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Two Texas cities are on a quest for Olympic gold. Houston and Dallas are among the eight U.S. cities vying for the chance to sponsor the 2012 Games. Aligned on both sides are Texas-sized teams of public officials and private citizens, including attorneys who are handling the legal ins and outs of putting together a hopefully winning bid. So far, lawyers in the two cities have donated thousands of hours and thousands of dollars worth of free legal services in the hopes of helping their cities score the summer sports extravaganza. Like an Olympic event, the work involved beforehand is much longer than the competition itself. “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” says lawyer Michael Sorrell, communications director and government liaison for Dallas 2012, one of the groups bidding for the Games. The marathon began in 1997, when cities had to pass resolutions saying they were interested in hosting the Games and send a letter of intent to bid to the U.S. Olympic Committee. In addition, each city had to put up a $100,000 bid fee. Dallas and Houston paid the fee with private donations. The city of Arlington, Texas, originally put up a fee, which was soon taken over by Dallas when the USOC decided the lead bidding city should be bigger. Houston also anted up. Others in the running to be the U.S. candidate city in 2012 are Cincinnati; Los Angeles; New York City, San Francisco; Tampa, Fla.; and Washington, D.C./Baltimore. After submitting their letters, the municipalities were given the specifications of everything that had to be included in their bids, divided into 19 chapters, or themes. To stay in the process, each city had until July 1, 1998, to form a nonprofit organization and elect a board. In the fall of that year, all the competing cities signed contracts with the USOC guaranteeing their bids and promising to make up any deficit that results from hosting the games. The bids were due Dec. 15, 2000. Dallas 2012 and Houston 2012 each turned in filings of more than 600 pages. The USOC went over all the bids to determine if there were any necessary corrections or additions, then returned them to the cities. The cities will resubmit them with changes by June 1. “There are unique and complex issues associated with getting a bid document prepared,” Sorrell says. It really does require a lot of thought and careful review.” After getting the final bid documents, USOC consultants and staff members will visit the eight cities. Sometime between October 2001 and April 2002, the choices will be narrowed to three or four cities. A site visit to the finalists by USOC board members will follow. In fall 2002, the full board of 118 members will cast ballots, dropping the lowest vote-getter until one city has a majority and becomes the U.S. candidate city. The International Olympic Committee picks the host city in 2005. Susan Bandy, executive director of Houston 2012, and Richard Greene, president and CEO of Dallas 2012, are confident they have topnotch bids. Competition to host the Games is friendly; Olympic rules forbid bashing the other candidates. Bandy, who’s on loan from her job with the city of Houston, where she deals with economic development, says much of the legal work for the cities involves contract guarantees and the bid document. Greene, former Arlington mayor, compares the bid document to an Internal Revenue Service manual because of its detail and precision. THE TEAMS The legal and nonlegal communities in north and south Texas have teamed up to try to snag hosting honors in 2012. Board members for Dallas 2012 and Houston 2012 include lawyers, civic leaders, athletes, business people, doctors, dentists and accountants. Former President George Bush is an honorary member of Houston 2012. Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, a partner in Gardere Wynne Sewell, is honorary chairman of his city’s organization. The legal team for Dallas 2012 includes Robert Kincaid, the group’s general counsel who works full time on legal aspects, including contract review and advice on USOC rules, of the Olympics effort. Sorrell does a lot of work with local governments on issues such as potential venue sites for events and helps out with some of the general counsel duties. Tom Luce, who’s of counsel with Hughes & Luce, served as chairman of Dallas 2012 until the bid was submitted in December; he now serves on the board as immediate past chairman. Paul H. Johnson, then a partner in Kelly, Hart & Hallman in Fort Worth, helped set up Arlington 2012, then worked to merge it into Dallas 2012. Johnson, now a solo who practices transactional law, is still involved in the effort. The group’s go-to lawyer on ethics issues is C. Paul Rogers III, of counsel at Locke Liddell & Sapp. Rogers, a professor at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law and a former dean there, chairs Dallas 2012′s ethics oversight committee, which checks out any potential conflicts of interest. Other attorneys and law firms that have helped with legal services or ethics advice for Dallas 2012 — almost all of it pro bono — include Sandra Coaxum, vice president and legal counsel for On-Target Supplies & Logistics; John Lopez III, Law Office of John Lopez III in Richardson; Kelly, Hart & Hallman and partner Dee Steer in Fort Worth; Locke Liddell & Sapp and partner Hugh Hackney; Strasburger & Price and former partner William Methenitis, who’s now with Arthur Anderson; and Kevin Cox, senior executive vice president, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The legal community also is teaming up in Houston to help the Olympic effort. The chairman of Houston 2012 is George DeMontrond III, president of three automobile companies and a nonpracticing attorney. Much of the legal work for the group is handled by Yuri Calderon, an associate with Bracewell & Patterson, including contract reviews when the group hires consultants. “This is an exciting project for Houston and an exciting project for our firm to be involved in,” says Calderon, who recently transferred to his firm’s San Antonio office from Houston. Other Bracewell lawyers who have done Houston 2012 work are managing partner Kelly Frels, partners Arturo Michel and Roger Aksamit, and associate Maureen Singleton. They are based in the Houston office of Bracewell, which has provided a total of 340 hours of work to the Olympics effort. The legal aspects of an Olympics bid cover a multitude of areas. The bid committees must comply with all regulations and requirements of the IOC, the USOC, the bid specifications manual, the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, the Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act, and the ethics code of the USOC. In addition, both Dallas 2012 and Houston 2012 wrote their own ethics codes, which are slightly stricter than the USOC’s. One of the 19 themes of the bid document is “Legal Aspects,” which shows that all USOC requirements are being met and that all agreements are executed correctly. However, the other themes — including Customs and Immigration Formalities, Security, Medical and Health Services, Finance and Guarantees — have requirements with legal implications. For example, arrangements for security bring up questions of who can legally carry a gun and proper visas must be in place for athletes coming into the United States. In addition, the USOC has strict legal and financial reporting requirements. Bid committees must turn in a report listing all cash donations and value-in-kind contributions each quarter; twice a year, they have to turn in a report detailing their activities. Kincaid, who’s also general counsel of the Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Sports Commission, says a number of agreements must be negotiated with the USOC, including an Olympic Games operating agreement and a joint marketing agreement. The city that becomes the U.S. candidate for the Games also will have to execute a host city agreement with the USOC. “It’s an interesting process,” Kincaid says. “There are many legal-related aspects to the bid process.” Calderon says a whole mix of issues come up. He gives advice on the Texas Open Meetings Law, which applies to many meetings of the board of Houston 2012, and on ethics regulations, which were tightened after an investigation of the successful effort by Salt Lake City to win the 2002 Winter Olympics determined that there had been ethical violations involving payments to IOC members. Lawyers also have reviewed how state laws on drug use will affect athletic trainers who administer medications and how ordinances on livestock could affect the equestrian sports, Calderon says. For example, quarantine laws must be followed when bringing in horses for the events. “We’ve done some analysis of city ordinances and county resolutions that would affect holding the Games in a particular area,” he says. “There are real minute issues that you would never imagine.”

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