Helmick Told to Cease Sports Consulting Work : Olympics: USOC finds no evidence of influence used on behalf of clients but is concerned about appearance of conflict.
Colleagues formally told U.S. Olympic Committee President Robert Helmick Saturday they found nothing fishy about the outside sports consulting work that reportedly netted him $127,000 last year, but then they told him not to do it again.
After a nine-hour meeting, the USOC’s executive committee issued a statement saying it had found no evidence that Helmick tried to sway USOC decisions to benefit his clients that had business ties to the Olympics or were trying to develop them.
Nevertheless, the panel said Helmick, a Des Moines, Iowa, lawyer, agreed that some of his sports-related consulting work looked improper--even if it wasn’t--and had decided to terminate it. The Executive Committee also said it was appointing a special counsel to review Helmick’s outside business activities to make sure he had made a clean breast of all of them.
When published reports raised the conflict charges last week, Helmick said he was “outraged” by what he called a “vicious attack” on his integrity. On Saturday, after reviewing the allegations with executive committee members, he still did not admit any wrongdoing but was far more contrite.
“I want to make it clear that I apologize for any actions that I have taken, or that I have failed to take, which could have given an appearance of conflict,” Helmick said.
Among Helmick’s reported clients have been the Turner Broadcasting System, the Atlanta-based parent of CNN and other cable television networks, which hired him as an international sports consultant. TBS owns partial broadcast rights to the 1992 Winter Olympics and is expected to be a strong competitor for the rights to carry the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.
Helmick’s former law firm in Des Moines also reportedly did work for Saatchi and Saatchi, an advertising firm hired by the USOC to help market Olympic products and corporate sponsorships. And Helmick’s clients were said to include organizations lobbying to elevate golf and bowling to Olympic status, even though he also sits on the International Olympic Committee panel that takes up the addition of new sports to the Games.