Snap Fact #297
President Obama Was Not a Businessman – Mitt Romney Was – How Has That Prepared Them to Be President?
– Part 1 – The Real Olympics Story!


There is little to say about President Obama’s business resume’ other than the fact that he has almost 4 years’ experience running the biggest business in the world, the United States government. Where he did a great job he deserves our respect and appreciation. Where he could have done better he has learned from experience. He is currently the world’s leading expert in being the CEO of that business.

Ex-Governor, ex-businessman Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has a long and colorful business career. Today’s SNAP-CAP will examine the tip of a very large iceberg that is the Romney record in business and how well his experience has prepared him to assume the Presidency of the United States. We will get underneath the generalizations and the platitudes and examine Mitt’s character and his actual record to reveal and understand how his business career has prepared him to become the CEO of the United States of America.

Two core components of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign are premised around his "successes" as an individual in managing Bain Capital and the 2002 Salt Lake City, Utah Olympic games. Romney and his handlers have attempted to once more recreate history. Shades of Ayn Rand’s John Gault, they have attempted to create the false image of the Governor riding in on his white horse and single-handedly saving both Bain Capital and the Olympics. Other than the fact of his own self-aggrandizement, all the other facts are quite at odds with the true story.

In Romney’s version he alone was solely responsible for turning around the Olympics from a culture of corruption and failure into the success that it actually was. So here is the real story that Romney doesn't talk about.

Romney wasn't just the head of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Romney was also a registered lobbyist for the organization as Utah State records show. By the time Mitt officially came on the scene the Federal Government was committed to a bailout that totaled in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion. Once in charge, Romney pried even more money from the Feds and from the State of Utah for the 2002 Olympic Games thru lobbying. Mother Jones Magazine reports on where all that Federal largesse actually went. Romney doesn't talk about how the Federal handout ended up bankrolling subsidies, sweetheart deals, and giveaways for land developers and other well-connected Utahans under his watchful eyes.

Romney has been "tooting his horn" at an Olympic effort that, more than any other in American history, succeeded thanks to a taxpayer bailout—some of it sunk into questionable projects of marginal value to the Salt Lake games and much benefiting private interests. The spending of taxpayers money was lavish. According to the December 2001 Sports Illustrated investigation, the magazine documented shady spending and taxpayer-funded “bridges-to-nowhere” type projects, including a millionaire developer receiving federal cash to build a road, and a billionaire ski resort owner gobbling up public land with federal assistance.

Taxpayers spent $12 million on two temporary parking lots. Romney's committee spent $3 million in federal money building a fence and adding security around a medical center to protect patients from Olympics crowds. Another $1 million was spent on a weather forecasting system. "The $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars that Congress. . . poured into Utah is 1.5 times the amount spent by lawmakers to support all seven Olympic Games held in the U.S. since 1904—combined," Donald Barlett and James Steele reported for Sports Illustrated in 2001. Those numbers were adjusted for inflation. How the Salt Lake Games came to receive more money than any games in American history isn't much of a mystery. The organizers, including Romney, asked for it – and got it from two very cooperative sources, presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

It can be accurately and categorically stated that Mitt Romney did not save the 2002 Olympics. In fact the record shows that his stewardship was an example of how he does business. Romney’s record on the Olympics and other endeavors shouts loudly to anyone thinking of voting for him to take care before they pull the lever. If he runs the country the way he ran the Olympics he might well run us into the ground while further enriching Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers, et al.

It was government funding, not Mitt Romney that saved the Olympics, and most of it was in place before Romney even became involved. Among many other eye witnesses who have come forth to expose Romney’s version of history, we get the facts from one strong Romney supporter: “''In fact, most of the federal money was already in place before Mitt came on,'' said Senator Bob Bennett, a Utah Republican who served as point man for the federal funding and still supports Romney and still supports Romney. ''The Clinton administration was completely supportive in saying these are America's games, we will do whatever we can to make sure they are successful. The one concern I had was whether we would get the same degree of support from the Bush administration, which we did.''

Despite protests from Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, direct federal aid for the Games ultimately ran wild. So much for the ridiculous Republican “We Built It” bumper sticker slogan.

These history-changing shenanigans alone would be enough to question the Republican candidate’s character and competency to be our next President, but there is more, much more to the Salt Lake story.


Although the Republicans are quick to falsely point to President Obama as a self-promoter, anyone who is paying attention knows that is not true. However, Governor Romney is replete in “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED MOMENTS”, and the Olympics is only one of them that we will be investigating in this and the next SNAP-CAPS.

Some of the problematic specifics that came about after Romney did take over follow. There is a lot more detail in the links; the details are a chilling testament to the candidate’s character and abilities. I encourage the curious to read them for the fill detailed story. Here is a thumbnail:

PROFITEERING from the Olympics was huge and indisputable based on the huge tracks that the Governor left in the powdery snow of Park City, Utah. There was a major bribery scandal that preceded Romney’s involvement and this was one of the reasons that he was called upon to serve. The scandal involved $7 million paid out in bribery money to Olympic officials to lure the games to Utah. Several heads rolled before the Governor was summoned. In reaction to the wide-spread abuses the Salt Lake Organizing Committee instituted strict conflict of interest rules before his arrival. One particular rule stands out; no board member could serve if they could gain “substantial personal benefit” from their participation. This admonition was even made a term of Romney’s contract.

It didn’t take long after his arrival for the Governor to make several devoted friends and many strong enemies. His motives and methods were suspect from the start. In many cases he just ignored or ran rough-shod over the conflict-of-interest rules that he had signed on to in his contract. Although he pledged to return the games from the hands of the greedy materialists and back to the athletes, Mr. Romney had no intentions of keeping his word in this regard. His actions are the testimony to the fact that he intended to profit financially and politically from the opportunity afforded him by the Olympics. The businessman in him made the decisions, overruling the altruist that made the promises.

Romney pledged to spend no more money than the games take in, to spare taxpayers, to protect the environment and to take no salary until the Olympics were over and profitable. His pay would be $285,000 per year - the same rate as his predecessor. These promises did not stand.
He took no time to start unabashedly structuring sweetheart deals with his friends and business associates. (Many details both self-admitted and told by other eyewitnesses are found in the Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, and Sports Illustrated and other articles, linked below.)
Staples, Mattel, Marriott and so many other Olympic sponsors had direct connections to Bain as well as to Romney. These personal contacts are numerous and indisputable, as is the fact that sweetheart side deals were made with one after another of these associates in which Romney personally, or Bain would benefit. If you really want to get the complete low down on this click the links below. There is more intrigue, threats, muscle, and outright bribery in this story than a John Grisham novel.

Romney did business with all of these companies as he maintained his position as partial owner and/or a member of their boards of directors. It is beyond a doubt that he stood to make money from the deals he made. Besides being unethical, these activities violated the specific contractual agreement that Romney was hired under. These activities seem to plainly be in breach of his contract.

CRONYISM ran rampant under Romney’s supervision. Given the snow shovels of money lavished on the Olympics by the federal and state governments to save the games, it would be easy for a less than scrupulous businessman to throw a little around to his friends and relatives – and throw he did, with the speed of a one man bobsled hurtling down its icy track.

Romney pals cleaned up millions on unprincipled real estate deals, concession operations, and other scams, cons, and rip-offs of the taxpayer’s money. Favored friends got richer directly from the Governor’s privileged position of calling the shots for the Salt Lake Olympic Committee.

As for Romney’s greasing his own wheel, he registered himself as a lobbyist while running the 2002 Olympics overhaul, requested Federal funds that were invested in questionable projects, and cost the Feds more than all 7 previous U.S. Olympics combined – with numbers adjusted for inflation.

ROMNEY’S TEMPER and arrogance turned many of the Olympic team against him. In one infamous incident Romney was stuck in a traffic jam. According to witnesses he had a full blown melt down. He started ordering people around screaming at them and dropping a couple of F-bombs on a young lady. The significant thing here is that he denied his actions, in spite of the eye witness accounts, and refused to make a genuine apology, saying he hadn’t used language like that since high school. The upshot is that the police force was directly dissed and they mitigated their cooperation from then on. People looking to have a man of character in the White House ought to consider if Mr. Romney fills that bill.

One of the most telling lines found in the research for this SNAP-CAP came from Mitt himself. His own words give lie to Romney’s self-aggrandized re-write of history. In 2009 the Governor appreciatively acknowledged the U.S. government's contribution by saying, "We couldn't have done it without them. These are America's Games." This is the same man who now represents a strident philosophy that eschews government assistance, without which the 2002 Olympics would doubtlessly have gone by default to another country.