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NO LITIGATION PLANNED OVER SPORTS PARK ROAD PROJECT

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Federal investigators looking at a $2 million road to the Utah Winter Sports Park wrote a letter detailing their conclusions earlier this year that helped clear up concerns about Salt Lake City's bid for the 2002 Winter Games.

The letter, written by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Johns in February, stated the U.S. attorney's office in Denver was closing the inquiry on the road construction and would not pursue litigation.Typcially, federal investigators refuse to confirm or deny investigations unless criminal charges are filed. Johns was not available for comment Friday morning.

Olympic organizers said the letter was written at their request after the International Olympic Committee asked about news reports of a federal investigation into the road.

The Deseret News reported in June 1994 that the Department of Transportation inspector general's office was investigating use of some $2 million in mineral lease royalties for the 1.9-mile road.

At issue was whether routing the road through an exclusive private housing development near Park City was a fraudulent use of federal funds. The road was built by the state in exchange for land donated by the housing developer.

According to the letter, federal investigators' "concern was that monies from the United States Department of Transportation had been diverted from an approved project."

Their "inquiry has disclosed that the money used for the Sports Park Road came from the Minerals Management Service royalty payment to the State of Utah (and) such funds . . . may be used in whatever manner the state chooses."

Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee Vice President Dave Johnson, who served in the same capacity on the bid committee, said bid officials sought the letter after hearing from the IOC.

The IOC received copies of newspaper articles about the issue at the beginning of the year, Johnson said, just a few months before it was to choose the site of the 2002 Winter Games in June.

The letter provided the needed clarification for the IOC, Johnson said.