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Lawmakers urge SLOC to open books

SHARE Lawmakers urge SLOC to open books

A group of Salt Lake-area legislators called upon Olympics organizers Sunday to open their books now and put an end to the daily dose of scandal that's slowly poisoning the 2002 Games.

And if the Salt Lake Organizing Committee balks, the mostly Democratic lawmakers said they'll sponsor a bill in the upcoming legislative session mandating the release of all its financial records."One way or another, the truth must be known so that we can move on," said Rep. Ralph Becker, D-Salt Lake. "It's time to get everything out on the table."

Becker and a half dozen other House and Senate members from the host city's legislative districts issued their demand -- and threat -- at a press conference outside SLOC headquarters. House Minority Leader Dave Jones, D-Salt Lake, said while only Democrats attended the press conference, some of their Republican colleagues had also endorsed the action.

Jones said the group stepped forward because Utah's Olympic dream is turning into a "nightmare of scandal and corruption." Every day seems to bring a shocking new revelation of "bribery, greed and sleaze," he said, describing it as a "death by 1,000 cuts."

Even though there are four investigations under way and full disclosure promised in weeks and months ahead, recovery from the scandal could begin much sooner with public access to SLOC's financial records, Jones said.

"Why not make the information available today? Why wait one month or two months?" Jones asked.

SLOC's priority right now is "completion of the four investigations that are currently ongoing," said SLOC spokesman Frank Zang. "We have provided exhaustive documentation and haven't refused any request from . . . any investigative groups. That's all being handled in an orderly and responsive manner. We await a full report from our board of ethics."

SLOC President Frank Joklik and Vice President Dave Johnson were swept out of their jobs Friday, but their resignations aren't expected to put the matter to rest.

Deseret News staff writer Lois Collins contributed to this report.