SBD/Issue 237/Olympics

Watchdog Report Indicates Chicago 2016 Has Sound Financial Plan

Chicago 2016 has a "reasonably sound financial plan," but Chicago Aldermen "must keep a close eye on Chicago 2016's operations," according to a six-week review of the bid team's finances by The Civic Federation cited by Heinzmann & Lighty of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The Chicago-based watchdog group "cautioned that the review was not a thorough financial audit and that time constraints limited the depth of the analysis." But the group said that if Chicago 2016 "sticks to its plan to buy additional insurance, the extra coverage would create 'an effective safety net' to protect taxpayers in the event of problems such as cancellation of the Games, natural disasters or 'loss of development financing.'" The report, which was "requested by the City Council to test the financial assumptions put forth by bid officials," indicated that "among the greatest risks in the Olympic plan is the impact that a changing real estate market could have on the financing of the billion dollar Olympic Village." The report also "cautioned that some of Chicago 2016's revenue estimates appeared optimistic." The report noted, "Local sponsorships are predicted to be substantially higher than previous Games, and estimated revenues from donations are aggressive when compared to past Olympic budgets." But the report found that the revenue projections "did not pose a 'significant risk' to hosting the Games." Chicago 2016 Chair Patrick Ryan said that he "believed the sponsorship estimates were well-founded, considering past giving to civic projects by Chicago corporations and philanthropists." The Civic Federation hired L.E.K. Consulting "to do most of the work" on the report (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/27).

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