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Atlanta May Lose $$

Lawsuits by disappointed Olympic vendors could cost the city of Atlanta more than the $2.5 million it made renting them space to sell their wares, a city councilman said.

“In the worst-case scenario, we are approaching $50 million in liability with respect to the various suits that have been filed,” Councilman Robb Pitts said Friday. “Even if we end up just having to pay 10 percent, we’ve got problems, because we don’t have it.”

An audit conducted by KPMG Peat Marwick at the request of the Atlanta Economic Development Corp., which hired the private B.G. Swing Games Management Inc. to run the vendor program, indicated it took in $5.3 million leasing space during last summer’s Olympics and Paralympics.

With $486,100 still uncollected from vendors, the city netted about $2.5 million, the AEDC took $213,000 in administrative fees, and B.G. Swing earned about $2 million.

B.G. Swing contracted with about 170 companies for 365 vending locations, but many of them lost money and some claim they were mislead about Olympic prospects.

More than $130,000 has been refunded to vendors, and city officials are considering more settlements rather than chance a jury verdict in several pending lawsuits, one of which seeks $25 million in damages.

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