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London 2012

Corporate disclosure - but thick as thieves

Here's a searching piece of journalism! Sue Reisinger of Corporate Counsel talks to Chief Olympics Counsel Terry Miller about ‘her journey, her love of horses, and the challenges of her job’. Oh, and by the way, there's disclosure! Miller and Reisinger were University of Dayton Law school classmates in the mid-70s, and Reisinger worked with Miller’s British-born husband, Jonathan, at the Dayton Daily News. Just in case you thought they might be thick as thieves!


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A construction boom and a lost opportunity

Along with all the stirring stuff about Olympics job creation, an Olympics boost to the economy, the Olympics transportation miracle comes the news in a 'government-commissioned report' that the Olympics created a construction boom from the building of venues and infrastructure.


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Olympics jobs: treat with caution - again

A few weeks ago the Olympics were being hailed for creating lots of temporary jobs over the past six months, 100,000 of them supposedly in the last quarter and possibly up to 65,000 or so in the previous March to May period. Now the 'Olympics effect' has apparently worn off, as the Standard informs us in an article headlined 'Thousands sign on as Olympic jobs boom ends'.


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London 2012 - first helicopter in space?

Dave Ward, Network Rail's Olympic delivery director, told the Greater London Assembly's transport committee that a helicopter was sent 380,000 miles out of Southend Airport during the Games to inspect infrastructure.


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Miracle on the Underground

We've had the Olympics saving the economy, putting people back to work, being saved by the sponsors. Now it's the turn of Transport for London to describe the miracle on the Underground!


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It's the East End stupid!

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has been at it again. Following its espousal of the as yet uninhabited E20 postcode it is now predicting a boom based on the vibrant technology, creative and media sectors of the East End. However, this is located not in the attractive E20 zone but in the areas of Shoreditch, Hoxton and Bethnal Green. Of course, these are not usually associated with London 2012 but, no matter, a plug is still given to the Olympics, which supposedly accelerated the trend and brought with it a housing and transport infrastructure boom! That the Athletes' Village remains unoccupied and no housing has yet been built on the Olympic Park, no new transport infrastructure was introduced as a result of the Olympics and E20 and the Shoreditch, Hoxton, Bethnal Green areas are several miles apart are insignificant details to the researchers with their 'unparalleled range of skills and expertise'.


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The Trouble with Stadiums - London and Rio

More trouble with stadiums. Is this a record? For one Summer Games' stadium to remain out of action until after the next Olympics has ended? In London the LLDC has now said the Olympic stadium may not be used until August 2016. West Ham still seems to be the leading bidder in a race with Leyton Orient, Formula One and the UCFB College of Football Business with the NFL a wild card. In typical Olympics fashion Karren Brady has been talking up the jobs that will be created if West Ham win, claiming a thousand jobs will be created at the stadium. And, of course, in case we forget, where the Olympics are concerned property development is at the heart of the project and West Ham expect to make a killing on the redevelopment of their Green Street site

And then there's that budget again. The original cost of the stadium rose from £280m to £496m despite InsidetheGames reporting otherwise! Now a further £200 million may need to be spent on modifying the stadium for its future lessee on top of the £500 million already splashed out on its construction. In the meantime the LLDC will have to pay for the maintenance of the stadium while it lacks a tenant. As if that was not enough, the promise to continue to provide an athletics track has resurfaced as, if the stadium is not equipped with covered seating for one of these lessees, the deal with the IAAF for the Athletics World Championships in 2017 may have to be renegotiated. This could presage further trouble between the BOA and other parts of the Olympic team as S Coe, already a vice-president of the IAAF, has an ambition to head that body and retaining the stadium as an athletics venue is critical to that objective!

Hardly surprisingly after recent controversies the LLDC appears to have adopted a position of extreme caution in its planning. Dennis Hone, new Chief Executive of the LLDA, is reported as saying: “We need to make a decision on which of the four, if any, will provide the best long-term option and the best value for money. But it is important to remember that this is a 100-year lease we are talking about with the Stadium so we have to get it right.” 'If any'!

But London is not the only Olympic city to be experiencing stadium blues. Rio is wracked with controversy over the fate of the famous Maracanã stadium and sports complex. A public hearing into the privatisation of the stadium and complex was interrupted by a demonstration with hundreds expressing their disgust at the manoeuvrings of the authorities. Close on a billion dollars have been spent on programmes to upgrade the facilities. The football stadium has been closed for years as earlier programmes have been reversed. Now, despite promises from politicians like the present Mayor of Rio who said that “the privatization of the Maracanã is inconceivable”, privatisation is the preferred option following a well trodden path in mega events of public money being used to advance private interests. ‘Consultation’ takes the familiar form of presenting an agreed plan and ignoring objections. As Christopher Gaffney writes:

'The expenditure of public money on public works to be handed to private interests that involves the destruction of a top-performing public school, a century-old indigenous heritage site, and two Olympic quality training facilities in order to generate even more profit for Brazil’s richest man, is a perversity that boggles the imagination.'


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This time it's Locog (not) within budget!

Following the ONS' declarations on its inability to quantify the impact of the Olympics further information has been published on LOCOG's expenditure, which only tends to add to the confusion. LOCOG says it has broken even on costs of £2.4 billion. However, with ticket sales of £659 million, sponsorship of £764 million, £609 million from IOC media earnings and £85 million from merchandising making a total of £2,087 million it still had to rely on a government grant of £111 million for half the cost of the Paralympics and £200 million from 'incomes' (whatever that is!) meaning it did not meet its costs without assistance.


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