OGDEN — Mayor Matthew Godfrey reluctantly released his list of potential donors Thursday, including several notable charities, business leaders and government entities, for a proposed $40 million downtown field house.
Godfrey, who provided a copy of the list to the Standard-Examiner, said he prepared the document informally. "It’s a brain-storming list of various ideas."
Among those on the list are John and Karen Gullo, of Ogden, the Stewart Education Foundation and the Utah Legislature.
Some of the potential donors contacted Thursday by the Standard-Examiner said the amounts Godfrey hoped to get from them according to the list were less than he requested.
None of the donors the newspaper talked with agreed to provide money for the field house.
Godfrey’s release of the list follows a March decision by the Ogden Records Review Board that the document should be provided to local activist Dan Schroeder.
"It took nearly five months to get it, so it’s better late than never," Schroeder said. "It’s unfortunate that we had to go through such an ordeal to get one record that’s a dozen lines long."
The city initially refused to give Schroeder the list that was part of a Government Records Access and Management Act request, saying it would impair procurement procedures in raising funds for the field house.
However, Schroeder contended that fundraising does not constitute procurement. The records review board agreed.
Godfrey said he faced a quandary in deciding whether to release the list or use taxpayer funds to appeal the records review board’s decision to 2nd District Court in Ogden to protect the identity of at least one potential donor.
"Donors need to have the ability to make donations (anonymously)," he said.
In the end, Godfrey reluctantly made the list public.
Godfrey said in some cases the amounts of money on the list and intended purposes for the funds do not correlate to actual donation requests. Additional potential donors whose names don’t appear on the list were also approached, he said.
The list indicates Godfrey intended to seek $1.5 million from the Stewart Education Foundation to fund an infield area within the field house.
However, Jack D. Lampros, chairman of the Stewart Education Foundation, said Thursday that Godfrey only asked for $500,000 when he visited him last month at his condominium in Fort Myers, Fla.
The foundation’s board of directors is still considering the request but is currently obligated to fund the construction of a $6 million dormitory at Weber State University, Lampros said.
"Any time the mayor of the community asks for help, you give it consideration," he said.
The list also indicates Godfrey intended to seek $2 million from John and Karen Gullo, of Ogden, for construction of a waterpark inside of the field house.
John Gullo, the founder of the American Dream Foundation, said Godfrey offered him and his wife naming rights to the waterpark in exchange for a $1 million donation.
The couple considered the request but ultimately turned Godfrey down because they only make charitable donations to cause-oriented projects such as helping disadvantaged kids. "At the end of the day, it (having the waterpark named for them) is just not us," he said.
The Legislature was to be asked for $1 million, according to Godfrey’s list
Godfrey has touted the field house — which would have a 60,000-square-foot indoor water park, Olympic-sized pool, tennis courts, running track and velodrome — as having a significant impact in boosting Ogden’s image as a recreation mecca.
A portion of Grant Avenue would be closed between 24th and 25th streets, and most of the buildings between Grant and Kiesel would be demolished, according to a feasibility study for the project. However, Godfrey has said he is willing to consider other locations for the facility.
The field house suffered a significant setback last month when the Weber County RAMP tax advisory board refused to recommend awarding $2.4 million over five years toward construction of the facility.
This topic is being discussed at The Weber County Forum.