The Great Equivocator | News | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

The Great Equivocator 

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Dave Johnson thinks Gov. Mike Leavitt is a liar. So do lots of people, Dave, so do lots of people. Johnson gave his opinion to the Salt Lake media just moments after Judge David Sam dropped all charges against Johnson and his former Salt Lake (Olympic) Bid Committee boss, Tom Welch, for allegations of criminal wrongdoing that arose during the Olympic bid scandal. Until last week’s ruling, Welch and Johnson had been cast as the loose cannons who bought and bribed the 2002 Winter Games for Salt Lake City, shaming all Utahns.

During the many months of courthouse gamesmanship, both men were clearly frustrated at an inability to communicate to the public their sides of what took place and why. They merely told the press that they felt they would one day be vindicated. Privately, they seethed. Their close associates knew very well the contempt both men had for the system that betrayed them.

And for the governor who betrayed them.

The great gush of wind you felt last week was not the oncoming of a long-awaited winter storm. It was a sigh of relief from Capitol Hill, exhaled by Leavitt and his cronies—you may know them from the society pages where they are cast as Salt Lake City’s elite—at the news that Judge Sam had loosened the noose from their collective necks. When Judge Sam dropped the charges against Welch and Johnson, he also dropped any semblance of working as an arbiter of public trust. For with Judge Sam’s ruling, any hopes that Welch and Johnson had of clearing their names in a court of law went the way of Antonio Samaranch’s latest dish of Salt Lake City-paid-for caviar.

Welch and Johnson occasionally found themselves on the wrong side of commentary or news stories in this newspaper. Because we wrote stories about the Olympic scandal, we were deemed anti-Olympic, so much so that the sillies over at SLOC even refused to advertise for Olympic volunteers in our pages. We aren’t anti-Olympic, we’re anti-bozo. And in time, our stories helped peel back the layers of deceit and ego that led to people like Mike Leavitt taking bites from the Olympic pie and using people like Welch and Johnson to wipe the custard from their faces.

Judge Sam—the same guy who sat on the unconstitutional liquor laws ruling for over four years—is quickly gaining note for propping up his pals and protectors. His ruling only solidifies the view that justice be damned, Utah must protect the status quo and spare our “moral” leaders the embarrassment of making asses of themselves. Remember how Leavitt spoke to “ethics” and “morality” and “Utah values” when this all began? Ha!

What a shame. Now we may never know who gave the green light to the Olympic escorts, will we Mike?

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