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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The America’s Cup Organizing committee is millions short in coming up with private funds to cover the costs of covering the yachting race. Now a San Francisco supervisor has said city officials were “f-ing played” by race organizers and he’s “f-ing ashamed” of the likelihood that the city will spend millions in public funds on the event.
A February 2012 report by the city controller’s office raised concerns that the America’s Cup Organizing Committee wasn’t raising funds fast enough to meet funding goals. Last week, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ed Lee said officials have raised about $14 million of the estimated $31 million to $34 million needed to host the 55 days of racing beginning in July. Public funds will be used to make up the difference it the city falls short – a scenario which is growing increasingly likely.
Only four racing teams, rather than the dozen or so initially envisioned, have paid entry fees and are planning on competing for the most prestigious trophy in competitive sailing. All four teams will be based at a single location rather than along the city’s waterfront as originally envisioned.
District 11 Supervisor John Avalos now says he wants a hearing into how the fundraising deficit has grown this large, according to an SF Weekly report, and says that language indicating that organizers would simply “endeavor” to raise their portion of the funding was largely overlooked by city officials.
“I was f-ing played. All the members of the Board of Supervisors were f-ing played,” Avalos said to the Weekly. “There was a full-court press on us from the America’s Cup Organizing Committee to play us…I am totally f-ing ashamed.”
Avalos said he would explore the possibility of calling off the race, but concedes that the city is committed contractually at this point.
Mark Buell, who is chair of the fundraising committee, previously told the San Francisco Chronicle that hosting the America’s Cup will still benefit San Francisco economically even if the city breaks its promise about refraining from using public money to pay for the event.
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