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Pan Am Games owes creditors 40 million dollars

March 2, 2012

Having gone 140 percent over budget, the organizers of the Guadalajara 2011 Pan American Games still owe suppliers more than 500 million pesos (40 million dollars), the head of the Organizing Committee (COPAG) revealed this week.

Jalisco legislators pressed COPAG Director Carlos Andrade Garin on finances, sponsors and the construction of the Athletes’ Village for nearly three hours in the State Congress on Monday.

Coming in at 6.2 billion pesos, the total cost of the games was 140 percent higher than the initial budget of around 2.6 billion pesos, Andrade admitted. He also disclosed that almost five months after the games, COPAG still has outstanding debts of 502 million pesos.

This will be repaid “when our leaders say,” said Andrade, adding that he expects to have money to start paying suppliers within a month. Funding for the games was split between federal, state and municipal authorities. The state and federal governments will help COPAG pay its debts, Jalisco Governor Emilio Gonzalez promised on Monday.

Andrade said the games brought in 1.04 billion pesos from sponsors, with Nissan and Scotiabank making the largest contributions. He also acknowledged that of 220,891 tickets that were given away, 47,200 went to business partners, representing a loss of 38 million pesos.

Questioned on other topics, Andrade said that of the 4,072 medals awarded, the coloring only faded on 89, fewer than the number reported in the media at the time. These were quickly replaced. He also admitted that the anticipated number of visitors failed to materialize.

Asked about the sewage that was dumped beside the Athletes’ Village during the games, Andrade said it was put down to “human error.” He sought to evade further questions on the subject, claiming he was not directly involved with such matters.

COPAG Comptroller Jesus Briseño Espejo said treatment plants at the village were unable to cope with the quantity of sewage due to a lack of foresight by planners. He said they had only anticipated residents bathing once a day, but the athletes washed up to three times a day, flooding the treatment system.

Despite the leaks, he assured legislators that there was no permanent environmental damage to the adjacent Primavera Forest.

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