A prominent Des Moines attorney who once led the U.S. Olympic Committee died yesterday Sixty-six-year-old Robert Helmick was an expert in public finance, but he gained fame as the president of the United States Olympic Committee, a job he held from 1985 ’til 1991. Helmick resigned amid questions of whether he had a conflict of interest in working with groups that were connected to the Olympics, but an investigation cleared Helmick of wrongdoing. Helmick earned a degree in mathematics from Drake in 1957. He went on to Drake’s law school and was valedictorian of the Class of 1960. Doug Gross, a Des Moines lawyer who worked for former Governors Ray and Branstad, says Helmick was often called upon to help figure out the financial details for complicated government transactions. Gross says Helmick was the most creative, talented guy in the public finance arena they could find.Gross says Helmick had a unique “mix of creativity, intelligence and caution” that’s rarely seen in a bond lawyer. Helmick helped create a handful of state agencies that helped Iowans get loans for new homes and farms at reduced interest rates.
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