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3 Quit Olympic Foundation Board in Protest : Youth sports: Mayor Bradley, Judge Reinhardt, labor leader Robertson object to lack of young activists on panel that distributes surplus funds from ’84 Games. Nominations bring dispute to a head.

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Mayor Tom Bradley, U.S. Circuit Court Judge Stephen Reinhardt and Los Angeles County labor leader William Robertson have resigned from the board of a foundation that distributes surplus funds from the 1984 Olympics, charging that other directors are unwilling to add young activists to the board.

A two-page resignation letter signed by Bradley, Reinhardt and Robertson said that for several years they have tried to persuade the 17-member board to expand its membership. “We can see no reason why after all these years of discussion and foot-dragging, further delay is necessary,” the letter said.

In a clash with such board members as television producer David Wolper, Los Angeles Dodgers President Peter O’Malley and retired Southern California Edison Chairman Howard Allen, the resigning members said the foundation “desperately needs new and younger blood and . . . people who are activists, directly involved in their local communities at the grass-roots level.”

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The organization, the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles, received a $90-million share of the $222-million Olympic surplus in 1985. It has since made 404 grants totaling $20.4 million to youth sports projects in Southern California, and also runs its own programs.

Interest income has exceeded the outgo over the years, and the foundation’s assets now exceed $100 million, according to an official staff statement.

Most of the board members were formerly on the executive board of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, which was responsible for staging the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Members said the resignation letter followed a bitter exchange at a recent board meeting between Robertson and Allen, and the subsequent nomination of two new directors who the mayor, Reinhardt and Robertson said in their letter “are undoubtedly able and worthy individuals, (but) do not meet the criteria we have discussed over the past several years.”

One of the disputed nominees is Edward Zapanta, a neurosurgeon who is a member of the Edison board and also a member of the USC Board of Trustees and the board of Times Mirror Co., The Times’ parent corporation. The other nominee is James Easton, president of the International Archery Federation. No vote has yet been taken on their nominations.

Allen apologized in writing to Robertson for his remarks at the board meeting. But after the nominations of the proposed directors favored by Allen, attorney John C. Argue and others, the mayor and his allies drafted their protest letter.

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Allen declined to comment Monday. But Wolper, who is chairman of the foundation board, said he could not agree with Bradley, Reinhardt and Robertson that activists ought to be appointed to the board.

“I’m not sure that activists are the right people to have on the board, because they spend their time on their own cause,” said Wolper. “It’s up to our staff to work with activists to find out how we can help them.”

But Reinhardt responded, “We want people on the board who are in touch. . . . We’ve got a lot of old people who have been there a long time. They’re all very capable, but there’s a gap.”

More diversity on the board would serve the foundation better, Reinhardt said Monday.

“There’s never been an Asian and in this community that’s remarkable. There’s been only one Latino. Now they’ve nominated this guy (Zapanta) but it’s not what we had talked about.”

Robertson said that for the most part the board “is typical CEOs, not the kind of people we need.”

In a statement Monday, Bradley said, “The Amateur Athletic Foundation, with its resources generated by the success of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, must be revitalized so that its board membership reflects the diversity of our community.”

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Agreeing with this view, but not resigning, was lobbyist and Bradley confidant Maureen Kindel, who said Monday that she was concerned “there is little cultural diversity on the board.” Kindel said she recently asked Wolper to appoint her to a committee nominating new directors, but Wolper appointed Argue and O’Malley instead.

Argue said he was “nonplussed” by the resignations. “I don’t understand,” he said. “You’d think if you don’t like the nominees, you’d come to the next meeting and vote against them.”

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