Members of the Utah Economic Development Board are sharing the blame for any criticism David W. Adams, Utah Department of Community and Economic Development executive director, might have received over alleged conflicts of interest by serving on several boards of directors.
"I am troubled by the fact the board asked Adams to sit on the board of those organizations to protect our interests. I think the media have done the state a disservice and the advantages of privatizing sports promotion activities in Utah should be explained," said board member David K. Richards.At the request of board member John H. Morgan, the board adopted a resolution praising Adams for his economic development for the state and restating their support for him. In addition, the resolution included a statement from a recent legislative auditor general report on the Sports Development Office.
That statement said there was no indication the executive director's status as a Utah Sports Foundation board member resulted in any compromise or harm to the state during the period of time covered in the audit.
At the outset of the meeting, David J. Grant, Utah Division of Business and Economic Development director, said Adams and John Price, another member of the Utah Economic Development Board, will resign from the USF board. He said it is better to be on the offense rather than defense so the state officials named in the legislative audit are resigning as suggested.
State employees are under strict guidelines on what they can accept, Grant said, but admitted that Adams accepted some lodging from Better Utah while attending the recent Winter Olympics in Calgary. "Dave Adams didn't receive one penny from anyone," an adamant Grant said.
"We have learned our lesson and now it's time to get our ducks in order," said Max Farbman, economic development board chairman, referring to the audit recommendations being implemented by the department and division staff.
In an attempt to avoid any possible conflicts of interest by board and staff members, the board formed a subcommittee to examine who may have conflicts of interest by serving on several boards. Serving on the subcommittee will be Farbman, Morgan and Richards.
The legislative audit said Better Utah was created in 1984 and used as the fund-raising organization for Salt Lake's 1985 attempt to bid on hosting the 1992 Winter Olympics.
The State Sports Office was created in March 1986, and in June 1987 the Utah Sports Federation was formed by people interested in bringing the Olympic gymnastic trials to Utah. USF became the sole bidder to privatize the sports office and a contract was awarded last April.
Adams was questioned by board members about the bidding process and said although several requests for proposals were distributed, only USF chose to bid. He said law provides an appeal process for anyone dissatisfied with a bid, but nobody filed an appeal.