WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney promised “complete transparency” when he took charge of the scandal-plagued Salt Lake City Olympics, a pledge that included access to his own correspondence and plans for an extensive public archive of documents related to the Games.
But some who worked with Romney describe a close-to-the-vest chief executive unwilling to share so much as a budget with a state board responsible for spending oversight. Archivists now say most key records about the Games’ internal workings were destroyed under the supervision of a staff member shortly after the flame was extinguished at Olympic Cauldron Park, after Romney had returned to Massachusetts.
“Transparency? There was none with [the Salt Lake Organizing Committee] when he was there,” said Kenneth Bullock, a committee member who represented the Utah League of Cities and Towns. “Their transparency became a black hole. It was nonexistent.”
According to Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul, “Mitt Romney resigned from SLOC in early 2002 to run for governor of Massachusetts and was not involved in the decision-making regarding the final disposition of records.”
Romney and the Salt Lake Organizing Committee had no legal obligation to preserve their records or make them public, even though the state paid $59 million, and the federal government spent $342 million on the Games and contributed roughly $1 billion more in indirect aid for transportation projects and other capital improvements in the Salt Lake region.
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