Australian Olympic staffer apologizes for intimidating exec

SYDNEY (AP) The Australian Olympic Committee's communications director has admitted in a letter of apology published Tuesday that he'd threatened to damage the reputation of the organization's former chief executive.

An independent panel comprising three senior judges found on May 31 that Mike Tancred had exhibited ''disreputable conduct'' in his dealings with Fiona de Jong, but ruled that he was not guilty of bullying.

The independent panel recommended Tancred be ''severely reprimanded for his conduct,'' and that it form part of his employment record.

The AOC on Tuesday published Tancred's letter, dated June 1, saying that as part of the review process the long-time staffer had offered to apologize publicly to de Jong.

In a letter of apology, Tancred wrote that in a telephone conversation last December ''I spoke to Ms. de Jong in an intimidating manner, and made threats to damage her and her reputation by publishing allegations against her.

''I acknowledge that my conduct was hurtful, inappropriate and inconsistent with the values of the AOC. I also accept that I caused Ms. de Jong considerable distress.''

Tancred said he made an unqualified apology to de Jong for his conduct and its impact on her.

The allegation of bullying was raised during a bitter campaign ahead of an election for AOC presidency on May 6 which IOC Vice President John Coates easily won.

At the time, Tancred denied the allegations and stood aside from his position pending the independent investigations. The panel is continuing investigations into separate complaints.

The AOC said it had no further comment.

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