COC denies overspending despite $2.9M boardroom

Officials from the Canadian Olympic Committee are seen here taking part in a ribbon cutting during the opening of Canadian Olympic House in Montreal back in July 2015. (Ryan Remiorz/CP)

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) is facing questions and criticism for how much it is spending on its new headquarters in Montreal.

The Globe and Mail reported early Friday that a recent audit of the headquarters, which is called Canada Olympic House, revealed the COC spent $2.9 million on a new boardroom and in excess of $1 million on a launch party for the building.

The project received public funding ($3-million from the federal government, $3.5-million from Quebec and $2-million from Montreal) in addition to various private sponsorships.

The COC released a statement defending its spending Friday.

“Our intention is for the capital project to ultimately be revenue neutral,” the statement read. “We have met with each of our government partners in recent weeks and have their ongoing support for the completion of the project in 2016.”

The project was spearheaded by former COC president Marcel Aubut, 68, who resigned in September amid sexual harassment allegations.

“Who puts $3-million into a boardroom?” a senior sports official told The Globe on condition of anonymity. “This wasn’t done for the good of the athletes.”

Jean-Luc Brassard, an Olympic gold medallist and Canada’s chef de mission for the Rio 2016 Games, is among the many athletes who have been critical of the spending.

“It’s difficult to accept,” Brassard told CBC Radio. “Most athletes are really living through difficult financial times.”

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