Quid Pro Quo for Gov. Kate Brown for IAAF 2021’s public funds?

Say it isn’t so:

Call me a believer in self-interest and public choice economics, but I’m starting to wonder what’s in it for Governor Brown as she doubles down on her efforts to get the state to pay for the Oregon21 IAAF championships.  The Oregonian’s Jeff Manning has been on this since the start, and has a recent report giving Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney’s take:

Brown and others in Salem are confident that the Legislature will be supportive enough to give Brown what she needs. That is, unless Senate President Peter Courtney’s ongoing financial concerns gain traction with other lawmakers.

Courtney predicted an enormous wave of additional financial demands as the event comes closer — and afterwards.

“It’ll be in the hundreds of millions of dollars before it’s over,” he said. “I’m telling you right now, we don’t know how much money they’re going to need and we have no idea where the money is coming from.”

Courtney added that he thinks Brown and the World Championships will carry the day, “I’ve lost,” he said. “The event is coming. I just want to know how big the tsunami is going to be.”

In 2018 Manning had this story on UO Foundation Paul Weinhold’s off again on again promises threats to use the Foundation’s $1B endowment to backstop any losses, given an apparently vacillating guarantee from some anonymous donor named Phil Knight that he’d cover any overages.

Weinhold’s problem, of course, is that Knight would prefer that the state pays, and if his commitment is too firm then Gov. Brown’s appeals to the legislature for money start to look even more suspicious. But if it’s too weak, Seb Coe and the IAAF will start to ask for more assurances – i.e. cash up front from Knight, who didn’t get rich from a poor understanding of backwards induction.

Perhaps the legislature will demand to see the guarantee’s Knight has given Weinhold in writing before writing another check with other people’s money.

At the moment, Weinhold seems to have gone back to claiming he’s got a firm guarantee. Christian Hill had the story in the RG this weekend, here, with this from Gov. Brown:

The full state contribution represents about half the nearly $80.9 million budget for the 10-day event, records show.

“I’m confident we will have the resources we need to pull this event off,” Gov. Kate Brown reassured while speaking to reporters after the event’s Oct. 10 kickoff at the University of Oregon. “We have a number of legislators who are, shall we say, all in.”

“All in”. Yes, I suppose that’s one way to say it.

This story came with the picture above, from the RG’s excellent photographer Chris Pietsch, showing Brown at the UO party for the 2019 officials and athletes. I expect this picture is now at the top of the file of the FBI agents that are investigating this whole mess:

Please don’t send me a takedown notice Chris – I’m still a subscriber!

 

 

Gov Brown helps Oregon21’s Neils De Vos get a visa to collect $40M in public funds

When I go to Great Britain to give a talk and the Queen’s immigration officers find out I’m a professor, they give me a skeptical look, then stamp my passport with a prohibition against recourse to public funds:

But when Niels De Vos wanted a US visa to work in Oregon to run the IAAF’s Oregon21 championships, – with the stated purpose of getting $40M in public funds from Oregon to subsidize it, his cut of which is hidden in the TrackTown budget – Governor Kate Brown didn’t just approve, she let him write her letter to Homeland Security supporting him:

De Vos’s request to Gov Brown’s chief of staff Nik Blosser:

His letter for her to sign:

The IAAF’s letter to De Vos, asking if he’d secured the Governor’s promised $40M yet:

 

 

2021 Track Championships to bring more years of scandal to UO

Thanks to a reader for the latest link, from Willamette Week’s Aaron Mesh. It’s a very long story, mostly about Alberto Salazar and Mary Cain. Here’s the UO part:

Welcome to Nike Town

Track scandals arrive just as Oregon takes the world stage.

The allegation that Nike abused runners comes as Oregon is poised to host two of the world’s largest track-and-field events in a renovated stadium partially funded by Phil Knight.

The 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field will be held at Eugene’s Hayward Field in June. The following year, Hayward will host the World Athletics Championships, a celebration of running.

The two events offer an unprecedentedly high profile for Oregon track. They will showcase a $200 million remodel of Hayward Field, birthplace of Oregon running—and of Nike. They’ve been championed by UO officials and Gov. Kate Brown, who is seeking another $20 million in taxpayer dollars for the 2021 event.

“It’s truly an honor for the city of Eugene, for the state of Oregon and, frankly, for the entire country to be hosting these games for the first time ever,” Brown said Oct. 10 at a press conference announcing the event.

But the allegations of abuse within the Nike Oregon Project threaten to overshadow the party. An event in a stadium paid for with Knight’s money only increases the scrutiny of the culture inside Nike’s elite running program.

Nike is an official sponsor of Team USA, and has close ties to TrackTown USA, the committee hosting the 2020 Olympic trials, and USA Track & Field, the agency that governs the sport.

So far, none of the organizers are distancing themselves from Nike.

When asked about her agency’s response to the recent Nike scandals, USA Track & Field spokeswoman Susan Hazzard said, “USATF does not compromise athlete health and safety,” and added that Nike is one of its 14 corporate partners, “none of which make business decisions for the [agency].”

Hazzard adds that both upcoming events are stand-alone events “and will be run with the same professionalism and high standards that are expected at such prestigious events.”

USATF declined to answer specific questions about its stance on the Nike scandals.

The University of Oregon athletics department also declined comment. So did Gov. Brown.

 

Gov. Brown back from Doha junket in time for TrackTown 21 launch

Update: No quid pro quo, move it along people. New France 24 report here, with quotes from what appears to be a confidential court transcript:

Asked what role Nike played, Coe [employed by Nike] said: “I don’t know. Very little, I would say.”

More Coe from the transcript:

He said he had supported the Eugene bid, but insisted he knew nothing of any promises the American bid might have made to the IAAF or Lamine Diack.

Really? Here’s video of Paul Weinhold and then Sec of State Kate Brown offering the full faith and credit of the UO Foundation’s $1B endowment, and $40M in Oregon funds, here. Coe was at the meeting.

Brown’s is term-limited as Governor, wants to be a Senator, and needs more of Phil Knight’s money to finance a credible run.

10AM 10/10/2019, at the Student Rec Center. She’s still $20M short on the $40M Kitzhaber promised. Apparently this invitation was not widely shared with reporters, so I thought I’d post it:

*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***

Oregon Hosts Kickoff Event for World Athletics Championships — Coming to the U.S. for the First Time Ever in August 2021

Launch event held at the University of Oregon will feature Governor Brown and Track & Field World Champions  from present and past

WHAT
Oregon21, Travel Oregon and the University of Oregon are teaming up to host the kickoff event for the 2021 World Athletics Championships on Oct. 10, 2019, at the Student Recreation Center on the University of Oregon campus. The 18th edition of the World Athletics Championships will come to Oregon Aug. 6-15, 2021. The kickoff will welcome back athletes and representatives from USA Track & Field just returning from this year’s championships in Doha, Qatar. Governor Kate Brown will welcome guests along with other regional, national, and international figures in sports, government and tourism who will answer questions about how they are preparing for this massive, unmissable event. Hayward Field at the University of Oregon will host nearly 2,000 participants with more than 200 countries participating.

The World Athletics Championships will be the largest sporting event in the world in 2021, and this is the first time it has taken place in the United States.

WHO

  • Past and present Track & Field World Champions
  • Governor Kate Brown, State of Oregon
  • Mayor Lucy Vinis, Eugene, Ore.
  • President Michael Schill, University of Oregon
  • Local area youth track & field athletes

VISUALS/NEWS

  • Recent Track & Field World Champions donning their medals.
  • Governor Kate Brown welcoming USATF back to the U.S. following competition in Doha, Qatar
  • Announcement of location for men’s and women’s marathons 

WHEN

10 a.m. -11:30 a.m.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

10 a.m.-10:35 a.m.                 Main event

10:35 a.m.-11 a.m.                 Breakout sessions (1:1 interviews available)

11 a.m.                                    Rooftop photo opportunity of Hayward Field

WHERE

University of Oregon Student Recreation Center

1320 E. 15th Avenue

Eugene, OR

Parking information here

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

Molly Ishkanian

Weinstein PR for Oregon21

Cell: (503) 277-8370

molly@weinsteinpr.com

 

Deborah Pleva

Weinstein PR for Oregon21

Cell: (503) 250-4750

deb@weinsteinpr.com

Paul Weinhold and Kate Brown Brown want $40M in tax money for this?

And to think this only cost the Duck boosters $400K, or 1 cent in their money to get a  dollar from the public:

Angela Wilhelms, secretary to the UO board, said on behalf of the four trustees: “There is absolutely no correlation between personal political contributions by trustees and any decisions by Gov. Kitzhaber.

“Any insinuation of quid pro quo or any other connection is just flat wrong,” the statement said.

The Manchester Guardian has the latest report:

When Adam Gemili walked towards his blocks in lane seven for his heat of the men’s 200m at the IAAF world championships in Doha on Sunday night, he looked up and waved to friends and family in the grandstand. They would not have been hard to spot among a crowd estimated at around 1,000 scattered around a stadium built for 40,000.

… Nike, the running shoe company who gave Sebastian Coe the contract that he was so loth to forfeit when he became president of the IAAF four years ago in succession to the man he once described as the sport’s “spiritual leader”, the disgraced Lamine Diack. Nike, the company whose negotiations with Felix over a new contract when she became pregnant started a battle over fair payment for sportswomen during the maternity period. The award of the championships to Eugene was made without transparency in any respect …

The IAAF seems to have taken down their video of the 2019 bidding process, but I’ve got a back-up. Here’s former Secretary of State, now Governor Kate Brown, promising the $40M:

 

How much will Gov Brown’s Doha trip cost Oregon and UO?

Jeff Manning has the story in the Oregonian here. No word if the UO Foundation’s Paul Weinhold will be there too, to reiterate his promise to use the UO Foundation’s endowment money to guarantee this sporting event. A few snippets:

It appears that Brown is getting into the spirit even before the Doha competition begins. She has reassured officials of the sport’s international governing body that she will find an additional $20 million in state support for the Eugene World Championships. The state has already pledged $20 million, raised by an increase in hotel room taxes and grants from the state’s tourism agency.

The International Athletic Associations Federation unexpectedly awarded its biggest event to Eugene in 2015. It was a stunning achievement for Eugene, the first U.S. city and likely the smallest ever to host the event. The city’s reputation as one of the nation’s hotbeds of track and field resonated with IAAF officials, they said later.

But organizers said they need another $20 million from the state, on top of the $20 million already pledged, to make the event happen. To fill that $20 million gap, Brown vowed in an April 25, 2019 letter to the IAAF to come up with the money.

And people wonder why the legislature is getting tired of supporting UO’s academic side?

Who is going to make money off the IAAF championships? Who will pay?

I’m at the Eugene City Council work meeting now, listening to Stephanie Scafa, the city’s 2021 project lead, present a puff piece to the council. Flashy video and handouts. She says “there’s a lot to be excited about”. It’s about “what sort of community we want to be”. “An opportunity to experience the world right here.”

This is the sort of thing I’d expect an Oregon21 PR flack to present – not a city paid employee. I hope she gets some tough questions about what it’s going to cost and who is going to pay.

Syrett: What is the financial contribution – particularly police? [Say, is this why the Council voted for a new police tax? Also asks about new AirBNB regulations – presumably this will include another tax so the city can get their cut.]

Semple: Seems skeptical of the link to the arts that excites Syrett. Wants to know how we can house 50,000 fans, but not our homeless.

Clark: How can we use this opportunity to solve some long-term community need? [My A: We can’t. Read up on the public impact of every Olympics ever held. Instead we’ll waste money on it that we could spend on those other needs. But hey – we’re getting more murals!]

Selenka: Can we at least get another Portland train out of it? Scafa: No. We’ll have shuttles. [Uber?]

Other Planner: UO is creating “An Olympic style athletic village for this. [That’s explains why we’re building new dorms, when enrollment is flat. Will the students pay, or will Pres Schill squeeze Oregon 21?]

Duck’s Vin Lananna sings to feds, Tracktown gets $10M for IAAF 2021

Lananna, who’s on the UO payroll for several hundred large, asked the Governor for $40M in state subsidies. He’s now got $10M. If you think that’s the end of it you haven’t read Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, or Ken Goe’s update in the Oregonian here.

The Oregon DOJ held up Tracktown’s $10M grant from Travel Oregon for a full year by requiring that they provide a budget and a disclaimer that there were no legal issues, despite the FBI investigation. UO and Tracktown told the press that the Feds hadn’t contacted them. Lananna didn’t tell GC Kevin Reed?

The budget and reporting requirements are now hilariously out of date, and Lananna and Reilly’s admission is scrawled out in pen:

What could go wrong? Rumor has it that UO has now appointed an administrator to deal with it all. I wonder who is paying their salary.

The full grant of $10M in state funds is here: http://uomatters.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/OR212018_FE.pdf.

10/8/2018 – Tracktown / Oregon21 replaces Vin Lananna with Niels De Vos as head of IAAF 2021 championship

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Paul Weinhold’s UO Foundation murky about money for Track Town / IAAF bid

Summer time, so here’s a rerun. FWIW the FBI is now on it:

12/13/2015 update: Jeff Manning’s new report in the Oregonian, here, lays out what is known so far, and quotes the French Ministry of Justice:

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 9.59.11 AM

“The object is to determine the conditions under which the hosting decision was taken,” said France’s Ministry of Justice said in a statement, “and whether corruption offenses, money laundering or a conspiracy to benefit from criminal association have been committed in France.”

If the Foundation threatens to sue the French for defamation over that “money laundering” phrase, as they once did to me, I can recommend several excellent lawyers who are not impressed by the blustery language of the Foundation’s attorney, Thomas Herrmann of  Gleaves Swearingen:

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 10.11.06 AM

That said there is no mention in the story indicating that the French are specifically investigating the secretive UO Foundation, although Manning shows they have been heavily involved in the bidding and the efforts to secure $30M-$40M in state money:

The University of Oregon Foundation is also throwing all its weight behind the championships. “On behalf of the University of Oregon Foundation, please accept this letter as our written guarantee that the UO Foundation will cover any potential shortfall of the future organizing committee budget of the IAAF World Championships in Eugene in 2021,” wrote Paul Weinhold, the foundation’s chief executive, in a letter to the track and field federation.

Weinhold insists the guarantee poses no risk for the non-profit.

The foundation is also playing a key role in a massive renovation of Hayward Field in time for the championships. The current plan calls for the foundation to manage a privately funded rebuild that will triple seating capacity to 30,000.

(Also see video below).

FWIW, the Oregonian comments are running heavily against state subsidies.

The UO Foundation’s 990 report for the FY ending June 30 2015 was due at the IRS on November 15th. These reports give some basic financial information. However, the Foundation typically runs out the 2 allowable 3 month extensions until the last possible day, meaning we won’t know have even this basic financial data until June 15th, nearly a year after the FY closes.

Oregonian sports reporter Ken Goe has more with Lananna, here:

At a meeting in February of 2015 in Monaco, Lananna and Fasulo said they told Diack they didn’t know if they could keep their coalition of public and private partners together if they had to draw up a new bid for 2021 and go through another formal process

They said Diack listened politely but made no commitment.

“He said he would reflect upon it,” Lananna said.

Lananna said they didn’t offer Diack anything that even could be interpreted as a bribe. Nor, he said, did Diack request anything.

“Absolutely not,” Lananna said. “Nothing, in any way, shape or form. Nothing was asked, implied or suggested. We did not. He did not. No.”

Not even a Rolex?

So now our university’s foundation is subsidizing a track meet and sinking money into yet another sports project, right in the middle of what is supposedly a $2B academic fundraising campaign. No surprises as to what our VP for Development is now spending his time on:

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 9.46.20 AM

And it looks like UO’s Director of State Affairs Hans Bernard is going to be spending his time this session lobbying the legislature for money for sports, rather than for academics:

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 9.51.21 AMScreen Shot 2015-12-13 at 9.51.34 AM

And who is paying Vin Lananna to organize all this? UO’s Public Records Office really doesn’t want to answer these kinds of questions, which are now coming in from the BBC among others:

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 9.56.47 AM

Meanwhile the RG, London Times, BBC, WSJ and the Oregonian are asking Gov. Kate Brown’s office for more, public records, including emails going back to Kitzhaber. Maybe Cylvia Hayes got a contract for making the IAAF sustainably carbon neutral?

12/10/2015: Update: UO public records office hid Lananna / Nike emails until RG petitioned DA

That’s the report from Diane Dietz in the Register Guard, here:

French prosecutors on Thursday confirmed they have opened an investigation into the decision to award the 2021 track world championships to Eugene without an open bidding process.

The financial prosecutors’ office in Paris said it aims to determine whether corruption, money laundering or other crimes may have been committed in the International Association of Athletics Federations’ decision and, if so, whether prosecuting them might fall within French jurisdiction.

The Eugene bid effort was led by Track Town USA, a Eugene nonprofit headed by Vin Lananna, who is also a top executive at the University of Oregon Athletic Department.

…  The January 2015 email, sent three months before the surprise IAAF vote to award the 2021 championships to Eugene, was from a Nike executive to Lananna on the subject of Lananna’s pitch for the 2021 championships. The Nike official said that the incoming chairman of the IAAF, Sebastian Coe, was in favor of the Eugene bid. In addition to his IAAF role, Coe was working for Nike at the time, and Nike Chairman Phil Knight favors Eugene for the IAAF meet.

The university released the document in October only after the newspaper filed an appeal the Lane County District Attorney’s Office.

Update: Ken Goe in the Oregonian:

“We presented the bid with complete transparency in 2019,” Lananna said. “The only thing different about the ’19 budget and the ’21 budget is that we crossed out the number on the top of the budget, and it went from ’19 to ’21.”

Complete transparency. Really? UO’s public records office still won’t release the bid information, or the NCAA report on who pays Lananna.

Update: French prosecutors probe Lananna  / Diack deal for Eugene’s 2021 IAAF championships

The RG has a story with the latest quotes from Lananna, here:

“We stand by our bid, we stand by the integrity of the bid and we are 100 percent confident that there has been nothing outside of what are the norms of the presentation of an IAAF bid,” Lananna said Wednesday during a news conference attended by Portland mayor Charlie Hales at the Oregon Convention Center, which will host the World Indoor meet March 17-20.

Given that past IAAF president Lamine Diack has been arrested over allegations that he took a $1M Russian bribe to cover up doping, among many other IAAF scandals, this doesn’t seem like a good time to be talking about IAAF norms. It also conflicts with the message new IAAF president Seb Coe must get out regarding his reform efforts, if he wants to keep his job. And Coe has already said that Diack’s decision was flawed:

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 6.53.21 PM

This video of Track Town CEO Mike Reilly promising Diack that Eugene will accommodate the “IAAF Family” in the kinds of luxurious hotels to which they have become accustomed is not going to help:

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 9.00.31 PM

I wonder who will pay for that? Oregon taxpayers, if UO’s Hans Bernard gets his way.

12/9/2015: The BBC’s Mark Daly has the latest, here:

The decision by the scandal-hit IAAF to award the 2021 World Athletics Championships to the American city of Eugene is being investigated by French prosecutors, the BBC has learned.

… Other emails seen by the BBC reveal that Lananna made at least one trip to Europe to visit Diack a few weeks after this email was written.

BBC sources have confirmed French investigators want to know more about how Diack arrived at the decision to give Eugene the event.

French police, instructed by lead financial prosecutor Elaine Houlette, have already arrested and questioned Lamine Diack, his legal adviser Habib Cisse and Gabriel Dolle, the former long-standing head of the IAAF’s anti-doping unit. …

Meanwhile UO’s State Affairs Director Hans Bernard plans to hit up the state legislature for ~$30M to renovate Hayward Field and subsidize the IAAF championships, while claiming this would not be a trade off for academically focused funding. Sure it wouldn’t:

 Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.30.52 AM

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Other posts here. The RG’s Diane Dietz had an excellent series of reports on this last fall:

Bid for world track meet lined with cash:

By Diane Dietz
The Register-Guard
APPEARED IN PRINT: WEDNESDAY, NOV. 26, 2014, PAGE A1

When the world track governing body last week turned down Eugene’s bid to host the world championships in 2019, it wasn’t for lack of multimillion-dollar promises made by officials from Oregon, the University of Oregon and the University of Oregon Foundation, newly available bid information shows.

Paul Weinhold, CEO of the UO Foundation, appeared before the international body as a man with wherewithal who “manages $1 billion worth of assets.”

Weinhold unequivocally pledged that the UO Foundation — keeper of the university’s donated scholarship, research and athletics funds — would provide financial guarantees against loss if Eugene-based TrackTown USA won the bid to bring the two-week athletics event to Eugene and the UO campus.

Weinhold also appeared to obligate university dollars.

“To be clear,” Weinhold told the 27 members of the international body, “the University of Oregon and the foundation are unified in our financial commitment to a successful World Championship in 2019.”

Meanwhile, Gov. John Kitzhaber, in a video played at the governing body’s meeting in Monaco, promised to ask the state Legislature to pony up $40 million to help fund the event. …

And UO board bars the public from ‘training’ event:

By Diane Dietz
The Register-Guard
APPEARED IN PRINT: SUNDAY, SEPT. 14, 2014, PAGE B3

The University of Oregon Board of Trustees excluded a newspaper reporter and a blogger from its Saturday morning meeting at the Hilton Eugene.

Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms said the board had convened for a “training” about the operations of TrackTown USA and the public — and its media representatives — were excluded.

Trustees need to understand the nonprofit TrackTown’s operations because, even though it’s not an official part of the university, TrackTown stages events at Hayward Field, Wilhelms said.

“It’s important to understand the interplay between the two,” she said.

Saturday marked a third day of meetings for the new UO board, which took charge of the university in July.

Board members and university administrators — many in yellow and green regalia — attended the 8:30 a.m. breakfast meeting it the Hilton Eugene’s 12th-floor Vista room, which has floor-to-ceiling windows and spectacular views of the city.

The plan was to finish the board’s business in time for kickoff at Autzen Stadium. A quorum of the board planned to attend the game. The agenda emphasized the gathering was a “social event only,” according to the board’s agenda.

The nature of the Saturday morning meeting evolved daily through the board’s fall session. On Wednesday, the agenda posted on the trustees’ website said this: “Public Meeting, Eugene Hilton, Vista Room.”

On Thursday, the first day of the board’s fall meeting, Chairman Chuck Lillis began describing the Saturday meeting — and was interrupted by Wilhelms.

“There’s nothing like having a coach,” Lillis said, before continuing.

“We’re going to hear a discussion. It will be in a nonpublic environment about the possibility of the state of Oregon hosting, centered in Eugene, the world championships of track and field.” …

UO’s Public Records Office has repeatedly stalled the release of public records related to this bid.

Why is Eugene paying artists to glorify Tracktown’s 2021 championships?

When the 2012 Olympics came to London, the town’s graffiti artists took to the city’s walls to mock the corporate pomposity of it all. As the Guardian reported, London’s government did its best to eradicate these troubling works of artistic sarcasm, which was not hard to do in a country that has no right to free speech:

I think the Banksy did stay up though:

Here in Eugene, our city has decided to pre-empt any artistic expression that might criticize the event by paying artists to put up pro-IAAF art. The Daily Emerald has a puff piece here:

In the upcoming week, Eugene will be transformed with a colorful array of new murals, street art installations and gallery walks during 20x21EUG Mural Project’s Eugene Walls, which is part of the Downtown Visual Arts Festival.

From July 27 to Aug. 3, artists from around the world will be creating murals and street art as part of 20x21EUG’s initiative to add 20 murals by international artists to Eugene by the year 2021. The goal of the 20x21EUG Mural Project is to showcase art from around the world when athletes converge on Eugene for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in 2021.

Millions for corporate shills, not a cent for critical art. OK, maybe not millions, but lets find out how much:

This is a public records request to you in your capacity as Lane Arts Council Executive Director, regarding the 20x21Eug project (https://www.20x21eug.com/about/).

I am asking for documents showing:

1) The project’s overall budget.

2) The source of funds expended or budgeted. (I.e. city general funds, state or federal grants, donations, etc.)

3) The five largest contracts with artists (as measured by including fees, honoraria and expenses) that have been signed so far.

I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest, given the apparent expenditure of public funds. Please send these documents as pdfs to this email address.

I wonder what MLK Jr would have thought of using tax money to promote an event like this, which is earning big bucks for a few “non-profit” promoters. Because they’re now paying artists to use his image to advertise it. From the Daily Emerald story:

$10M Travel Oregon grant to Tracktown for IAAF 2021 held up over FBI investigation, lack of budget. No supporting letter from UO

7/27/2018 update:  The RG’s Austin Meek reports today that Travel Oregon is claiming the federal investigations into the awarding of the 2021 IAAF championships to Tracktown will not prevent Travel Oregon from giving them $10M in state funds:

“It is Travel Oregon’s perspective, barring DOJ counsel to the contrary, that language included in future contracts referencing ‘pending investigations’ relates to any investigations in which the successful applicant/awardee is named as the subject or otherwise included as one of the subjects of that investigation,” [Travel Oregon spokesperson Linea Gagliano] said in a written response provided to The Register-Guard.

The Oregon DOJ declined to comment. Meanwhile there’s still no budget for how Tracktown/Oregon21 proposes to spend these state funds.

7/25/2018: Back in early 2016, after some serious log-rolling and arm-twisting, the Oregon Legislature passed a bill to raise the hotel tax and have the Oregon Tourism Commission, a.k.a Travel Oregon, run a grant process to give Vin Lananna’s Tracktown at least part of the $25M in public money that John Kitzhaber and Kate Brown had promised them. For a taste of the politics, here’s Saul Hubbard in the RG:

Cash trail leads to track subsidy

Posted Jan 5, 2016 at 10:01 PM

When Vin Lananna, president of TrackTown USA, and Paul Weinhold, president of the University of Oregon Foundation, first contacted then-Gov. John Kitzhaber in mid-2014 to request a $40 million state subsidy for TrackTown’s bid to hold the 2019 track world championships in Eugene, they were met with coolness and skepticism, newly released emails show.

After Lananna gave an in-person pitch to Kitzhaber on July 7, Kitzhaber economic policy adviser Vince Porter sent a scathing assessment of the request to the governor and his top advisers.

Talks should continue, Porter wrote, but “there are a lot of hurdles to get over before it becomes much more than a pipe dream.”

Nonprofit TrackTown’s request contained “probably as much as $20 million that we would never want to consider subsidizing,” he added. “I don’t think the state should be even considering something larger than $20 million” to help fund the event in Eugene, he wrote.

The subsidy request — which would require three-fifth votes in both chambers of the Legislature — also was met coolly by Salem’s two most powerful legislators, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek, both Democrats, Porter’s emails indicate.

Yet, only five months later, Kitzhaber publicly pledged to “use all the means at my disposal to deliver the financial support needed for the championships” in a video message he sent — along with then-Secretary of State Kate Brown — with TrackTown’s team to the International Association of Athletics Federations bid meeting in Monaco in late November.

For the first time in that video, Kitzhaber endorsed a specific amount: the full $40 million. Getting the governor to publicly state the $40 million was a priority for TrackTown, Porter’s emails show.

What happened between Kitzhaber’s initial resistance and his endorsement? His campaign coffers were swamped to overflowing with donations from people who want the track world championships held at the UO’s Hayward Field.

The emails show that Kitzhaber’s apparent reversal coincided with almost $400,000 in campaign contributions he received during a 42-day period in September and October 2014 from athletic apparel giant Nike, its co-founder Phil Knight and its CEO Mark Parker, as well as four members of the UO Board of Trustees. …

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