Better Utah Inc. may have been misleading in the way it handled city money, but Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis said Tuesday he will still work with those involved in the sports promotion organization, except in a financial capacity.
A city audit released last month found that Better Utah double billed Salt Lake City and the state for $20,160 in expenses related to its efforts to bring the 1998 Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City and promote amateur sports in Utah.After Better Utah's David Johnson provided the city with additional documentation, DePaulis told reporters Tuesday he is assured the money was used "for the general purposes for which the city appropriated the money."
However, DePaulis added "Under the circumstances, we don't feel comfortable doing business with them." The city will not fund the group, or any other group, unless the group can illustrate proper bookkeeping practices, he said.
Salt Lake City has given Better Utah $30,000 annually since 1986. DePaulis said this week the city will not appropriate a final $30,000 for the organization.
DePaulis said Better Utah was not malicious in the way it used the city's money. But it was "misleading," he said, "I think what we saw was a double-billing process to build their own budget."
And although DePaulis said the organization did a great deal for Salt Lake City's bid for the 1998 Winter Olympics and other sports promotion, it would no longer enjoy any financial support from the city.
Instead, money for sports and Olympic promotion will be overseen solely by the city. "When it comes to the money, we want to be in firm control of the situation," he said.
Johnson, responding to DePaulis' charges he misled the city, said Better Utah operated only in "good faith."
The city, which required Better Utah to provide a "theme budget" before receiving funds, failed to provide sufficient guidelines for Better Utah to follow when using city money, Johnson said.