Salt Lake Mayor-elect Rocky Anderson said he doesn't usually watch the local news on television, but he tuned in Nov. 24, 1998, after announcing his candidacy earlier in the day.

The story he remembers seeing, though, on that day a year ago, was about the Olympics."I was appalled," Anderson said of the KTVX Ch. 4 report about Salt Lake's Olympic organizers paying more than $10,000 in tuition costs for the daughter of an African member of the International Olympic Committee.

Anderson, like many Utahns watching that night, was also surprised.

"I knew IOC members were treated better than royalty, that they were given exceptionally luxurious treatment by their suitors. But I never suspected payments were being made for their children's education," he said.

What's come to be known as simply "the scandal" went way beyond Sonia Essomba's Salt Lake-financed scholarship to American University in Washington, D.C., of course:

Local, national and international investigations have uncovered cash payments, trips and other gifts, some as mundane as bathroom fixtures.

Well over $1 million in bid expenditures apparently intended to influence the votes of members of the IOC has been documented to date by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee's own board of ethics and others. The two top leaders of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee have been replaced.

The U.S. Olympic Committee launched two investigations, one conducted privately by its Washington, D.C., law firm and the other by a very public special commission headed by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell.

The IOC held an extraordinary special session in March and expelled six members and disciplined 10 others. World leaders like former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali were brought in to draft a series of reforms.

Another special session of the IOC is scheduled next month to enact the recommended reforms, which include everything from eliminating visits to bid cities to limiting the number of terms the IOC president can serve.

A criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department has resulted in charges against David Simmons, a local businessman, and John Kim, the son of a powerful member of the IOC from South Korea. Simmons, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor tax violation, hired Kim at the request of Salt Lake bid officials.

More indictments are expected as soon as the end of the year. The target of the investigation is believed to be Tom Welch, the man who led both the bid and the organizing committees before resigning in 1997 in the wake of a spouse-abuse charge. Welch's No. 2, Dave Johnson, is also being investigated.

Congress, too, is looking at the scandal. Already, three hearings have been held by House and Senate committees, and the IOC has been threatened with financial repercussions if reforms aren't enacted. IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch is scheduled to testify in December.

An international event

"It certainly has been a tumultuous year for the Olympic movement, and the changes have been stunning to say the least. It's hard to believe it's only been a year," said John Krimsky, former deputy secretary-general of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Like a lot of people outside Utah, Krimsky didn't pay much attention to the stories coming from the Salt Lake media. That changed in mid-December of last year when Krimsky sat down on a folding chair set up for a press conference in the marble lobby of the IOC's headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Krimsky and the others in the audience expected to see the leaders of SEMA, a little-known European company, sign a ceremonial contract with the IOC for an international sponsorship valued at some $50 million.

Instead, that's when Marc Hodler, a senior IOC member from Switzerland, stepped up to the podium and unleashed a series of allegations about the buying and selling of votes for the Olympics and other sporting events, including the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

That made Krimsky, who left USOC this year for a job with longtime Olympic sponsor United Airlines, sit up and take notice.

"I really focused on (the allegations about Salt Lake City) when I was sitting in the Chateau de Vidy and I heard Marc talk about it. Initially, I though he had had some sort of shock to himself. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. A lot of other people couldn't, either," Krimsky said.

Once Hodler used the word "bribes," the international press took notice of what had been largely a Utah story. Suddenly, the question of what lengths Salt Lake City went to during the bid was making headlines around the world.

Gov. Mike Leavitt wasn't sure what to make of the initial reports, either. "I just watched it unfold," the governor said. "I certainly didn't recognize at the moment it happened I would spend a good share of the latter part of December, all of January and all of February involved in an international event."

Leavitt spent the holidays a year ago trying to get to the bottom of the story. "I didn't understand what this was all about yet," he said. "I remember having telephone conversations about it on my way to Thanksgiving. . . . I said, 'You need to get it all out, whatever it is.' "

When Jim Easton, one of the two IOC members from the United States, first heard about the scholarships, he wasn't too concerned. "It raised some flags, certainly. (But) my first thought was, 'I don't believe that's true. Someone's out to get Dave or Tom or whoever,' " he said.

The subject came up, ironically, during a dinner Easton attended last November in Salt Lake City for Hodler, who was in Utah for the annual World Cup ski races, and several Salt Lake Olympic organizers.

Easton said he was surprised to hear that the bid committee had picked up the tuition costs for the students. "I assumed that came from the schools," he said. "I thought maybe (the bid committee) would have put a little pressure on the universities" to help.

That's what happened at one of Easton's own companies. After requests from Johnson, the son of an IOC member was hired to run errands and do research at what is now known as Easton Aluminum, a Salt Lake-based sports equipment manufacturer.

As coverage of the scandal spread, Easton said he realized he, too, would become part of the story. "I thought, 'That's something they'll probably zero in on.' " He acknowledged the employment to a group of reporters in Salt Lake City and was not sanctioned by the IOC.

SLOC Chairman Bob Garff, who traveled to Lausanne last December with other organizing committee leaders to explain the scholarship program to IOC leaders, saw the story -- and Salt Lake's reputation --spin out of control.

Garff, who wasn't part of the bid effort, remembers being stunned when he heard Hodler. "Out of nowhere came Marc Hodler's comments," Garff said. "It spread like wildfire. It was broadcast all over the world. We came back (from Lausanne) under fire as an organization. . . . My heart sank."

A former speaker of the Utah House who owns a chain of car dealerships, Garff said he seriously considered resigning as chairman. "I found myself having to defend the actions of the bid committee, even though I wasn't there," he said. "My own personal reputation seemed to be at stake at times."

He ended up staying. "I certainly couldn't turn tail and run," Garff said. He accepted the chairman's post in 1997, in the aftermath of what was believed to be the worst crisis Olympic organizers would face -- Welch's resignation as SLOC president.

If he had had any idea what was in store for the organizing committee, Garff said, he might not have taken the job. "It would have been a very difficult decision," he said. "As it was, I thought the troubles were behind us."

'Salt Lake Seedy'

Garff presided over the SLOC board meeting where the decision was made to have the organizing committee's own board of ethics investigate the allegations. That report stands as the most complete examination of what Salt Lake bidders did to win, although there are still many unanswered questions.

The toughest task facing Utah leaders, however, was asking Welch's replacement, Frank Joklik, to step down. Joklik was called to the Governor's Mansion to meet with Leavitt, Garff and others on Jan. 7. Joklik announced the next day that he and Johnson were resigning.

"We had to do difficult things. To this day, it was probably the hardest moment of my life . . . , talking to them about what was best for this community and for the Olympic committee," Garff said. Salt Lake can be grateful, he said, because "a lot of people who had level heads did things for the good of the community."

Garff said Salt Lake doesn't deserve all the blame for the mess.

"Some people see Salt Lake as the cause of all the grief, and that isn't fair," he said. "As a community, we have to accept our sense of responsibility for that. But we learned from others what it took to win the bid."

Although there has been some examination of other bids, including Atlanta's for the 1996 Summer Games and Sydney's for the 2000 Summer Games, attention has seldom wavered from Salt Lake City. Some, like local builder Alan Layton, were glad to get out of the limelight.

Layton resigned after a reorganization of the SLOC Board of Trustees that included new rules against members having contracts with the organizing committee. Before the rule change, the board had awarded the contract for covering the speed-skating oval in Kearns to Layton Construction.

"I left the board and went skiing. It was a wonderful day. There was lots of new snow," Layton recalls of the day he quit. "I didn't lose a lot of sleep over (my decision) and I haven't since I left. . . . I haven't missed the public pressure for five seconds."

Layton is still involved with SLOC as part of a group that's supposed to recruit new support in Utah for the Olympics. The "Utah Ambassadors" is one of several efforts to lure new money to the Games, which suffered financially because of the scandal.

At the same time as Layton and others were leaving, a new organizing committee boss was introduced. Mitt Romney, billed then as the "white knight" who would save SLOC, was recruited from Boston, where he'd been a successful venture capitalist and an unsuccessful challenger to Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Romney said he was "sick to his stomach" when he first heard the allegations, even though he had no inkling he'd be coming to Salt Lake City. "The more I listened to Jay Leno joke about the bid, the more it made me sick," he said.

Salt Lake City endured endless ribbing on late-night television as well as nasty barbs in newspapers and magazines. For example, Newsweek labeled the city "Salt Lake Seedy" and suggested bidders got caught because "you don't send a bunch of rubes to handle the IOC's shady slalom course."

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None of it deterred Romney, who was contacted in mid-January about taking over the job. Instead, he saw it as a challenge, just like the failing businesses he was used to turning into profitable operations. But even Romney knows the scandal won't be forgotten.

Come 2002, he said, people will still be poking fun at Salt Lake City. " 'Bribed anyone lately,' will be a joke everyone will use," Romney said. But he hopes they will see the community "did not just wallow in it but put on good Games."

The governor said he hopes the world remembers his oft-repeated declaration that while the problems associated with Olympic bids didn't start in Salt Lake City, this is the place where they ended. "When the Games unfold, this will be a footnote -- a colorful one, but it will not be what we remember."

Salt Lake City's new mayor said the scandal isn't going to go away. "I think there will always be a real lingering odor. But it's certainly not as intense as it was," Anderson said.

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