding and freestyle skiing.

Both had make-whole agreements with VANOC to cover the loss of business last winter.

“We’re waiting for them to report back to us,” McLaughlin said. “They need to finish their (fiscal) year off.”

VANOC budgeted $52.3 million for bus systems and met May 13 with contractor Gameday Management to reconcile accounts. Payments to several bus companies are overdue.

“We’re getting close,” McLaughlin said. “It was one of our biggest, most complicated contracts.”

Legal matters also remain a variable. VANOC is a defendant in six lawsuits and a plaintiff in three, all filed in 2010.

“We’ve always got the risk of legal claims and you never know what’s out there,” McLaughlin said. “I think there will be some and there are some that have no basis whatsoever.”

POLL