Olympics: Bankruptcy for USOC not an option despite lawsuits
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[December 15, 2018]
By Steve Keating
(Reuters) - The United States Olympic
Committee (USOC) will not consider bankruptcy protection as it
prepares to face lawsuits for failing to protect young gymnasts from
the sexual abuse of a team doctor, chairwoman-elect Susanne Lyons
said on Friday.
Every other option, including settlements, would be on the table,
Lyons said, as the USOC deals with the fallout from a sex abuse
scandal involving Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics (USAG)
Nassar was sentenced to up to 300 years in prison in late 2017 and
early 2018 after more than 350 women testified about abuse at his
hands and lawyers for a number of his victims have filed lawsuits
against both USAG and USOC.
Earlier this month the USAG filed for bankruptcy saying that it was
staggering under the weight of lawsuits filed by hundreds of women
who were sexually abused by Nassar.
"I think we discussed all the potential options but if you are
asking about bankruptcy for the USOC, that option is not something
that is on the table nor do we anticipate that it would be," Lyons
said in a teleconference.
"We are looking at all options which would include at what time it
might be appropriate to enter into discussions about settlements or
Despite months of turmoil and upheaval Larry Probst, who Lyon will
replace at the end of the year, said that USOC finances remained
"Everything is in good shape there with revenues running ahead of
plan and expenses under plan," said Probst.
"We are well ahead of our target for financial support in the
development area so good news on all fronts financially."
There was, however, very little other good news.
Earlier on Friday, a U.S. Senate subcommittee investigating sexual
abuse in gymnastics determined that former USOC CEO Scott Blackmun
had made "materially false statements" to the panel and referred the
matter to the FBI.
[to top of second column]
Susanne Lyons, Acting Chief Executive Officer of United States
Olympic Committee testifies before a Commerce Subcommittee hearing
entitled "Strengthening and Empowering U.S. Amateur Athletes: Moving
Forward with Solutions" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July
24, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
This comes on the heels of report released on Monday that showed
some top USOC executives took no action as the Nassar sexual abuse
scandal was unfolding.
The report carried out by law firm Ropes & Gray, offered details on
what it called the "inaction" from Blackmun and former chief of
sport performance Alan Ashley.
According to the report, Blackmun and Ashley were made aware of
allegations against Nassar by then-USA Gymnastics chief executive
Steve Penny in July 2015 but neither shared the information with
others in the organization.
Probst was asked how it was that Blackmun failed to share what he
knew about the Nassar scandal with the board.
"I don't think it is appropriate for me to speculate on what Scott
was thinking or not thinking," said Probst.
"I cannot speculate on what was going through Scott's mind or how he
went through his decision process.
"Obviously the system broke down in many aspects beginning with some
of the things that took place at USAG, at the USOC, Michigan State
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Nick Mulvenney)
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