Wire transfer keeps marathon on its feet

Published: Wednesday, April 15 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

The Salt Lake Marathon will apparently go down to the wire: A last-minute wire transfer may keep the financially strapped race alive.

The Fraternal Order of Police for the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, which was expected to provide about 140 deputies and other officers to handle race security, had originally set a deadline of Monday for Chicago-based Devine Racing to prepay them.

Now, the sheriff's office has set a final deadline for the end of business Thursday, said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Don Hutson. The fraternal order talked to Devine over the weekend, and the company agreed to have the money transferred by wire directly to the sheriff's office's account by that time.

South Salt Lake police had threatened to pull out of the race and let the runners figure out traffic control on their own if the embattled Devine didn't pay the department by the end of last week.

South Salt Lake police Chief Chris Snyder said the city received a check on Friday at 5:09 p.m,, after banks had closed. On Tuesday, Snyder said his department and the city had not yet made a decision concerning the race. He noted that taxpayers would not be paying for the marathon.

Salt Lake police do not bill Devine for officers used in the race. But those officers cost the city about $50,000, according to Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank. Next year, a new ordinance will be in effect that will allow the city to bill Devine for police services.

Devine has been under scrutiny in several states, including Nevada and California, where the company is accused of failing to pay or severely delaying payments to police departments, race winners and others.

The Salt Lake Marathon is Saturday, and as of Tuesday afternoon, was still scheduled to run as planned.

E-MAIL: preavy@desnews.com

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