Gym Federation Denies Allegations

Officials of the United States Gymnastics Federation, in response to a story in Wednesday's editions of The Times, said that the federation is not aware of a review of the organization's finances by the U.S. Justice Department and denied any financial wrongdoing.

Wednesday's Times story reported that the Justice Department is reviewing allegations by members of the gymnastics community of fiscal irregularities within the federation. The U.S. Attorney's office has confirmed that the documents are under review.

Said John Arends, USGF director of communications, in a prepared statement from the federation's offices in Indianapolis:

"The United States Gymnastics Federation strongly denies the allegations reported in today's article in the Los Angeles Times that the federation or its executive director, Mike Jacki, have engaged in any illegal or unethical financial transactions.

"A reader with the patience to work through the first several paragraphs of this story will understand that the alleged transgressions are, in fact, items first identified by Jacki and then brought to the attention (of) the federation's board of directors and its membership by him.

"These 'allegations of wrongdoing' involve the same issues encountered by any national volunteer organization.

"What we are talking about is the problem of whether, when a member of the federation who lives in California or Texas or New Jersey conducts a camp, clinic or exhibition in support of the work of the federation in that area, the income must be reported by the federation on its tax return; and if it is, how does the federation accurately collect and report that information?

"It is important to keep in mind that the income in question is not taxable, so there is no issue of avoiding the payment of taxes. Nor has there been any suggestion that funds are being used by the federation's employees or volunteers for any purpose other than the work of the federation to provide healthy and athletic opportunities for young children.

"No one from the federation has had any contact with any member of the U.S. Department of Justice or any other law enforcement organization. Nor do we know of any government official who has contacted our office or any of our members."

Said Jacki: "Volunteers are the lifeblood of amateur sports. To the extent these baseless allegations impugn the integrity of those volunteers, or dampen their enthusiasm, our sport has suffered a great loss today."

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