The International Olympic Committee's executive board voted Friday to force out a 10th member and censured two others involved with the Salt Lake bidding scandal.
"We are not prepared to stand for improper behavior on the part of our members," said vice president Richard Pound of Canada, after the board decided to expel Seiuli Paul Wallwork of Western Samoa, censure board members Kim Un-yong of South Korea and Phil Coles of Australia, and warn seven others.Four members have already resigned amid the worst corruption case in modern Olympic history and five others have been expelled pending a formal vote of the full IOC next week at Olympic headquarters in Switzerland.
After the Salt Lake ethics panel last month added 10 names to the list of alleged wrongdoers and more than three dozen bid cities from other years provided additional information, it seemed possible that the IOC would purge as much as a fifth of its 114 members.
But the six-member investigative panel concluded that only Wallwork, whose wife obtained a $30,000 loan from Salt Lake committee chief Tom Welch, deserved expulsion.
Pound, who chaired the panel, denied that one expulsion among 13 cases amounted to a whitewash. "It isn't a whitewash at all," he said. "It is a very serious rebuke that has been made public throughout the world. This is unprecedented, as far as I can recall, in any sports organization."
Had the IOC's rules allowed for a range of punishments between expulsion and a warning, Pound said some of the wrongdoers would have been more harshly disciplined. "I wish our charter had a series of escalating sanctions in it, but it doesn't," he said. "It's either one or the other."
So the panel devised three levels of warnings -- severe censure (Kim and Coles), a "serious" warning (Vitaly Smirnov of Russia, Louis Guirandou-N'Diaye of Ivory Coast, Mohamed Zerguini of Algeria, Shagdarjav Magvan of Mongolia, and Anani Matthia of Togo), and a less severe warning (Austin Sealy of Barbados and Willi Kaltschmitt of Guatemala). The panel exonerated three members -- Henry Edmund Olufemi Adefope of Nigeria, Ashwini Kumar of India, and Rampaul Ruhee of Mauritius.
Kim, the highest-ranking IOC member punished, still could be expelled if the IOC concludes that he knew that Salt Lake bidders subsidized his son's telecommunications job in Utah. "We believe there's outstanding evidence still out there," said Pound. "We deliberately left that case open."
Unlike the first group of members forced out in January, most of whom took cash payoffs or subsidies for family members, those punished Friday were guilty of lesser offenses such as accepting paid vacations and plane tickets, Pound said.
"These were on the hospitality or the gift side," he said. "It seemed clear nobody on either side (the Salt Lake bidders or the IOC members) was taking these things seriously. They should have been, but they weren't."
Though acknowledging that those punished Friday were at least guilty of poor judgment, the IOC panel said that the Salt Lake bidders had targeted certain members, especially those from warm-weather countries, as likely voters and urged them to accept trips and gifts as tokens of friendship.
"I don't want anybody to think we're ducking this responsibility," said Pound. "We're taking it on. We just did not want it to go unnoticed that not all of the blame can be placed at the IOC's doorstep."
The decision will most likely leave the committee vulnerable to accusations that it was setting a double standard in disciplining its members. The Kim case has been scrutinized by Olympic officials, sponsors and investigators as a measure of the IOC's seriousness in reforming itself after 30 delegates -- more than a quarter of the entire assembly -- had been implicated in the Salt Lake City scandal.
Reports previously issued by Salt Lake City and the USOC harshly criticized the IOC's culture of expecting extravagant favors and gifts.
"Any notion that arms were twisted to accept cash payments or other gratuities is pretty transparent," said Jeff Benz, a San Francisco lawyer, who was a member of the USOC commission that investigated Salt Lake City. "The whole notion of entrapment appears to be created by an organization that has run out of viable explanations for why its members failed to follow their own rules."
That Wallwork and a handful of African delegates, who were relatively powerless, face expulsion while an influential member such as Kim received merely a warning has struck some observers as a sign that the IOC is not dealing equally with all members.
"The other guy is insignificant compared to Kim; they get rid of him instead of the big shots," said John Lucas, an Olympic historian and retired Penn State professor. "Many will rightly say there's a double standard. The IOC is going to have to live with that."
A senior IOC member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Friday's decision was "worrisome."
"You end up with a double standard, big fish, little fish," the delegate said.
A spokesman for one of the 11 worldwide corporate sponsors of the Olympics, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said that his company was monitoring the Kim case with particular interest.
"They've been told to go as far as they can," the spokesman said. "That implies expelling the people they've already recommended. There are also expectations that they will take care of the hard ones."
Jere Longman of the New York Times News Service contributed to this report.