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Rio 2016 Olympic Body Head Resigns Ahead of IOC Visit

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Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) -- One of the most senior figures involved in planning the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympics resigned, adding to uncertainty over the city’s ability to deliver on promises made during its bid.

Marcio Fortes, who headed the Olympic Public Authority, or APO, a body responsible for coordinating the efforts of the Brazilian government and the state and city of Rio, handed a letter of resignation to the office of the Brazilian president, the APO said in a statement.

Fortes hasn’t commented on his resignation. Folha de S. Paulo reported Fortes quit because he faced resistance and grew concerned that the APO was becoming marginalized.

Brazil’s sports ministry said in an e-mailed statement that it “has always maintained good relations, appreciation and respect for Marcio Fortes.” A replacement will be chosen by the president’s office, which confirmed Fortes’s resignation.

The resignation comes two weeks before a visit to Rio by inspectors from the International Olympic Committee, including two candidates vying to become president of the sports body in elections next month. The IOC didn’t respond to a request for comment on Fortes’s move.

Fortes’s departure marks the latest change among leaders of Rio’s efforts to stage the games for the first time in South America. The 2016 organizing committee, a private group responsible for planning and running the 2 1/2 week event, has had two chief executive officers, three chief operating officers and four marketing directors since securing host rights in 2009.

Budget Overruns

The games have come under scrutiny following delays in publishing the operational budget. Leo Gryner, chief operating officer of the organizing committee, told reporters Aug. 2 that $700 million from a government contingency fund will be required to cover likely budget overruns. In its bid Rio said organizing the Olympics would cost $2.8 billion.

In his role as the president of the APO, Fortes, a government minister under former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was responsible for coordinating a variety of tasks related to hosting the games. Brazil has committed $11.6 billion toward infrastructure including security, telecommunications and energy projects. It is also spending more than $13 billion on next year’s soccer World Cup.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in Rio de Janeiro at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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