SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – The possibility of the San Diego County Fair going on as planned on June 8 is still real, despite a judge’s decision on Tuesday to deny the suspension of a preliminary injunction that is part of an ongoing lawsuit.
The 22nd District Agricultural Association (TDAA), which operates the Del Mar Fairgrounds and San Diego County Fair, is being sued by Talley Amusements, one of two companies that bid on a multi-million-dollar, five-year contract to operate the Fair's midway -- where the Fair’s rides, carnival games, and some food vendors are set up.
However, Talley Amusements claims TDAA rigged the scoring on bids and ended up awarding another company -- Ray Cammack Shows (RCS) -- the contract.
With the 2021 Fair canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the TDAA pulled the contract and instead issued a new request for proposals (RFP) for the 2022 midway. Talley Amusements chose not to bid, alleging that the RFP was specifically so that only RCS could win.
Talley Amusements went on to file a lawsuit against the TDAA this spring.
Fairgrounds officials suggested the entire event faced the possibility of being canceled if the judge's preliminary injunction was not stayed.
In the preliminary injunction, Judge Kenneth Medel said there was evidence of favoritism and fraud. Medel explained he could not allow the request of a stay because the court cannot allow the same corruption to continue year after year, and he said it's about the public’s interest in the integrity of the Fairgrounds and emphasized his court was committed to seeing the Fair go on.
"I'm asking you to work together so that the fair will go on and must go on," Medel said while explaining his ruling.
Both parties agreed and took the first step to move forward.
Kevin Alexander, the attorney representing the TDAA, argued that the Fairgrounds didn't have the staff on hand to start ticket sales. He explained RCS was going to provide an online ticketing option. He asked the court if it would be possible to allow RCS to do so.
A positive step forward was made with Talley Amusements agreeing to allow RCS to start ticket sales.
“It's sort of like King Solomon; he brought the baby out and said, ‘I’m gonna cut the baby in half,’ and the one who cared the most about the baby was the one who made the decision to concede. Mary Talley conceded that the Fair must go on and made the first move to see that that happened," said John Moot, an attorney representing Talley Amusements.
Conversations between the parties are expected to continue.
TDAA officials released the following statement on Tuesday afternoon:
“On April 5, 2022 the San Diego Superior Court issued a procedural ruling that stopped the 22nd DAA from proceeding with the current Master Carnival Operator (‘MCO’) contract for the 2022 Fair. Earlier today, the Court issued a subsequent order that, while declining to stay that ruling while the DAA pursues its appeal rights, allows the Fair to restart selling tickets for a midway at this summer’s Fair.
We are doing everything we can to preserve a full carnival midway at the Fair.
We are continuing discussions with the involved parties about a modified contract and we remain hopeful that we can reach a meaningful and appropriate resolution very soon. However, we cannot simply hand over the contract to the plaintiffs or anyone else in this case -- we must follow a process that ensures that whatever solution we come up with is fair and equitable and complies with the law.
We will continue to provide updates as they become available.”