LA 2028 delegation returns from Peru, outlines next steps for 2028 Games

Casey Wasserman, chairman of the former LA 2028 bid committee, said on Thursday he will help guide the newly formed organizing committee that will run the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Speaking to reporters at Los Angeles International Airport after LA 2028 members returned from Peru, Wasserman said he expects most of the committee’s senior staff will remain.

The LA 2028 bid committee ended when the Games were awarded to Los Angeles on Wednesday, and will now morph into the committee that plans and executes the 2028 Games.

Speaking on the tarmac at LAX, Wasserman said the committee will not scale back its work during the 11-year wait for the Olympics.

“The deal with the IOC allows us to have a full staff to take advantage of the four extra years,” he said.

Los Angeles originally sought the 2024 Games but agreed to go four years later, giving the 2024 Games to Paris. As part of the deal, the IOC agreed to provide a $180-million advance, most of which will go to funding youth programs citywide possibly as soon as next year.

Mayor Eric Garcetti also was part of the delegation that went to Peru this week.

“You can’t describe the feeling of having the president of the International Olympic Committee hand you the card that has your city and a year on it,” Garcetti said. “That’s the moment when it felt real.”

Committee members and city leaders are striving to replicate the financial success of the 1984 Games in L.A.

The committee believes that by using existing structures such as the Coliseum and Staples Center, as well as the Rams’ stadium currently under construction in Inglewood, it will keep costs low.

However, previous hosts — such as Rio de Janeiro, which staged the 2016 Summer Olympics — had promised to balance their budgets only to come away with large deficits.

City leaders agreed to make L.A. the financial backstop, with the city responsible if the sporting event runs over budget.

“A lot of cities quite frankly don’t want to bid for the Olympics,” Garcetti said. “But we know here that the Olympics aren’t an impediment, they are a spark to our progress.”

NOlympics L.A. believes the Games detract attention from the city’s problems, including its homelessness crisis and housing shortage.

Organizers also say that LA 2028 members told them that they would meet with the group, but it has yet to take place.

LA2028 organizers counter that they invited NOlympics to meet, but the group declined.

Asked about a potential meeting, Wasserman said: “They know my office number, I’m easy to find.”

Several Los Angeles City Council members also attended the IOC ceremony in Lima, Peru.

A spokesman for councilman Joe Buscaino said the politician spent less than 48 hours in Lima and that no taxpayer money was used on his trip.

dakota.smith@latimes.com

Twitter: @dakotacdsmith


UPDATES:

9:23 a.m., Sept. 15: The article was updated with a response from LA 2028 about meeting with the NOlympics L.A. group.

The article was originally published at 8:40 p.m. Sept. 14.

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