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L.A. Olympics Could Lose over Council-Mayor Fight

Now that Boston has withdrawn from bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympics, the moribund offer from Los Angeles has been revivified, but the Los Angeles City Council’s demand that it have power to veto any taxpayer guarantee for financial losses may sink the city’s bid.

An ongoing battle between Mayor Eric Garcetti, desperate to obtain the games, and the City Council, which is concerned about taxpayers being hit with any potential losses, has triggered a battle over who will hold the purse strings, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The battle is critical, as the Olympic Committee typically denies cities the right to hold the Games unless the city agrees to cover financial losses. Robert Livingstone, editor of the Olympic bid handicapping site gamesbids.com, told the Times, “As far as I know, that’s a document that the IOC won’t budge on. It’s set in stone. If they’re not willing to sign it, then the bid’s done.”

This week, the City Council unanimously handed Garcetti its approval to obtain the Games, but the Council altered several provisions of the city’s agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee to guarantee the Council would supervise the financial planning of the event.

Garcetti’s counsel, Richard Llewellyn, had fought with City Atty. Mike Feuer, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana and Chief Legislative Analyst Sharon Tso, who asserted that Garcetti had made a deal leaving Los Angelenos holding the bag for losses incurred by the Games.

The two sides have made adamant statements regarding their positions; Garcetti has stated Los Angeles’ bid will be “dead on arrival” if no financial guarantee is in place, while Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said the Council’s position is nonnegotiable.

Other cities competing with Los Angeles include Budapest, Hamburg, Paris and Rome. Last year, three other American finalists for the Olympic bid were considered before Boston was chosen: Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Boston was picked on January 8, 21015.

In 1984, the last Los Angeles Olympics, no taxpayer guarantee was foisted on the public, although international Olympic officials were opposed to the idea. The Games made a profit.

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