Gov. Norm Bangerter and other high-ranking supporters of Salt Lake City's bid for the 1998 Winter Games are scrambling to raise the remaining $500,000 needed to keep the effort to host the Olympics out of the red.

The question of just who would be stuck with any deficit left by the Salt Lake City Bid Committee for the Olympic Winter Games was raised Tuesday by members of the Utah Sports Authority.The sports authority was created by the Legislature in 1989 to oversee the spending of $56 million in tax dollars on winter sports facilities that would be used if an Olympics is held in Utah.

However, members of the sports authority were told by Chief Deputy Attorney General Joe Tesch that their job description also includes approving the bid committee's budgets, revenues and expenditures.

That's true even though the money raised and spent by the bid committee comes from private sources. Although the sports authority members receive financial reports from the bid committee at their monthly meetings, they do not exercise any control over the committee's finances.

Tesch said any companies owed money by the bid committee that sued the state for payment because the sports authority was negligent in its oversight were "very, very unlikely to be successful."

Before a closed-door meeting late Tuesday afternoon in the governor's office, the amount needed to balance the bid committee's books was considerably higher.

Local banker Spencer F. Eccles turned over checks from himself and others totaling $225,000, according to Craig Peterson, vice president of the bid committee.

"There was a feeling of optimism," Peterson said of the meeting, where the governor, Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis and the dozen other participants split up a list of past and potential donors to contact.

After plotting strategy for more than an hour, the governor and most of the others at the meeting went to the office of Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to update him on their progress.

On June 15, the International Olympic Committee will select the host of the Winter Games from among five cities - Salt Lake; Aosta, Italy; Jaca, Spain; Nagano, Japan; and Ostersund, Sweden.

Utah's Olympic boosters already have committed to spending more than $4 million courting the votes of IOC members but were $1.7 million short of meeting their expenses as of late last year.

Now, with the IOC's decision only a month away, they're increasing their fund-raising efforts to make sure that the bid committee is in the black no matter what happens.

The concern is that if Salt Lake City is not selected at the June 15 IOC meeting in Birmingham, donations will stop coming to the bid committee despite Olympic supporters' intentions to try again for the 2002 Winter Games.

Members of the Utah Sports Authority heard a report on the bid committee's finances at their meeting Tuesday that included a breakdown of the areas where money is already owed and anticipated expenses. (See chart.)

"We've got to make sure that when this thing is over, we don't finish with a deficit," Fred Ball, president of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, told the sports authority.

Ball, who took over the bid committee's fund-raising effort when the $1.7 million shortfall was announced, said most of the businesses still owed money by the bid committee are also members of the chamber of commerce.

Although the chamber would not be liable for any unpaid bills left over, Ball said the business owners probably won't recognize that fact when they look for someone to pay them.

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(Chart)

Olympic debts

Why the Salt Lake Olympic Bid Committee needs money:

What's already owed

Various accounts owed

(payments due before 3/21/91) $182,746

Various accounts owed

(payments due after 3/21/91) $138,315

Bank loan carried

from referendum election $ 50,000

Other bank loan $ 65,000

Loan from Tom Welch,

bid committee chairman $ 33,228

Office janitorial and

power bills owed $ 17,519Presentation to IOC $225,000

Administration expenses $ 43,500

Visits by IOC members

(eight at $15,000 each) $120,000

Trips by bid committee

to visit IOC members

(five at $8,500 each) $ 42,500

Trip to IOC meeting

in Birmingham, England $171,500

Fund-raising costs $ 15,000

Public relations $ 7,000

Protocol consultant $ 8,000

TOTAL $632,500

GRAND TOTAL $1,119,308